See Amenemhat, for other individuals with this name. Amenemhat I Amenemhet I and the hellenized form Ammenemes, was the first ruler of the Twelfth Dynasty, the dynasty considered to be the golden-age of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt, he ruled from 1991 BC to 1962 BC. Amenemhat I was the same as the vizier named Amenemhat who led an expedition to Wadi Hammamat under his predecessor Mentuhotep IV, overthrew him from power. Scholars differ as to whether Mentuhotep IV was killed by Amenemhat I, but there is no independent evidence to suggest this and there may have been a period of co-regency between their reigns. Amenemhet I was not of royal lineage, the composition of some literary works and, in architecture, the reversion to the pyramid-style complexes of the 6th dynasty rulers are considered to have been attempts at legitimizing his rule. Amenemhat I moved the capital from Thebes to Itjtawy and was buried in el-Lisht. There's some evidence that the early reign of Amenemhat I was beset with political turmoil, as indicated by the inscriptions of Nehri, a local governor.
There were some naval battles where an associate of Amenemhat I by the name of Khnumhotep I was involved, helped to procure victory. Khnumhotep was appointed as an important local governor at Beni Hasan, he founded a dynasty of local governors there, his grandson was Khnumhotep III. In the inscriptions by Khnumhotep, mention is made of military campaigns against the Asiatics and the Nubians. Amenemhat I's name is associated with one of only two sebayt or ethical "teachings" attributed to Egyptian monarchs, entitled the Instructions of Amenemhat, though it is thought today that it was composed by a scribe at the behest of the king. Amenemhat I's Horus name, which means renaissance or rebirth, is an allusion to the Old Kingdom period, whose cultural icons and models were emulated by the Twelfth Dynasty kings after the end of the First Intermediate Period; the cult of the king was promoted during this period, which witnessed a steady return to a more centralized government. The vizier at the beginning of the reign was Ipi, at the end of the reign.
Two treasurers can be placed under this king: Rehuerdjersen. Two high stewards and Sobeknakht, have been identified, his pyramid was made in the same fashion as 5th and 6th dynasty pyramids by having a rough core clad with a fine mantle of smooth limestone. "The core of the pyramid was made up of small rough blocks of limestone with a loose fill of sand and mudbrick. The most remarkable feature is that it included fragments of relief-decorated blocks from Old Kingdom monuments – many from pyramid causeways and temples, including Khufu's. Granite blocks from Khafre's complex went into the lining and blocking of Amenemhat I's descending passage. We can only conclude that they were picked up at Saqqara and Giza and brought to Lisht to be incorporated into the pyramid for their spiritual efficacy"; when the limestone outer layer was taken, the core slumped. The pyramid and temple have been used as a source of material for lime burners so only a small amount remains today; the Middle Kingdom pyramids were built closer to the Nile and Amenemhet I's burial chamber is now underwater because the River Nile has shifted course.
The complex has an outer wall of mudbrick. There are a number of mastaba tombs between the walls and 22 burial shafts on the western side of the pyramid, his son Senusret I followed in his footsteps, building his pyramid – a closer reflection of the 6th dynasty pyramids than that of Amenemhat I – at Lisht as well, but his grandson, Amenemhat II, broke with this tradition. Two literary works dating from the end of the reign give a picture about Amenemhat I's death; the Instructions of Amenemhat were counsels that the deceased king gave to his son during a dream. In the passage where he warns Senusret I against too great intimacy with his subjects, he tells the story of his own death as a reinforcement: This passage refers to a conspiracy in which Amenemhat was killed by his own guards, when his son and co-regent Senusret I was leading a campaign in Libya. Another account of the following events is given in the Story of Sinuhe, a famous text of Egyptian literature: Amenemhat I is considered to be the first king of Egypt to have had a coregency with his son, Senusret I.
A double dated stela from Abydos and now in the Cairo Museum is dated to the Year 30 of Amenemhat I and to the Year 10 of Senusret I, which establishes that Senusret was made co-regent in Amenemhat's Year 20. Naguib Mahfouz, the Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian writer, includes Amenemhat I in one of his stories published in 1941 entitled "Awdat Sinuhi"; the story appeared in an English translation by Raymond Stock in 2003 as "The Return of Sinuhe" in the collection of Mahfouz's short stories entitled Voices from the Other World. The story is based directly on the "Story of Sinuhe", although adding details of a lovers' triangle romance involving Amenemhat I and Sinuhe that does not appear in the original. Mahfouz includes the pharaoh in his account of Egypt's rulers "Facing the Throne". In this work, the Nobel laureate has the Ancient Egyptian gods judge the country's rulers from Pharaoh Mena to President Anwar Sadat. List of Egyptian pyramids List of megalithic sites W. Grajetzki, The Middle Kingdom of Ancient Egypt: History and Society, London 2006 ISBN 0-7156-3435-6, 28-35 Mahfouz, Naguib.
The Return of Sinuhe in Voices from the Other World, Random H
El Kab is an Upper Egyptian site on the east bank of the Nile at the mouth of the Wadi Hillal about 80 kilometres south of Luxor. El Kab was called Nekheb in the Egyptian language, a name that refers to Nekhbet, the goddess depicted as a white vulture. El Kab consists of prehistoric and ancient Egyptian settlements, rock-cut tombs of the early Eighteenth Dynasty, remains of temples dating from the Early Dynastic period to the Ptolemaic Kingdom, as well as part of the walls of a Coptic monastery; this site was first scientifically excavated by James Quibell at the end of the nineteenth century, but other archaeologists have spent time at this site include Frederick William Green, Archibald Henry Sayce, Joseph John Tylor, Somers Clarke. However, Belgian archaeologists took over the project in 1937, it has remained in their hands since then. Much of the research done at this site took place within the town enclosure of El-Kab. However, since the 1980s the work has shifted north east of the town.
El-Kab is in Upper Egypt, located on the east side of the Nile River to the opposite of Hierakonpolis and about fifty miles above Thebes. With the way the river meandered and eroded the rocks and sand, the Nile River is level with the town, but according to Somers Clarke in his journal article “El-Kab and the Great Wall,” “in its early youth the town must have stood well above the flood waters.” The site could be described as a bay between sandstone cliffs to the north and south, this same sandstone was used to build the temples found in this site. During Quibell's first excavation, most of the work was done in the cemetery east of the town. There Quibell found many buried skeletons, all with their heads pointing towards the north, none of them mummified; this being the earliest cemetery at the site, bead, paint slabs and mirrors were found in these burials, but no papyrus or text were found anywhere. The walled settlement of Nekheb was one of the first urban centres of the Early Dynastic period, for a short time in the New Kingdom it eclipsed in the city of Nekhen or Hierakonpolis on the opposite bank, becoming the capital of the third nome of Upper Egypt.
Its massive mudbrick walls, dating to the Late Period and thought to have been built by Nectanebo II as a defensive measure, are still preserved. They enclose an area of about 25,000 square metres. Near the centre of the Nekheb are the remains of sandstone temples dedicated to the ancient Egyptian deities Nekhbet and Thoth that date to the Eighteenth to Thirtieth Dynasties, but the original foundation of the temple of Nekhbet certainly dates back to the late fourth millennium BC; the necropolis has some important tombs, showing the early history of the Eighteenth Dynasty and the reunification of Egypt. The rock tombs of the provincial governors of Nekheb in the New Kingdom include those of Sobeknakht II an important official whose saved the Theban Sixteenth or Seventeenth Dynasty from near destruction by invading forces from the Kingdom of Kush, son of Ebana, an admiral in the wars of liberation against the Hyksos rulers, Setau, a priest during the reign of Ramesses II; the style of the early Eighteenth Dynasty wallpaintings anticipates that of the first New Kingdom nobles' tombs at Thebes.
During the Greco-Roman period, the town became known as Eileithyias polis. This village may have thrived for a little while, but it seems that in 380, the city was demolished, either from military or political events. All that remains of the actual buildings are the lower parts of the walls of the houses, but luckily many of the artifacts that would have been inside the houses remained. Coins from the first to fourth century were recovered along with ostraca. One of the discoveries at the site that Quibell questioned the most during his dig was the walls that surrounded the Serdab. However, much more research has been done since and according to a journal article published by the "British Museum of Ancient Egypt and Sudan", the walls date to about the 30th Dynasty, or about the 4th century BC. In 1921, an article titled "El-Kab and the Great Wall" was published in "The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology", it explained further the three different sets of walls and what they were used for; the first set of walls "encloses part of the ancient town, second a double range the temple group, lastly, most conspicuous of the three, the great and massive wall across the site of the ancient town."
This last wall mentioned surrounds a plot of land that had never been inhabited. After some time, because the movement of the Nile River towards the city had threatened to destroy the construction, the original wall around the city could no longer be useful; the Egyptians had to construct a new wall, farther from the Nile, so that the people could continue to build their houses and live in an area safe from destruction. James Breasted mentions these walls in an account he wrote of the site in 1897. In his article he states with admiration that, "it is the only city of remote antiquity the walls of which still stand intact. From the cliffs back of the town one may look down upon it, stretched out beneath one's feet, see the majestic temple, surrounded by the beautiful villas of the feudal lords, whose soldiery once manned the now silent walls." He goes on to describe these walls as sun baked brick that are laid thirty-eight feet thick, surround an enclosur
Khnumhotep I was an ancient Egyptian Great Chief of the Oryx nome during the reign of Pharaoh Amenemhat I of the 12th Dynasty, Middle Kingdom. Khnumhotep I is the earliest known member of a powerful family of nomarchs and officials, housed in Men'at Khufu, which lasted for most of the 12th dynasty; some biographical information about Khnumhotep I came from his tomb at Beni Hasan as well as from that of his grandson Khnumhotep II. Khnumhotep's mother was a lady called Baqet, his family replaced an earlier family of nomarchs who were active at Men'at Khufu during the second part of the 11th Dynasty, whose members were named Khety or Baqet. From the inscriptions in Khnumhotep's tomb is known that early in his career he accompanied Amenemhat I in a military expedition aimed to expel a foe from Egypt; the name of this enemy is deliberately omitted in order to prevent his unintended “immortality”, but was undoubtedly one of Amenemhat's rivals for the crown Segerseni. Amenemhat emerged victorious over “Nubians and Asiatics” and Khnumhotep was rewarded for his loyalty with the title count of Men'at Khufu.
Khnumhotep I was granted other titles such as great lord of the Oryx nome, hereditary prince and count, wearer of the royal seal, sole companion, was in charge of an important office at Nekhen. He married. After Khunmhotep's death, his titles passed to his son Nakht to a unrelated man called Amenemhat and again to one of his relatives, Netjernakht. Khnumhotep I had a daughter, herself mother of the aforementioned Khnumhotep II who inherited the title of nomarch after Netjernakht. See "Nomarchs of the Oryx nome" for further notes about his genealogy. James Henry Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, Volume I, The First to the Seventeenth Dynasties, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1906–1907, Available online. Wolfram Grajetzki, Court Officials of the Egyptian Middle Kingdom, London 2009. Percy Newberry, Beni Hasan. Part 1. London, England: Kegan Paul, Tubner & Co. Ltd. 1893. Available online
Senet is a board game from ancient Egypt, whose original rules are the subject of conjecture. The oldest hieroglyph resembling a senet game dates to around 3100 BC; the full name of the game in Egyptian is thought to have been zn.t n.t ḥˁb, meaning the "game of passing". Senet is one of the oldest known board games. Fragmentary boards that could be senet have been found in First Dynasty burials in Egypt, c. 3100 BC. A hieroglyph resembling a senet board appears in the tomb of Merknera; the first unequivocal painting of this ancient game is from the Third Dynasty tomb of Hesy. People are depicted playing senet in a painting in the tomb of Rashepes, as well as from other tombs of the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties; the oldest intact senet boards date to the Middle Kingdom, but graffiti on Fifth and Sixth Dynasty monuments could date as early as the Old Kingdom. At least by the time of the New Kingdom in Egypt, senet was conceived as a representation of the journey of the ka to the afterlife; this connection is made in the Great Game Text, which appears in a number of papyri, as well as the appearance of markings of religious significance on senet boards themselves.
The game is referred to in chapter XVII of the Book of the Dead. Senet was played by people in neighboring cultures, it came to those places through trade relationships between Egyptians and local peoples, it has been found in the Levant at sites such as Byblos, as well as in Cyprus. Because of the local practice of making games out of stone, there are more senet games that have been found in Cyprus than have been found in Egypt; the senet gameboard is a grid of 30 squares, arranged in three rows of ten. A senet board has two sets of pawns. Although details of the original game rules are a subject of some conjecture, senet historians Timothy Kendall and R. C. Bell have made their own reconstructions of the game; these rules are based on snippets of texts that span over a thousand years, over which time gameplay is to have changed. Therefore, it is unlikely, their rules have been adopted by sellers of modern senet sets. In a presentation to the XX Board Games Studies Colloquium at the University of Copenhagen, Espen Aarseth asked if the game Senet could be said to still exist, given that the rules were unknown.
In response, Alexander de Voogt of the American Museum of Natural History pointed out that games did not have a fixed set of rules, but rules varied over time and from place to place. Moreover, many players of games today, do not play the "official rules". Games historian Eddie Duggan provides a brief resume of ideas related to the ancient Egyptian game of senet and a version of rules for play in his teaching notes on ancient games. Mehen – another ancient Egyptian game Patolli – a game of pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures Tâb – a Middle Eastern game, sometimes confused with senet Crist, Walter. Ancient Egyptians at Play: Board Games Across Borders. New York, NY: Bloomsbury. Pp. 41–80. ISBN 978-1-4742-2117-7. Kendall, Timothy. Passing Through the Netherworld: The meaning and play of Senet, an ancient Egyptian funerary game. Belmont, Massachusetts: Kirk Game Company. Piccione, Peter A.. Finkel, Irving L. ed. Ancient Board Games in perspective. London: British Museum Press. Pp. 54–63. ISBN 978-0-714-11153-7.
Bell, R. C.. Board and Table Games From Many Civilizations. I. Dover Publications Inc. pp. 26–28. ISBN 978-0-671-06030-5. Bell, R. C.. "Senat". The Boardgame Book. Exeter Books. Pp. 82–83. ISBN 978-0-671-06030-5. Falkener, Edward. "§V. The Game of Senat". Games Ancient and Oriental and How to Play Them. Dover Publications Inc. pp. 63–82. ISBN 978-0-486-20739-1. Grunfeld, Frederic V.. "Senat". Games of the World. Holt and Winston. Pp. 53–55. ISBN 978-0-03-015261-0. Senet at BoardGameGeek Senet: Review of versions rules speculation at BoardGameGeek Variations in the rules at BoardGameGeek Senet compared with the Royal Game of Ur at Eurogamer Freeware Windows Senet program at SourceForge
Thebes, known to the ancient Egyptians as Waset, was an ancient Egyptian city located along the Nile about 800 kilometers south of the Mediterranean. Its ruins lie within the modern Egyptian city of Luxor. Thebes was the main city of the fourth Upper Egyptian nome and was the capital of Egypt during the Middle Kingdom and the New Kingdom, it was close to the Eastern Desert, with its valuable mineral resources and trade routes. It was the most venerated city of ancient Egypt during its heyday; the site of Thebes includes areas on both the eastern bank of the Nile, where the temples of Karnak and Luxor stand and the city proper was situated. The Egyptian name for Thebes was wꜣs.t, "City of the wꜣs", the sceptre of the pharaohs, a long staff with an animal's head and a forked base. From the end of the New Kingdom, Thebes was known in Egyptian as niwt-'imn, the "City of Amun", the chief of the Theban Triad of deities whose other members were Mut and Khonsu; this name of Thebes appears in the Bible as the "Nōʼ ʼĀmôn" in the Book of Nahum and as "No" mentioned in the Book of Ezekiel and Jeremiah.
Thebes is the latinised form of Koine Greek: Θῆβαι, the hellenized form of the Demotic Egyptian ta Pe, from earlier ta Opet. This was the local name not for the city itself but for the Karnak temple complex on the northeast bank of the city; as early as Homer's Iliad, the Greeks distinguished the Egyptian Thebes as "Thebes of the Hundred Gates" or "Hundred-Gated Thebes", as opposed to the "Thebes of the Seven Gates" in Boeotia, Greece. In the interpretatio graeca, Amun was rendered as Zeus Ammon; the name was therefore translated into Greek as Diospolis, "City of Zeus". To distinguish it from the numerous other cities by this name, it was known as the "Great Diospolis"; the Greek names came into wider use after the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great, when the country came to be ruled by the Macedonian Ptolemaic dynasty. Thebes was located along the banks of the Nile River in the middle part of Upper Egypt about 800 km from the Delta, it was built on the alluvial plains of the Nile Valley which follows a great bend of the Nile.
As a natural consequence, the city was laid in a northeast-southwest axis parallel to the contemporary river channel. Thebes had an area of 93 km2 which included parts of the Theban Hills in the west that culminates at the sacred 420-meter al-Qurn. In the east lies the mountainous Eastern Desert with its wadis draining into the valley. Significant among these wadis is Wadi Hammamat near Thebes, it was used as an overland trade route going to the Red Sea coast. In the fourth Upper Egyptian nome, Thebes was found to have neighboring towns such as Per-Hathor, Djerty, Iuny and Imiotru. According to George Modelski, Thebes had about 40,000 inhabitants in 2000 BC. By 1800 BC, the population of Memphis was down to about 30,000, making Thebes the largest city in Egypt at the time. Historian Ian Morris estimated that by 1500 BC, Thebes may have grown to be the largest city in the world, with a population of about 75,000, a position which it held until about 900 BC, when it was surpassed by Nimrud; the archaeological remains of Thebes offer a striking testimony to Egyptian civilization at its height.
The Greek poet Homer extolled the wealth of Thebes in the Iliad, Book 9: "... in Egyptian Thebes the heaps of precious ingots gleam, the hundred-gated Thebes." More than sixty annual festivals were celebrated in Thebes. The major festivals among these according to the Edfu Geographical Text were: the Beautiful Feast of Opet, the Khoiak, Festival of I Shemu, Festival of II Shemu. Another popular festivity was the halloween-like Beautiful Festival of the Valley. Thebes was inhabited from around 3200 BC, it was the eponymous capital of the fourth Upper Egyptian nome. At this time it was still a small trading post while Memphis served as the royal residence of Old Kingdom pharaohs. Although no buildings survive in Thebes older than the portions of the Karnak temple complex, which may date from the Middle Kingdom, the lower part of a statue of Pharaoh Nyuserre of the 5th Dynasty has been found in Karnak. Another statue, dedicated by the 12th Dynasty king Senusret may have been usurped and re-used, since the statue bears a cartouche of Nyuserre on its belt.
Since seven rulers of the 4th to 6th Dynasties appear on the Karnak king list at the least there was a temple in the Theban area which dated to the Old Kingdom. By 2160 BC, a new line of pharaohs consolidated Lower Egypt and northern parts of Upper Egypt from their capital in Herakleopolis Magna. A rival line based at Thebes ruled the remaining part of Upper Egypt; the Theban rulers were descendants of the prince of Thebes, Intef the Elder. His probable grandson Intef I was the first of the family to claim in life a partial pharaonic titulary, though his power did not extend much further than the general Theban region. By c. 2050 BC, Intef III's son Mentuhotep II, took the Herakleopolitans by force and reunited Egypt once again under one ruler, thereby starting the period now known as the Middle Kingdom. Mentuhotep II ruled for 51 years and built the first mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahri, which most served as the inspiration for the and larger temple built next to it by Hat
Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II was a Pharaoh of the 11th Dynasty who reigned for 51 years. Around his 39th year on the throne he reunited Egypt, he is considered the first pharaoh of the Middle Kingdom. Mentuhotep II was the son of Intef III and Intef III's wife Iah who may have been his sister; this lineage is demonstrated by the stele of Henenu, an official who served under Intef II, Intef III and his son, which the stele identifies as Horus s-ankh-, Mentuhotep II's first Horus name. As for Iah, she bore the title of mwt-nswt, "King's mother"; the parentage of Mentuhotep II is indirectly confirmed by a relief at Shatt er-Rigal. Mentuhotep II had many wives who were buried with him in or close to his mortuary temple: Tem who might have been Mentuhotep II's chief wife as she bore the titles of hmt-nswt "King's wife", hmt-nswt mryt.f "King's wife, his beloved" and wrt-Hts-nbwi "Great one of the hetes-sceptre of the two Lords". She gave Mentuhotep II two children, one of, Mentuhotep III since Tem was called mwt-nswt, ""King's mother" and mwt-nswt-bitj, "Dual king's mother".
She died after her husband and was buried by her son in Mentuhotep's temple. Her tomb was discovered in 1859 by Lord Duffering and excavated in 1968 by D. Arnold. Neferu II was called "King's wife" and hmt-nswt-mryt.f, "King's wife, his beloved". She might have been Mentuhotep II's sister since she bore the titles of s3t-nswt-smswt-n-kht.f, "Eldest king daughter of his body", irjt-p3t, "hereditary princess" and hmwt-nbwt, "mistress of all women". She was buried in the tomb TT319 of Deir el-Bahri. Kawit was one of Mentuhotep II's secondary wives, she bore the titles of hmt-nswt mryt.f "King's wife, his beloved" and khkrt-nswt, "King's embellishment". She was a "Priestess of the goddess Hathor", it has been suggested. She was buried under the terrasse of Mentuhotep II's mortuary temple where E. Naville uncovered her sarcophagus in 1907. Sadeh, Ashayet and Kemsit were all Mentuhotep II's secondary wives, they bore the title of hmt-nswt mryt.f "King's wife, his beloved" and khkrt-nswt-w3tit "Unique embellishment of the King".
They were priestesses of Hathor and each of them was buried in a single pit dug under the terrasse of Mentuhotep II's temple. Note that an alternative theory holds that Henhenet was one of Intef III's secondary wives the mother of Neferu II. Henhenet might have died in childbirth. Mwyt, a five-year-old girl buried with Mentuhotep II's secondary wives, it is most one of his daughters. Mentuhotep II is considered to be the first ruler of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt; the Turin Canon credits him with a reign of 51 years. Many Egyptologists have long considered two rock reliefs, showing Mentuhotep II towering over smaller figures labeled king "Intef", to be conclusive evidence that his predecessor Intef III was his own father; when he ascended the Theban throne, Mentuhotep II inherited the vast land conquered by his predecessors from the first cataract in the south to Abydos and Tjebu in the north. Mentuhotep II's first fourteen years of reign seem to have been peaceful in the Theban region as there are no surviving traces of conflict datable to that period.
In fact, the general scarcity of testimonies from the early part of Mentuhotep's reign might indicate that he was young when he ascended the throne, a hypothesis consistent with his 51 years long reign. In the 14th year of his reign, an uprising occurred in the north; this uprising is most connected with the ongoing conflict between Mentuhotep II based in Thebes and the rival 10th Dynasty based at Herakleopolis who threatened to invade Upper Egypt. The 14th year of Mentuhotep's reign is indeed named Year of the crime of Thinis; this refers to the conquest of the Thinite region by the Herakleopolitan kings who desecrated the sacred ancient royal necropolis of Abydos in the process. Mentuhotep II subsequently dispatched his armies to the north; the famous tomb of the warriors at Deir el-Bahari discovered in the 1920s, contained the linen-wrapped, unmummified bodies of 60 soldiers all killed in battle, their shroud bearing Mentuhotep II's cartouche. Due to its proximity to the Theban royal tombs, the tomb of the warriors is believed to be that of heroes who died during the conflict between Mentuhotep II and his foes to the north.
Merikare, the ruler of Lower-Egypt at the time may have died during the conflict, which further weakened his kingdom and gave Mentuhotep the opportunity to reunite Egypt. The exact date when reunification was achieved is not known, but it is assumed to have happened shortly before year 39 of his reign. Indeed, evidence shows that the process took time, maybe due to the general insecurity of the country at the time: commoners were buried with weapons, the funerary stelae of officials show them holding weapons instead of the usual regalia and when Mentuhotep II's successor sent an expedition to Punt some 20 years after the reunification, they still had to clear the Wadi Hammamat of rebels. Following the reunification, Mentuhotep II was considered by his subjects to be divine, or half divine; this was still the case during the late 12th Dynasty some 200 years later: Senusret III and Amenemhat III erected stelae commemorating opening of the mouth ceremonies practiced on Mentuhotep II's statues.
Mentuhotep II launched military campaigns under the command of his vizier Khety south into Nubia, which had gain
Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in the place, now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under Menes; the history of ancient Egypt occurred as a series of stable kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age. Egypt reached the pinnacle of its power in the New Kingdom, ruling much of Nubia and a sizable portion of the Near East, after which it entered a period of slow decline. During the course of its history Egypt was invaded or conquered by a number of foreign powers, including the Hyksos, the Libyans, the Nubians, the Assyrians, the Achaemenid Persians, the Macedonians under the command of Alexander the Great; the Greek Ptolemaic Kingdom, formed in the aftermath of Alexander's death, ruled Egypt until 30 BC, under Cleopatra, it fell to the Roman Empire and became a Roman province.
The success of ancient Egyptian civilization came from its ability to adapt to the conditions of the Nile River valley for agriculture. The predictable flooding and controlled irrigation of the fertile valley produced surplus crops, which supported a more dense population, social development and culture. With resources to spare, the administration sponsored mineral exploitation of the valley and surrounding desert regions, the early development of an independent writing system, the organization of collective construction and agricultural projects, trade with surrounding regions, a military intended to assert Egyptian dominance. Motivating and organizing these activities was a bureaucracy of elite scribes, religious leaders, administrators under the control of a pharaoh, who ensured the cooperation and unity of the Egyptian people in the context of an elaborate system of religious beliefs; the many achievements of the ancient Egyptians include the quarrying and construction techniques that supported the building of monumental pyramids and obelisks.
Ancient Egypt has left a lasting legacy. Its art and architecture were copied, its antiquities carried off to far corners of the world, its monumental ruins have inspired the imaginations of writers for centuries. A new-found respect for antiquities and excavations in the early modern period by Europeans and Egyptians led to the scientific investigation of Egyptian civilization and a greater appreciation of its cultural legacy; the Nile has been the lifeline of its region for much of human history. The fertile floodplain of the Nile gave humans the opportunity to develop a settled agricultural economy and a more sophisticated, centralized society that became a cornerstone in the history of human civilization. Nomadic modern human hunter-gatherers began living in the Nile valley through the end of the Middle Pleistocene some 120,000 years ago. By the late Paleolithic period, the arid climate of Northern Africa became hot and dry, forcing the populations of the area to concentrate along the river region.
In Predynastic and Early Dynastic times, the Egyptian climate was much less arid. Large regions of Egypt were traversed by herds of grazing ungulates. Foliage and fauna were far more prolific in all environs and the Nile region supported large populations of waterfowl. Hunting would have been common for Egyptians, this is the period when many animals were first domesticated. By about 5500 BC, small tribes living in the Nile valley had developed into a series of cultures demonstrating firm control of agriculture and animal husbandry, identifiable by their pottery and personal items, such as combs and beads; the largest of these early cultures in upper Egypt was the Badari, which originated in the Western Desert. The Badari was followed by the Amratian and Gerzeh cultures, which brought a number of technological improvements; as early as the Naqada I Period, predynastic Egyptians imported obsidian from Ethiopia, used to shape blades and other objects from flakes. In Naqada II times, early evidence exists of contact with the Near East Canaan and the Byblos coast.
Over a period of about 1,000 years, the Naqada culture developed from a few small farming communities into a powerful civilization whose leaders were in complete control of the people and resources of the Nile valley. Establishing a power center at Nekhen, at Abydos, Naqada III leaders expanded their control of Egypt northwards along the Nile, they traded with Nubia to the south, the oases of the western desert to the west, the cultures of the eastern Mediterranean and Near East to the east, initiating a period of Egypt-Mesopotamia relations. The Naqada culture manufactured a diverse selection of material goods, reflective of the increasing power and wealth of the elite, as well as societal personal-use items, which included combs, small statuary, painted pottery, high quality decorative stone vases, cosmetic palettes, jewelry made of gold and ivory, they developed a ceramic glaze known as faience, used well into the Roman Per