ancient egyptian history

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    Ancient Egyptian History

    Early Dynastic Period or Archaic Period (1st and 2



    31002686 BC

    Old Kingdom (3rd

    to 6th

    Dynasty) 26862181 BC

    1st Intermediate Period (7th

    to 10th

    Dynasty) 21812055 BC

    Middle Kingdom (11th

    to 12th

    Dynasty) 20551650 BC

    2nd Intermediate Period (13th

    to 17th

    Dynasty) 16501550 BC

    New Kingdom (18th

    to 20th

    Dynasty) 15501069 BC

    3rd Intermediate Period (21th to 25th

    Dynasty) 1069664 BC

    Late Period (26th

    to 30th

    Dynasty) 664332 BC

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    Predynastic Period

    Badarian Culture

    Naqadan Culture

    Naqada I

    Naqada II

    Naqada III

    Badarian Culture

    The Badarian people lived in Upper Egypt, on the eastern bank of

    the Nile, from approximately 5000 BC to 4400 BC. Though they were a

    semi-nomadic people, they formed small settlements and began to

    cultivate grain and domesticate animals.

    They buried their dead in small cemeteries on the borders of these

    settlements, and also conducted ceremonial burials for some of their

    domesticated animals. Although the graves themselves were simple, the

    deceased was buried with fine ceramics, jewellery, cloth and fur, and

    they usually included a finely crafted figurine of a female fertility idol.

    They did not mummify their dead, instead burying them in a foetal

    position, facing west (towards the setting sun).

    Naqadan Culture

    The Naqadan culture took over from the Badarian around 4500 BC

    and became arguably the most important prehistoric culture in Upper

    Egypt. It is named after the city of Naqada where many of the

    archaeological evidence for the period was found.

    Naqada I

    The early phase (Naqada 1, also called Amratian because of

    deposits found near the village of that name) ran in parallel to the

    Badarian culture, but slowly replaced it. They also lived in small villages

    and they developed the cultivation of the Nile valley, but the culture is

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    most notable for the increase in artistic accomplishment and the

    proliferation of bearded male figures in addition to the female fertility


    Each village had its own animal deity which was associated with

    the clan of the villagers. This formed the basis of the nome system

    which divided Egypt into regions represented by their amulets.

    In Naqada I graves, the deceased were buried with statuettes to

    keep them company in the afterlife. These were the forerunners of

    ushabti figures found in Egyptian tombs. Along with these figures, the

    dead person was buried with food, weapons, amulets, ornaments and

    decorated vases and palettes.

    Naqada II

    The Naqada II (also known as Gerzean due to finds near the village

    of that name) phase began around 3500 BC. This culture mastered the

    art of agriculture and the use of artificial irrigation, and no longer needed

    to hunt for their food. The people started live in towns, not just villages,

    creating areas of higher population density than ever before.

    The culture continued to develop their artistic tendencies, creating

    new styles of pottery and more complicated carving. Many animal-

    shaped and shield-shaped palettes (used for mixing cosmetics) have been

    recovered. They form a clear link in development towards the

    ceremonial palettes of the early dynastic period (eg the Narmer palette).

    They also developed their skills in metalworking, in particular copper

    which they traded with the ancient peoples of Mesopotamia and Asia.

    The introduction of cylindrical seals (a typically Mesopotamiam device)

    showed that their culture was influenced by their neighbours, but the

    familiar Egyptian gods Hathor, Ra and Horus also date to this period.

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    Their burial rituals also changed. They created rectangular graves

    whose walls were lined with masonry or wood, and the body was not

    specifically oriented towards the setting sun. There was a marked

    difference in the quality of grave goods between the rich and poor and

    many contained pottery.

    Architecture also took a leap forward during the Naqada II period.

    A palace and ritual precinct was constructed in Nekhen (Hierakonpolis),

    which was the cult centre of Horus of Nekhem. It has a large oval

    courtyard, surrounded by small buildings, and is clearly the precursor to

    the ritual precincts of the Early Dynastic Period. Features of the complex

    (built of timber and matting) are echoed in the construction of Djoser's

    pyramid complex.

    Naqada III

    Naqada III (also known as "Semainean") was a short period from

    3200 to 3000 BC which is often referred to as the protodynastic period,

    or Zero Dynasty. During this period there is a marked difference

    between the culture of Upper and Lower Egypt. In Upper Egypt, an

    estimated thirteen kings reigned from Nekhen (Hierakonpolis).

    Unfortunately, only the last few have been identified. The kings were

    named after animals, no doubt relating to the favoured totem of their

    home towns. The ruler was seen as the personification of the god (in

    much the same way as later Kings were considered to be the "Son of

    Ra") and wore the white crown of Upper Egypt. The art work of the time

    suggests they were a fairly warlike bunch (for example the scorpion


    In Lower Egypt, the system was more bureaucratic and

    commercial. Important families ruled small areas and there does not

    appear to have been a rigid hierarchy. The rulers, such as they were,

    wore the red crown of Lower Egypt. Seven kings from Lower Egypt are

    listed on the Palermo stone. However, little is known about them and

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    some doubt that they ever existed. Buto is generally considered to have

    been the largest and most important town, but there were also population

    centres at Ma'adi and Tell Farkha.

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    Sources of Egyptian history

    Ancient Egyptian history originates its events from four basic

    sources including: Ancient Egyptian Antiquities, contemporary

    civilizations, the writings of historians and Greeks and Romans

    adventures, the heavenly books (the Torah and the Bible and the Koran)

    1.The Egyptian Monuments: They include temples, royal tombs,

    graves individuals, obelisks, paintings, statues, mummies, papyri,

    coffins, pottery fragments, and all movable monuments.

    The Egyptian Antiquities are one of the most important sources of

    ancient Egyptian history, however, the ancient Egyptians did not do

    inscribe on the monuments with the aim to record history or historical

    events. They inscribed on the monuments with the aim of

    commemoration of one of the important events during the reign of a

    certain king or to celebrate a particular victory. However, we can not

    fully trust what is written on those monuments. In regard to the record of

    battles on specific monuments, there is a kind of exaggeration. The

    clearest example of this is what is recorded on the temples of King

    Ramses II, one of the most important kings of the nineteenth Dynasty.

    The king claimed that he defeated the Hittites in the battle of Kadesh in

    the fifth year of his reign. On the other side, the Hittites confirm their

    victory over the king and his troops. Still there is no conclusive evidence

    to prove that Ramesses II defeated the Hittites.

    2. Contemporary Civilizations

    This source includes the inscriptions and monuments of the

    contemporary civilizations throughout the history of the ancient

    Egyptian civilization and which record events that reflect the extent of

    the relationship and the interaction between them. These civilizations are

    the Babylonian, Assyrian, Phoenician, Mittanian and Hittites