Print Page

Timeline: Ancient Egypt
5000-3100 B.C. Predynastic Period
  • Small farming villages develop along the banks of the Nile
3100-2755 B.C. Archaic Period (Dynasties 1 and 2)
  • King Narmer unites Egyptian settlements under his rule
  • System of writing (hieroglyphs) develops
  • Mummification begins; linked to belief in many gods and life after death
2755-2230 B.C. The Old Kingdom (Dynasties 3-6)
  • Kings buried in pyramid tombs
  • Centralization of the state
2230-2040 B.C. First Intermediate Period (Dynasties 7-11)
  • Leaders of provincial cities struggle for power with the pharaoh
2040-1786 B.C. Middle Kingdom (Dynasties 12-13)
  • Classical period of ancient Egyptian literature
  • The Egyptians prosper and build up their army
1786-1567 B.C. Second Intermediate Period (Dynasties 14-17)
  • Foreign rulers take over, styling themselves as "kings of Egypt"
  • Horse and chariot introduced from Palestine
1567-1085 B.C. New Kingdom (Dynasties 18-20)
  • Thebes (today's Luxor) rises as power center and residence of most kings
  • Pharaohs buried in rock-cut tombs in Valley of the Kings
  • Queen Hatshepsut rules Egypt
  • King Tutankhamun comes to throne at age nine
1085-656 B.C. Third Intermediate Period (Dynasties 21-25)
  • Period of political instability; Egypt breaks into rival dynasties
  • Nubian kings invade, defeat rival dynasties and unify Egypt
656-332 B.C. Late Period (Dynasties 26-31)
  • Assyrians attack Egypt, expel Nubians
  • Persians invade and occupy Egypt
332-30 B.C. Ptolemaic (Macedonian/Greek) Period
  • Alexander the Great conquers Egypt for the Macedonians/Greeks
  • Cleopatra VII, last Ptolemaic queen, dies (in 30 B.C.); Egypt becomes part of Roman Empire
  Oriental Institute, University of Chicago   This table charts the major developments in Egyptian society by period and dynasty.

©2002 The University of Chicago