Kingdoms and Periods of Ancient Egypt


Joshua J. Mark
published on 13 May 2024

The kingdoms and periods of ancient Egypt are modern-day designations for the history of the civilization. The people themselves did not refer to these eras by their modern terms but, instead, dated their history by the reign of a king or a dynasty or event. The modern terms are simply used for ease in studying Egyptian history.

The first Egyptian chronology was created by the Egyptian priest and scribe Manetho in the 3rd century BCE. After hieroglyphics were deciphered in the 19th century, archaeologists then developed his dating system. Scholars proposed different systems for the chronology of ancient Egypt with many agreeing on so-called Middle Chronology. The dates below follow this chronology as proposed by Egyptologist Ian Shaw in 2000, with slight modifications by later scholars. There is no "right chronology" for the Near East (including Egypt) as each dating system provides sound reasons for acceptance.

A "kingdom" refers to a time of unity and strong central government; a "period" to a time of disunity and decentralized government, with the exception of the Ptolemaic Period. After the fall of the Ptolemaic Dynasty, Egypt was annexed by Rome, entering the period known as Roman Egypt (30 BCE to 646 CE). This period is not always included in lists of Egyptian chronology as it was no longer an independent nation but a province of the Roman Empire until it was taken by the Muslim Arabs in the 7th century.



Questions & Answers

How long was ancient Egypt an independent country?

Egypt was an independent country from c. 6000 BCE to 30 BCE when it became a province of the Roman Empire.

What is the difference between kingdoms and periods in ancient Egypt?

In ancient Egyptian chronology, kingdoms were times of unity and a strong central government; periods were times of disunity and decentralized government, with the exception of the Ptolemaic Period.

Who first created a chronology of ancient Egypt?

The first chronology of ancient Egypt was created by Manetho, an Egyptian priest, in the 3rd century BCE.

How long did Roman Egypt last?

Roman Egypt lasted from 30 BCE to 646 CE when it was taken by the Muslim Arabs.
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About the Author

Joshua J. Mark
Joshua J. Mark is World History Encyclopedia's co-founder and Content Director. He was previously a professor at Marist College (NY) where he taught history, philosophy, literature, and writing. He has traveled extensively and lived in Greece and Germany.

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