Old Kingdom, a period in Egyptian history that lasted from about 2700 bc to 2200 bc. Rule by Pharaohs

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Unit 3 Egypt Section 2

Early Egyptian Society

The First and Second Dynasties ruled Egypt for about four centuries. Around 2700 BC, the Third Dynasty rose to power. Its rule began the Old Kingdom, a period in Egyptian history that lasted from about 2700 BC to 2200 BC.

Rule by Pharaohs

During the Old Kingdom, the Egyptians continued to develop their political system. This system was based on the belief that the pharaoh was both a king and a god.

     The ancient Egyptians believed that Egypt belonged to the gods. They believed that the pharaoh had come to earth to manage Egypt for the rest of the gods. As a result, he had absolute power over all the land and people in Egypt. But the pharaoh’s status as a god came with many responsibilities. People blamed him if crops did not grow well or if disease struck. They also demanded that the pharaoh make trade profitable and prevent wars.

     During the Old Kingdom, the duties of the pharaohs grew. To help carry out these duties, the pharaohs hired government officials. Most officials came from the pharaoh’s family.

  The most famous pharaoh of the Old Kingdom wasKhufu(KOO-foo), who ruled in the 2500s BC. Egyptian legend says that he was cruel, but historical records tell us that the people who worked for him were well fed. Khufu is best known for the monuments that were built to him.

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