Old Kingdom (2663 B.C.- 2195 B.C.)
Includes the 3rd through 6th Dynasties. The dates of any king’s rule are subjective, as rules were counted by regal years, not by era dating.
3rd Dynasty (2663 b.c.- 2597 b.c.)
Kings Netjerkhet (Djoser- 2663-2643)
Sanakhte (Nebka- 2643-2633)
Sekhemkhet (Djoser-ti- 2633-2626)
Khaba (Teti?- 2626-2621)
Qahedjet? (Huni- 2621-2597)
4th Dynasty (2597 b.c.-2471 b.c.)
Kings Nebmaet (Seneferu- 2597-2547)
Medjedu (Khufu- 2547-2524)
Kheper (Djedefre- 2524-2516)
? (Seth?ka- 2516-2515)
Userib (Khaefre- 2515-2493)
Kakhet (Menkaure- 2493-2475)
Shepseskhet (Shepseskaf- 2475-2471)
5th Dynasty (2471 b.c.-2355 b.c.)
Kings Irimaet (Userkaf- 2471-2464)
Nebkhau (Sahure- 2464-2452)
Neferirkare (Kakai- 2452-2442)
Shepseskare (Isi- 2442-2435)
Neferkhau (Neferefre- 2435-2432)
Niuserre (Ini- 2432-2421)
Menkauhor (Ikauhor- 2421-2413)
Djedkare (Isesi- 2413-2385)
Wadjtawy (Unas- 2385-2355)
6th Dynasty (2355 b.c.- 2195 b.c.)
Kings Seheteptawy (Teti- 2355-2343)
Nefersahor/Meryre (Pepy I- 2343-2297)
Merenre (Nemtyemsaf I- 2297-2290)
Neferkare (Pepy II- 2290-2196)
Merenre? (Nemtyemsaf II- 2196-2195)
It was the Old Kingdom that saw the building of the first- and greatest- pyramids, as well as many other architectural and artistic masterpieces; foreign trade also flourished.
**Misc. everyday living facts:
The Pyramid Texts, inscribed inside the royal tombs of the 5th and 6th Dy, were the earliest set of texts dealing with the next world. They dealt specifically with the posthumous destiny of the king, which differed greatly from that of the mass of humanity: as a divine being he would dwell with his fellow gods in the entourage of the sun-god, Re. The texts varied from tomb to tomb, with some spells being specific to only one tomb.
**Language & Writing:
Old Egyptian (development of Egyptian language time line). Early on in Egyptian history, a distinct handwritten version of the hieroglyphic script developed, known today as hieratic. In its early phases, hieratic was little more than a simplification of the underlying signs. The Old Kingdom saw literature in the form of the Pyramid Texts as well as the first biographies. Perhaps the most common function of hieroglyphs was to act as captions to scenes in tombs and temples. These are usually straightforward, stating what activity is being carried out, or giving snatches of the dialogue between the protagonists. In temples, these are likely to be the flowery speeches of kings and gods. However, in scenes from private tomb-chapels, which usually depict activities from daily life, in particular agricultural work, the banal chit-chat of workmen may be recorded. The biographies are some of the most fascinating texts. Their primary purpose is to glorify the author, particularly by emphasizing his closeness to the pharaoh.
A combination of a pictorial scene, with signs and groups of signs making up words, is a basic feature of the whole body of documents from the earliest years of Egyptian dynastic history. The words included are not formed into sentences, yet act with the associated depictions to convey information about an event. This earlier use of nouns and verbs, made up of signs that would become familiar in later times, had the potential for the later full flowering of the Egyptian script and written language.
The earliest surviving texts written in an unequivocal series of sentences date to the 3rd D, the first royal house of the Old Kingdom, when temple reliefs included proper divine speeches, and private titularies within noble tombs. Hence, the first “proper” Egyptian texts come in the 3rd D, coinciding with the introduction of monumental stone buildings into the archaeological record. By the foundation of the 4th D, around a century later, the written language was approaching maturity, with much more extensive narratives being written and, more importantly, surviving to the present day. An idealistic “wisdom text” (advising proper behavior, respect for others, warnings against gluttony and arrogance) probably dates from this period.
Mummification as this point in time involved tight wrapping of the individual limbs with linen, and then the application of a layer of plaster in which the individual’s features were modeled. This contrasts with later mummies, where the limbs were lost from view amid the swathes of bandages and an all-enveloping outer shroud.
(burials back @ Saqqara, Memphis?) The Step Pyramid is considered the first large stone building in the world (and is the only Egyptian monument whose architect is known- Imhotep, Chancellor of Egypt), and dominates the Saqqara. It was surrounded by a complex of stone building. Like the Umm el-Qaab cemetery (@ Abydos), this area was entered by a gateway at the southern end of the east side, leading into an open courtyard containing elements associated with the royal jubilee ceremonies. There were a variety of other shrines and structures around the pyramid enclosure, often associated with jubilee or coronation ceremonies. There was a temple on the north side of the pyramid, with the entrance to the tomb chamber lying within. A series of galleries surround the burial chamber, and there were a series of shaft tombs for various family members.
The 4th D, beginning with Seneferu around 2600 b.c., marks the last part of the experimental phase of pyramid design and construction. During the D 1 & 1/4 centuries, pyramids reached and passed the zenith of size and quality of building; there then appeared the first examples of the “standard” pyramid complex, examples of which were still to be found as late as the 12th D, eight centuries later. The 4th D saw the change from the step pyramid to the “true” form, i.e. with smooth sides. (smooth sides probably indicate the sun’s rays, fitting with the prominence of the sun cult).
Khufu (2nd P of 4th D) built the Great Pyramid, the largest of all the pyramids and still the most massive free-standing monument in the world. Khaewfre (5th P of 4th D) has the second largest pyramid in Egypt, located next to the Sphinx. Some believe the Sphinx was carved during this time, others believe the pyramid was simply built next to the already existing (built in Archaic Period) Sphinx.
During the 5th D, the principle royal necropoliswas Abusir (11 km south of Gize), although a number of kings were interred @ Saqqara. The size and construction quality of the 5th D pyramids is well below that the 4th D. However, their temples are much larger and preserve very fine examples of relief decoration.