Periods of the history of ancient Egypt

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Periods of Egypt's history


To better understand the context in which the pyramids of Egypt were erected, it is necessary to be able to locate the period of the pyramids in the history of ancient Egypt. Here are the different periods of ancient Egypt, from the Neolithic to the conquest of the country by the Roman Empire.


Historical periods

The pre-dynastic period ranges from -8000 to -3150. It contains the evolution of the peoples of the North (Nile delta) and the South (South of Egypt, North of Sudan). The succession of sovereign of the South is called "dynasty 0", it is they who will take the power on the North, reunifying around 3150 BC the population of the Nile.

The Thinite period, named after the capital Thinis, was the first of the Egyptian civilization. It ranges from -3150 to -2700 and is characterized by the establishment of the royal administration and a large-scale organization to manage a hostile and particularly large territory. It includes the I and II dynasties.

The old empire runs from -2700 to -2200, divided into several periods. It is a time of state organization, which is divided into provinces. The administration increases its authority and takes advantage of peace and prosperity to embark on major projects. From the 2nd dynasty religion takes off, the pharaoh becomes a God. His burial evolves from a mastaba to a step pyramid, then to a smooth-faced pyramid (3rd - 6th dynasty). Society progresses, developing art, architecture, sculpture, science.

The first intermediate period was short (-2200 to -2030), but two dynasties and 15 pharaohs succeeded each other on the throne. It is a period of instability that will lead to a different conception of religious practice and the status of the pharaoh.

The Middle Kingdom (-2030 to -1786) begins with a conflict between the ninth and tenth dynasties, mistresses of the North and the eleventh, retaining power in the South. In -2033 the South took the North militarily and reunified the country, so we speak of the beginning of the Middle Kingdom. The capital will be moved to Thebes, then to Itchtaouy (Memphis). Many expeditions had places to the Middle East, developing trade.

The second half, which ranges from -1674 to -1550, is marked by the invasion of the territory by the Hyksos, an ethnic group from West Asia. It seems that this invasion has not been especially violent. It was above all the weakening of the power of the pharaoh in certain northern territories that shifted the throne to the benefit of a 13th foreign dynasty.

The New Empire (-1550 to -1000) marks the culmination of Egyptian civilization, with the development of arts, science, and relations among peoples of other regions.

The third intermediate period comes at the beginning of the first millennium because of the fragility of the pharaohs in front of the priests. The new dynasties come from the military or religious classes and manage with difficulty to maintain a cohesion on the whole of the Nile. The main cities are moved to the delta, which becomes the center of Egyptian civilization.

The Low Period begins around -715 and represents the end of ancient Egyptian civilization. The successive dynasties were all of foreign origin (Ethiopia, Assyria, Libya, Persia) but respected the current customs, not imposing their way of life.

The ancient Egyptian civilization subsequently disappeared with its integration into the Persian Empire as a province, then into the Roman Empire.



See also:

The builders of the pyramids of Giza

The materials used to build the pyramids




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