Old Kingdom

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Tutankhamun

The period of time in Ancient Egypt that was from 2575 to 2150 BC is called the Old Kingdom.

This was a time when Egypt was becoming popular for many things such as their government and for their architecture.

This period is sometimes referred to as the “Age of Pyramids.”

Government

The government was ruled by another Pharaoh named Djoser.

He divided the area up into different parts that they called nomes.  A nome was similar to a state or a country.

Each of these nomes were ruled by different rulers that were called the nomarchs.

The nomarchs would go to the pharaoh and tell him what was going on in their nome.

Since the pharaoh was so important, he was not only the ruler of the land, but he was also the ruler of the religion.

Djoser was cindered to be a god because of all of the great things that he had done.

During the end of the Old Kingdom, another pharaoh ruled, and his name was Pharaoh Pepi II.

Building

Djoser was the first pharaoh to build a pyramid and it was because he had so much money that he was able to do this.

This pyramid was called the Pyramid of Djoser.

The Old Kingdom is one of the most famous time periods for making pyramids.

Not only did they build the Pyramid of Djoser, but the Great Pyramid at Giza was built during this time.

During the Fourth Dynasty when the Great Pyramid of Giza was built, there were also other pyramids built and the Great Sphinx.

Education

Some of the people that had a lot of money were able to get educated and they were able to learn to write and to be able to read.

These people were considered powerful by the Egyptian government because of their education.

Since they were educated, these were the people that become government officials, scribes, priests and in charge of parts of the army.

Dynasties

There were four different dynasties that were known during the Old Kingdom and they were called the Third Dynasty, the Fourth Dynasty, the Fifth Dynasty and the Sixth Dynasty.

During the Fourth Dynasty, Sneferu and Khufu ruled, and they were different Pharoahs during this time.  Sometimes, historians will add the Seventh and Eighth Dynasty to be included during the Old Kingdom.

How the Old Kingdom Formed

The Predynastic Period was before the Old Kingdom and that was the time when Egypt was only one area.

It was when Pharaoh Djoser was ruling that the Old Kingdom was formed, and he helped to make sure that the government was strong.

He was a very powerful ruler during this time period.

End of the Old Kingdom

When the Sixth Dynasty came along, the government began to get weaker.

This happened because the nomarchs became too powerful and they wanted to rule over the pharaoh.

When this happens, it causes areas to not have a strong government anymore and this is what happened during the Old Kingdom.

During all of this happening, a drought came, and this caused there to be very little water and food.

This caused the government to lose its power and it caused Egypt to be broken up into smaller areas or states.

Facts About the Old Kingdom Egypt:

  • One pharaoh ruled for almost 90 years and that was Pharaoh Pepi II.
  • The capital of Egypt was called Memphis.
  • Historians are able to study the Old Kingdom because of tombs, temples, cities, pyramids and other things that remain in Egypt. Many of the things were destroyed because of the materials they were made from such as mud and clay.
  • There were many things that were popular during the Old Kingdom such as art, writing and trade. Egyptians made ships to ride on the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea so that they could trade.

What Did You Learn?

  1. What is the period called between 2750 BC and 2150 BC?  The Period between this time is called the Old Kingdom.
  2. What is another name that some call the Old Kingdom? Some call the Old Kingdom the “Age of Pyramids.”
  3. Why is this time period called the “Age of Pyramids?” This time period is called the “Age of Pyramids” because it is a time when many different pyramids were built, including the first one recorded called, the “Pyramid of Djoser.”
  4. What happened to the rich people that were educated? The rich people that were educated were able to get good jobs such as government leaders, leaders of the army, priests and scribes.
  5.   The dynasties that are considered part of the Old Kingdom are the Third Dynasty, the Fourth Dynasty, the Fifth Dynasty and the Sixth Dynasty for sure, but some say that the Seventh and Eighth Dynasty are part of the Old Kingdom as well.