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The Pharaohs

Imagine what it must have been like to be an ancient king of Egypt. You have total and absolute power over everyone and everything! The crops grown by farmers, the crafts created by artisans, and the lands conquered by soldiers all belong to you. All the wealth of the country is yours! If you want an impressive temple built in your name, just give the order and your people will build it. You (and everyone else) believe that Ra, the falcon-headed god of the sun, is your father- so you are a god, too! Mere humans have to kneel with their foreheads on the floor to show their respect to you. Because you are a god, they are forbidden to talk to you or even say your name. So instead of addressing you directly, they have to call you pharaoh, which means "the great palace." That way, they are referring to your grand home instead of your person. From the moment you become pharaoh, planning and construction on your burial tomb begins. As a god, you'll need special accommodations for the inevitable day when you go on to join with Osiris, the god of the afterlife. There is a downside to being a pharaoh, though. Since no one outside your family has divine royal blood, you'll have to marry one of your sisters. Yuck!

After a pharaoh died, his oldest son would inherit the position. But what if he didn't have any sons? This wasn't usually a problem since pharaohs had many wives, who bore many children. In fact, Ramses II had over 100 children! The throne would be handed down throughout the family, generation after generation.

There were exceptions, though. A dynasty (family of rulers) could end if a pharaoh had no male heirs to inherit his throne. Or a rival could conquer a reigning pharaoh and establish himself as the new king. Even foreign invaders could come in and take the throne. In all, Egypt had 31 dynasties until the Greeks took over in 332 BC. The Greeks ruled as pharaohs, blending their culture with that of Egypt.

Historians divide Egypt's history into several major time periods, where particular events mark the end of one period or the beginning of the next. Most dates are approximate and may vary from one source to another:

Predynastic Period (5200 BC to 3100 BC): First settlers of the Nile Valley hunt and fish, later switch to farming.
Archaic Period (3100 BC to 2700 BC): Many kings rule the several districts spread throughout Egypt. A single leader conquers and unifies all of Egypt under one rule.
Old Kingdom (2700 BC to 2181 BC): Pyramids become the tomb of choice for pharaohs. Egypt becomes a mighty nation.
First Intermediate Period (2181 BC to 2133 BC): The government crumbles and civil war breaks out as several rival kingdoms fight for control of Egypt.
Middle Kingdom (2133 BC to 1633): Egypt is reunited and once again becomes rich and powerful. Egypt expands into Nubia, and art and literature flourish.
Second Intermediate Period (1633 BC to 1567 BC): Hyksos invaders rule Egypt for over 65 years. Bummer... but at least the Egyptians learned about bronze, new weapons, and horse-drawn chariots from them.
New Kingdom (1567 BC to 1085 BC): A group of Egyptian princes drive the Hyksos out of Egypt. Egypt becomes a huge empire. Lots of conquering, lots of building projects, and lots of trading.
Third Intermediate Period (1085 BC to 525 BC): Economic troubles and civil wars weaken Egypt. There are up to 4 kings ruling different parts of Egypt at the same time.
Late Period (525 BC to 332 BC): The Persians rule Egypt, and the Egyptians aren't happy about it.
Graeco-Roman Period (332 BC to AD 641): The time of Greek and Roman rulers and then the ultimate end of Egyptian culture.

 

Below is a list of the pharaohs of Egypt, including the time span of their reign (when known). Clicking on the underlined links will give you a biography of that particular ruler. 

DYNASTY "0"
Scorpion
Narmer

 

DYNASTY 1
Hor-Aha
Djer
Djet
Den
Anedjib
Semerkhet
Qa'a

 

DYNASTY 2
Hotepsekhemwy
Raneb
Nynetjer
Seth-Peribsen
Khasekhemwy

 

DYNASTY 3
Sanakhte (2686 BC - 2668 BC)

Djoser (2668 BC - 2649 BC)
Sekhemkhet (2649 BC - 2643 BC)
Khaba (2643 BC - 2637 BC)

Huni (2637 BC - 2613 BC)

 

DYNASTY 4
Snefru (2623 BC - 2589 BC)
Khufu (also known as Cheops) (2589 BC - 2566 BC)
Djedefre (2566 BC - 2558 BC)
Khafre (also known as Chephren) (2558 BC - 2532 BC)
Menkaure (also known as Mycerinus) (2532 BC - 2504 BC)
Shepseskaf (2504 BC - 2500 BC)

 

DYNASTY 5
Userkaf (2498 BC - 2491 BC)
Sahure (2491 BC - 2477 BC)
Neferirkare (2477 BC - 2467 BC)
Shepseskare (2467 BC - 2460 BC)
Neferefre (2460 BC - 2453 BC)
Niuserre (2453 BC - 2422 BC)
Menkauhor (2422 BC - 2414 BC)
Djedkare (2414 BC - 2375 BC)

Unas (2375 BC - 2345 BC)

 

DYNASTY 6
Teti (2345 BC - 2333 BC)
Pepi I (2332 BC - 2283 BC)
Merenre (2283 BC - 2278 BC)

Pepi II (2278 BC - 2184 BC)

 

DYNASTY 7
Supposedly 70 rival kings who ruled for 70 days

 

DYNASTY 8
Wadjkare
Qakare Iby
others

 

DYNASTIES 9 & 10
Meryibre Khety
Merykare
Kaneferre
Nebkaure Akhtoy
others

 

DYNASTY 11
Intef I (2134 BC - 2117 BC)
Intef II (2117 BC - 2069 BC)
Intef III (2069 BC - 2060 BC)

Mentuhotep I (2060 BC - 2010 BC)
Mentuhotep II (2010 BC - 1998 BC)
Mentuhotep III (1997 BC - 1991 BC)

 

DYNASTY 12
Amenemhet I (1991 BC - 1962 BC)
Senusret I (1971 BC - 1926 BC)
Amenemhet II (1929 BC - 1895 BC)
Senusret II (1897 BC - 1878 BC)
Senusret III (1878 BC - 1841 BC)
Amenemhet III (1842 BC - 1797 BC)
Amenemhet IV (1798 BC - 1786 BC)
Queen Sobeknefru (1785 BC - 1782 BC)

 

DYNASTY 13
Wegaf (1782 BC - 1778 BC)
Ameny Intef IV (? - 1760 BC)
Hor (c. 1760 BC)
Sobekhotep II (c. 1750 BC)
Khendjer (c. 1747 BC)
Sobekhotep III (c. 1745 BC)
Neferhotep I (1741 BC - 1730 BC)
Sobekhotep IV (1730 BC - 1720 BC)
Ay (c. 1720 BC)
Neferhotep II

 

DYNASTY 14
Nehesy
others

 

DYNASTY 15
Sheshi
Yakubher
Khyan
Apepi I
Apepi II
possibly one other

 

DYNASTY 16
Anather
Yakobaam
others

 

DYNASTY 17
Sobekemsaf I
Sobekemsaf II
Intef VII
Tao I (c. 1633)
Tao II (c. 1574)
Kamose (1573 BC - 1570 BC)

 

DYNASTY 18
Amhose I (1570 BC - 1546 BC)
Amenhotep I (1551 BC - 1524 BC)

Tuthmosis I (1524 BC - 1518 BC)
Tuthmosis II (1518 BC - 1504 BC)
Tuthmosis III (1504 BC - 1450 BC)
Queen Hatshepsut (1498 BC - 1483 BC)
Amenhotep II (1453 BC - 1419 BC)

Tuthmosis IV (1419 BC - 1386 BC)
Amenhotep III (1386 BC - 1349 BC)

Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) (1350 BC - 1334 BC)
Smenkhkare (1336 BC - 1334 BC)
Tutankhaten (Tutankhamun) (1334 BC - 1325 BC)
Ay (1325 BC - 1321 BC)
Horemheb (1321 BC - 1293 BC)

 

DYNASTY 19
Ramses I (1293 BC - 1291 BC)

Seti I (1291 BC - 1278 BC)
Ramses II (1279 BC - 1212 BC)
Merneptah (1212 BC - 1202 BC)
Amenmesses (1202 BC - 1199 BC)
Seti II (1199 BC - 1193 BC)
Siptah (1193 BC - 1187 BC)
Queen Twosret (1187 BC - 1185 BC)

 

DYNASTY 20
Setnakhte (1185 BC - 1182 BC)
Ramses III (1182 BC - 1151 BC)
Ramses IV (1151 BC - 1145 BC)
Ramses V (1145 BC - 1141 BC)
Ramses VI (1141 BC - 1133 BC)
Ramses VII (1133 BC - 1126 BC)
Ramses VIII (1133 BC - 1126 BC)
Ramses IX (1126 BC - 1108 BC)
Ramses X (1108 BC - 1098 BC)
Ramses XI (1098 BC - 1070 BC)

 

HIGH PRIESTS AT THEBES
Herihor (1080 BC - 1074 BC)
Piankh (1074 BC - 1070 BC)
Pinedjem I (1070 BC - 1032 BC)
Masaherta (1054 BC - 1046 BC)
Menkheperre (1045 BC - 992 BC)
Smendes II (992 BC - 990 BC)
Pinedjem II (990 BC - 969 BC)
Psusennes III (969 BC - 945 BC)

 

DYNASTY 21
Smendes I (1069 BC - 1043 BC)
Amenemnisu (1043 BC - 1039 BC)
Psusennes I (1039 BC - 991 BC)
Amenemope (993 BC - 984 BC)
Osorkon the Elder (984 BC - 978 BC)
Siamun (978 BC - 959 BC)
Psusennes II (959 BC - 945 BC)

 

DYNASTY 22
Sheshonq I (945 BC - 924 BC)
Osorkon I (924 BC - 889 BC)
Sheshonq II (c. 890)
Takelot I (889 BC - 874 BC)
Osorkon II (874 BC - 850 BC)
Harsiese (870 BC - 860 BC)
Takelot II (850 BC - 825 BC)
Sheshonq III (825 BC - 773 BC)
Pami (773 BC - 767 BC)
Sheshonq V (767 BC - 730 BC)
Osorkon IV (730 BC - 715 BC)

 

DYNASTY 23
Pedibastet (818 BC - 793 BC)
Sheshonq IV (793 BC - 787 BC)
Osorkon III (787 BC - 759 BC)
Takelot III (764 BC - 757 BC)
Rudamon (757 BC - 754 BC)
Iuput (754 BC - 715 BC)
Nimlot
Peftjauabastet

 

DYNASTY 24
Tefnakht (727 BC - 720 BC)
Bakenrenef (720 BC - 715 BC)

 

DYNASTY 25
Piankhi (747 BC - 716 BC)
Shabaka (716 BC - 702 BC)
Shebitku (702 BC - 690 BC)
Taharqa (690 BC - 664 BC)
Tanutamun (664 BC - 656 BC)

 

DYNASTY 26
Psamtik I (664 BC - 610 BC)
Nekau (610 BC - 595 BC)
Psamtik II (595 BC - 589 BC)
Wahibre (589 BC - 570 BC)
Ahmose II (570 BC - 526 BC)
Psamtik III (526 BC - 525 BC)

 

DYNASTY 27
Cambyses II (525 BC - 522 BC)
Darius I (521 BC - 486 BC)
Xerxes (485 BC - 465 BC)
Artaxerxes I (465 BC - 424 BC)
Darius II (423 BC - 405 BC)
Artaxerxes II (405 BC - 359 BC)

 

DYNASTY 28
Amyrtaeus (404 BC - 399 BC)

 

DYNASTY 29
Nefaarud I (399 BC - 393 BC)
Hakor (393 BC - 380 BC)

 

DYNASTY 30
Nakhtnebef (380 BC - 362 BC)
Djedhor (362 BC - 360 BC)
Nakhthoreb (360 BC - 343 BC)

 

DYNASTY 31
Artaxerxes III (343 BC - 338 BC)
Arses (338 BC - 336 BC)
Darius III (336 BC - 332 BC)

 

MACEDONIAN KINGS
Alexander the Great (332 BC - 323 BC)
Philip Arrhidaeus (323 BC - 317 BC)
Alexander IV (317 BC - 305 BC)

 

PTOLEMAIC DYNASTY
Ptolemy I
Ptolemy II
Ptolemy III
Ptolemy IV
Ptolemy V
Ptolemy VI
Ptolemy VII
Ptolemy VIII
Ptolemy IX
Ptolemy X
Ptolemy XI
Ptolemy XII
Queen Berenice IV

Queen Cleopatra VII
Ptolemy XV Caesarion