Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt

The era known as the “Old Kingdom” is one in ancient egypt’s history. From 2575 BC until 2150 BC, it lasted. Egypt enjoyed a powerful central authority and a thriving economy during these 400 years. The Old Kingdom is best known for being the era when numerous pyramids were constructed.

What Dynasties were during the Old Kingdom?

Between the Third and the Sixth Dynasties, there were four significant dynasties that made up the Old Kingdom. The Fourth Dynasty, which was led by mighty pharaohs like Sneferu and Khufu, saw the height of the era. The Seventh and Eighth Dynasties are occasionally referred to as being a component of the Old Kingdom.

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Rise of the Old Kingdom

The Early Dynastic Period is the time frame preceding the Old Kingdom. Although the First Dynasty had united Egypt, it was Pharaoh Djoser, the Third Dynasty’s founder, who established a strong and structured central administration.


Egypt was divided into “nomes” (a.k.a. states) under the time of Pharaoh Djoser. A “nomarch” served as the governor of each nome and reported to the pharaoh. Egypt’s prosperity allowed for the construction of the Pyramid of Djoser, the country’s first pyramid.

The pharaoh oversaw both the state’s government and its official religion. He was revered as a deity. The vizier, who served as the pharaoh’s underling, oversaw many of the government’s everyday operations. Only the wealthiest households received an education and had their children taught to read and write. These people rose to prominence as scribes, priests, generals, and high-ranking government officials.


Pyramid construction during the Old Kingdom is its most well-known legacy. This contains the oldest and biggest pyramids, the Great Pyramid at Giza and the Pyramid of Djoser. When pharaohs like Sneferu and Khufu ruled during the Fourth Dynasty, the Old Period reached its height. The Giza complex, which consists of the Great Sphinx and other sizable pyramids, was completed during the Fourth Dynasty.

Old Kingdom’s fall

In the Sixth Dynasty, the central government started to lose strength. As they grew in authority, the governors (nomarchs) started to disregard the pharaoh’s rule. The nation experienced starvation and drought at the same period. Egypt eventually split into several autonomous states after the central authority fell.

First Intermediate Period

The First Intermediate Period is the time frame after the Old Kingdom. About 150 years passed at this time. Civil strife and anarchy characterized the era.

Facts Worth Knowing About Egypt’s Old Kingdom

Near the conclusion of the Old Kingdom, Pharaoh Pepi II ruled for almost 90 years.

Memphis served as Egypt’s imperial capital during the Old Kingdom.

The Old Period saw a flourishing of the arts. For the following three thousand years, many of the designs and images produced during the Old Kingdom were copied.

Some people refer to the Old Kingdom as the “Age of the Pyramids.”

During this time, Egypt maintained trading relations with numerous foreign civilizations. To sail the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, they constructed commerce ships.

The Old Kingdom is well-documented thanks to tombs, pyramids, and temples. Most of the mud used to construct the cities where humans formerly resided has long since been destroyed.

According to some historians, the Old Kingdom persisted until the end of the Eighth Dynasty, when Memphis was no longer the capital.