Old KingdomComments
siblingsAbydos wareAncient Egyptian artworkAncient Egyptian funerary practiceAncient Egyptian mythosAncient Egyptian scribal educationAncient Egyptian technologyEgyptian king Amunhotep IIIEgyptian king DjoserEgyptian king ShishakEgyptian king SnefruEgyptian king TaharqaEgyptian terrainFirst Intermediate PeriodKadesh TreatyMiddle KingdomPtolemiesSecond Intermediate Period

Old Kingdom

Old Kingdom2700-2200 BC
2575-2125 BC
The Old Kingdom was a stable and prosperous period that followed Egypt's development during the Early Dynastic Period. Government power was held by the king, who was regarding as more divine than in any other period. The state religion focused on the sun-god Re, especially in the Fifth Dynasty when special solar temples were erected at Abu Gurab. From this date onwards every king bore the title Son of Re. Expeditions were sent outside Egypt's frontiers to obtain goods. Copper was mined in Sinai; diorite was brought in from quarries in Nubia; and trade was conducted with the Near East. Some tomb inscriptions of Sixth Dynasty nobles describe in detail the expeditions they commanded, some using force and others peace. Under the strain of reduced central authority and growing provincial power, the Old Kingdom collapsed at the end of the Sixth Dynasty following the long reign of King Pepi II.
Third Dynasty2650-2575 BC
Djoser2630-2611 BCDjoser built the Djoser Complex, his tomb at Saqqara. It was designed by the architect Imhotep and had the first pyramid as well as first use of columns.
Fourth Dynasty2575-2450 BC
SnefruSnefru built three pyramids -- the Meidum Pyramid (exterior casing collapsed) at Meidum; the Bent Pyramid (the incline was changed midway to avoid collapse) at Dashur; and the Red Pyramid (first true accomplished pyramid ever) at Dashur.
KhufuKhufu built the first and largest pyramid on the Giza plateau.
KhafreBuilt the second pyramid at Giza. Despite being smaller, it was built on a higher elevation and its causeway passed the sphinx and led to a valley temple at the feet of the sphinx. Looking at the sphinx, his pyramid is visible looming in the background.
MenkaureMenkaure built the third pyramid at Giza, which was on a smaller scale than Khafre's and Khufu's pyramids at Giza.
Fifth Dynasty2450-2325 BC
UserkafUserkaf built a relatively small pyramid at Saqqara that fell within the enclosure of the Djoser Complex. Subsequent Dynasty V rulers built their complexes at Abusir.
Unas (Wenis)Unas and the Dynasty VI kinds built their tombs at Saqqara. The burial chamber of Unas heralded the first appearance of Pyramid Texts.
Sixth Dynasty2325-2125 BC
Pepy I
Pepy II
CollapseRather than keep administrators of Egypt's nomes at the royal residence in Memphis, these officials were sent to reside in their respective districts. This streamlined the bureaucracy, but the local administrators of the nomes became nomarchs who grew too powerful for the central government to maintain hegemony. Thus, rulers at Memphis and throughout Egypt began to compete for power. The material culture in the provinces proliferated despite its shaky artistic quality.
Numerous Kings


Hamiton 2007, xxiii