Narmer combined the crowns by inserting the white crown into the opening of the red crown. From his time onward, Pharaohs wore this double crown, the Pschent symbolizing the unification of the two parts of the nation. Thirty-one different dynasties ruled ancient Egypt from about 3100 BC to 30 BC. This estimate of the number of dynasties comes from an Egyptian monk (Manetho) who lived in the first half of the 3 rd century BC. Though his divisions can be questionable, modern Egyptologists have accepted them for convenience and uniformity. Egyptologists define a dynasty as the reign of a group of rulers from the same family.
The other convenient divisions adhered to by modern archeologists and historians concern the periods for the dynasties. At present, the histories are divided thus:
1. Early Dynastic: Identified as the first and second dynasties, from 3100 BC to 2686 BC, including as Pharaohs, the aforementioned Narmer and 15 other kings. 2. Old Kingdom: Includes the third, fourth, fifth and sixth dynasties, from 2686 BC to 2181 BC, with familiar names like Zoser, Snefru, Cheops, and Cephren, Pepi I and II, along with 21 other rulers. 3. First Intermediate Period: Includes the seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth dynasties from 2181 BC to 1787 B. C., but no widely familiar names are present though there are 34 different rulers during this period. 4. Middle Kingdom: Includes only the thirteenth dynasty from 1787 BC to 1705 BC with an indeterminate number of kings but at least 15 of them. No familiar names exist among these rulers. 5. Second Intermediate Period: Includes the fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth dynasties from roughly 1704 BC to 1540 BC with 13 known rulers and many others not known (usually just listed as “many kings” in the 14 th , 15 th & 16 th dynasties. No familiar names are included among these rulers either. 6. New Kingdom: Includes the eighteenth (Golden Age of Egypt), nineteenth, and twentieth dynasties from 1540 BC to 1069 BC. This dynasty includes many of the most famous of the Pharaohs, with Amenhotep I, II, III, Thutmose I, II, III, VI, Akhenaton (heretic Pharaoh who proclaimed there was only one god), Hatshepsut (female Pharaoh), King Tut, and Ramses II (self-proclaimed “The Great”). 7. Third Intermediate Period: Includes the twenty-first, twenty-second, twenty-third, twenty-fourth, twenty-fifth, and twenty-sixth dynasties from 1069 BC to 525 BC. Though
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