EGYPTIAN TIME BY TIME
BY ANEALYA HAMMAD
PREDYNASTIC PERIOD (C. 5000-3100 B.C.)
During the rule of Akhenaton, his wife Nefertiti played an important political and religious role in the monotheistic cult of the sun god Aton. Images and sculptures of Nefertiti depict her famous beauty and role as a living goddess of fertility.
ARCHAIC (EARLY DYNASTIC) PERIOD (C. 3100-2686 B.C.)
OLD KINGDOM: AGE OF THE PYRAMID BUILDERS (C. 2686-2181 B.C.)
FIRST INTERMEDIATE PERIOD (C. 2181-2055 B.C.)
MIDDLE KINGDOM: 12TH DYNASTY (C. 2055-1786 B.C.)
SECOND INTERMEDIATE PERIOD (C. 1786-1567 B.C.)
The 13th dynasty marked the beginning of another unsettled period in Egyptian history, during which a rapid succession of kings failed to consolidate power. As a consequence, during the Second Intermediate Period Egypt was divided into several spheres of influence. The official royal court and seat of government was relocated to Thebes, while a rival dynasty (the 14th), centered on the city of Xois in the Nile delta, seems to have existed at the same time as the 13th.
NEW KINGDOM (C. 1567-1085 B.C.)
Under Ahmose I, the first king of the 18th dynasty, Egypt was once again reunited. During the 18th dynasty, Egypt restored its control over Nubia and began military campaigns in Palestine, clashing with other powers in the area such as the Mitannians and the Hittites. The country went on to establish the world’s first great empire, stretching from Nubia to the Euphrates River in Asia. In addition to powerful kings such as Amenhotep I (1546-1526 B.C.), Thutmose I (1525-1512 B.C.) and Amenhotep III (1417-1379 B.C.), the New Kingdom was notable for the role of royal women such as Queen Hatshepsut (1503-1482 B.C.), who began ruling as a regent for her young stepson (he later became Thutmose III, Egypt’s greatest military hero), but rose to wield all the powers of a pharaoh.
THIRD INTERMEDIATE PERIOD (C. 1085-664 B.C.)
The next 400 years–known as the Third Intermediate Period–saw important changes in Egyptian politics, society and culture. Centralized government under the 21st dynasty pharaohs gave way to the resurgence of local officials, while foreigners from Libya and Nubia grabbed power for themselves and left a lasting imprint on Egypt’s population. The 22nd dynasty began around 945 B.C. with King Sheshonq, a descendant of Libyans who had invaded Egypt during the late 20th dynasty and settled there. Many local rulers were virtually autonomous during this period and dynasties 23-24 are poorly documented.