Age of ancient Egypt

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Three huge statues. On the left: Khafre the Crowned from the Old Kingdom, in the middle: the statue of Amenemhat II from the Middle Kingdom, on the right: the statue of Ramesses II from the New Kingdom.

the period of ancient Egypt It is the use of period to organize the 3,000-year history of ancient Egypt. The thirty-family system recorded by the Greek-speaking Egyptian priest Manetho in the third century BC is still in use today;[2] However, the system of “periods” and “kingdoms” used to group dynasties is of recent origin (19th-20th centuries AD). The modern system consists of three “Golden Ages” (the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms), interspersed with “Middle Periods” (often considered times of crisis or Dark Ages), and the Early and Late Periods.

The ancient, middle and modern kingdoms

In 1844-1857 The Egyptians Stelle in der WeltgeschichteChristian Charles Josias von Bunsen became the first Egyptologist to propose what became the modern tripartite division of the history of Egypt:

  • Old Reich (“Old Empire”) = Mina until the beginning of the Thirteenth Dynasty
  • Mettleris Reich (“Middle Empire”) = Hyksos up to the Seventeenth Dynasty
  • New Reich (“New Empire”) = from the Eighteenth Dynasty onwards

Bunsen, in the English translation of his 1844 work, explained how he came to deduce the Three Kingdoms:[4]

In 1834, I discovered in Eratosthenes’ list the key to recovering the first 12 dynasties of Manetho, and was thus able to determine the length of the ancient empire. After these two points have been settled, it is evident that the next step was to fill the chasm between the old and the new empires, which is commonly called the period of the Hyksos… I have been quite satisfied since my first restoration (in 1834) of the two empires. Three Egyptian empires, the middle of which embraces the time of the Hyksos, and that the Twelfth Dynasty of Manetho was the last complete family of the ancient empire, and that the throne of the Memphean Pharaohs, according to the connection that enabled me to restore it, was the transition between Manetho and Eratosthenes with the fourth king from the Thirteenth Dynasty to the shepherd kings .

Compared to the modern arrangement, the ancient Bunsen Empire included what is known today as the Middle Kingdom, while the Middle Bunsen Empire is known today as the Second Intermediate Period.


Carl Richard Lepsius, a student of Bunsen, primarily used the binary system in his book 1849-1858 Denkmäler from Egypt and Ethiopia:

  • Old Reich = strains 1-16
  • New Reich = Dynasties 17-31

other scholars

Auguste Mariette 1867 A look at the history of ancient Egypt:

  • Old Kingdom = Dynasties 1-10
  • Middle Kingdom = Dynasties 11-17
  • New Kingdom = Dynasties 18-30

Alfred Wiedman Egyptian army:

  • Prehistory = Dynasties 1-11
  • Middle Kingdom = Dynasties 12-19
  • New Kingdom = Dynasties 20-31

Henri Gauthier 1907-1917 The book Le Livre des Rois d’Egypte:

  • ancient empire (“Old Empire”) = Dynasties 1-10
  • Moen Empire (“Middle Empire”) = Dynasties 11-17
  • New Empire (“New Empire”) = Dynasties 17-25
  • Saito Bersani era (“Saito-Persian period”) = Dynasties 26-31
  • The Greek Macedonian era (“Macedonian-Greek period”) = 32nd (Macedonian) and 33rd (Ptolemaic) dynasties

intermediate periods

The first intermediate period

Egyptology in the nineteenth century did not use the concept of “intermediate periods”. They are included as part of previous periods as “interval or transitional times”.

In 1926, after World War I, Georg Steindorf Die Blutezeit des Pharaonenreiches and Henry Frankfurt Egypt and Syria in the First Intermediate Period Designated dynasties 6 through 12 for the terms of the First Intermediate Period. The terminology had become well established by the 1940s.

The second intermediate period

In 1942, during World War II, a German Egyptologist Hans Stock‘s 13. Studien zur Geschichte und Archaeologie der 17. The ruling family Promote the use of the term “Second Intermediate Period”.

The third intermediate period

published The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (1100-650 BC) He coined the term “Third Intermediate Period”.

modern period

Late Period of ancient Egypt Third Intermediate Period of Egypt New Kingdom of Egypt Second Intermediate Period of Egypt Middle Kingdom of Egypt First Intermediate Period of Egypt Old Kingdom of Egypt Early Dynastic Period (Egypt)

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