May 2011
Books
Biography
Archive
Feedback
Home
Home
Billie Silvey
Ancient Egypt
Old Kingdom
Middle Kingdom
New Kingdom
Egypt has been called "The Gift of the Nile."  The populated part of the
country has always clung to the banks of the Nile River, which rises like
a vast, green papyrus plant from its roots in Ethiopia (the Blue Nile) and
Uganda (the White Nile).

The roots join at Khartoum and flow 1,900 miles, mostly through
desert, forming  a long, narrow oasis of green that fans out into the delta
before flowing into the Mediterranean Sea.

The hot, dry climate of most the rest of the land, together with the
Egyptian tradition of a single, powerful monarch or pharaoh and
elaborate burial practices, have led to the large number and good
condition of the artifacts of the culture, which is over 5,000 years old.

Kingdoms rose along its banks first in Memphis in Lower Egypt nearest
the Mediterranean, then at Thebes in Middle Egypt near the Valley of
the Kings, and finally in Upper Egypt near Abu Simbel.
(3rd-6th dynasties)
The Old Kingdom was the time of
Cheops and Menkaure, of carving
granite and constructing pyramids. It
was during this period that Egyptians
began to embalm their dead.  The
capital of the Old Kingdom was
centered in lower Egypt, near
Memphis. The great pyramid of Giza
was built in 2580 B.C.  It continued to
be the tallest structure in the world until
1300 A. D.
(12th-13th dynasties)
The unification of Egypt,
which had led to such
cultural advances, fell apart
when weather changes
stopped the annual flooding
of the Nile, causing famine.  
Mentuhotep reunited Egypt
during the period of the
Middle Kingdom.  Then, in
1878 B.C.,
Senusret III
began military forays into
Nubia to extend Egyptian
control.  
Thebes became the
capital.  At the end of the
period, the
Hyksos invaded
from Western Asia, with
their horses and chariots and
bows and arrows.
(18th-20th dynasties)
The
New Kingdom was notable for the
reign of
Hatshepsut, the first female
pharaoh.  
Akhenaten banned the
worship of the old gods and founded a
new monotheistic religion.  
Ramses II
ruled 67 years and built numerous
temples including
Abu Simbel.  The
massive statues were moved higher
when the
Aswan Dam was built.
After the 31st dynasty, Alexander the Great invaded
Egypt, issuing in the Greco-Roman period which was
followed by
a brief period of European Christian dominance.  This
continued until Egypt was conquered by Arab forces
and became Islamic.
Cleopatra
Egypt in Scripture