Key Points

The Old Kingdom is the name typically given to the period when Egypt obtained in complexity and also achievement, covering from the third Dynasty v the Sixth dynasty (2686-2181 BCE).The royal resources of Egypt during the Old Kingdom was situated at Memphis, whereby the first notable king that the Old Kingdom, Djoser, created his court.In the third Dynasty, previously independent old Egyptian states ended up being known as Nomes, which were ruled solely by the pharaoh. The former rulers of these says were subsequently forced to i think the role of governors, or otherwise work in tax collection.Egyptians during this empire worshipped their pharaoh as a god, and also believed the he ensured the stability of the cycles that were responsible for the annual flooding the the Nile. This flooding was necessary for their crops.The Fourth dynasty saw many large-scale building and construction projects under pharaohs Sneferu, Khufu, and Khufu’s boy Djedefra and also Khafra, consisting of the famous pyramid and also Sphinx at Giza.The Fifth dynasty saw alters in religious beliefs, including the climb of the cult that the sun god Ra, and also the divine being Osiris.

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Terms

Ra

The sun god, or the supreme Egyptian deity, worshipped as the creator of all life, and usually shown with a falcon’s head bearing a solar disc.

Osiris

The Egyptian god the the underworld, and also husband and also brother the Isis.

Nomes

Subnational, administrative department of old Egypt.

nomarchs

Semi-feudal rulers of ancient Egyptian provinces.

Old Kingdom

Encompassing the 3rd to Eighth Dynasties, the name typically given to the duration in the 3rd millennium BCE, once Egypt attained the first consistent peak of complexity and also achievement.

Djoser

An ancient Egyptian pharaoh that the 3rd Dynasty, and also the founder that the Old Kingdom.

necropolis

A cemetery, specifically a big one belong to an ancient city.

Sneferu

A king of the fourth Dynasty, who provided the best mass that stones in structure pyramids.


The Old Kingdom is the name generally given come the duration from the third Dynasty with the Sixth dynasty (2686-2181 BCE), when Egypt obtained in complexity and achievement. The Old Kingdom is the first of 3 so-called “Kingdom” durations that mark the high point out of human being in the Nile Valley. During this time, a new type of pyramid (the step) was created, as well as many other massive structure projects, consisting of the Sphinx. Additionally, trade became an ext widespread, brand-new religious concepts were born, and the strong central government to be subtly weakened and finally collapsed.

The king (not yet dubbed Pharaoh) of Egypt during this duration resided in the new royal capital, Memphis. That was thought about a living god, and also was thought to certain the annual flooding the the Nile. This flooding was necessary for crop growth. The Old Kingdom is perhaps finest known because that a huge number the pyramids, i m sorry were constructed as royal interment places. Thus, the period of the Old Kingdom is often referred to as “The period of the Pyramids.”

Egypt’s Old Kingdom was additionally a dynamic period in the advance of Egyptian art. Sculptors produced early portraits, the an initial life-size statues, and also perfected the art of carving intricate relief decoration. These had two principal functions: to ensure an ordered existence, and also to defeat fatality by maintaining life in the following world.

The Beginning: third Dynasty (c. 2650-2613 BCE)

The an initial notable king the the Old Kingdom was Djoser (reigned native 2691-2625 BCE) the the third Dynasty, that ordered the building of the step pyramid in Memphis’ necropolis, Saqqara. It was in this era that formerly independent ancient Egyptian states became known as nomes, and also were ruled solely by the king. The previous rulers of these says were required to assume the function of governors or tax collectors.

Golden Age: Fourth dynasty (2613-2494 BCE)

The Old Kingdom and its royal power got to a zenith under the fourth Dynasty, which began with Sneferu (2613-2589 BCE). Making use of a greater mass that stones than any kind of other king, he constructed three pyramids: Meidum, the bent Pyramid, and the Red Pyramid. He also sent his military right into Sinai, Nubia and Libya, and also began to trade with Lebanon because that cedar.

Sneferu was thrived by his (in)famous son, Khufu (2589-2566 BCE), who built the good Pyramid the Giza. After Khufu’s death, among his sons built the 2nd pyramid, and also the Sphinx in Giza. Creating these huge projects compelled a centralized government with solid powers, sophistication and prosperity. Contractors of the pyramids were not slaves however peasants, working in the farming off-season, in addition to specialists like stone cutters, mathematicians, and also priests. Each family needed to administer a worker because that these projects, although the wealthy might have a substitute.


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The Pyramid of Khufu in ~ Giza. The good Pyramid of Giza was constructed c. 2560 BCE, by Khufu during the 4th Dynasty. That was developed as a dig for Khufu and also constructed over a 20-year period. Modern-day estimates place building and construction efforts to call for an typical workforce the 14,567 people and also a optimal workforce of 40,000.


Great Sphinx of Giza and also the pyramid that Khafre. The Sphinx is a limestone statue of a reclining mythical creature with a lion’s body and a human being head the stands on the Giza Plateau top top the west bank of the Nile in Giza, Egypt. The confront is generally thought to represent the face of King Khafra.


The later on kings of the Fourth dynasty were king Menkaura (2532-2504 BCE), who built the the smallest pyramid in Giza, Shepseskaf (2504-2498 BCE), and perhaps Djedefptah (2498-2496 BCE). During this period, there were military expeditions into Canaan and also Nubia, spreading Egyptian influence along the Nile right into modern-day Sudan.

Religious Changes: Fifth empire (2494-2345 BCE)

The fifth Dynasty began with Userkaf (2494-2487 BCE), and with several religious changes. The cult the the sun god Ra, and also temples built for him, started to prosper in importance throughout the fifth Dynasty. This lessened initiatives to build pyramids. Funerary prayers on imperial tombs (called Pyramid Texts) appeared, and the cult the the divine being Osiris ascended in importance.

Egyptians began to develop ships come trade throughout maritime routes. Goods contained ebony, incense, gold, and copper. Lock traded through Lebanon for cedar, and also perhaps with modern-day Somalia for various other goods. Ships were held together through tightly bound ropes.

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Decline and also Collapse: The Sixth dynasty (2345-2181 BCE)

The power of the king and main government decreased during this period, while that of nomarchs (regional governors) increased. This nomarchs to be not part of the royal family. They passed down the title through their lineage, thus creating local empires that were no under the manage of the king. Inner disorder result during and also after the long reign that Pepi II (2278-2184 BCE), due to sequence struggles, and eventually caused civil war. The last blow was a major drought between 2200-2150 BCE, i beg your pardon prevented Nile flooding. Famine, conflict, and also collapse beset the Old Kingdom because that decades.