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The Union of Upper and Lower Egypt. The Union of Two Lands. Ancient Egypt had two parts: Upper and Lower Egypt Upper Egypt (Southern Part): Stretched for 500 miles from the Nile’s first cataract northward to the beginning of the Nile Delta.

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The union of two lands
The Union of Two Lands

  • Ancient Egypt had two parts: Upper and Lower Egypt

  • Upper Egypt (Southern Part): Stretched for 500 miles from the Nile’s first cataract northward to the beginning of the Nile Delta.

  • Lower Egypt (Northern Part): The Nile Delta, 100 miles long but many times wider than Upper Egypt.

Two lands cont
Two Lands (cont.)

  • 3300 B.C.E. both Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt had kings.

  • Upper Egypt’s king wore a tall, white bowling pin shaped crown.

  • Lower Egypt’s king wore a short, boxy, red crown with a tall spike at the back and a curlicue at the front.

  • Knowledge of pre-historic Egypt is mixed with legend.

Menes legend or fact
Menes: Legend or Fact?

  • Legend: 3100 B.C.E. Menes defeated the king of lower Egypt and declared himself the king of both Lower and Upper Egypt.

  • Menes designed a new crown to celebrate his victory, the double crown stood for the union of the two lands.

  • Menes and his family formed the first Egyptian Dynasty

  • Dynasty = A series of rulers from the same family

  • Believed to establish the ancient city of Memphis


The combined crowns of upper and lower egypt
The Combined Crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt

Menes or narmer
Menes or Narmer

  • Historians believe the Menes may have been a real king possibly by the name of Narmer.

    • Narmer is the name of the historical figure

    • Menes is the name of the legendary king

  • There is strong archeological evidence for this: The Macehead of King Narmer describes the unification of Egypt

Old kingdom 2600 b c e 2100 b c e
Old Kingdom- 2600 B.C.E. – 2100 B.C.E.

  • During the period of the Old Kingdom Egyptian cities became centers of religion and government. Kings, priests, government officials and artisans lived there.

    • Most Egyptians did not live in cities: They lived on large Nile-side estates.

  • Wealthy Landowners and artisans

    • Farmers who lived on the estates: Worked the land

  • Pyramid Building Kingdom

  • Why did Egyptians build the pyramids on the west side of the Nile?

Pyramid cross section
Pyramid Cross-Section

  • Built as burial chambers for Pharaohs

  • Used as a tool for helping the pharaohs reach the afterlife

    • Why did the Egyptians stop building pyramids?

Interactive tour

through Khufu’s Pyramid

The sphinx
The Sphinx

  • Interactive image of Sphinx below


    • Body of a Lion, head of a man

    • Believed to reflect the likeness of Kafre

    • Guardian of Pyramid complex

    Embalmment and mummification
    Embalmment and Mummification

    • Egyptian Priests used various substances to preserve the bodies of important Egyptians

      • Natron – drying agent

    • Why?

      • The body needed to be recognized by the “Ka” in order to make it safely to the afterlife.

    Rosetta stone
    Rosetta Stone

    • 1799 French Soldiers, near Rosetta, a town in the Nile Delta unearthed a large Black Stone Slab.

    • The same passage is written on the stone in three ways: Egyptian Hieroglyphics, a form of Egyptian cursive (Demotic or Coptic) and Greek.

    • For 20 years scholars try to decipher the stone with no success…then…

    Jean francois champollion
    Jean Francois Champollion

    • Champollion knew that part of the message was same in all three passages: It praised Pharoah Ptolemy V for gifts he had given the temples.

    • One day in 1822, Champllion was studying Greek and Hieroglyphics and he was able to match sounds and Hieroglyphs in the proper names Cleopatra and Ptolemy.