Ancient egypt year 3: CKHG Grade K: Unit 3—Ancient Egypt

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ancient Egypt — Kids | Britannica Kids

The remains from ancient Egypt, including clothing, leather, wood, and food, provide an excellent idea of how the ancient Egyptians lived. Much information has also come from tombs, including the paintings of scenes of everyday life on the walls of the tombs. Because the Egyptians thought that life continued after death, everything they might need in the next world was placed in their tombs. One queen, Herneith, was buried with her dog. In a nobleman’s tomb at Saqqarah researchers found a whole meal, consisting of barley porridge, quail, kidneys, pigeon stew, fish, bread, and small circular cakes. In the early tombs there were models of anything the dead might require, such as houses, granaries, boats, cattle, and servants making bread and beer. Later these scenes were painted on the tomb walls to serve the same purpose. The tombs of the wealthy contained jewelery and other precious objects.

The Egyptians preserved the dead as mummies by removing the internal organs and preserving the body with salt or other chemicals. In addition to those of people, thousands of mummies of sacred animals such as cats, ibises, and crocodiles have been found. Mummies of important people were placed in elaborate coffins called sarcophagi, often bearing a portrait of the deceased. The coffin of Tutankhamen was made of solid gold.


In order to preserve the dead, the Egyptians needed to know a great deal about the human body. Their study of the body produced skillful doctors. Some of the earliest medical and surgical records have been found in Egypt. One of the earliest is the Ebers Papyrus, written about 1550 bce, which lists 700 cures for common sicknesses and problems.


The creation of a written language was one of the Egyptians’ finest achievements. The first Egyptian writing was in a picture form called hieroglyphics. The pictures, which stood for sounds of words, were cut or painted on the walls of tombs and temples, and were delicately colored in red, yellow, green, black, and blue. Hieroglyphics were in use by 3100 bce.

They remained in use even after a form of cursive writing developed in about 2900 bce. It was written in ink with a pen made of reeds. This script was mainly written on papyrus, a form of paper made from papyrus plants. Another script began to appear in about 700 bce. The new form, called demotic, was used for ordinary writing. The earlier form, called hieratic, was then used mostly for sacred writings.

The key to understanding Egyptian writing was the Rosetta Stone, a stone tablet dating from about 200 bce that was found in Egypt in 1799. The stone shows words in Greek with translations in hieroglyphics and demotic script. By comparing the Egyptian text with the Greek text, a scholar who knew Greek was able to uncover the meaning of the hieroglyphics and the demotic words.

Everyday Life

Villages and towns were situated near the Nile River because it was the chief highway as well as the only source of water. The houses were made of mud brick. Windows were small, high openings covered with loosely woven matting to keep out the heat and glare of the sun. The walls were decorated with bright frescoes. Straw matting and rugs covered the floors.

Wall paintings are an especially rich source of information about how the common people lived with their children, hunted and farmed, raised animals, and performed daily tasks. The clothing, jewelery, and hair styles of all classes of people can be clearly seen. Egyptians were fond of perfumes and cosmetics. Both men and women wore a kind of green eyeshadow and outlined their eyes with a black substance called kohl. Women also applied color to their lips and nails. Vessels to hold cosmetics and the tools needed to grind them were included in tombs for use in the afterlife.

Clothing was simple because of the hot climate of Egypt. Small children, servants, and laborers often wore little clothing. White linen was the most commonly used fabric, with wool for cloaks when warmth was needed. In early garments the cloth was simply draped and tied around the body or held in place with pins and belts. Men typically wore a skirt of linen and sometimes a vest, while women wore a straight, simple ankle-length dress with shoulder straps. Necklaces and wide collars decorated with gems were often worn. Clothing became more elaborate over time. Many people wore wigs. Men often wore beards, and a false beard made of metal was worn by the ruler—even a female ruler.


The ancient Egyptians worshiped many gods. The main god of the sun was Re (or Ra). Each city had its own special gods. When the city of Thebes grew in importance, its special god Amon did also. Eventually, the Egyptians combined Amon with Re. Amon-Re was considered the king of the gods.

Because the ancient Egyptians believed in life after death, Osiris, one of the gods of the dead, was also important. His wife Isis and his son Horus were worshiped alongside Osiris.


The ancient Egyptians were a very practical people. They learned the principles of engineering that enabled them to build vast structures such as the pyramids. They did not have pulleys to aid in lifting heavy weights, but they were able to move large stone blocks by means of sledges, rollers, and ramps. The Egyptians observed the stars and worked out calendars based on the phases of the Moon and on the solar year (see astronomy). They also developed a complicated system of irrigation, which was based on the flooding times of the Nile.

Ancient Egypt Worksheets KS2 Year 3 & Year 4

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SKU h44CS40160

Key Stage 2Early CivilisationsHistoryYear 3Year 4

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This Ancient Egypt KS2 planning pack contains seven ready-to-teach lessons for Year 3 and Year 4 to help your class understand and become familiar with the ancient Egyptian civilisation. From mummification to the River Nile, your class will find out all about life in ancient Egypt and what we can learn from the evidence the ancient Egyptians left behind.

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Each of the seven lessons in this Ancient Egypt KS2 pack has a detailed lesson plan with differentiated activity ideas, an engaging slideshow for the teaching input, and a range of printable resources, including worksheets, picture cards, challenges and much more! All you need to do is click the button to download and you’re ready to go!

This scheme of work is also part of a Topic Bundle. Perfect if you are teaching ‘Egypt’ as a cross-curricular topic.


The first lesson in this scheme of work gives your class the chance to reflect on what they already know about ancient Egypt, before going on to explore when the ancient Egyptian civilisation took place and where in the world Egypt is. They will think briefly about what Egypt is like as a country to give them some context into the civilisation.

During their independent learning, they can either expand on what they discussed during the teaching input, or sort a range of picture cards into those that depict ancient Egypt and those that don’t, considering chronology and historical clues.


What’s included:

  • Lesson plan
  • Slides
  • Differentiated worksheets
  • Picture cards

This lesson starts by looking at a map of ancient Egypt and encouraging your class to think about the position of settlements around the River Nile. They will go on to consider some of the uses for the Nile during the ancient Egyptian civilisation, exploring how people used the Nile for farming, fishing, trading, funerals and everyday life. They will also learn the difference between the red land and the black land, and be introduced to some ancient Egyptian burial methods!



What’s included:

  • Lesson plan
  • Slides
  • Activity ideas
  • Differentiated worksheets
  • Differentiated fact files
  • Nile board game

This Tutankhamen and Howard Carter KS2 History lesson takes your class on a quest to discover ancient Egyptian tombs in the Valley of the Kings! The provided slideshow presentation take them through Howard Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb and goes on to explore what Howard Carter found within the tomb itself, including the sarcophagus and death mask of King Tut himself.

Your class can then retell the story of this discovery for themselves in the form of a storyboard or alternatively take a closer look at some of the artefacts within the tomb.


What’s included:

  • Lesson plan
  • Slides
  • Activity ideas
  • Differentiated worksheets
  • Picture cards

Download this fun Hieroglyphics KS2 lesson for Year 3 or Year 4 to teach your class all about ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics!

The lesson starts by looking at some images of ancient Egyptian artefacts and asking children to explain what we can learn about ancient Egypt from studying each object. The lesson then goes on to look at the Rosetta Stone, explaining the crucial importance of this discovery for the translation of hieroglyphics. Your class can then translate and write some hieroglyphics for themselves! As an alternative activity, children can consider what they would leave behind for future historians study.


What’s included:

  • Lesson plan
  • Slides
  • Activity ideas
  • Differentiated worksheets
  • Egyptian alphabet sheet

Use this Ancient Egypt Daily Life KS2 History lesson to challenge your Year 3 or Year 4 class to find the answers to various questions regarding daily life in ancient Egypt. The included slideshow presentation for the teaching input explores some of the questions they might ask, which they are then challenged to find the answers to during their independent learning.

By the end of the lesson, your class will have a much clearer understanding of what daily life in ancient Egypt was like.


What’s included:

  • Lesson plan
  • Slides
  • Activity ideas
  • Worksheet
  • Information sheet
  • Information booklet templates
  • Picture cards

This Mummification KS2 lesson is sure to be a hit with your Year 3 or Year 4 class as they find out about ancient Egyptian beliefs in the afterlife, in particular the mummification process. They will start by finding out the basics of the ancient Egyptian belief system before looking at how and why people were mummified.

During the independent learning within this Mummification KS2 lesson, they can either order the steps of the mummification process and write a set of instructions, or make their own model mummies!


What’s included:

  • Lesson plan
  • Slides
  • Activity ideas
  • Differentiated worksheets
  • Mummy model sheets

This final lesson gives your class the chance to consolidate their learning and reflect on everything they have found out over the last six lessons. They will need to think back to all the facts they have found out, particularly considering how objects from the past can help us find out what life was like thousands of years ago. They can then express their learning through a variety of fun activities.



What’s included:

  • Lesson plan
  • Slides
  • Worksheet
  • Activity cards
  • End of unit quiz
Free Overview (Medium-Term Plan)

Download a free overview to support your teaching of this scheme of work.

Free Assessment Grid

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Curriculum Objectives covered
  • KS2 — the achievements of the earliest civilizations – an overview of where and when the first civilizations appeared and a depth study of one of the following: Ancient Sumer; The Indus Valley; Ancient Egypt; The Shang Dynasty of Ancient China

Ancient Egypt — World Historical Encyclopedia

Great Sphinx at Giza

Jorge Láscar (CC BY)

Egypt — one of the oldest civilizations on Earth, located in the very north of Africa, washed by the Mediterranean Sea. The word ‘Egypt’ comes from the Greek Aegyptos, and was the Greek pronunciation of the ancient Egyptian word ‘Hwt-Ka-Ptah’ and meant the Temple of the Spirit of Ptah, and was the very first name of the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis.

Memphis was the first capital of Egypt and the largest religious and commercial center. One can thank the Greeks for his high status, who at one time named the whole country in his honor, but the Egyptians themselves called it Kemet, which in Coptic meant Black Earth, the so-called dark fertile land along the Nile River, where the first settlements were formed. Later, the country acquired a new name Misr, which meant «country»; it is still used among the population of Egypt to this day. Egypt prospered for many thousands of years (8000 BC to 30 BC) and was an independent state whose culture fundamentally influenced the development of mankind in various fields, ranging from science to technological development and religion. The majestic monuments of culture that Ancient Egypt is still famous for reflects the depth and richness of Egyptian culture, which can have a tremendous impact on many civilizations, including Greece and Rome.

The main reason for the great popularity of Egyptian culture was the grandeur and scope of man’s architectural experience. Huge monuments, tombs, temples, works of art glorified life and were a living reminder of what a person is capable of and what he can achieve at his best. However, in popular culture, ancient Egypt is often associated with the underworld and funeral rituals, thereby reminding what it means to be human, and the power and purpose of memories.

The chronicle of Egyptian history begins between 3400 and 3200 AD, when hieroglyphic writing was invented by the Negad people.

For the Egyptians, worldly life was just one aspect of this endless journey. The soul was immortal and is a temporary receptacle for the human body. After death, a person went to the Hall of Truth for trial, and if he was acquitted, he could go to an endless paradise — the Reed Field or the Field of Iaru (Ialu), which was a living reflection of human life on Earth. Once in paradise, a person was able to live in peace and harmony with those people with whom he lived on Earth, and even with pets, in the same village, by the same stream, near the same trees, near which he went to another world. But in order to achieve such a lofty goal, only those who led a righteous lifestyle, honored and fulfilled the will of the gods in the most ideal place — the land of Egypt, got into eternal paradise.

Egypt has a long history that goes back long before the invention of writing, when people revered the gods and built monuments and temples in their name. The main occupation for the Egyptians was cattle rearing in that region of Africa known as the Sahara desert around 8000 BC. BC. Proof of this is provided by ancient artifacts found during archaeological excavations, indicating agricultural activity at that time. This land was the most fertile; hunters, nomads and gatherers often suffered from thirst, and the only place where they could find a source of life-giving moisture was the Nile River Valley. The first settlements were formed before 6000 years ago. BC.

Nekad II Clay Pot

Guillaume Blanchard (CC BY-SA)

The first settlements and organized agriculture in this region began around 6000 BC. BC, and at the same time the first communities known as the Badarian culture began to flourish. Various types of craft begin to develop, including faience, discovered in Abydos around 5500. BC. The Badarians were replaced by the Amrat, Gerze and Semaini cultures (also known as Naqada I, Naqada II and Naqada III, respectively), each of which made an invaluable contribution to the development of Egyptian civilization. The written history of Egypt begins when hieroglyphic writing begins around 3400-3200, thanks to the Naqada III culture. In 3500 BC. in Hierakonpolis, mummification of the dead began to be practiced, and the first stone tombs were found in Abydos. In 3100-2181 BC. the ancient city of Sakha (the ancient Egyptians called it Xoys) is considered one of the very first urban formations, captured on the famous Palermo Stone. As with other world cultures, a small agricultural community became centralized and grew into a major urban center.

Early Egyptian History

During the early dynastic period of Egypt (ca. 3150-2613 BC) the Lower and Upper Kingdoms were united under the rule of the pharaoh Menes of Upper Egypt (also known as Meni), and in about 3118 or 3150. BC. he was able to subjugate Lower Egypt. These early historical facts are mentioned in the Aegyptica (History of Egypt), written by the ancient Egyptian historian Manetho, who lived in the 3rd century BC. BC. during the Ptolemaic dynasty (323-20 BC). Although his version of events is disputed by later historians, he is still approached for help on dynastic succession and the early history of Ancient Egypt.

Narmer Palette

Unknown Artist (Public Domain)

The writings of Manetho are the only source of information where Menes is mentioned, however, it is believed that by «Menes» Manetho meant the king-ruler Narmer, who peacefully united Upper and Lower Egypt as a single state. The identification of Menes as Narmer is not entirely accurate, in exactly the same way Menes can be attributed to the pharaoh Hor-Aha (3100-3050 BC), who became his successor. The reason why Menes is referred to as his predecessor and successor is that the word «Menes» is not a proper name at all, but an honorific title, which in translation means «Survivor» and could be used to refer to more than one pharaoh. The theory that Egypt was united militarily by Pharaoh Narmer is also disputed by many historians, and the fact that the famous Narmer Palette depicts a scene of the pharaoh’s solemn triumph is considered propaganda. Perhaps at first the country was united peacefully, but scientists hardly believe this.

For geographical designation, the Egyptians depicted the country along the Nile: Upper Egypt was designated as the southern region, and Lower — the northern region, closer to the Mediterranean Sea. At first Narmer ruled from the city of Hierakonpolis, and then from Memphis and Abydos. During the reign of the pharaohs in the Early Dynastic period, trade improved dramatically, for the burial of their rulers, the Egyptians began to erect complex mastaba tombs, and for pharaohs of a later period, the mummification technique began to be used.

Gods of Egypt

Since the pre-dynastic period in Egypt (6000 — 3150 BC), belief in gods has defined Egyptian culture. Early myths spoke of the god Atum, who stood in the endless waters of chaos before the beginning of all time, pronouncing the words of the creation of the world. He was accompanied by the eternal magic powers heka , the god Heka in human form, and other spiritual forces that gave birth to the world. Heka the primordial force that gave rise to the Universe and all objects, and the laws of being, according to which they obey. Also, the most important figure in Egyptian mythology is Ma’at — the goddess of harmony, justice, truth and universal balance.

All gods owe their origin to Ma’at and heke . According to all the laws of order and balance, the sun rises and sets every day, the moon travels its way across the sky, the seasons change one after another, and all this is thanks to these two deities. Ma’at is also personified as a deity in the form of an ostrich feather, as a symbol of order and justice, to which every Egyptian king promised all his wealth and devotion. The king has always been personified as the god Horus in life and as Osiris in death, based on the most popular myth in Egyptian mythology.

God Osiris

A.K. (Copyright)

Osiris and his sister-wife Isis ruled the world and gave people the gifts of civilization; they introduced people to agriculture, building temples, taught the mysteries of crafts and writing, and also to live in balance with nature. The brother of Osiris, Seth, envied his greatness and killed him, but Isis resurrected him and gave birth to his son Horus. Osiris became weak and descended to rule the underworld, while Horus, having matured, avenged his Father and killed Set. This myth shows how Order triumphed over Chaos and became the underlying motif for Egyptian religion, funerary rituals and religious texts, and all Egyptian art. There would not have been such a period in the history of Egypt when the gods would not have played a major role in the history of Egypt, as can be seen from its earliest stages.

Old Kingdom

During the period known as the Old Kingdom (2613-2181 BC), the architecture of worshiping the gods developed rapidly in Egypt, with the most famous architectural monuments such as the pyramids and the Great Sphinx at Giza being erected. Pharaoh Djoser, who ruled around 2670. BC. built the first step pyramid in the Sahara desert in 2670, designed by his personal architect and physicist Imhotep (2667-2600 BC), who is also known for writing the first works on medicine, where he described methods of treatment for more than 200 diseases and called the real causes of diseases, and not as the will of the gods, as was customary. At this time, the Great Pyramids (one of the Seven Wonders of Antiquity) are erected during the reign of the pharaohs of the 4th Dynasty: Khufu, also known as Cheops (2589-2566 BC), Khafre (2558-2532 BC) and Menquare (2532-2503 BC).

Giza Pyramids, Egypt

Shellapic76 (CC BY)

The majestic pyramids on the Giza plateau, as we are used to seeing them, lined with white sparkling limestone, are the embodiment of the power and wealth of the pharaohs. There are many theories on how such massive pyramids were built, given the technology of that time, but modern historians and scientists cannot agree on a common opinion, some even believe that such monuments were simply impossible to build physically, others believe that the Egyptians had an advanced technology that has been lost over time.

There is absolutely no evidence that the tombs at Giza or any other monuments in Egypt were built by slave labor, just as there is no evidence for a historical reading of the Book of Exodus. Most reputable historians today refuse to believe that the pyramids were built by slave labor. Although it is worth noting that in Egypt there were slaves of different nationalities who worked in quarries, and public works were carried out at the expense of the state. For the erection of the tombs in Giza, both the work of experienced and inexperienced workers was used. They were all given 3 meals a day, housing, tools, and also monitored their health.

First Transition Period. Hyksos.

This period is known as the First Intermediate Period of Egypt (2181-2040 BC), during which there is a decline in power and, as a result, fragmentation. The pharaohs in large independent districts separated from each other until 2 large regions were formed with their administrative centers: Upper Egypt and Hierakonpolois and Thebes in Lower Egypt. These centers were ruled by separate dynasties who ruled these regions independently, who staged internecine wars for control of all of Egypt. All this happened before 2040. BC until Pharaoh Mentuhotep II of Thebes (2061-2010 BC) seized power in Hierakonpolis and united Egypt.

The Middle Kingdom of Egypt is considered to be the «classical era», when culture and art are reborn, and Thebes becomes the most significant and rich city.

This stability, due to the dominance of Thebes, allowed Egypt to prosper again; this period in history is known as the Middle Kingdom (2040-1872 BC). It is considered to be the «classical era», when the greatest works of art are created, and Thebes became the most important and richest city in Egypt. Historians Oakes and Galin said that «the Twelfth Dynasty of the pharaohs had strong rulers who were able to control not only all of Egypt, but also neighboring Nubia not far to the south, where several fortresses were built to protect the trading interests of Egypt. » In the era of the Middle Kingdom, the first regular army appeared in the country under Pharaoh Amendahat I (1991-1962 BC), and under Senruset I (1971-1926 BC), the Temple of Karnak was built, as well as numerous works of art. The 13th Dynasty was weaker than the 12th and was constantly distracted by internal problems in the country, which allowed the enemy in the face of the Hyksos, who took control of the northern part of Egypt near the Nile Delta.

The Hyksos are a mysterious people from Syria and Palestine who first appeared in Egypt around 1800. BC and founded the city of Avaris there. The names of the Ghisos rulers were of Semitic origin, scientists have not been able to determine their belonging to one or another ethnic group. The Hyksos were very powerful and were able to subjugate Lower Egypt, in fact turning the state of Thebes into their vassal.

Map of Ancient Egypt

Tina Ross (Copyright)

The next period in Egyptian history was the Second Intermediate Period (1782-1570 BC). The Egyptians hated the Hyksos (the name Hyksos means «foreign rulers»), although they brought many inventions such as the composite bow, breeding horses and chariots, crop rotation, bronze casting, and pottery. Although the Hyksos controlled all the ports in Lower Egypt, by 1700 south of Thebes, the kingdom of Kush (Meriot Kingdom) arises in Nubia, which controls the southern borders. The Egyptians raised wars many times against the Hyksos and subjugated the Nubians, but their attempts came to nothing. Soon only the Thebes pharaoh Ahmose I (1570-1544 BC) managed to drive out the enemy and unite Egypt under the control of Thebes.

New Kingdom and Amarna period

The beginning of this period is considered to be the reign of Ahmose I from the New Kingdom (1570-1069 BC), during which Egypt prospers again, subjugates new lands thanks to a centralized state. The title of pharaoh as the ruler of Egypt appeared only in the era of the New Kingdom, before that they were called «kings». It was the pharaohs who ruled during this period who were able to glorify Egypt thanks to the erection of many architectural buildings: the late temple of Ramses I — Ramessey, Abu Simbel, the temples of Karnak and Luxor, numerous tombs in the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens.

Between 1504-1492. BC Pharaoh Thutmose I (Tutmosis I) makes successful attempts to expand the borders of Egypt to the Euphrates River in the north and to Syria and Palestine in the east. After his death, Egypt was ruled by Queen Hatshepsut (1479-1458 BC). She was able to expand and establish new trade relations with many countries, and the State of Punts was the richest of them.

Portrait of Queen Hatsheput

Rob Koopman (CC BY-SA)

Her successor, Thutmose III (Thutmosis III) continued to rule Egypt. During his reign, he tried to destroy all reminders of his predecessor, the pharaoh, because he did not want the rule of a woman to become generally accepted, because only men were worthy to rule. Shortly after his death in 1425. BC, Egypt is regaining its former glory and power: the production of beer of various varieties is being established, many places for sports appear, and advances in medicine have contributed to an improvement in living standards.

Bathing was an important part of the daily routine of the Egyptians, as it was strongly encouraged by religion and the gods. At this time, larger bathrooms are being built, not just for hygiene, but most likely for entertainment. During the archaeological excavations, the Kahuna medical papyrus, written around 1800, was found. BC, which outlines the rules of feminine hygiene and contraception, and, apparently, was often used by healers at that time. Surgery and dentistry are actively developing, and beer has been prescribed as a medicine, as well as to reduce the symptoms of more than 200 diseases.

Kahuna Gynecological Papyrus

Francis Llewellyn Griffith (Public Domain)

In 1353 BC, Pharaoh Amenhotep IV ascended the throne and soon changed his name to Akhenaten («living spirit of Aten») in order to spiritually approach the only god — Aten. The Egyptians, as a rule, believed in many gods, whose spiritual significance influenced their daily life. The most popular gods were Amun, Osiris, Isis Hathor. Cult of Amun. At that time, the cult of the god Amun was incredibly high, so the priests often identify his strength and power with the pharaoh himself. Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti overturned the usual religious foundations and traditions and formed a new religion based on monotheism.

Akhenaten was the first ruler who ordered the construction of statues and temples in honor of Nefertiti, and not just in the name of himself or the gods.

His religious reforms weakened the power of the priests of Amun and transferred it into their own hands. He moved the capital from Thebes to Amarna, thus moving away from his predecessors. This event marked a new period in Egyptian history as the Amarna Period (1353-1336 BC), during which Amarna flourished significantly as a capital and polytheism was banned.

Among the many reforms, Akhenaten was the first ruler of Egypt, who erected many temples and statues not only in honor of himself and the gods, but also in honor of Nefertiti, used public money to build public places and parks, although earlier they were used for the needs of temples. The power of the clergy and priests fell sharply, while the power of the centralized state grew, which was the main goal of Akhenaten, but in the end he was unable to fully use his power for the good of the people. According to the Amarna Archive, it is clear that he was too involved in religious affairs and was not interested in foreign policy or the needs of the Egyptians.

Shortly after his death, his son and the most recognizable figure in all of Egyptian history, Tutankhamun, who ruled from 1336 to 1327, became his successor. BC. At birth, he was named Tutankhaton, symbolizing his adherence to the religious views of his father, but when he reigned on the throne, he changed his name to Tutankhamun to honor the god Amun. He restored the ancient temples, got rid of everything in the country that would remind him of the cult of his father, and moved the capital back to Thebes. His reign was rather short; at the time of his death he was only 19years. Tutankhamun was the most famous pharaoh, thanks to the intact tomb, opened in 1922, which became a real sensation at the time.

Funeral mask of Tutankhamun

Richard IJzermans (CC BY-NC-SA)

The greatest ruler of Egypt can rightfully be considered Ramses II (also known as Ramses the Great, 1279-1213 BC). He possessed exceptional abilities in the administration of the state. During the reign of Ramsess, the most grandiose architectural creations are erected in Egypt. Although, the famous battle of Kadesh in 1274. BC (the battle of Ramses against the Hittite king Muwatalli II), many historians consider it a draw, but for Ramses it was a victory and he celebrated his triumph as a winner, but as all Egyptians thought, like God.

Ramses, having won a victory at Kadesh, ordered the erection of a large Temple of Abu Simbel in northern Egypt, which consisted of two parts, scenes of the Battle of Kadesh are depicted in the large temple, as well as a small temple, following the example of Akhenaten, built in honor of the wife of Ramsess 2 Nefyaertari Merenmut . During the reign of Ramses II in 1258. BC, the first peace treaty was signed with the Hittite kingdom — the Treaty of Kadesh. But Egypt continued to dominate that region, as evidenced by the many historical monuments erected during his reign.

The fourth son of Ramses II Khaemwaset (1281-1225 BC), also known as the «first Egyptologist» for his achievements in preserving and writing chronicles about old monuments, temples and in honor of whom they were erected. It was thanks to Khaemwaset that we received information about the greatness of Ramses II and about many other historically important places in Egypt. He also left notes about his personal achievements, about the sought-after builder of a monument or temple, as well as the name of his father.

Abu Simbel Panorama

Dennis Jarvis (CC BY-SA)

Ramses became known to future generations as the «Great Ancestor» and reigned so long that he outlived his wives and children. Over time, all the nobles knew only one pharaoh — Ramses II. He has a very long and long life of 96 years, more than twice the average lifespan of an ordinary Egyptian. After his death, many feared that the end of the world would come, because they did not know another pharaoh, nor another Egypt.

Decline of Egypt. Conquests of Alexander the Great

After several successors of Ramses 2, Egypt was ruled by Ramses III (1186-1155 BC), who continues his work. But at this time, the picturesque region of Egypt began to attract many overseas peoples who began to raid along the coast of Egypt. These were peoples, like the Hyksos of unknown origin, who sailed from the Aegean. Between 1276-1178. BC. they became a real threat to Egypt. As pharaoh, Ramses II won a number of naval victories in that region, as did his successor Merneptah (1213-1203 BC). After his death, they began to plunder the Egyptian lands even more often than before, sacking Kadesh, which was under the control of Egypt, and devastating the coastal cities. In 1180-1178 BC, Ramses III waged war against them and finally defeated them at the Battle of Xois in 1178. BC.

After Ramses III, his successors tried to actively participate in state support of the territories of Egypt, but faced resistance from its inhabitants in the conquered territories, especially the priests expressed distrust. In those years when Tutankhamun restored the old religion of the god Amun, especially after a period of prosperity during the reign of Ramses II, the priests and clergy had at their disposal a colossal amount of wealth and allotments of land (according to some reports, the priests owned about a third of the entire area of ​​​​Egypt), thereby becoming a threat to the sovereignty and centralized system of the country. By this time, the country was ruled by Ramses XI (1107-1077 BC), the last of the 20th Dynasty, but the Egyptian state was so weakened, and the level of bureaucracy and corruption among the clergy reached incredible proportions, the centralized system split. The so-called Third Intermediate Period began (1069-525 BC).

Third Transition Card

Jeff Dahl (CC BY-SA)

Soon King Piankhi from the Kingdom of Kishite ascends the Egyptian throne (752-722 BC) and Egypt again acquires a centralized system, and his cult flourishes, but this did not last long. In 671 BC, the Assyrians, led by King Esarhadon, begin an invasion of Egypt and, ultimately, with the participation of his successor Ashurbanipal, capture it in 666. BC. But the Assyrians were short-sighted and did not have any plans to strengthen this territory, so they left it in the hands of local rulers, left Egypt in ruins to their fate. Soon, the walls of Egypt were rebuilt and fortified with defensive structures, however, Egypt was waiting for the next invasion in the person of the Persians and its king Cambyses II during the battle for Pelisium in 525. BC. Knowing the religiosity of the Egyptians and how they revered cats (they believed that cats were the living embodiment of the great goddess Bastet), therefore Cambyses II ordered his soldiers to draw the image of cats on their shields and collect sacred animals and put them in front of his army during the battle for Pelusium. The Egyptians surrendered almost without a fight and the Persians took over Egypt; he held the country until the arrival of Alexander the Great in 332. BC.

Alexander the Great was warmly welcomed as a liberator who conquered Egypt without a fight. He founded the city of Alexandria and advanced further into Phoenicia and the rest of Persia. After the death of Alexander in 323. BC, his general, Ptolemy I Soter returned to Alexandria and founded the Ptolemaic dynasty (323-30 BC). At 31 BC. the last representative of the dynasty, Cleopatra VII, together with her husband Mark Antony, suffered defeat from the Romans in the battle of Actium under the leadership of Octavian Caesar and in 30. BC she commits suicide. Egypt becomes a province of the Roman Empire (30 BC — 476 AD), and then the Byzantine Empire (527-646), and eventually in 646 AD. finally passes under the rule of the Arabs in the person of Caliph Umar.

Image of archaeological site

Mohawk Games (Copyright)

Soon, in the 18th and 19th centuries, the glory of Egypt was rethought and left an indisputable mark on today’s understanding of ancient history and the existence of the world. Historian Will Duran wrote about Egypt:

Egypt was able to achieve tremendous success at the very dawn of history and have a significant impact on any nation throughout mankind. As Professor Faure said, Egypt, thanks to its unity, all kinds of masterpieces of art, an incredible long history and unwavering perseverance, is the greatest civilization that has ever existed on Earth.

The culture and history of Egypt has always fascinated people all over the world, such as the work of the early 19th century archaeologists Jean-Francois Champollion who discovered the Rosetta Stone in 1822 or the famous discovery of Tutankhamun’s Tomb by the British scientist Howard Carter in 1922. Such a strong belief of the Egyptians in life as an endless journey, created and accompanied by the divine powers of magic, which subsequently inspired later cultures and religious beliefs. Much of the iconography and religion of Egypt was borrowed from Christianity and many recognizable symbols in both religions have the same meaning. Ancient Egypt left a significant contribution to world history and laid the foundation for subsequent cultures; many temples, pyramids, monuments inspired many travelers, writers, painters, sculptors to create masterpieces of world art, including feature historical films and TV series.

History of the world. Chapter 3. Ancient Egypt (18+) • Arzamas

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    Scientific adviser Ekaterina Alexandrova

    Editor Anna Shur

    Managing editor Seryozha Dmitriev

    Decoder Kirill Glikman

    Fact checker Mikhail Trunin

    Sound engineer and composer Dima Gudnichev

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