The whole history of ancient Egypt is divided into periods:
The pre-dynastic period
The pre-dynastic period (until 3000 BC). The ancient kingdom (2900-2270 BC) – the era of the reign of I-VI dynasties. This is the time of the builders of the pyramids in Giza, the kings: Cheops (Khufu), Chefren (Hafra) and Mikerin (Menkaur), who belonged to the IV dynasty. The time when the Egyptian religion occupies a sufficient place in the life of the Egyptians. During this period, no changes, compared with the pre-dynastic period and earlier, did not occur. This is the time of the origin of so many cultural traditions of Egypt and, therefore, the study of religion of this particular period is very important.
The first transitional period
The first transitional period (2270-2100 BC), which began after the catastrophic collapse of the “Old Kingdom” (the ghostly kingdom still remained in Memphis). This may have been a transitional stage to a kind of feudalism. During this time, 4 dynasties were replaced, from VII to X, and about 30 kings.
Middle Kingdom (2100-1700 BC). It was founded by Theban rulers who overthrew the Heracles of Kings and reunited the country. This period is the time of the reign of the XI-XIII dynasties, the heyday of culture, the rule of four kings, bearing the name Amemhet, and three named Sesostris (Senusert), the period of creation of many outstanding works of architecture.
The second transitional period
The second transitional period (1700-1555 BC), which passed under the sign of the rule of the Hyks (“shepherd kings”); this is the time of the reign of the XIV-XVII dynasties. The nomadic Hyks tribes invaded Egypt, subjugated it and held it in their hands for a century, until they were driven out by the rulers of Thebes (XVII dynasty). During this period, the Egyptian religion did not reach the highest point of its development, when the changes were already over, and therefore this period is also very important for study.
The New Kingdom
The New Kingdom (1555-1090 BC). The era of kings XVIII-XX dynasties. The conquests of Thutmose III led to the establishment of relations with Western Asia. Luxurious buildings were erected. Amenophis (Amenhotep) III established contacts with the kings of Babylon and Assyria. His successor Amenophis (Amenhotep) IV (his wife was Nefertiti) was a great reformer of religion: instead of the former cult of the god Amon, he introduced the cult of the sun – Aton – and from that time began to call himself Akhenaten. He founded a new capital in the sands of the desert: Thebes was replaced by Tel – Amarna. But the new religion did not survive its founder – it died during the civil wars. With his son-in-law (there are suggestions that he was his son) Amenofis – Tutankhamun – the royal residence was again transferred to Thebes.
But Egypt reached its highest political prosperity under the kings of the 12th dynasty. Ramses II, later nicknamed the Great, reigned 36 years. Monuments of his power are erected by him monumental, or rather colossal, buildings in Abu Simbel, Karnak, Luxor, Abydos, Memphis. (Fig. 2)
After his death, a period of anarchy sets in. Ramses III, whose reign lasted 21 years, re-establishes peace, tranquility and order in the country. Egypt then falls under the rule of the priests of Amun.
The third transitional period
The third transitional period (1090-712 BC) is a period of successes and failures, ups and downs. Of the kings of the XXI-XXIV dynasties, the conqueror of Jerusalem, Sheshonk I, who plundered the temple of Solomon, may be of interest. During the XXIV dynasty, all of Egypt temporarily fell under the rule of the Ethiopians.
In the later times (712-525 BC), which went further, during the XXV dynasty, Egypt was conquered by the Assyrians, led by Asarhaddon. XXVІ dynasty managed to unite Egypt again (but without Ethiopia). The last of the kings of this dynasty – Psamethix III – was defeated by the Persian king Cambyses at Pelusius: Egypt turned into a Persian province. On this, in 525 BC, the history of Ancient Egypt and the history of Egyptian civilization ends.
Further, Egypt was first under Persian rule (525-332 BC). It was approved under Cambyses, Daria I Histaspe and Xerxes I; under Daria II it declines. Egyptian culture at that time lived in tradition, the country became “the prey of more powerful peoples.”
After Persian rule, Egypt came under Greco-Roman domination (332 BC-638 AD).
In 332, Alexander the Great conquered Egypt and founded Alexandria, which became the center of Hellenistic culture. Under Ptolemy III, Egypt regains political independence. The next two centuries until the birth of Christ are filled with dynastic feuds of the Ptolemies. Egypt increasingly fell under the influence of Rome. Christianity spreads early in Egypt. Since 640 AD Egypt becomes completely dependent on the Arab state, later – under the rule of the Ottoman Empire and into European history is already in the time of Napoleon (i.e. his campaign in Egypt).