Ancient Egyptian Kings in the Old Kingdom
Egyptian Old Kingdom Dynasties
Ancient Egyptian kings Dynasties — In 300 BC, Egyptian historian Manetho published Aegyptiaca, a chronicle of Egypt that listed thirty dynasties (ruling families). Although Manetho’s original book did not exist, we know about it via subsequent historians like Josephus, who lived around AD 70 and mentioned Manetho in his own writings. Despite the fact that Manetho’s history was founded on Egyptian mythology and native resources, Egyptologists still utilize it to confirm king lineage when archaeological evidence is uncertain. Get to know all about Ancient Egyptian Kings During Old Kingdom.
The ancient Egyptians named their kings in chronological order, beginning with Ra, the sun divine reign on Earth. Events were recorded by monarchs’ reigns, not by a calendar system that everyone agreed on, as we do now. As a result, specific dates for events in Egyptian history are difficult to come by.
Also, Manetho’s thirty dynasties have been split into “Kingdoms” by modern researchers. The term “Intermediate Periods” refers to periods when royalty was split or political and social circumstances were unsettled. The following is the generally accepted chronology, which starts 3100 years before the birth of Christ – BC – roughly 5114 years ago.
- The Archaic Period (414 years)
- The Old Kingdom (505 years),
- The First Intermediate Period (126 years),
- The Middle Kingdom (405 years),
- The Second Intermediate Period (100 years),
- The New Kingdom (481 years),
- The Third Intermediate Period (322 years),
- The Late Period (415 years),
- The Ptolemaic Period (302 years).
First Dynasty 3100 – 2686 BC – Ancient Egyptian Kings
Before the first dynasty, Egypt was actually two countries, and according to legend, Menes (also known as Narmer), the first human king, united them after the gods had ruled. However, by the end of the first dynasty, rival contenders to the throne appear to have emerged.
Second Dynasty 2890 – 2686 BC
There appear to have been opposing contenders to the throne at the end of the first dynasty. Hetepsekhemwy, the Horus name of the triumphant claimant, means “peaceful in honor of the two powers,” which could be a reference to the warring gods Horus and Seth, or a truce achieved between two opposing factions. However, the political competition was never entirely settled, in addition, the situation eventually deteriorated into violence.
Peribsen, the fourth pharaoh, chose the name Seth instead of Horus, while Khasekhemwy, the dynasty’s last king, took both identities. Horus/Seth is a Horus/Seth name that means “arising in regard to the two powers” and “the two lords are at ease in him.”. However, towards the conclusion of the dynasty, there appears to have been more chaos and possibly civil war.
- Khasekhem (Khasekhemwy)
Third dynasty 2686 2613 BC
This epoch is one of the most significant in human history. A prosperous epoch marked by the construction of the world’s first big monumental structure, the Pyramid. In addition, the artistic works in the tombs of the aristocracy demonstrate the time’s military wealth.
- Sanakht 2686-2667
- Djoser 2667-2648
- Sekhemkhet 2648-2640
- Huni 2637-2613
Fourth dynasty 2613 2494 BC – Ancient Egyptian Kings
Egypt was able to complete the daunting task of building the Giza pyramids due to a long era of calm and no invasion threats. As a result, their efforts were focused on elevating art to its utmost levels.
Also, Memphis produced the fourth dynasty, and Elephantine produced the fifth. The handover of power from one governing family to another appeared to have gone well.
- Sneferu 2613-2589
- Khufu 2589-2566
- Radjedef 2566-2558
- Khafre 2558-2532
- Menkaura 2532-2503
- Shepseskaf 2503-2498
Fifth Dynasty 2494 – 2345 BC
The first two monarchs of the fifth dynasty were the sons of Khentkaues, a part of the royal line of the fourth dynasty. Officialdom was institutionalized, in addition, for the first time, top officials emerged from outside the royal family.
The pyramids are shorter and less solidly built than those of the fourth dynasty. However, the sculptures from the funeral temples are in excellent condition.
Also, there are papyri from this time period that show well-developed accounting and record-keeping procedures. They show how commodities were redistributed between the royal house, temples, and bureaucrats.
- Userkaf 2494-2487
- Sahura 2487-2475
- Neferirkara Kakai 2475-2455
- Shepseskara Isi 2455-2448
- Raneferef 2448-2445
- Nyuserra 2445-2421
- Menkauhor 2421-2414
- Djedkara Isesi 2414-2375
- Unas 2375-2345
Sixth Dynasty 2345 – 2181 BC
Many writings from the sixth dynasty have been discovered. Also, there are records of Pepi I’s commercial excursions to the south among them. A letter written by Pepy II is one of the most intriguing.
Also, Pepi II’s pyramid in southern Saqqara is the Old Kingdom’s final great monument. The identities of the seventh dynasty’s kings are unknown, and the eighth dynasty is showing signs of political decline.
- Teti 2345-2323
- Userkara 2323-2321
- Pepy I 2321-2287
- Merenra 2287-2278
- Pepy II 2278-2184
- Nitiqret 2184-2181
7th and 8th dynasties – First Intermediate Period 2181- 2125 BC
The Old Kingdom state fell apart at this time. Egypt had both political and environmental disasters at the same time. Famine, civic unrest, and an increase in the death rate all occurred. This was not a favorable time for the Egyptians, with the weather in Northeast Africa becoming dryer, low Nile inundations, in addition, tombs fast filling.
Also, the years after Pepy II’s death are the most enigmatic. Only a woman named Nitokris, who seems to have acted as king, has left an imprint on history from this period. Although no contemporaneous records exist, Herodotus wrote about her:
” She massacred hundreds of Egyptians to avenge her brother, the king, who had been assassinated by his subjects, forcing her to succeed. She accomplished this by building a massive underground cavern. Then she invited everyone she knew who had anything to do with her brother’s death to a feast. She let the river in on them through a hidden conduit after the meal was underway. Then, she plunged herself into a room filled with ashes to escape her punishment after this terrifying vengeance.”
Petty warlords governed the provinces for a while. Then, from the city of Herakleopolis, a royal dynasty lead by one Khety rose to power and ruled the entire country for a time. However, this was short-lived, in addition, the kingdom was divided into two parts: the north, which was administered from Herakleopolis, and the south, which was ruled from Thebes.
Also, the Theban monarchy was solid, whereas at Herakleopolis, kings came and went quickly. Then, the struggle between the two lands was never settled until the 11th dynasty.
Dynasties: Seventh & Eighth 2181 – 2125 BC
We only know the names of two kings from this dynasty. Various provinces were ruled by roughly seventeen minor warlords.
- Qakara Iby
Dynasties: Ninth & Tenth 2160 – 2025 BC
A family from Herakleopolis, led by Khety, rose to power and governed the entire kingdom for a time. However, this did not persist, in addition, Egypt was once again divided into north and south. Herakleopolis dominated the north, while Thebes ruled the south.
Ancient Egyptian kings;
- Khety Meryibra
- Khety Wahkara