Between 3100 and 332 B.C was the rise and climax of one of the richest and oldest ancient civilizations. It’s lifeline was the Nile river in the Nile valley. Here, Egyptian dynasties ruled from the first cataract of the Nile to the Mediterranean Sea. At the it’s height it ruled an empire that reached from Syria in the east to Nubia in the south.
In this report I will be covering the Archaic Period, the Old Kingdom, the Middle Kingdom the New Kingdom and The Late Period or 3100-332 B.C. Archaic Period: 3100 B.C to 2750 B.C
There long history began with there first King who began the first Egyptian dynasty. In 3100 B.C Pharaoh Menes united upper and lower Egypt. Making Egypt’s first empire. In doing so, he made the Egyptian double crown. It was made by putting the red crown of Lower Egypt on top of the white crown of upper Egypt.Order now
Menes ruled from the ancient city of Thinis near Abydos. Under his reign the first hieroglyphic writing was made. He is also credited with making his empire interdependent.
Old Kingdom: 2750 B.C to 2181 B.C / First Intermediate Period: 2182-2260
Little is known about Menes successors until the reign of Zoser at the end of the 3rd dynasty. His capital was located at Memphis on the Nile’s west bank. He built the world’s first pyramid and the first building of that size to be entirely made of stone. Even though it was a pyramid it wasn’t a true pyramid, but a step pyramid.
After the reign of the last king of the Sixth dynasty the last dynasty in the old kingdom. Pepi II in 2181 B.C, there was a period of crisis and social upheaval known as the First Intermediate Period. The reasons leading up to this dark time, was a series of low floods and the result was famine during the Sixth dynasty. This undermined the stability of Egypt and provoked rebellion.
What followed put Egypt in rapid decline. With no central power the provinces became independent states the were often at war with each other. To make the situation worse was a penetration of nomadic foreigners into the delta region of the Nile Valley.
Middle Kingdom: 2061-1784 B.C/Second Intermediate Period 1633-1570 B.C The accession in 2060 B.C. of Mentuhotep II of Thebes the first pharaoh of the Middle Kingdom, ended 90 years of conflict with a dynasty established a Herakleopolis, south of Memphis. This strong Eleventh Dynasty ruler restored order in Egypt. He drove the Asiatics from the delta and campaigned against the Libyans and nomadic tribes in the Sinai and the eastern desert. Trade also expanded to Nubia, Syria and Palestine under his reign.
Mentuhotep II reigned for 50 years and was buried at Deir el-Bahri. Under the reign of Sesostris II 1897-1878 B.C huge irrigation works were built at the oasis at Faiyum. Sesostris III 1878-1843 expanded Egypt’s southern border to the second cataract.
At such times of powerful rulers, Egypt was governed by an efficient administration.
Taxation provided much of the wealth and was carefully organized. A census of fields and of all cattle was taken every two years. In addition to tax calculation and collection, another important official function was the building up reserves of grain stocks to prevent famine after a bad harvest. The state controlled all foreign trade and owned the mines and quarries.
After the end of the Thirteenth Dynasty in 1633 B.C Egypt fell into another period of decline known as the second intermediate period. During this period Egypt was divided into four areas: the southern area ruled by 17th dynasty Theban rulers, the central area that owed allegiance to Thebes, the 15th and 16th dynasties or the Hyksos that ruled most of the delta and the 14th dynasty that ruled a small are in the delta.
The Hyksos identity is not known and there was no evidence that they invaded Egypt.
This suggest that there takeover was peaceful as a result of their increased population in the delta. During the middle kingdom the Hyksos were employed by the state of Egypt to mine in the Sinai mines and in Egypt itself. Later their population in the delta was so large that it was larger than the Egyptian population the delta, so this was the probable cause of there takeover.
The Hyksos rule over Egypt was very unpopular with the people of Egypt and according to tradition Hyksos were an anarchy, who were accused of burning temple and cities. But evidence suggest that the Hyksos respected and even adapted to the Egyptian culture and religion. And they also made many advances in many things. One of the more important things were the horse drawn chariots.
Whatever the nature of the Hyksos rule they where still very unpopular. However one of the consequences of the Hyksos rule was the dramatic change in Egypt’s attitudes toward war and foreign conquest. And after a hundred years of rule, the Theban prince Seqenere began the struggle against the Hyksos, dying in battle of fatal head wounds. His son Kamose drove the Hyksos from Middle Egypt and took Avaris. In 1570 B.C he was succeeded by his younger brother Ahmosis, who drove the Hyksos out of Egypt persued them into Palestine and eliminated them in a series of campaigns.
The New Kingdom 1570-1045
After a decade of fighting Egypt was restored and Ahmosis formed the most illustrious 18th dynasty of The New Kingdom or The Empire. And once again Egypt. The founder of this Illustrious family died in 1546 B.C.
Under a series of rulers once again controlled Syria, Palestine and Nubia. And under the reign of Amenophis II Egypt expanded it’s empire beyond the Fourth Cataract. One of the many new lands that were conquered was Kush. And soon Egypt was depending on Kush’s mines for gold. And the capital moved to Thebes.
Egypt’s power and prosperity were largely the result of the exploits of a few kings.
Thuthmosis I campaigned as far as the Euphrates and first brought Syria and Palestine under Egyptian rule. Following the reign of Hatshepsut the widow of Tuthmosis II, her nephew and stepson Tuthmosis III reasserted Egyptian authority over kingdoms in Asia and came in conflict with Mitanni. Under Tuthmosis IV, a peace treaty was concluded between these powers and sealed by dynastic marriage. Toward the end of Amenophis III reign, the Hittites sacked Mitanni’s capital and began to dominate Egypt’s land in Syria.
Egyptian influence in the area collapsed.
After the reign of Horemheb 1348-1320 B.C the 18th dynasty was over and the 19th dynasty began. The first ruler of the new dynasty was Ramesses I. His reign of 2 years was succeeded by his son, Seti I who did much to restore Egypt’s prestige. There was one campaign against the Libyans and he also campaigned in the east and restored Egyptian control over Palestine. Egypt came into conflict with the Hittites in Syria, but by the end of Seti I’s reign, the two powers seemed to come to an understanding.
Seti’s son Ramesses II resumed hostilities and attacked the Hittites under King Muwatallis at Qadesh. The details of this encounter for the control of Syria are know because Ramesses had it recorded as a great victory on several temples. In fact the result was indecisive, and both armies suffered heavy losses.
The rest of Ramesses II’s reign was fairly peaceful and prosperous. Nubia was still under his control, although there seemed to be difficulty in the production of gold. He also moved his capital north to Pi-Ramesse. Under his successors, Egypt fell into a period of decline. Merneptah fought and defeated invading Libyans, who were allied with the Sea People. In the reign of the Twentieth Dynasty pharoah Ramesses III, Egypt was once again attaked Libyans and the Sea People. Three campaigns were fought in the Delta before the invaders were beaten.
Although most of Ramesses III reign was prosperous and the king made many gifts to the temples, toward the end there were problems. First there was a strike because monthly food rations were overdue. More serious was the discovery that several of his wives and officials in his harem were in a plot to kill him. As punishment, some of the plotters were allowed to kill themselves, while others lived, but got there noses and ears off.
The next eight pharohs were all called Ramesses, and under them Egypt lost the what was left of it’s empire and became increasingly unstable.
The Late Period: 1045-332 B.C
This was the downfall of Egypt and was the last intermediate period. After the end of the 20th Dynasty Egypt was divided between the High Preist at Thebes and the Vizier of lower egypt, Smendes who ruled from Tanis. And as usual, at times when Egypt was in turmoil conquerors came. In this case the Libyans once again attacked and settled in the delta. In 747 B.C the Nubians came to power, but it was shortlived fore the Assyrians overran the Nubians in 667 B.C. Between the years of 663-525 B.C the Egyptians became independent under th 26th dynasty. Then in 605 B.C The Babylonians conquered Egypt, then in 539 B.C the Persians defeated the Babylonians and conquered Egypt. Then finally in 332 B.C Alexander the Great of Macedonia Conquered Egypt and built his city of Alexandria.
In conclusion I think Egypt is by far the least warlike civilization of it’s time. I think this because it only fighted invaders and not until the New Kingdom did it conquer foreign lands on the large scale.