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Old Kingdom

The Old Kingdom

The Old Kingdom began around 2700 B.C. and lasted until about 2200 B.C. These four centuries are most notable for the way that the Upper and Lower Kingdoms maintained their separate identities. They were ruled by the same leader, but they were in essence different nations.

Old Kingdom Mural

During the Old Kingdom, Egyptian rulers grew in power and influence. Their people began to consider them not just kings, but also gods. Thus, these rulers had absolute power and authority over all aspects of the lives of the people they ruled. A government where the political power and religious power lie in the same person is known as a theocracy.

As the Egyptian society grew in size and complexity, it became impossible for a king to rule the nation by himself. He needed to enlist the assistance of other subordinate leaders. These government officials aided the King in doing everything from building canals to punishing criminals.