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Previous Dynasty

Dynasty Notes

The Old Kingdom is best known as the Age of Pyramids, for it is in this kingdom that the Great Pyramid at Giza was built.

The size of Egypt increases dramatically between the early dynastic periods and the Old Kingdom, as the unified country continued to grow in power and prosperity. The pharaohs of the third Dynasty include Djoser, who -- along with his architect Imhotep -- is responsible for the first steps of pyramid building. The Step Pyramid of Djoser is an intermediate step between a true pyramid and a mastaba, the low, bench-like burial mounds of previous pharaohs. Looking like a stack of mastabas seven high, the Step Pyramid complex marks the first monument built entirely of stone.

But it was in the fourth dynasty that pyramid building reached it's peak. The first pharaoh, Sneferu, is credited with no less than than three large pyramids and possibly a few smaller ones. Ruling from Thebes,this dynasty was definitely the "Age of Glory" for Ancient Egypt.

Sneferu is responsible for the Red Pyramid, the Bent Pyramid, The collapsed Pyramid of Maidum, and at least one of the smaller step pyramids in the region, the Seila Step Pyramid. But it was his son, Cheops, who finally perfected the form in the Great Pyramid of Giza. Chephren and Menkaure also built monumental pyramids on the Giza Plateau. How they were built, who built them, and how long it took are still in question.

The fifth Dynasty moved away from the giant monolithic pyramids and moved to built Sun Temples in Abu Sir. The power of the Solar Cult, which originated in Heliopolis was quite apparent and the administrative structure of the government for the first time included men from outside the royal family.

Finally, the sixth dynasty continued the building of funerary complexes and temples, but the first signs of political decay emerge. The rights of succession are given to the official positions in the provincial administration ..the beginning of the decline of the central government and the reduction in power of the pharaoh. The following interregnum, called the First Intermediate Period, is a time of chaos.

Dynasties Pharaohs
Dynasty III Nebkha
Dynasty IV Sneferu
Khufu (Cheops)
khafre (Chephren)
Dynasty V Userkaf
Neferirkare (Kakai)
Dynasty VI Teti I
Pepi I
Merenre I
Pepi II
Merenre II
unattested kings




Dynasty III
Dynasty IV
Dynasty V
Dynasty VI