ancient egypt

where to begin? egyptian history spans over 5000 years. egypt was ancient long before the single day on which rome was built.

to be as brief as is feasible, the upper and lower portions of egypt first became unified sometime between 3200 and 3000 BC, possibly by somebody named Narmer or Menes, who thus became the founder of the first dynasty of pharaohs. narmer's dynasty dicks around for a bit, leave behind a few prototype tombs in the village of saqqara, and is replaced by a second dynasty. that dynasty does more dicking around and is replaced again. this more or less sets the tone for the rest of egyptian history.

old kingdom egypt (3rd-6th dynasties); the big pointy pyramids you're thinking of come from the fourth dynasty
* an intermediate period (7th-11th dynasties)
middle kingdom egypt (11th-13th dynasties); the book of the dead, that famous egyptian book you've heard of, only shows up in rough draft form around this period
* another intermediate period (13th-17th dynasties)
new kingdom egypt (18th-20th dynasties); tutankhamun, the one pharaoh everyone has heard of, was the second-to-last pharaoh of the 18th dynasty
* sure, why not another intermediate period (21st-25th dynasties), followed by some twilight years (the late period extending to the 31st dynasty), during which egypt got conquered by persians

By this point it's already the 330s BC, and greece (led by alexander the great) took over egypt and left it in control of some doofus named ptolemy. not too long after that, it was conquered again by the romans, by which time we've only just arrived at caesar boinking cleopatra.
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