Predynastics (Egypt)

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The Ancient Egypt
Tutankhamun's death mask
Prehistory : before 4000 BC Chr.
Predynastic time : approx. 4000-3032 BC BC
0. Dynasty
Early Dynastic Period : approx. 3032-2707 BC Chr.
1st-2nd Dynasty
Old Empire : approx. 2707-2216 BC Chr.
3rd to 6th Dynasty
First intermediate time : approx. 2216-2137 BC Chr.
7th to 11th Dynasty
Middle Kingdom : approx. 2137–1781 BC Chr.
11 to 12th Dynasty
Second split time : approx. 1648–1550 BC BC
13th to 17th Dynasty
New Kingdom : approx. 1550-1070 BC Chr.
18 to 20 Dynasty
Third intermediate time : approx. 1070–664 BC BC
21st to 25th Dynasty
Late period : approx. 664-332 BC Chr.
26 to 31 Dynasty
Greco-Roman time : 332 BC Chr. To 395 AD
Data based on Stan Hendrickx and Jürgen von Beckerath
History of Ancient Egypt
Further information
Portal Egyptology
Expansion of the Egyptian Empire

Under predynastics (pre-dynasty) in Egyptology the historical epochs before the formation of the dynasties in the late 4th millennium BC. Chr. Designated. It covers the epochs of the Badari culture up to the beginning of the 1st dynasty of Egypt. According to Stan Hendrickx , the term predynastic is problematic in this context, because its name would have to cover the entire prehistory before the formation of the state, but is defined much more narrowly in Egyptological practice.

Badari culture

The Badari culture is the oldest in Upper Egypt known culture with sedentary lifestyle (about 4000 v. Chr.). There is the first evidence of copper and faience working as well as of cultural relations with Palestine .

Naqada culture

The subsequent Naqada culture (also called Negade culture, around 4000 BC to 3200 BC) is considered to be the forerunner of the actual Egyptian empire. It is divided into three levels (Naqada I – III). Latest, on 3320 BC. Archaeological finds dated to the so-called Cemetery U of Umm el-Qaab near Abydos (grave U - j ) indicate that the script was developed here either independently of or even before the Sumerian script , although this was due to a lack of, reliable comparison of both cultures can neither be confirmed nor refuted. Sites such as Naqada provide evidence of agriculture and livestock farming, but also hunting and wild plants were collected. Only in the 4th millennium can an exclusively producing economy be proven. It is unclear whether the ancestors of the domesticated cattle , pigs and goats came from the Middle East or North Africa.

0th dynasty

The alternatively used term 0th Dynasty describes the period in which the first small kings documented in inscriptions can be proven. These rulers first used the Serech as a name seal, but many anonymous Serechs have also been discovered. To this day it has not been satisfactorily clarified how many small kingdoms there were. Also, due to the overlapping of individual reigns with those of simultaneously ruling opposing kings, no flowing chronology can be created.

With regard to the predynastic division of territory, it can be ruled out with a high degree of probability that under the proto-dynastic kings there was already a solid formation of Upper and Lower Egypt and that Upper Egypt conquered Lower Egyptian regions as a whole, which resulted in a large-scale unification of the empire. The red crown of the north , which later symbolically marked Lower Egypt, still stood for the northern part of Upper Egypt in predynastic times, while the white crown was mainly worn by kings in southern Upper Egypt. In addition, the borders of Upper and Lower Egypt marked completely different areas in this epoch compared to the later course, which is why several local kings asserted their claim to government at the same time.

In the time of Scorpio II , Ka and other contemporary rulers, cultural and ideological changes and innovations also become clear. In state ideology, the latter express themselves not only through the increased amalgamation of various districts and small states, but also through the increasingly complex and intensive agricultural and commercial economy. Scorpio II. Refined offices and hierarchies with regard to effective and reliable cooperation and functionality. More and more provinces and principalities merged and expanded. Apparently they recognized the unsurpassed benefit in cohesion and growing strength. Ideological changes can be seen in the evidence of extensive barter between the minor kingdoms. Vessels with typical Upper Egyptian decorations were found in the Nile Delta and vice versa. This permanent exchange between the kingships, motivated not only economically but also ideologically, ultimately led to a unification of intellectual values ​​and material cultures. Under King Narmer at the latest, it becomes clear in the vessel inscriptions and in the finds in Abyden and Thinitic tombs how multi-layered and complex the hierarchical class system must have been since protodynastic times. Taking into account the fact that every kingdom in Scorpio's time had its own central administrative and power center of this format, it seems to have been only a question of leadership which of the early dynastic rulers could ultimately complete the unification of the empire. The social change under Scorpio II and numerous contemporary rulers, which is reflected in numerous inscriptions and decorations, was one of the "milestones" on the way to unification.

One of the greatest economic and power factors will have been the irrigation systems , the development and use of which reached their first peak under Scorpio II. Michael Allan Hoffman , referring to the dissertations of Karl W. Butzer, points out that during this time there was increasing evidence that artificial irrigation systems were being created and used. Irrigation systems allowed an expanded cultivation of grain, vegetables and the rearing of livestock. This factor was of paramount importance to the emerging state, as power was closely linked to control over the harvesting areas. Food shortages and / or lack of space have always been common triggers for unrest. To make matters worse, the areas with controlled irrigation were apparently very small. This is surprising, since there is archaeological evidence of controlled irrigation for the Naqada culture and irrigation systems in Egypt have therefore been known for a long time. It therefore remains to be clarified whether the irrigated areas were perhaps deliberately kept scarce by the rulers in order to secure their power.

The pursuit of dominance over all of Egypt ended around 3150 BC. With the union of both empires under Upper Egyptian rule. The subsequent epoch is called the Early Dynastic Period .

Chronology Research

Using the radiocarbon method, newly determined data now lead researchers to the view that the chronology of the predynastic up to and including the 1st dynasty of the early dynastic period should be specified and corrected with regard to the timeline.

See also


  • Günter Dreyer : Umm el-Qaab: Follow-up examinations in the early royal cemetery. 3rd / 4th Preliminary report . In: Communications from the German Archaeological Institute, Cairo Department. (MDAIK) No. 46, von Zabern, Mainz 1990, pp. 53-89.
  • Ulrich Hartung : Umm el-Qaab, part 2: Imported ceramics from the U cemetery in Abydos (Umm el-Qaab) and the relationship between Egypt and the Middle East in the 4th millennium BC Chr. In: Archaeological Publications. Vol. 92, von Zabern, Mainz 2001, ISBN 3-8053-2784-6 .
  • Wolfgang Helck : Investigations on the thinite period (= Egyptological treatises. Vol. 45). Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1987, ISBN 3-447-02677-4 .
  • Jochem Kahl : Upper and Lower Egypt. A dualistic construction and its beginnings . In: Rainer Albertz (Ed.): Spaces and Borders: Topological Concepts in the Ancient Cultures of the Eastern Mediterranean. Utz, Munich 2007, ISBN 3-8316-0699-4 .
  • Werner Kaiser , Günter Dreyer: Umm el-Qaab: Follow-up examinations in the early royal cemetery. 2. Preliminary report. In: MDAIK No. 38. von Zabern, Mainz 1982, ISBN 3-8053-0552-4 ( online ).
  • Peter Kaplony : Inscriptions of the early Egyptian period: Supplement. Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1966, ISBN 3-447-00052-X .
  • Ludwig David Morenz: Image letters and symbolic signs: The development of the writing of the high culture of ancient Egypt. (= Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis. Vol. 205). Friborg 2004, ISBN 3-7278-1486-1 .
  • Francesco Raffaele: Dynasty 0. In: Aegyptica Helvetica. (AH) Volume 17, Basel / Geneva 2003, pp. 99–141 ( full text as PDF file ).
  • Thomas Schneider : Lexicon of the Pharaohs. Albatros, Düsseldorf 2002, ISBN 3-491-96053-3 .
  • Dietrich Wildung : Egypt in front of the pyramids - Munich excavations in Egypt. von Zabern, Mainz 1986, ISBN 3-8053-0523-0 .
  • Krzysztof Marek Ciałowicz: La naissance d'un royaume: L'Egypte dès la période prédynastique à la fin de la Ière dynastie. Inst. Archeologii Uniw. Jagiellońskiego, Kraków 2001, ISBN 83-7188-483-4 .
  • Michael Allen Hoffman: The predynastic of Hierakonpolis: An interim report. In: Egyptian Studies Association Publication. 1, Cairo University Herbarium, Giza 1982, ISBN 977-721-653-X .
  • Gay Robins: The Art of Ancient Egypt. Harvard University Press, Cambridge 2008, ISBN 978-0-674-03065-7 .
  • Toby Wilkinson : Early Dynastic Egypt: Strategy, Society and Security. Routledge, London 1999, ISBN 0-415-18633-1 .
  • Béatrix Midant-Reynes: The Naqada Period (4000-3200 BC). In: Ian Shaw: The Oxford history of ancient Egypt. University Press, Oxford 2003, ISBN 0-19-280458-8 .

Web links

Commons : Predynastics  - collection of images, videos, and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Stan Hendrickx: Predynastics. In: E. Hornung, R. Kraus, DA Warburton (eds.): Ancient Egyptian Chronology. Brill, Leiden / Boston 2006, ISBN 978-90-04-11385-5 .
  2. ^ Béatrix Midant-Reynes: The Naqada Period (4000-3.200 BC.). Oxford 2003, pp. 41-56.
  3. a b Jochem Kahl: Upper and Lower Egypt. A dualistic construction and its beginnings. Munich 2007, pp. 11–12.
  4. ^ Jochem Kahl: Upper and Lower Egypt. A dualistic construction and its beginnings. Munich 2007, p. 16.
  5. Werner Kaiser: Some remarks on the early Egyptian period. In: Journal for Egyptian Language and Antiquity. (ZÄS) No. 91, Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1964, ISSN  0044-216X , pp. 86-124.
  6. ^ Christiana Köhler: The Three-Stage Approach to State Formation in Egypt . In: Göttinger Miscellen. (GM) No. 147, Ägyptologisches Seminar der Universität Göttingen, Göttingen 1995, ISSN  0344-385X , pp. 79-93.
  7. ^ Kathryn Bard: Toward an Interpretation of the Role of Ideology in the Evolution of Complex Society in Egypt. In: Journal of Anthropological Archeology. No. 11, Elsevier, Amsterdam 1992, ISSN  0278-4165 , pp. 1-24.
  8. Michael Allan Hoffman: Egypt before the pharaohs: The prehistoric foundations of Egyptian Civilization. Routledge and Kegan Paul, London 1980, ISBN 0-7100-0495-8 , pp. 312-326.
  9. Michael Dee, David Wengrow, Andrew Shortland, Alice Stevenson, Fiona Brock, Linus Girdland Flink, Christopher Bronk Ramsey: An absolute chronology for early Egypt using radiocarbon dating and Bayesian statistical modeling. In: Proceedings of the Royal Society A. (Proc. R. Soc. A) November 8, 2013, Vol. 469, No. 2159, doi: 10.1098 / rspa.2013.0395 ; Full text , Received June 14, 2013. Accepted August 6, 2013.