Predynastic, Old, and Middle Kingdom Dynasties of Ancient Egypt | Pharaohs of the New Kingdom and the Dynasties Beyond | Dynasties Introduction
On this ancient Egyptian Timeline you'll find an introduction and explanation of Egyptian kingdoms and dynasties, and the dates and names of the basic periods of ancient Egyptian history.
Egypt begins with Pharaoh Narmer who, at the end of the 4th millennium, in about 3100 B.C., unified Egypt. At the time, Egypt meant the area from the 1st cataract, near Aswan, to the Nile delta. [See Map.] In some periods it extended further south.
Introduction to the Timeline of Egyptian PharaohsSome 2700 years later, in the 3rd century B.C., an Egyptian priest named Manetho listed 30 royal dynastic houses of ancient Egypt. Manetho's work has not survived, but an epitome (summary) of it has. The epitome was taken from versions of Manetho's chronology that were copied in the 3rd-8th centuries A.D. Unfortunately, there are gaps in the chronology and the lengths of many of the pharaohs' reigns are unknown, but it's not entirely hopeless. For the pharaohs of the 2nd millennium B.C. forward, other techniques and artifacts help date the pharaohs. The techniques are more limited for the earlier pharaohs, so their dates are more speculative.
Dates are approximate and the references below use different approximate dates.
- "Radiocarbon Chronology of Archaic Egypt," by Fekri A. Hassan. Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 39, No. 3. (Jul., 1980), pp. 203-207.
- "The Chronology of Ancient Egypt," by K.A. Kitchen. Archaeology, Vol. 23, No. 2. (Oct., 1991), pp. 201-208.
- [URL= www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/egyptians/timeline.shtml] BBC History Online.
- Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of Ancient Egypt, by Geraldine Pinch; 2004: Oxford University Press
Major Divisions of Ancient Egyptian History
Predynastic Period c. 5500-3200
Protodynastic Period 3200-3100
Early Dynastic (Dynasties 1 and 2)
Step pyramid built at Saqqara
Old Kingdom 2686-2181 (3rd-6th Dynasties)
First Intermediate Period (7th-11th Dynasties)
Memphis rules Egypt in the north and Thebes in the south
Middle Kingdom (11th-13th Dynasties)
Egypt reunited and conquers Lower Nubia.
Second Intermediate Period (14th-17th Dynasties)
New Kingdom (18th-20th Dynasties)
Empire in the Near East, Hatshepsut, Akhenaten, Tutankhamen and Ramessid Period
Third Intermediate Period (21st-24th Dynasties)
Nubians conquer Egypt
Late Period (25th-30th Dynasties plus 3 Persian kings)
Assyrians, Persians conquer Egypt
Greco-Roman Period 332 B.C.-A.D.395
Greeks conquer Egypt, Rosetta Stone, Cleopatra
30 B.C.- A.D. 395