7000-3000 BCE: Gradual
desertification of the interior, leading
to migrations to the Nile zone.
Around 6000: Neolithic culture at
the Nabta Playa in the south of Egypt
with the oldest calendar in the world.
Around 5000: Raising of crops is
Around 4000: Naqada 1 period with
larger settlements and more advanced
Around 3300: Extensive irrigation
systems are developed.
3100: North and south Egypt is
united under King Menes, Narmer or
Early Dynastic / Archaic Period
3150-2686 BCE. 0- 2nd Dynasty.
This period of some 400 years was the
formative period for the Egyptian
civilization. There were great advances
in the fields of writing, painting and
architecture. Death cult was developed
and sophisticated, where royals used
mastabas and surrounding complexes for
The unification of Egypt was not
completed through the period, and
regional tensions persisted. It was
first with King Khasekhemwy that the
unification was completed and identities
of the two Egypts reconciled.
2686- 2181 BCE. 3rd- 6th Dynasty.
The Old Kingdom's first king was Zoser,
also the king who started the pyramid
era with his step mastaba, or step
pyramid, at Saqqara. This construction
is an indicator of a well-functioning
state with large tax revenues, and of
great advances in technology and culture
The Old Kingdom reached its heigh with
the 4th Dynasty, which consisted of the
greatest pyramid builders, Snefru, Khufu
With the 6th Dynasty, Egypt was still
able to make great advances into foreign
lands, in search of new wealths. But on
the home ground, increasing regional
divisions caused great damage to the
central power, paving for the end of the
rich and united Egypt.
First Intermediate Period
2181- 2055 BCE. 7th- 11th Dynasty.
The First Intermediate Period is a
period of regional divisions, of petty
dynasties, rivalry and chaos. It would
last for about 125 years, and there have
been counted as many as 70 rulers
divided between 5 dynasties.
In addition to the loss of a central
power that could secure trade and peace,
there were also problems with famine due
to less water carried by the Nile.
The north was ruled by kings in
Herakleopolis, while the south by kings
of Edfu and Thebes. The intermediate
period comes to an end with the Theban
king Mentuhotep 2 uniting north and
south of Egypt.
2055- 1650 BCE. 11th- 14th Dynasty.
Mentuhotep 2's Egypt was once again able
to make advances into foreign lands,
like Libya, Nubia, Sinai and Punt
(Somalia). The capital is first
relocated to Memphis, later to Fayoum
The 12th Dynasty represented the
cultural height of this period, being
the last pyramid builders, although the
techniques implemented was inferior to
earlier times. Yet, the 12th Dynasty was
a troubled time, with water levels of
the Nile so high that it caused famine,
and even plagues.
Second Intermediate Period
1650- 1550 BCE. 15th- 17th Dynasty.
The Second Intermediate Period, is just
like the the first one where the unity
of Egypt is lost. The dynasties lost
their hold on Nubia and the Nile Delta.
Small states took hold of Nubia, while
the Hyksos established themselves in the
Nile Delta, ruling from Avaris, and
would at times represent the strongest
force in Egypt.
The Hyksos was a foreign people, the
indigenous Egyptians had Thebes as their
capital. Finally, the Hyksos were
defeated, and a new era of a united
Egypt could start.
1550-1069 BCE. 18th- 20th Dynasty.
The New Kingdom represents one of the
major contributors to the legacy of
Ancient Egypt — together with the
pyramid builders of the Old Kingdom. The
rulers of the New Kingdom stayed on in
Thebes, and involved themselves in
building great temples and rock-hewn
The Egyptians made great advances into
foreign lands, of which Nubia was the
most important. This was also a period
of much immigration to Egypt.
In the second half of the 14th century,
the Egyptians developed the first
monotheistic religion of the world, the
cult of Aten. This would not last long,
The 20th Dynasty was one of many
invasions from foreign powers, and lost
its foreign lands. The weakness of King
Ramses 11 position made him divide the
effective control over Egypt between the
high priest of Amon (south) and his
vizier (north). From the two, two new
dynasties grew forth, and the unity of
Egypt had been lost again.
Late Dynastic Period
1069-664 BCE. 21st- 25th Dynasty.
The Late Dynastic Period is often called
Third Intermediate Period. Northern
Egypt was governed from Tanis, while the
south was governed from Thebes. The
relations between the two halves were
peaceful and harmonious. With the 22nd
Dynasty of Libyan rulers who governed
the north from Bubastis, a period of
foreign rulers started. The 24th Dynasty
were Ethiopians, while the 25th Dynasty
664- 332 BCE. 26th- 31st Dynasty.
The Late Period starts with the Assyrian
conquest of Thebes in 664, and Egypt
became an Assyrian province. A new
capital was established in Saïs in the
north. This would be the last great
period referred to as Pharonic. Although
a province subject to a foreign state,
the Late Period was still marked by
cultural and technological advances. The
canal built between the Nile and the Red
Sea is an indicator of this.
A second period starts with the Persian
invasion in 525. A period of 150 years
of Persian influence and weak rulers
start. This would briefly end with the
Kings known as Nectanebo 1 and 2 in the
middle of the 4th century, before
Persian control was restored.
332- 30 BCE.
The Ptolemaic Period starts with the
fall of the Persian Empire to Alexander
the Great in 332. Before his death 9
years later, Alexander had divided his
empire between his Macedonian generals.
Ptolemy became the ruler of Egypt, and
this would mean that Egypt regained its
Some Greek elements were introduced,
like the Greek language. Yet, much of
Ancient Egyptian culture was kept alive.
The temples at Edfu and Kom Ombo belong
to this period.
30 BCE- 323 CE.
The Roman Period starts with the
military defeat to Rome at the Battle of
Actium. Egypt now became a Roman
province, but Egyptian culture would
survive. The temples at Dendera and Esna
belong to this period.
In the 1st century CE, Christianity was
introduced to Egypt, and would come to
replace Ancient Egyptian religion,
although the latter would have permament
influence on Christianity. The shift to
Byzantine Period was hardly felt in
Egypt, as it really was only a question
of the Roman leaders moving their
The Byzantine Period was dominated by
Christianity and represent the final end
of both Ancient Egyptian religion and
culture. New architectural styles
replaced the old ones. The Byzantine
Period ends with the with the fall of
Alexandria in 642 to the Muslim Arabs.
The conquest of Egypt had started in
636, when Babylon (south of Cairo) was