Government and Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt
The pharaoh in Ancient Egypt was the political and religious leader of the people. They ruled through dynasties, where power was transferred from one family member to another, usually the sons or declared heirs of the preceding Pharaoh. There were about 332 known Pharaohs. The main responsibility of the pharaoh was to maintain harmony in Egypt. Warfare was an essential aspect of the rule of pharaoh, especially when it was seen as necessary for the restoration of balance and harmony in the land.
Additionally, the pharaoh had a sacred duty to defend the border of the land, but also to attack neighboring countries for natural resources if it was thought that this was in the best interest of Egypt. The funds the government needed for massive projects such as the construction of pyramids came from trade and official taxes. The pharaoh was the leader of the Ancient Egyptian Government and their word was the law of the land.
Pharaohs were famous for building amazing structures, expanding the borders of Egypt, and making Egypt a powerful empire during their reign. A famous pharaoh from the “Old Kingdom” of Egypt, Khufu, reigned from 2589-2566 BCE. During his rule he built both the largest and tallest pyramids in Egypt. His pyramid is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
“New Kingdom” pharaohs included Amenhotep I, Hatshepsut, Thutmose, Akhenaten, and Ramses II. Amehotep I ruled Egypt from 1526-1506 BCE. During his reign he led an expedition into Nubia, Canaan, Mesopotamia and Kush. Important technology like the water clock was invented during his reign. He was also the first pharaoh to separate his tomb from his mortuary temple.
In 1478-1458 BCE Queen Hatshepsut became Pharaoh and was the longest reigning female pharaoh in Egypt. She brought peace and prosperity to Egypt and is considered to be one of the most successful pharaohs. The borders of Egypt were pushed farther than they had ever been before during the reign of pharaoh Thutmose in 1506-1493 BCE. He also built many temples. Pharaoh Akhenaten ruled from 1353-1336 BCE and is famous for changing the traditional religion from the worship of many gods to the worships of a single god named Aten
Ramses II “The Great” reigned from 1279-1213 BCE. He led the Egyptian army against the Hittites, Syrians, Libyans, and Nubians. He also expanded the Egyptian empire and secured its borders against attackers.