By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on
- Abydos ware
- Ancient Egyptian artwork
- Ancient Egyptian funerary practice
- Ancient Egyptian mythos
- Ancient Egyptian scribal education
- Ancient Egyptian technology
- Egyptian king Amunhotep III
- Egyptian king Djoser
- Egyptian king Shishak
- Egyptian king Snefru
- Egyptian king Taharqa
- Egyptian terrain
- First Intermediate Period
- Kadesh Treaty
- Middle Kingdom
- Old Kingdom
- Second Intermediate Period
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.
Djoser 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.
Snefru 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.
Khufu built the first and largest pyramid on the Giza plateau.
Built 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.
Menkaure built the third pyramid at Giza, which was on a smaller scale than Khafre's and Khufu's pyramids at Giza.
Userkaf 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 and the Dynasty VI kinds built their tombs at Saqqara. The burial chamber of Unas heralded the first appearance of Pyramid Texts.
Rather 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.
Hamiton 2007, xxiii