Pharaohs of the 1st dynasty include: Hor-Aha, Djer, Djet, Den, Anedjib and Semerkhet. This dynasty marks the first time that Upper and Lower Egypt were unified under one ruler. Hor-Aha (sometimes just called Aha) may have been the son of King Menes (aka Narmer), the king credited with united Upper and Lower Egypt, while others believe that Hor-Aha was Menes. During his reign, Hor-Aha declared Memphis to be the capital of Egypt, an idea which stuck for thousands of years.
This Dynasty is part of the Old Kingdom. Little is known about this time, however, there is some indication that during the reign of Sekhemib there were conflicts between Upper and Lower Egypt. Sekhemib dropped his Horus name and was then referred to as Seth-Peribsen, showing his allegiance with the god Set.
Pharaohs of the 2nd Dynasty
Pharaohs of the this dynasty include: Sanakhte, Djoser, Sekhemkhet, Khaba and Huni. Djoser (aka Netjerikhet) was the second Pharaoh of the 3rd dynasty. His step pyramid at Saqqara was the first stone building ever erected. It was designed by his vizier Imhotep. Djoser's successor, Sekhemkhet, began constructing a pyramid at Saqqara, but it was never finished. Khaba built the Layer Pyramid at Zawiyet el-Aryan. Huni built a pyramid at Meydum. It was in his court that the famous statues of Nofret and Rahotep were found.
This period is also referred to as the Old Kingdom and the Pyramid Age. The first Pharaoh of this dynasty was Sneferu. He was responsible for building the Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid, both at Dahshur. However, the greatest accomplishment of this dynasty was the construction of the pyramid complex at Giza. The Pharaohs Khufu, Khafre and Menkaura oversaw this elaborate task
Menkaura (Mycerinus) was the builder of the 3rd pyramid at Giza. He ruled 2532-2504 BCE. Historians report that he was a fair and kind man. Earlier pharaohs had closed the temples to the common people. Menkaura felt that the beauty and power of the temples should be enjoyed by all, not just the nobility. As a result, he promptly reopened them to the public. This made him well loved by the common people.
His parents were Khafra and Khamerenebty I. He had three queens, all of which he built small pyramids for. His chief queen was Khamerenebty II. He is known to have had at least three children. His oldest son, Khuenre, died before Menkaura left the throne. Thus his second son, Shepseskaf, became Pharaoh. He also had a daughter named Khentkawes.
There has been much debate over why Menkaura's pyramid is so much smaller than Khafra's and Khufu's. Some believe that the economy was declining and a small pyramid was all that could be afforded. While others disagree, saying there is no proof of this. Some assert that it was intentionally small. It was, along with other pyramids built during this time, meant to reflect the shape of the constellation of Orion. The three pyramids at Giza are said to be the earthly belt of Orion. This not only explains the size of Menkaura's pyramid, but also the odd alignment.
Pharaohs of this dynasty include: Userkaf, Sahure, Shepseskare, Niuserre and Unas. During the 5th dynasty it is said that the pharaohs became less powerful than earlier pharaohs and the cult of Ra gained much strength. This is shown by the fact that the dynasty's first pharaoh, Userkaf, adopted a new form of name: Son of the sun. Every pharaoh of Egypt afterwards also held this name. Another sign of Ra's increasing popularity was the construction of solar temples at every pyramid complex of this dynasty. They were built as shrines for Ra. The pyramid of Unas at Saqqara is probably the most significant monument of the 5th dynasty. The reason being is that it contained what is now referred to as The Pyramid Texts. These texts cover the walls of Unas' pyramid with spells, formulae and much information about the Egyptian religion.
The 11th Dynasty
It is during the 11th Dynasty that the First Intermediate Period ends and The Middle Kingdom begins. Egypt is once again reunified under the reign of Mentuhotep I around the year 2040, this marks the beginning of The Middle Kingdom.
The territory of the first 3 Pharaohs of this dynasty does not appear to exceed far beyond the city of Thebes.
The 12th dynasty was a time of reunification for Egypt. Her borders were expanded and trade was established (or re-established) with neighboring countries. This dynasty also saw the beginning of co-regency. The Co-Regent was
selected by Pharaoh, usually late in his reign, and was typically his son.
Two of the greatest Egyptian literary works were written during this time: "The Instructions of Amenemhet" and "The Story of Sinuhe". The former was written by Amenemhet I to his successor son Senusret I. The deceased Pharaoh told his son in a dream that he was murdered by a guard. He also warned Senusret not to become to close to anybody. Being Pharaoh was indeed a lonely job.
The Middle Class came of age. They realized that Pharaoh was not a god and that they were entitled to the same rights in the afterlife. As a result, burial customs changed to reflect this. Osiris had been a god of the deceased Pharaoh, now he was the god of all the deceased. Wealth had become more distributed and the middle class could afford more.
Pharaohs of the 12th Dynasty
During this period Egypt is once again divided. The eastern Delta region is ruled by foreigners called 'Hyksos'. Nobody
is certain who these people were or where they came from. However, many Egyptologists believe they were most likely
Asian in orgin. They appear to have denounced the worship of Ra, but thought highly of Set and other gods with a warrior type of nature. The horse and chariot were brought to Egypt by the Hyksos. Poor inundations occurred during this period. This lead to famine and economic decline. Very few monuments and works of art have been found from this time. Probably the most famous piece is a wooden Ka statue of King Hor, the 14th king of the 13th dynasty. It was found at Dahshur
The 18th Dynasty
This Dynasty, along with Dynasties XIX and XX, is referred to as the New Kingdom. This was a time of great prosperity for Egypt, as is demonstrated by the lavish works of art and architecture of this period. This was also a time of great change. Both Akhenaten and Hatshepsut challenged the accepted norms of the time. For more information about them, see their pages linked below.
Pharaohs of the 18th Dynasty
the previous dynasties continues, however, with the end of this dynasty we see a steady decline in the Egyptian civilization. Never again would She know triumphs and joys of earlier eras. During the 20th Dynasty, 9 Pharaohs took the name Ramses. It should be noted that none of them were related to Ramses II of the 18th Dynasty. Ramses III
is often called 'the last great pharaoh of Egypt'. It is after his reign that fragmentation and trouble occurs. The priest of Amen take control of Upper Egypt.
Pharaohs of the 20th Dynasty
Ramses III 1182-1151
Ramses IV 1151-1145
Ramses V 1145-1141
Ramses VI 1141-1133
Ramses VII 1133-1126
Ramses VIII 1133-1126
Ramses IX 1126-1108
Ramses X 1108-1098
Ramses XI 1098-1070
The Late and Graeco-Roman Periods
Dynasties XXVI - XXXI
The 26th dynasty is also referred to as the Saite period.
This dynasty was founded by invading Assyrians. The first
pharaoh was Psammetichus I (Psamtik I). Persia conquered
Egypt in 525 BCE during the reign of Psammetichus III.
This conquest began the 27th dynasty (First Persian Period)
under the pharaoh Cambyses II. Other kings of this period
include: Darius I, Xerxes, and Artaxerxes.
The 28th dynasty lasts only 5 years and had one known pharaoh,
Nepherites I is the founder of the 29th dynasty. He moves the
capital of Egypt from Sais to Mendes. Achoris was the second
and last pharaoh of this dynasty.
The 30th dynasty began with the reign of Nakhtnebef (Nectanebo)
of Sebennytos. He is said to have ruled for 18 years. His son
Teos was the next pharaoh, followed by Nakhtnebef II, the last
military campaigns and victorious attacks on Syria, Libya and Nubia.
He married a number of foreign princesses, apparently for diplomatic
reasons. His chief queen was Hatshepsut-Merytre. She was the
mother of his successor Amenhotep II.
He was originally buried in the Valley of the Kings (KV 34), however
during the 22nd dynasty his mummy was moved to Deir el-Bahari.
Seti I (aka Sethos I) was the second pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty. He ruled 1291 - 1278 BCE. He was the son of Ramses I and Sitre. His wife was Tuya and he had 4 children. His oldest son died young and his name is unknown. He had two daughters, Tia and Henutmire. His other son was the legendary Ramses II.
Seti I attempted to popularize the cult of Set. The name Seti means He of the god Set. He tried to 'repair the religious damage' made by Ahkenaten in the previous dynasty by bringing back the older gods. As a result, Seti I erected a temple to Osiris and a Hypostyle Hall in the Temple of Amen at Karnak.
Seti I was buried in Tomb KV 17, Valley of the Kings, Thebes.
(aka Ramesses II, Ramses the Great)
Third King of the 19th Dynasty. One of Egypt's most prolific rulers; He ruled for 67 years, lived to be over 90 years old, had many wives and somewhere between 100 and 200 children. He was the son of Seti I and Tuyu. He was a great builder and a famed warrior. He built many temples and monuments in Karnak, Luxor and Nubia. His
Chief queen was Nefertari. He had a beautiful temple constructed for her in Nubia. Ramses, like his father Seti I, had red hair and therefore was associated with the god Set. Set had been scorned by most Egyptians throughout their history. However, Ramses II was quite proud to be a man of Set and made a point to uplift his name. War and expanding borders were a big part of Ramses' rule and Set was the perfect god to have on his side. The Battle of Qadesh was Ramses' most famous fight. It began during the 5th year of his reign. Ramses and four army divisions, the Amun, Ra, Ptah and Set units, moved north towards their enemy. While on the way, they captured two men who claimed to be on the Pharaoh's side. They told the Egyptians that the Hittite forces were still far north, but they were lying. Shortly after, two Hittites were captured and under duress confessed that their forces were actually much closer and planning a surprise attack. When the enemy appeared, Ramses boarded his chariot and fought the Hittites. According to some accounts, the two divisions that were there with Ramses fled, leaving Pharaoh to fight alone. War continued between these two nations for another 15 years until a peace treaty was signed. The treaty was written by the Hittite king, Hattusilis III, in the Akkadian language on a silver tablet. The promise of peace was further encouraged when Ramses married Hattusilis' daughter Manefrure.