Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River.

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This wall painting depicts King Tutankhamen with Egyptian gods Anubis and Nephthys. King Tut ruled from 1333- 1323 BCE

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How long did the reign of Ancient Egypt lasted? How was subdivided?

For almost 30 centuries—from its unification around 3100 B.C. to its conquest by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C.—Ancient Egypt was the preeminent civilization in the Mediterranean world. Egyptian culture had few equals in the beauty of its art, the accomplishment of its architecture or the richness of its religious traditions.

The history of ancient Egypt is subdivided according to the following periods:

  • PREDYNASTIC PERIOD (C. 5000-3100 B.C.)
  • MIDDLE KINGDOM: 12TH DYNASTY (C. 2055-1786 B.C.)
  • NEW KINGDOM (C. 1567-1085 B.C.)
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Egyptian social pyramid

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What is Silt? Why was important?

Silt particles are fine and powdery, smaller than individual grains of sand but larger than separate particles of clay. Silt provides a fertile growing medium, as it contains minerals intrinsic to the originating rock fragments and its structure enhances water retention and air circulation.

Ancient Egyptians were farmers and utilized the fine silt along the banks of the Nile River and in the Nile Delta to cultivate crops. Annual monsoons in mountainous Ethiopia to the south caused flooding downstream where the Nile courses through Egypt for about 600 miles. Egyptians relied on this annual cycle to replenish the fertile soil needed for growing their crops. Flooding deposited silt rich in minerals along the banks of the Nile and the delta north of what is now Cairo, where the river splits before reaching the Mediterranean Sea. Staple crops were emmer wheat and barley for beer and bread, and flax for making linen.

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Silt flood on Nyle river

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Which were the most influential Pharaohs of Egyptian history?

The most influential Pharaohs of Egyptian history were:

  • Ramses II:
    He is the third Egyptian pharaoh belongs to the 19th dynasty. He was also deemed as the most influential pharaoh of the Egyptian kingdom. He constructed many temples and beaten the Hittites. His queen, Nefertari, was beautiful. He died at the age of 92.


  • Akhenaten:
    He is the pharaoh belongs to the 18th dynasty, he was well-known in history for his religious ideas. Egyptians were polytheist, but when Akhenaten ruled Egypt, he preferred the worship of only one god that is Aten (the Sun God).


  • Tutankhamun:
    He is a pharaoh belongs to the 18th dynasty who became the ruler of Egypt at a young age. His time in power was short. King Tut is one of the leading figures in ancient Egypt.


  • Cleopatra VII:
    She belongs to the Ptolemaic Dynasty during the ancient Egypt. She spent her youth in a rivalry with her siblings to come into the throne; She made Egypt a country to be regarded one of the most influential and wealthiest civilizations.


  • Khufu:

He is commonly known as Cheops, he ruled Egypt in the 4th Dynasty. He was the second Pharaoh of the age and his reign lasted for 23 years.

Pharaoh Tutankhamun

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What are the pyramids?

The ancient Egyptians believed their Pharaohs were semi-divine, chosen by the gods to serve as intermediaries between the heavens and the earth. Their divine function was believed to continue after their earthly death, so providing proper care for the pharaoh’s spirit was of utmost important. The pharaoh’s body was mummified and interred along with significant possessions in burial chambers located inside the pyramids.
Early Egyptian kings were buried in mounds called mastabas. In approximately 2780 BC the first Egyptian pyramid was built as the burial chamber for King Djoser. Khufu is responsible for building the most famous of all the pyramids, the Great Pyramid at Giza.

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Gyza Pyramids

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What are the most important Egyptian inventions?

The most important Egyptian inventions were papyrus and hieroglyphics.

The Ancient Egyptians used picture words to write called hieroglyphics. It is a very old form of writing that they starting using as early as 3000 B.C. Hieroglyphics was a very complicated way of writing involving 1000s of symbols. Some of the symbols represented sounds, like our letters, and other’s represented entire words.

The Ancient Egyptians often wrote on tablets or walls, but they also wrote on a type of paper called papyrus. Papyrus paper was made from a tall reed like plant called Papyrus. The Egyptians would use strips of the inner stem of the plant to make the paper. They would make two layers of strips; one horizontal and the other vertical. Then they would cover it in a linen cloth and apply pressure with a mallet or stones. The strips would bind together over time making a single flat sheet to write on.

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One of the most important Papyrus: Tulli Papyrus

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Egyptian Religion

From the Pre-Dyanstic Period (c. 6000-c.3150 BCE) a belief in the gods defined the Egyptian culture. An early Egyptian creation myth tells of the god Atum who stood in the midst of swirling chaos before the beginning of time and spoke creation into existence. Atum was accompanied by the eternal force of heka (magic), personified in the god Heka and by other spiritual forces which would animate the world. Heka was the primal force which infused the universe and caused all things to operate as they did; it also allowed for the central value of the Egyptian culture: ma’at, harmony and balance.

Ma’at was also personified as a deity, the goddess of the ostrich feather, to whom every king promised his full abilities and devotion. The king was associated with the god Horus in life and Osiris in death based upon a myth which became the most popular in Egyptian history. Osiris and his sister-wife Isis were the original monarchs who governed the world and gave the people the gifts of civilization. Osiris’ brother, Set, grew jealous of him and murdered him but he was brought back to life by Isis who then bore his son Horus. Osiris was incomplete, however, and so descended to rule the underworld while Horus, once he had matured, avenged his father and defeated Set.

Horus, Pharaohs ans Anubis (Set’s son)

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