The Landscape Guide

Egyptian dynasties

Civilisation began in North East Africa and the Middle East. Egyptian law has a longer history than any other civilisation has yet achieved. It was proclaimed and maintained by pharoahs who were both Gods and kings. The dynastic history of Egypt can be divided into three 'periods' or 'kingdoms' (old, middle and new), with several intermediate periods of unsettled rule. It was not the oldest of the ancient civilisations.

 Earliest Dynasties: I, 3200-3000; 11, 3000-2780.

 Old Kingdom (Old Period): III, 2780-2720; IV, 2720-2560; V, 2560-2420; VI, 2420- 2270.

 First Intermediate Period: VII and VIII, 2270-2240; IX and X, 2240-2100.

 Middle Kingdom (Middle Period): XI, 2100-2000; XII,


 Second Intermediate Period:

XIlI-XVI, 1788-1600; XVII, 1600- 1555.

New Kingdom (New Period or  Empire): XVIII, 1555-1350; XIX, 1350-1200; XX, 1200-1090; XXI, 1090-945; XXII, 945-c. 745; XXIII, c, 745-718; XXIV, 718-712

Late Period: XXV, 712-663; XXVI. 663-525 (from 663 to 610 Egypt subject to  Assyria); XXVII (Persian), 525-332; Egyptian rebellion, which ousted the Persians, established XXVIII, 405-399; XXIX, 399-379; XXX, 379-34 1. In 332 Egypt conquered by Alexander the Great, at whose death (323) Ptolemy established the Greek dynasty.

A painting of Abu Simbel, before Lake Nasser forced UNESCO to move the monument to a new location in the 1960s. The four colossal statues (20m) were carved out of a sandstone cliff by Ramases II (ruled 1304-1273 BC during the period of the New Kingdom) and served as the entrance to a temple.


Pre-Egyptian dates:

Age of Universe       12 billion years
Age of Solar System    5 billion years
Earliest Life on Earth    3.8 billion years
Man (Australopithicus anamensis)    4 million years
Homo erectus began to leave Africa   1-2 million years
Homo sapiens    400,000 years
Homo sapiens 'Out of Africa'    100,000 years
Other Homo species extinct   30,000 years
Oldest settlements   10,000 years BCE
Oldest cities   5,000 years BCE


  • BCE=Before Common Era
  • a modern human skeleton that has been dated as far back as 60,000 years has been found in Australia.