Since the twelfth millennium BC we start finding traces of a human existence in the Nile valley, but we haven't found any ruins that may suggest the existence of a civilization.
It's only from about 8000 BC that we find proofs that this population began cultivating the fertile valley, an activity that lead to more stability. The Egyptians started inhabiting the banks of the river, constructing their mud brick huts and observing nature's cycle of life around them and that will mark this civilization from that moment onwards.
6000 BC marks the beginning of a solid civilization, villages and cities evolved around agricultural and basic industrial activities from pottery to art crafts.
Two cities co existed one in the northern part of the country where Nile spreads its delta and the other in the south where the valley cuts its path between two deserts.
About 3200BC we begin the Pharaohs also called the dynastic period during which a king wearing both crowns of upper and Lower Egypt will rule the land. The Hieroglyphic writing being already known and used will help in documenting the details of that era. The construction of Memphis the first Egyptian capital will mark the birth of the first government in human history.
Historians divided this era into dynasties, distinguishing the strong, stable ones from the others by the term (kingdom)
- Old kingdom: 3200 _ 2200 BC, Dynasties 01_06
- 1st intermediate period: 2200 _ 2050 BC, Dynasties 07_10
- Middle kingdom: 2050 _ 1800 BC, Dynasties 11_12
- 2nd intermediate period; 1800 _1500 BC, Dynasties 13 _17
- New kingdom: 1500 _1000 BC, Dynasties 18 _ 20
- Late period: 1000 _ 332 BC, Dynasties 21 _ 30
- Greek period: 332 _30 BC, The Ptolemy’s
- Roman period: 30 BC_ 395 AD, The Romans
- The Byzantine period: 395 _ 641 AD, The Byzantines
The old kingdom:
The Pyramids’ era, starting from that point in history Egypt will use cut stone with the famous architect Imhotep not only to construct the pyramid but also the whole funerary complex in Sakkara. Most of the monuments of this period are situated in the desert near Memphis, the capital, in sites like Giza, Abu Seir, Dahshour........
The first intermediate period:
A very difficult time with disorder in the land and the rising of local governors disputing among themselves territorial authority and as a result very few things would be created.
The middle kingdom:
The local prince of Thebes will once more unite Egypt under his power to begin a lovely period of stability but that would only last for two centuries.
The second intermediate period:
Another very difficult time for the Egyptians who would know for the first time in their history hardships of occupation. The Hyksos people coming from the north east would occupy the Delta of the Nile while the southern part of the country would still breathe freedom.
The new kingdom:
One of the most important and best documented periods of the country, new borders would be set surpassing all what an Egyptian could have imagined earlier, great names would be immortalized Tutmosis, Amenophis, Akhenaton, Ramses, new beauty canons would haunt humanity ever since Nefertiti, Hatshepsut, Nefertari..........Great monuments would bear witness to that glory in Karnak, valley of the kings, Deir el bahary, Medinet Habu........
The late period:
The last 10 dynasties were not always ruled by Egyptian kings; there were times when foreigners ruled the land, Libyans during the 22nd, Nubians during the 25th, Babylonians......Persians.......
The Greek period:
Alexander the great arrived in Egypt in the year 332 BC , a very short visit where Memphis and Siwa were his main stops and the order to construct the city that will bear his name ever since but that he himself will never see. One of his generals, Ptolemy will take the throne of Egypt naming himself Pharaoh; his descendants will follow the same example. The last and youngest of the family Cleopatra the 7th will deliver Egypt to the Romans by committing suicide in the year 30 BC.
The Roman period:
Egypt will retain its importance from the wheat Rome took every year, the fertile valley would provide sustenance to the empire's capital granting Egypt a privileged status being the emperor's privately owned farm. Temples would be constructed bearing the new rulers' names carved on monuments' walls like Pharaohs of the great past.
The ancient Egyptian religion
Since the beginning of agriculture when the ancient Egyptians settled on the banks of the river they remarked two phenomena one could never miss in the country. The first concerning the sun and the other concerning the river, both were the reason of their own being. The sun showed them everyday its magnificent journey from its rising to its setting, the darkness that followed would be eventually chased away by its rising the following day, so the sun must have two lives one visible and the other hidden but that one always ends up by being visible again. The Nile was not so different from the sun in the message it sent them, only its span was longer, it took a year not just a day. Each year the river would be vigorous with life covering the whole valley during the flood season that would eventually wash away to dryness but would relive again in a precise cyclic manner. The Egyptians living in perfect harmony with this nature thought they would undergo the same cyclic rhythm of life so they would die but inevitably like all nature's elements they would come back to life. Resurrection is the key word to understand their mentality and the monuments they left would make it easy to see the importance they put in the afterlife, tombs and funerary temples would always bear witness to how preoccupied they were with their eternal dwellings.