Ancient History & Civilisation

TIMELINE

All dates are B.C. The margin of error is within a century or so circa 3000 B.C. and within two decades circa 1300 B.C.; dates are precise from 664 B.C. The system of dynasties devised in the third century B.C. is not without its problems—for example, the Seventh Dynasty is now recognized as being wholly spurious, while several dynasties are known to have ruled concurrently in different parts of Egypt—but this system remains the most convenient method for subdividing ancient Egyptian history. The broader periods are more modern scholarly conventions.

EARLY DYNASTIC PERIOD, 2950–2575

OLD KINGDOM, 2575–2125


FIRST INTERMEDIATE PERIOD, 2125–2010

MIDDLE KINGDOM, 2010–1630

SECOND INTERMEDIATE PERIOD, 1630–1539

NEW KINGDOM, 1539–1069

THIRD INTERMEDIATE PERIOD, 1069–664

LATE PERIOD, 664–332

MACEDONIAN DYNASTY, 332–309

PTOLEMAIC PERIOD, 309–30

AUTHOR’S NOTE

PROPER NAMES

Names of ancient Egyptian people and places have been given in the form most closely approximating the original usage (where this is known), except when the classical form of a place-name has given rise to a widely used adjective. Therefore, “Memphis” (and “Memphite”) are used instead of “Men-nefer” or the earlier “Ineb-hedj,” “Thebes” (“Theban”) rather than “Waset,” “Sais” (“Saite”) instead of “Sa,” and “Herakleopolis” (“Herakleopolitan”) instead of “Nen-nesut.” For ease of reference, the modern equivalent is given in parenthesis after the first mention of an ancient place-name in the text, and the ancient equivalents are given for classical toponyms.

For reasons of accessibility, the names of the Persian and Greek rulers of Egypt in the sixth to first centuries B.C. have been given in their classical and anglicized forms, respectively: for example, Darius instead of Dariyahavush, Ptolemy rather than Ptolemaios, Mark Antony instead of Marcus Antonius.

The Roman numerals (e.g., Thutmose I–IV, Ptolemy I–XV) are a modern convention, used to distinguish between different kings in a sequence who shared the same birth name. Throughout most of Egyptian history, the kings were referred to principally by their throne names; these are formulaic, often long-winded, and generally unfamiliar except to Egyptologists.

DATES

All dates are B.C., except in the Introduction and Epilogue or unless explicitly stated. For dates before 664 B.C., there is a margin of error that ranges from ten to twenty years for the New Kingdom to as much as fifty to a hundred years for the Early Dynastic Period; the dates given in the text represent the latest scholarly consensus. From 664 B.C. onward, sources external to Egypt make a precise chronology possible.

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