According to Manetho, the first monarch of the unified Upper and Lower Egypt was Menes, who is now identified with Narmer. Indeed, Narmer is the earliest recorded First Dynasty monarch, he appears first on the king lists of Den and Qa’a. This shows that Narmer was recognized by the first dynasty kings as an important founding figure. Narmer is also the earliest king associated to the symbols of power over the two lands (see in particular the Narmer Palette, a votive cosmetic palette showing Narmer wearing the crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt) and may therefore be the first king to achieve the unification. Consequently, the current consensus is that “Menes” and “Narmer” refer to the same person. Alternative theories hold that Narmer was the final king of the Naqada III period and Hor-Aha is to be identified with “Menes”.
The Old Kingdom is the name given to the period in the third millennium BC when Egypt attained its first continuous peak of civilization – the first of three so-called “Kingdom” periods (followed by the Middle Kingdom and New Kingdom) which mark the high points of civilization in the lower Nile Valley. The term itself was coined by eighteenth-century historians and the distinction between the Old Kingdom and the Early Dynastic Period is not one which would have been recognized by Ancient Egyptians. Not only was the last king of the Early Dynastic Period related to the first two kings of the Old Kingdom, but the ‘capital’, the royal residence, remained at Ineb-Hedg, the Ancient Egyptian name for Memphis. The basic justification for a separation between the two periods is the revolutionary change in architecture accompanied by the effects on Egyptian society and economy of large-scale building projects.
important sites that were occupied during the Early Dynastic Period
The Old Kingdom is most commonly regarded as the period from the Third Dynasty through to the Sixth Dynasty (2686–2181 BC). Many Egyptologists also include the Memphite Seventh and Eighth Dynasties in the Old Kingdom as a continuation of the administration centralized at Memphis. While the Old Kingdom was a period of internal security and prosperity, it was followed by a period of disunity and relative cultural decline referred to by Egyptologists as the First Intermediate Period. During the Old Kingdom, the king of Egypt (not called the Pharaoh until the New Kingdom) became a living god who ruled absolutely and could demand the services and wealth of his subjects. The numerous references to the Old Kingdom kings as pharaohs in this article stems from the ubiquitous use of the term “” to describe any and all Ancient Egyptian Kings.
Under King Djoser, the first king of the Third Dynasty of the Old Kingdom, the royal capital of Egypt was moved to Memphis, where Djoser established his court. A new era of building was initiated at Saqqara under his reign. King Djoser’s architect, Imhotep is credited with the development of building with stone and with the conception of the new architectural form—the Step Pyramid. Indeed, the Old Kingdom is perhaps best known for the large number of pyramids constructed at this time as pharaonic burial places. For this reason, the Old Kingdom is frequently referred to as.”