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Ancient Egyptian history is a long and complex one with more than 3,000 years of details. Throughout these 3,000 years ancient Egyptians lived under about 30 dynasties, with each dynasty being based on the lineage of the kings/pharaohs.
Throughout all these years, the country experienced many changes, some being very drastic.
The land began as two (Upper & Lower Egypt), with King Menes uniting the two regions at around 3,500 B.C.E. From this point on,
the pharaohs were referred to as the rulers of the Two Kingdoms. In art and on tombs,
the pharaohs were now depicted with the crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt combined to become one crown, known as the pschent.
The reason for the difference in names refers to the flow of the life-giving Nile River. Being that the Nile flows from East Africas highlands down to the Mediterranean Sea, Southern Egypt became known as Upper Egypt, and Northern Egypt became known as Lower Egypt. As these two regions developed independently of each other, the differences between them were evident after the unification of the country, though customs from both regions were combined.
Ancient Egypt also saw the rise of a complex polytheistic religion, which included many gods and the controversy and conflict of one pharaoh (Akhenaton) even trying to convert the country to monotheism. With his failure, the country reverted back to polytheism during the reign of his son.
Relying heavily on the river Nile, the ancient Egyptian civilization expanded and prospered. Trading also allowed the ancient Egyptians to gain much wealth. With this wealth, the royal tombs began to become more elaborate, with the building of pyramids beginning from 2630 B.C.E. With the rise of the Greek and Roman civilizations, the ancient Egyptians soon came under the rule of foreign leaders. With the rule of the Romans came the introduction of Christianity, leading to the inevitable decline of the ancient Egyptian religion and society.
For many, the scope of Egypt's history is difficult to comprehend. Its history covers some five thousand years, and encompasses the origin of civilization, the rise of the Greeks and Romans, the establishment of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic religions, the colonial era when first France and then the English ruled the country, and finally, a return to independence. Egypt has played an important role through all of these eras, and today one can find monuments that evidence Egypt's role in most of the world's historic events, from the beginning of mankind until the present. More and more, we are not only learning about the history of mankind in Egypt, but also about his prehistory, the way that he migrated and finally began to organize communities that eventually lead to a civilized world.
In Egypt, we find the earliest detailed records of warfare recorded thousands of years ago, but we also find the cemeteries and monuments of the world's last global war, World War II. In Egypt, we find some of the first written words of civilization, but we also find great thinkers and writers through the Greek period, into the Christian era, the archaic Islamic period and even modern Nobel Literates. In Egypt, we find ancient pyramids and giant columns supporting massive temples, but we can now find these architectural elements spread throughout the world. Here, along with the first monumental buildings made of stone, we also find the first paved roads, the first wines and beer and even the first peace treaties between organized governments. However, we also find the world's first scientists, doctors, architects and mathematicians.
Egypt is our window to humanity's distant past and in understanding its history, we find both mankind's greatest glories and achievements, as well as his often repeated mistakes. We may follow along with the building of empires, only to see them collapse again and again. We find great men and rulers of renowned, but we often also see their ultimate demise.
And here, we learn about religion, its evolution and, as the world grows older, its replacement with newer religions. Yet, the ancient Egyptian religion has never really completely died out. Even today, many Egyptians continue customs, including some aspects of religion, held over from thousands of years ago. In fact, throughout the world, aspects of the ancient Egyptian religion, particularly funerary, continue to effect our modern lives.
We hope you enjoy our efforts to bring Egyptian history and its monuments to your fingertips. Here one will find just about every aspect of ancient Egypt, from culture to people, from monuments to knowledge. Take the time to understand ancient Egyptian history, and we feel certain you will find, within this knowledge, a better understanding of this modern world in which we live.
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Last Updated: August 21st, 2011