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The Pharaohs of Egypt

At about 3000 bc, the first dynasties began to appear following the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt. A dynastic ruler was then placed a head of a state royal cult that not only ran the civilization, but equated them with the gods and with specific tasks to be conducted on behalf of the people. The king of Egypt is supported as the good god, the incarnation of Horus, the son of Re’ and the intermediary between the people and all Devin beings. When the pharaoh died, he was though to become Osiris, the ruler of the underworld.

The kings of Egypt, in ancient times, were the sons of their immediate predecessors. This was by Great Wife, chief consort, or by a lesser ranked wife. In early dynasties, to establish a connection to the capitol city of Memphis and its nobility, the kings would marry female aristocrats. In following periods, many married sisters or half sisters. Some even took their own daughters as consorts. Later, in the New Kingdom, the kings did not hesitate to take a commoner as his Chief Wife, several even married foreign princesses.

Like the gods who created the world out of chaos, the pharaoh was responsible for the orderly conduct of human affairs. Later kings, after taking the throne, claimed they were restoring the spirit of Ma’at, cosmic order and harmony, the Devin will, to the land.

Warfare was an important role of the pharaoh. rulers of the early dynastic period fought to establish unity. The first dynastic rulers had to defend borders, put down rebellions, and organize the exploitation of natural resources.

Government was in place by the dynastic period. The nation was divided into provincial territories called Nomes. Royal authority was imposed by an army of officials, who were responsible for the affairs of both Upper and Lower Egypt. This law was the expression of the king’s will. All matters, both religious and secular, were dependant on his assent. The entire administration of Egypt was an extention of the king’s power.

The third dynasty began the construction of vast mortal complexes, due to sufficient resources. Djoser’s Step Pyramid was a monumental symbol of the lands prosperity and centralization. Erected for him by Imhotep, it announced the powers of Djoser and reinforced the Devin status of the kings. Other Old Kingdom pharaohs continued to build similar structures, each trying to be the greatest.

Following a Middle Kingdom of prosperity, invasions and collapses, Egypt began a decline. The New Kingdom, as other dynastic eras in ancient Egypt, drew to a close when the kings were no longer able to assert their authority. As did others, the New Kingdom collapsed in 1070 bc.

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