Ancient Egyptian: Kemet
Until around 3100 BCE
Early Dynastic Period
Around 3100-2686 BCE
First Intermediate Period
Second Intermediate Period
Third Intermediate Period
(323) 305-30 BCE
Old Kingdom: Pyramid of King Khafre, of the 4th Dynasty, ca. 2558-2532 BCE. Giza, Egypt.
Roman era: The Kiosk of Qertassi at Kalabsha represent the very last stage of Ancient Egyptian history. Built after the era’s end, in the middle of 1st century CE, it is built according to Egyptian patterns.
Ancient Egypt is defined as the succession of kingdoms located in the northern part of the Nile, within the boundaries of modern Egypt, lasting from about 3100 BCE until 30 BCE, althogether more than 3,000 years.
While the kingdoms at times were ruled by kings of foreign origin, the culture and religion of Ancient Egypt represent mainly continuations and developments from the same beginnings.
The name used by the Egyptians themselves was Kemet, “Dark Land,” referring to the dark and fertile soil along the Nile river.
As with modern Egypt, the Nile was the single source of water for Ancient Egypt, allowing abundant harvests 3 times a year. With this, Egypt was one of the first regions in the world where agriculture became so productive that non-agricultural activities could begin developing towards a sophisticated and specialized level. This involved at first trade, with urban centres for trade and the production of necessary products, like pottery and tools, and over time, more and more products for an easier and more pleasant living. With these urban centres, no more than villages at first, came the more evolved political leadership and more advanced religious activities.
People of Ancient Egypt lived on the same lands that the modern Egyptian does, but there were in long periods no large cities, in some periods only very few cities with more than 10,000 inhabitants. There was one great difference deciding where and how people lived: the annual floodings, starting in July and lasting until September are no more. The ancient floods represented both a challenge and a blessing. Houses, valuables and food had to be safely stored from the rising water. At the same time, the silt of the flood fertilized the fields, providing for rich crops and the wealth of the country. Today the level of water in the Nile is controlled by the Aswan High Dam.
People lived in the desert in ancient times too, principally along the crescent of the Western oases (like Dakhla and Kharga) and Siwa. These regions had a population ethically different from that of the Nile, being close to Libyans. Still, these lands were clearly part of the culture of Ancient Egypt.