With the 3rd dynasty, under King Djoser, the transition took place to monumental stone construction (step pyramids, “real” pyramids since the 4th dynasty) and to the production of life-size statues made of stone, wood and metal, representing the continued life of the king and his Officials should ensure after death.
The step pyramid of Saqqara, built by Djoser’s master builder Imhotep, is considered to be the first stone building. The script was now also used for longer texts (legal documents, so-called career and ideal biographies of civil servants), but the oldest wisdom allegedly written by Imhotep has not survived. The cemetery around the great pyramids of Giza reflects the tightly organized official state, its focus on the king and the kingdom of the beyond. The king now became the “son” of the sun god, for whom in the 5th dynasty large sun sanctuaries with a bricked-up obelisk were erected. The most important offices were initially occupied by members of the king; a separate provincial administration based in the districts did not develop until the end of the Old Kingdom. In Nubia the quarries were exploited and copper was extracted in Buhen. Trade expeditions advanced over the 2nd cataract to Kerma. In the north, trade relations expanded to Asia Minor and the Aegean Sea. In the 6th dynasty there was growing political and social instability, the province gained independence compared to the residence, and after the more than 90 years of Pepis II’s reign, the unity of the state collapsed.
For around 120 years the country was split into two spheres of power: the 9th / 10th. Dynasty in the north (Herakleopolis) and the 11th in the south (Thebes). In addition, the Gau princes in Middle Egypt and Aswan were largely independent. The intellectual confrontation with the coup led to a first flowering of literature, while the visual arts sank to a provincial level. The economy and foreign relations were disturbed, the texts speak of famine and civil war.
Around 2025 BC The 11th dynasty achieved the second unification of the empire in the struggle with the northern empire, and with the 12th dynasty the Egyptian culture experienced a new heyday. The Gau princes were integrated into the new unitary state and retained an important position that was only established under Sesostris III. went out. A system of co-rulership ensured political stability and continuity, the occupation of Nubia was renewed and secured by strong fortresses, especially against the Kerma empire in the south and the nomadic Medja, and the seascape of the Faijum was developed as a cultivated land by building dikes and canals. Since Amenemhet I, the residence was again in the north, but Thebes and Abydos won important religious centers (worship of Amun and Osiris).
Second split time
In the 13th dynasty, under rapidly changing rulers, a new decline in unity began, later also culturally. Nubia was abandoned and minor kings established themselves in the delta as the 14th dynasty. Asian parts of the population steadily gained in political weight in the eastern Nile Delta and built around 1648/1645 BC. BC as Hyksos (ruler of foreign countries) a first foreign rule over Egypt. According to hyperrestaurant, they ruled as 15./16. Dynasty of Auaris in the Nile delta from their vassals in Egypt, but in Thebes met growing resistance from a princely family who also assumed the title of king (17th dynasty) and defended the national heritage against the dominant Asians. In open resistance against the Hyksos, the brothers Kamose and later Ahmose invaded( Amosis) into the delta, expelled the foreign rulers and pursued them into Palestine. Thus Egypt was around 1550 BC. United a third time.
The Asian parts of the Hyksos Empire fell to Egypt without a fight, so that the 18th dynasty’s claim to power initially extended to the Euphrates; in the south, Thutmose I brought Nubia under Egyptian rule until the 4th Nile cataract, a viceroy (“King’s son of Kush”) took over the administration of this area. Art, literature and science flourished again, v. a. under the reign of Queen Hatshepsut. Thebes became a cosmopolitan city, its god Amun the “king of the gods”, the booty from the kings’ campaigns was piled up in his main temple in Karnak.
Thutmose III. and his son Amenophis II defended their claim to power against the Mitanni Empire and its allies in numerous campaigns in Syria and Palestine, the border with the Orontes had to be withdrawn, anda peace treaty was concluded under Thutmose IV; Egypt and Mitanni formed an alliance against the Hittites who were attacking Syria. Amenhotep III marriedtwo Mitanni princessesin addition to his main wife Teje and joined v. a. due to a huge construction activity. His diplomatic correspondence with the Asian princes has been preserved in theclay tablet archive of Amarna (“Amarna letters”). Under his son Amenhotep IV. it came around 1350 BC To a profound revolution in religion, art and politics originating from the king. Amun and the other gods were replaced and even persecuted by the sole god Aton. The king changed his name to Akhenaten (Akhenaten) and built a new residence in Amarna in Middle Egypt, after he had already introduced a completely new, more dynamic artistic style and reformed the written language in Thebes. However, his work did not last; his young son-in-law Tutankhamun gave up his residence in Amarna and the worship of Aton again; Memphis became the new residence. The 18th dynasty ended with haremhab who, as a general in the fight with the Hittites, sought to hold the Egyptian positions in Syria and Palestine.