Michael A. Stecker

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The Thirty Dynasties of Egypt
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Historians divide ancient Egyptian history into 30 dynasties (3100 BC - 332 BC). A dynasty is a series of rulers belonging to the same family. Egypt's pre-dynastic era lasted until 3100 BC, when the country was united and the dynasties began to rule.


Settlements were established beside the Nile River by Merimdeon, Tasian and Badarian. Hieroglyphs made their first appearance around the end of this period.

EARLY DYNASTIC PERIOD: 3100 - 2686 BC (Dynasties I and II)

Upper and Lower Egypt were unified under King Menses (Narmer) starting the First Dynasty. Memphis, in Lower Egypt, became the capital.

Dynasty I (3100 - 2890 BC):
Rulers of the First Dynasty: Narmer (Menes), Aha, Djer, Djet, Den, Anedjib, Semerkhe and Qaa

Dynasty II (2890 - 2686 BC):
Rulers of the Second Dynasty: Hotepsekhemwy, Raneb, Ninetjer, Seth-Peribsen, Khasekhemwy

OLD KINGDOM: 2686 - 2181 BC (Dynasties III - VI)

A Golden Age for Egypt. The king was considered the incarnation of the god Horus and from the 5th Dynasty, the son of Re, the sun god. The first major stone building in the world, the famous Step Pyramid, was constructed at Saqqara for King Zoser of the 3rd Dynasty. During the 4th Dynasty, the great pyramids of Giza were built for pharoahs Khufu (Cheops), Kheophren (Cheophren ) and Menkaru (Mycerinus). The priesthood of the god Re became powerful at Heliopolis and some of the kings of the 5th Dynasty built solar temples adjacent to their relatively small pyramids at Abusir near Saqqara. At Saqqara, the pyramid of Unas, the last king of the 5th Dynasty, contains the famous Pyramid Texts - spells for the afterlife.

Dynasty III (2686 - 2575 BC):
Rulers of the Third Dynasty: Sanakhte, (2686 - 2668 BC), Zoser aka Djoser (2668 - 2649 BC), Sekhemkhet (2649 - 2643 BC), Khaba (2643 - 2637 BC), Huni (2637 - 2613 BC).
Dynasty IV (2613 - 2498 BC):
Rulers of the Fourth Dynasty: Sneferu (2613 - 2589 ), Khufu aka Cheops (2589 - 2566 BC), Radjedef (2566 - 2558 BC), Khafre aka Cheophren (2558 - 2532 BC), Menkaru aka Mycerinus (2532 - 2504 BC) and Shepseskaf (2504 - 2500 BC).
Dynasty V (2465 - 2323 BC):
Rulers of the Fifth Dynasty: Userkef (2498 - 2491 BC), Sahure (2491 - 2477 BC), Neferirkare Kakai (2477 - 2467 BC). Shepseskare Ini (2467 - 2460 BC), Raneferef (2460 - 2453 BC), Neuserre Izi (2453 - 2422BC), Menkauhor (2422 - 2414 BC), Djedkare Isesi (2414 - 2375 BC) and Unas (2375 - 2345 BC).
Dynasty VI (2345 - 2181 BC):
Rulers of the Sixth Dynasty: Teti (2345 - 2333 BC), Pepi I (2332 - 2283 BC), Merenre (2283 - 2278 BC) and Pepi II (2278 - 2184 BC).


This period saw a breakdown of central government.
Dynasties VII - X (2181 - 2040 BC):
Rulers of the Seventh through Tenth Dynasties: There are a number of il- defined reigns.

MIDDLE KINGDOM: 2040 - 1797 BC ( Dynasties XI and XII)

Reunification of Egypt occurred in the 11th Dynasty under the rule of Mentuhotep I, whose family was based in Thebes (modern Luxor). A series of kings oversaw a renaissance in Egyptian art and the literature.
Dynasty XI (2134 - 1991 BC):
Rulers of the Eleventh Dynasty: Intef I (2134 - 2117 BC), Intef II 2117 - 2069 BC), Intef III (2069 - 2060 BC), Mentuhotep I (2060 - 2010 (BC), Mentuhotep II (2010 - 1998 BC) and Mentuhotep III (1997 - 1991 BC).
Dynasty XII (1991 - 1782 BC):
Rulers of the Twelfth Dynasty: Amenemhet I (1991 - 1962 BC), Senusret I (1971 - 1926 BC), Amenemhet II (1929 - 1895 BC), Senusret II (1897 - 1878 BC), Senusret III (1878 - 1841 BC), Amenemhet III (1842 - 1797 BC), Amenemhet IV (1798 - 1786 BC) and Queen Sobeknefru (1785 - 1782 BC).


A period about which little is known. Foreign occupation and continued internal struggle were common and rulers did not last very long.. Invaders known as the Hyksos came in 1730 BC from Asia and moved into the Delta. This period of instability lasted from 1730 to 1580 BC and was brought to an end by a Theban family, one of whom (Ahmose) finally expelled the Hyksos to start the 18th Dynasty and the rise of the New Kingdom era.
Dynasty XIII - XVII (1786 - 1567 BC):
Rulers of the Thirteenth through seventeenth Dynasties: Foreign rule. Apepi I in Dynasty XV.

NEW KINGDOM: 1567 -1 070 BC (Dynasties XVIII - XX):

The New Kingdom's first king was Ahmose who reunified Upper and Lower Egypt. This was another Golden Age for Egypt as it expanded its empire. Memphis was the administrative capital again. The term pharaoh began being applied to the king. Queen Hatshepsut became pharaoh by default while acting as regent for a young Tuthmosis III. He eventually came to power and became the "Napoleon" of ancient Egypt. This was also probably during the time when Moses prospered in Egypt. Later Moses led the Jews out of Egypt (exodus -- circa 1440 BC). Amenhotep II (1453 - 1419 BC) was probably the Pharoah mentioned in the bible during the Exodus (Passover).

The empire soon spread far to the south into ancient Nubia, while in the north the territory under control was expanded well into the Near East. It was in the New Kingdom that most of the pharaohs' tombs were located in the Valley of the Kings. Egypt became incredibly wealthy through trade and foreign conquests. The existing religious orders were deposed for a while during the 14th century B.C. when King Akhenaten established a new religious order - that of the sun god Aten. The old temples were abandoned and a new capital, Akhetaten, was established to the north. Soon after the death of Akhenaten, his probable son - Tutankhaten became pharaoh at about the age of nine. His was a short reign, but the old religious orders rose again and Akhenaten's city was destroyed. Tutankhaten's name was changed to Tutankhamun, but his reign was no more than nine years.
Several years later, a general by the name of Horemheb came to power and started a campaign to eliminate evidence of his immediate predecessors. His grandson, Ramesses II, became one of Egypt's greatest builders.
By the 20th Dynasty the power of the pharaohs had waned and there were battles with invaders called the Sea Peoples. Egypt would never rule again with the same power. Ramesses XI was the last of the rulers of the New Kingdom.

Dynasty XVIII (1570 - 1293 BC):
Rulers of the Eighteenth Dynasty: Ahmose I (1570 - 1546 BC), Amenhotep I (1551 - 1524 BC),Tuthmosis I (1524 - 1518 BC), Tuthmosis II (1528 - 1504 BC), Queen Hatshepsut (1498 - 1483 BC) Tuthmosis III (1504 - 1450 BC), Amenhotep II (1453 - 1419 BC), Tuthmosis IV (1419 - 1386 BC),
Amenhotep III (1386 - 1349 BC), Amenhotep IV (Akhenaton) (1350 - 1334 BC), Smenkhkare (1336 -1334 BC), Tutankhamun (1334 -1325 BC) Ay (1325 - 1321 BC) and Horemheb (1321 - 1293 BC).
Dynasty XIX (1293 - 1185 BC):
Rulers of the Nineteenth Dynasty: Ramesses I (1291 - 1291 BC), Seti I (1291 1278 BC), Ramesses II (1279 - 1212 BC), Merneptah (1212 - 1202 BC), Amenmesses (1202 - 1199 BC), Seti II (1199 - 1193 BC), Siptah (1193 - 1187 BC) and Queen Twosret (1187 - 1185 BC).
Dynasty XX (1185 - 1070 BC):
Rulers of the Twentieth Dynasty: Setnakhte (1185 - 1182 BC), Ramesses III (1182 - 1151 BC), Ramesses IV (1151 - 1145 BC), Ramesses V (1145 - 1141 BC), Ramesses VI (1141 - 1133 BC), Ramesses VII (1133 - 1126 BC), Ramesses VIII (1133 - 1126 BC), Ramesses IX (1126 - 1108 BC),
Ramesses X (1111 - 1107 BC) and Ramesses XI (1107 - 1078 BC).


After the end of the New Kingdom, Egypt was virtually bankrupt.
By the 22nd Dynasty, pharaohs of Libyan descent came to power, to be followed by rulers from Nubia in the 25th Dynasty. The country was invaded by Assyrians in 671 BC. Under the rule of Psamtik (Psammetichus) from 664 B.C., Egypt began to enjoy peace for about 140 years.

Dynasty XXI (1085 - 945 BC):
Rulers of the Twenty-first Dynasty: Egypt divided Amun rule in Thebes and pharoahs in Tanis.
Dynasty XXII (945 - 745 BC):
Ruler of the Twenty-second Dynasty: Sheshonk I (Libyan dynasty)
Dynasty XXIII (745 - 718 BC):
Ruler of the Twenty-third Dynasty: Nubian invasion ruled by of Piankhi
Dynasty XXIV (718 - 712 BC):
Ruler of the Twenty-fourth Dynasty: ?
Dynasty XXV (712 - 663 BC):
Ruler of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty: Invasion by Assyria (foreign domination follows), ruled by Taharka.
Dynasty XXVI (663 - 525 BC):
Ruler of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty: Necho II, (Herodotus)

LATE DYNASTIC PERIOD: 525 - 332 BC (Dynasties XXVII - XXX):

Peace for Egypt ended when it was invaded by the Persian king Cambyses in 525 B.C. The invaders eventually were expelled, but Egypt was repeatedly having to deal with Persian invasions over nearly two centuries
Dynasty XXVII (525 - 405 BC):
Rulers of the Twenty-seventh Dynasty: Egypt is ruled by the Persian invaders Artaxeres, Xerxes, Darius I and Cambyses.
Dynasties XXVIII through XXX (405 - 332 BC):
Ruler of the Twenty-eighth Dynasty: Amyrtaeus
Rulers of the Twenty-ninth and Thirtieth Dynasties: Nectanebo I (30 th Dynasty). Last of the native dynasties ends with the conquest of Alexander the Great in 332 BC.

PTOLEMAIC PERIOD (Greek): 332 - 30 BC

In 332 BC, the Macedonian (Greek) empire expanded into Egypt with the arrival of Alexander the Great. By 305 BC, the Macedonian general Ptolemy became the first in a long line of Ptolemaic rulers including Cleopatra in Roman times.