Ancient Egyptian civilization (article) | Khan Academy (2023)


  • Egyptian civilization developed along the Nile River in large part because the river’s annual flooding ensured reliable, rich soil for growing crops.
  • Repeated struggles for political control of Egypt showed the importance of the region's agricultural production and economic resources.
  • The Egyptians kept written records using a writing system known as hieroglyphics.
  • Egyptian rulers used the idea of divine kingship and constructed monumental architecture to demonstrate and maintain power.
  • Ancient Egyptians developed wide-reaching trade networks along the Nile, in the Red Sea, and in the Near East.

Early Egypt

Much of the history of Egypt is divided into three “kingdom” periods—Old, Middle, and New—with shorter intermediate periods separating the kingdoms. The term "intermediate" here refers to the fact that during these times Egypt was not a unified political power, and thus was in between powerful kingdoms. Even before the Old Kingdom period, the foundations of Egyptian civilization were being laid for thousands of years, as people living near the Nile increasingly focused on sedentary agriculture, which led to urbanization and specialized, non-agricultural economic activity.

Map of Ancient Egypt and the Mediterranean and Red seas. Land is beige and the habitable regions of Egypt are highlighted in Green (all along the Nile River and the delta that opens out to the Mediterranean Sea in the north). Lower Egypt is the northern region and Upper Egypt is the southern region of this map.

The areas in green show the habitable regions of Egypt. Note the locations of the Nile Delta, Upper and Lower Egypt, the Sinai Peninsula, and Kush (Nubia). Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Evidence of human habitation in Egypt stretches back tens of thousands of years. It was only in about 6000 BCE, however, that widespread settlement began in the region. Around this time, the Sahara Desert expanded. Some scientists think this expansion was caused by a slight shift in the tilt of the Earth. Others have explored changing rainfall patterns, but the specific causes are not entirely clear. The most important result of this expansion of the Sahara for human civilization was that it pushed humans closer to the Nile River in search of reliable water sources.

Apart from the delta region, where the river spreads out as it flows into the sea, most settlement in the Nile Valley was confined to within a few miles of the river itself (see map above). The Nile River flooded annually; this flooding was so regular that the ancient Egyptians set their three seasons—Inundation, or flooding, Growth, and Harvest—around it.

This annual flooding was vital to agriculture because it deposited a new layer of nutrient-rich soil each year. In years when the Nile did not flood, the nutrient level in the soil was seriously depleted, and the chance of food shortages increased greatly. Food supplies had political effects, as well, and periods of drought probably contributed to the decline of Egyptian political unity at the ends of both the Old and Middle Kingdoms.

Although we do not know the specific dates and events, most scholars who study this period believe that sometime around the year 3100 BCE, a leader named either Narmer or Menes—sources are unclear on whether these were the same person!—united Egypt politically when he gained control of both Upper and Lower Egypt.

Somewhat confusingly, when you look at a map of this area, Lower Egypt is the delta region in the north, and Upper Egypt refers to the southern portion of the country, which is upriver from the delta. You may encounter this terminology when reading about rivers in history, so a good trick is to remember that rivers flow downhill, so the river is lower toward its end at the sea and higher closer to its source!

After political unification, divine kingship, or the idea that a political ruler held his power by favor of a god or gods—or that he was a living incarnation of a god—became firmly established in Egypt. For example, in the mythology that developed around unification, Narmer was portrayed as Horus, a god of Lower Egypt, where Narmer originally ruled. He conquered Set, a god of Upper Egypt. This mythologized version of actual political events added legitimacy to the king’s rule.

The use of hieroglyphics—a form of writing that used images to express sounds and meanings—likely began in this period. As the Egyptian state grew in power and influence, it was better able to mobilize resources for large-scale projects and required better methods of record-keeping to organize and manage an increasingly large state. During the Middle Kingdom, Egyptians began to write literature, as well. Some writing was preserved on stone or clay, and some was preserved on papyrus, a paper-like product made from reed fiber. Papyrus is very fragile, but due to the hot and dry climate of Egypt, a few papyrus documents have survived. Hieroglyphic writing also became an important tool for historians studying ancient Egypt once it was translated in the early 1800s.

An example of New Kingdom hieroglyphics from the thirteenth century BCE. Four vertical columns of colorfully painted hieroglyphics on a white background depict birds, eyes, a crab, and pottery, among other images.

An example of New Kingdom hieroglyphics from the thirteenth century BCE. Image courtesy British Museum

(Video) Ancient Egypt | Early Civilizations | World History | Khan Academy

As rulers became more powerful, they were better able to coordinate labor and resources to construct major projects, and more people required larger supplies of food. Projects to improve agricultural production, such as levees and canals became more important. Irrigation practices consisted of building mud levees—which were walls of compacted dirt that directed the annual flooding onto farmland and kept it away from living areas—and of digging canals to direct water to fields as crops were growing.

Elites, those individuals who were wealthy and powerful, began building larger tombs which were precursors to the pyramids. These tombs represented a growing divide between the elite and common people in Egyptian society. Only the wealthy and important could afford and be considered as deserving of such elaborate burials.

A mastaba, which was the typical grave marker for early Egyptian elites. Looks like a pyramid except lower to the ground and with a flat top instead of a pointed one.

A mastaba, which was the typical grave marker for early Egyptian elites. These were precursors to the pyramids. Image courtesy British Museum.

(Video) Ancient Egypt 101 | National Geographic

Old Kingdom Egypt: 2686-2181 BCE

During the Old Kingdom period, Egypt was largely unified as a single state; it gained in complexity and expanded militarily. Old Kingdom rulers built the first pyramids, which were both tombs and monuments for the kings who had them built. Building monumental architecture—such as the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx in Giza, and temples for different gods—required a centralized government that could command vast resources.

Great Sphinx of Giza (mythical creature with a human head and a lion's body) and the pyramid of Khafre. The tourists in the photo look like specks compared to these structures.

Great Sphinx of Giza and the pyramid of Khafre. The people in the photo give you a sense of how large the structure is! Image credit: Boundless

The builders of the pyramids were not enslaved people but peasants, working on the pyramids during the farming off-season. These peasants worked alongside specialists like stone cutters, mathematicians, and priests. As a form of taxation, each household was required to provide a worker for these projects, although the wealthy could pay for a substitute. This demonstrates both the power of the state to force people to provide labor and also the advantages enjoyed by elites, who could buy their way out of providing labor.

Egyptians also began to build ships, constructed of wooden planks tied together with rope and stuffed with reeds, to trade goods such as ebony, incense, gold, copper, and Lebanese cedar—which was particularly important for construction projects—along maritime routes.

Egyptian painting of a ship with passengers and crew.

(Video) An Introduction to the Ancient Egyptian Civilization

Egyptian ship, circa 1420 BCE. Ships like this would have been used on typical trading voyages. Image credit: Boundless

Middle Kingdom: 2000-1700 BCE

The Middle Kingdom saw Egypt unified again as kings found ways to take back power from regional governors. From the Middle Kingdom era forward, Egyptian kings often kept well-trained standing armies. The ability of the Egyptian state to create and maintain a standing military force and to build fortifications showed that it had regained control of substantial resources.

Political fragmentation led to the Second Intermediate Period. The precise dates are unclear; even though writing allowed for more events to be recorded, most things still were not, and many more records have been lost or destroyed.

Taking advantage of this political instability in Egypt, the Hyksos appeared around 1650 BCE. They were a Semitic people, meaning they spoke a language that originated in the Middle East, which indicated that they were not native to Egypt. The Hyksos imposed their own political rulers but also brought many cultural and technological innovations, such as bronze working and pottery techniques, new breeds of animals and new crops, the horse and chariot, the composite bow, battle-axes, and fortification techniques for warfare.

New Kingdom: 1550-1077 BCE

Around 1550 BCE, the New Kingdom period of Egyptian history began with the expulsion of the Hyksos from Egypt and the restoration of centralized political control. This period was Egypt's most prosperous time and marked the peak of its power.

Also in this period, Hatshepsut, Egypt’s most famous female ruler, established trade networks that helped build the wealth of Egypt and commissioned hundreds of construction projects and pieces of statuary, as well as an impressive mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahri. She also ordered repairs to temples that had been neglected or damaged during the period of Hyksos rule.

Photo of Hatshepsut's Temple at the base of a large rock formation. The temple is rectangular with three tiers and a wide ramp in the center. At the top tier, set furthest back into the rock formation, there are statues placed in front of columns. All of the columns and doorways are long and rectangular.

Hatshepsut's Temple. Image credit: Boundless

The term pharaoh, which originally referred to the king's palace, became a form of address for the king himself during this period, further emphasizing the idea of divine kingship. Religiously, the pharaohs associated themselves with the god Amun-Ra, while still recognizing other deities.

In the mid-1300s BCE, one pharaoh attempted to alter this tradition when he chose to worship Aten exclusively and even changed his name to Akhenaten in honor of that god. Some scholars interpret this as the first instance of monotheism, or the belief in a single god. This change did not survive beyond Akhenaten’s rule, however.

New Kingdom Egypt reached the height of its power under the pharaohs Seti I and Ramesses II, who fought to expand Egyptian power against the Libyans to the west and the Hittites to the north. The city of Kadesh on the border between the two empires was a source of conflict between the Egyptians and the Hittites, and they fought several battles over it, ultimately agreeing to the world’s first known peace treaty.

Map of Hittite (modern-day Turkey) and Egyptian empires in about 1274 BCE. Hittite empire is colored in red and Egyptian empire is colored in green.

Egyptian and Hittite Empires in about 1274 BCE. Kadesh is the city right on the boundary between the two. Image credit: Boundless

(Video) Ancient Egypt & the Sumerian Connnection

Third Intermediate Period: 1069-664 BCE

The costs of war, increased droughts, famine, civil unrest, and official corruption ultimately fragmented Egypt into a collection of locally-governed city-states. Taking advantage of this political division, a military force from the Nubian kingdom of Kush in the south conquered and united Lower Egypt, Upper Egypt, and Kush. The Kushites were then driven out of Egypt in 670 BCE by the Assyrians, who established a client state (a political entity that is self-governing but pays tribute to a more powerful state) in Egypt.

In 656 BCE, Egypt was again reunited and broke away from Assyrian control. The country experienced a period of peace and prosperity until 525 BCE, when the Persian king Cambyses defeated the Egyptian rulers and took the title of Pharaoh for himself, along with his title as king of Persia.

What do you think?

  • Why was the Nile River essential to Egyptian civilization?
  • How might a writing system like hieroglyphics have helped rulers gain and maintain political power?
  • What was one difference between common people and elites?
  • How did rulers use religion to support their positions?
  • Why do you think Egypt was invaded so frequently throughout its history?

[Notes and attributions]

(Video) Ancient Egypt: Crash Course World History #4


Ancient Egyptian civilization (article) | Khan Academy? ›

The ancient Egyptians used the distinctive script known today as hieroglyphs (Greek for "sacred words") for almost 4,000 years.

Which is the script of ancient Egyptian in answer? ›

The ancient Egyptians used the distinctive script known today as hieroglyphs (Greek for "sacred words") for almost 4,000 years.

What is the answer to the longest river Nile reading? ›

The correct answer is Nile. The River Nile is around 6,670 km (4,160 miles) long and is the longest waterway in Africa and on the planet. It originates in Burundi, south of the equator, and streams toward the north through northeastern Africa.

What is ancient Egypt 1 paragraph? ›

Ancient Egypt was one of the world's first civilizations. It is also one of the most famous civilizations in history. The ancient Egyptians built huge pyramids, temples, palaces, and tombs. Their paintings and carvings are among the most splendid ever created.

In what field did the Egyptian progress answer? ›

The many achievements of the ancient Egyptians include the quarrying, surveying, and construction techniques that supported the building of monumental pyramids, temples, and obelisks; a system of mathematics, a practical and effective system of medicine, irrigation systems, and agricultural production techniques, the ...

What are 3 Egyptian scripts? ›

Ancient Egyptian language was written in four different scripts: Hieroglyphs, Hieratic, Demotic, and Coptic. These scripts did not all appear simultaneously, but appeared consecutively over the long period that the ancient Egyptian language existed.

How to read Egyptian script? ›

Hieroglyphs are always read from top to bottom but sometimes you start on the left side (like in English) and sometimes on the right. The animals, birds or people used in hieroglyphs always face the beginning of the sentence so that tells you where to start.

Is 42 the Nile the longest river in the world? ›

The Nile is the longest river in Africa and has historically been considered the longest river in the world, though this has been contested by research suggesting that the Amazon River is slightly longer. Of the world's major rivers, the Nile is one of the smallest, as measured by annual flow in cubic metres of water.

Is 6 the Nile the longest river in the world? ›

The Nile River flows from south to north through eastern Africa. It begins in the rivers that flow into Lake Victoria (located in modern-day Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya), and empties into the Mediterranean Sea more than 6,600 kilometers (4,100 miles) to the north, making it one of the longest river in the world.

Is ___ Nile the longest river? ›

Nile River, Arabic Baḥr Al-Nīl or Nahr Al-Nīl, the longest river in the world, called the father of African rivers. It rises south of the Equator and flows northward through northeastern Africa to drain into the Mediterranean Sea.

Who lived in Egypt first? ›

History of Egypt

The earliest inhabitants of Egypt traced as far back as the early Paleolithic period, to around 200,000 B.C., although there was circumstantial evidence suggesting that Homo erectus passed through the country about 1.8 million years ago while migrating from East Africa to Europe and Asia.

What was Egypt first called? ›

To the ancient Egyptians themselves, their country was simply known as Kemet, which means 'Black Land', so named for the rich, dark soil along the Nile River where the first settlements began.

What is one god in ancient Egypt? ›

Above all, though Akhenaten is known for his development of a kind of early monotheism that stressed the uniqueness of the sun god Aten, and of Akhenaten's own relationship with this god. For this king, there was only one god and only one person who now knew the god: Akhenaten himself.

What are 5 facts about ancient Egypt? ›

11 Things You May Not Know About Ancient Egypt
  • Cleopatra was not Egyptian. ...
  • The ancient Egyptians forged one of the earliest peace treaties on record. ...
  • Ancient Egyptians loved board games. ...
  • Egyptian women had a wide range of rights and freedoms. ...
  • Egyptian workers were known to organize labor strikes.
Nov 12, 2012

What caused Egypt to fall? ›

There were several reasons for this including a loss of military power, lack of natural resources, and political conflicts. The reigns of the last great pharaohs Ramses II and Ramses III (1,189 BC to 1,077 BCE) are characterized by strength and ability to defend Egypt against invaders.

What made ancient Egypt fall? ›

The Roman fleet of Octavian (later Emperor Augustus) clashes with the combined Roman-Egyptian fleet commanded by Mark Antony and Cleopatra in the Battle of Actium off the coast of Greece during the Roman Civil War, 31 B.C. The battle was a decisive victory for Octavian, and marked the end of the last of the Egyptian ...

What language do Egyptians speak? ›

The official language of Egypt is Arabic, and most Egyptians speak one of several vernacular dialects of that language. As is the case in other Arab countries, the spoken vernacular differs greatly from the literary language.

What is the Egyptian third eye called? ›

The Eye of Horus has been used for many metaphors over the years, i.e., “Eye of the Mind, Third Eye, Eye of the Truth or Insight, the Eye of God Inside the Human Mind.” The ancient Egyptians, because of their beliefs in the Eye of Horus' mystic powers, gave all of these names to the Eye of Horus.

How do you say hello in hieroglyphics? ›

Some hieroglyphs represent sounds, others represent meanings. A traditional greeting would have been to say 'iy' - meaning hi or hello. It would be traditional to say 'wedja ib-ek' if someone was sad, meaning 'cheer up!

What is 1 in Egyptian language? ›

1 = I 2 = II 3 = III 4 = IIII 5 = IIIII These were used up to 10. The symbols were written in place order like we do with our numbers so you would write the thousands first, then the hundreds, then the tens and finally the ones.

Is it hard to learn ancient Egyptian? ›

Since Egyptian hieroglyphs were so complicated and convoluted, Egyptian writing was very difficult to learn. Those who could read and write fluently were a small percentage of the population-estimated at one percent.

Which Egyptian god was cut into pieces? ›

In the mythology, before becoming master of the Afterlife, Osiris ruled Egypt and taught agriculture and gave laws and civilization to humans. However, Osiris's brother, Seth, was extremely jealous of him, so Seth killed Osiris and cut his body into pieces, which he distributed around Egypt.

Which is bigger Nile or Amazon? ›

The Amazon might also be the world's longest river—depending on whom you ask. Most scientists believe the South American river is at least 4,000 miles (6,400 km) long—still shorter than the Nile, which is widely held to be the world's longest river at about 4,132 miles (6,650 km).

Has the Nile river ever dried up? ›

The 6,500-km long river is drying up. In the half century since the 1970s, the Nile's flow has decreased from 3,000 cubic metres to 2,830 cubic metres per second.

Is Nile longer than Mississippi? ›

A peer-reviewed article published 2009 in the International Journal of Digital Earth concludes that the Nile is longer. Even when detailed maps are available, the length measurement is not always clear. A river may have multiple channels, or anabranches.

What's the longest river in the USA? ›

The two longest rivers in the United States are the Mississippi River and the Missouri River. The Mississippi River runs through ten U.S. states. It starts in Minnesota near the border we share with Canada. It ends in Louisiana.

What is the deepest river in the world? ›

The Congo is the deepest river in the world. Its headwaters are in the north-east of Zambia, between Lake Tanganyika and Lake Nyasa (Malawi), 1760 metres above sea level; it flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

What river is drying up in Egypt? ›

But the Nile is slowly dying, its tributaries and channels drying up and threatening the livelihoods of millions who depend on its nourishing waters. Some of this is the natural cycle of the river – parts of the Nile have dried up before, making entire cities like ancient Meroe vanish.

How deep is the Amazon river? ›

The majority of the Amazon River has a depth of around 20 to 50 meters (66 to 164 ft) but this plunges to around 100 meters (330 ft) at its deepest points.

Why is Egypt called the gift of Nile? ›

The country Egypt is called the "Gift of the Nile" as it is Egypt's lifeline. Without the Nile, Egypt would have been a desert. Historically, the Nile has provided water for the cultivation of crops in Egypt that led to the burgeoning of many civilizations along the river valley.

How long is the river Amazon? ›

According to the team's results, which have not been published, the Amazon is 4,225 miles (6,800 kilometers) long. The Nile stretches 4,160 miles (6,695 kilometers).

Who built the Sphinx? ›

The question of who built the Sphinx has long vexed Egyptologists and archaeologists. Lehner, Hawass and others agree it was Pharaoh Khafre, who ruled Egypt during the Old Kingdom, which began around 2,600 B.C. and lasted some 500 years before giving way to civil war and famine.

What was Egypt called 5000 years ago? ›

A popular ancient name for Egypt was "Kemet," which means the "black land." Scholars generally believe that this name derived from the fertile soil that was left over when the Nile flood receded in August.

Who came before Egyptians? ›

Mesopotamia, 4000-3500 B.C.

What did the Bible call Egypt? ›

The name 'Mizraim' is the original name given for Egypt in the Hebrew Old Testament. Many Bibles will have a footnote next to the name 'Mizraim' explaining that it means 'Egypt.

What is the Egyptian Bible called? ›

Today, the so-called Book of the Dead (BD) is certainly the most prominent corpus of funerary texts from ancient Egypt.

Is Egypt older than China? ›

Though the ancient Chinese rank high among the world's oldest civilisations (2000 BC), the development of a united China came almost 1100 years after the ancient Egyptians (3100 BC). Mesopotamia (4000 BC), Egypt (3100 BC) and the Indus Valley civilisations (3300 BC) all significantly pre-date ancient China.

Who built the pyramids? ›

All three of Giza's famed pyramids and their elaborate burial complexes were built during a frenetic period of construction, from roughly 2550 to 2490 B.C. The pyramids were built by Pharaohs Khufu (tallest), Khafre (background), and Menkaure (front).

Which Pharaoh is Moses? ›

CAIRO - 4 June 2020: Moses' Pharaoh has raised controversy among many researchers throughout history. Many believe he is Ramses II, while others believe he is Seti I.

What Egyptian story is similar to Jesus? ›

It's said that Horus, like Jesus -- or Jesus, like Horus -- was born of a virgin, had twelve disciples, walked on water, delivered a 'sermon on the mount', performed mircles, was executed beside two thieves, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.

What food did Egyptian eat? ›

A wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and legumes were cultivated and consumed, including green onions, lettuce, dates, figs, and peas, the latter of which was introduced during the Middle Kingdom. These are depicted with meat and fowl in elegant and inventive compositions on stelas and tomb walls.

What are 3 things ancient Egypt is known for? ›

The ancient Egyptian civilization, famous for its pyramids, pharaohs, mummies, and tombs, flourished for thousands of years.

How many gods did Egypt have? ›

The ancient Egyptians worshipped over 1,400 different gods and goddesses in their shrines, temples, and homes. These deities were the centre of a religion lasting over three thousand years!

Who was the last pharaoh? ›

More than two millennia after her death, Cleopatra VII remains an enigma and an object of fascination. The last Ptolemaic ruler of Hellenistic Egypt and the most influential woman of her times, Cleopatra amassed enormous wealth and power. She lived dangerously and died sensationally.

How tall were ancient Egyptians? ›

Nevertheless, over this whole period they found that the mean height (of their sample of 150 skeletons) was 157.5cm (or 5ft 2in) for women and 167.9cm (or 5ft 6in) for men, quite like today.

How did ancient Egyptians look? ›

Most scholars believe that Egyptians in antiquity looked pretty much as they look today, with a gradation of darker shades toward the Sudan".

How long did Egyptian civilization last? ›

Ancient Egypt was the preeminent civilization in the Mediterranean world for almost 30 centuries—from its unification around 3100 B.C. to its conquest by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C. From the great pyramids of the Old Kingdom through the military conquests of the New Kingdom, Egypt's majesty has long entranced ...

How long did Egyptian empire last? ›

The pharaonic period spans over 3,000 years, beginning when kings first ruled Egypt. The first dynasty started in 3000 B.C. with the reign of King Narmer.

Why did ancient Egypt start? ›

Overview. Egyptian civilization developed along the Nile River in large part because the river's annual flooding ensured reliable, rich soil for growing crops. Repeated struggles for political control of Egypt showed the importance of the region's agricultural production and economic resources.

What is the ancient script called? ›

There are three main families of scripts: Devanagari; Dravidian; and Grantha. There are many languages in the Ancient Indian script, such as Sanskrit, Pali, and Hindi.

Which form of script do we find in Egyptian art? ›

Egyptian civilization - Writing - Hieroglyphs. The word hieroglyph literally means "sacred carvings". The Egyptians first used hieroglyphs exclusively for inscriptions carved or painted on temple walls.

What were two scripts used in ancient Egypt? ›

For most of its history ancient Egypt had two major writing systems. Hieroglyphs, a system of pictorial signs used mainly for formal texts, originated sometime around 3200 BC. Hieratic, a cursive system derived from hieroglyphs that was used mainly for writing on papyrus, was nearly as old.

What is the ancient Egyptian language called? ›

Five stages of the ancient Egyptian language are recognized: Old Egyptian, Middle Egyptian, Late Egyptian, Demotic and Coptic. These were written in at least four different scripts: Hieroglyphs, Hieratic, Demotic and Coptic.

What is the oldest written script? ›

Scholars generally agree that the earliest form of writing appeared almost 5,500 years ago in Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq). Early pictorial signs were gradually substituted by a complex system of characters representing the sounds of Sumerian (the language of Sumer in Southern Mesopotamia) and other languages.

What is the oldest script found? ›

The Sumerian archaic (pre-cuneiform) writing and Egyptian hieroglyphs are generally considered the earliest true writing systems, both emerging out of their ancestral proto-literate symbol systems from 3400 to 3100 BCE, with earliest coherent texts from about 2600 BCE.

What is the oldest language in the world? ›

Sumerian can be considered the first language in the world, according to Mondly. The oldest proof of written Sumerian was found on the Kish tablet in today's Iraq, dating back to approximately 3500 BC.

What is the oldest Egyptian writing? ›

Ivory tags from tomb U-j. , one of the most ancient cities of Upper Egypt, 300 miles south of Cairo, have been dated between 3320 and 3150 BCE, making them the oldest known examples of Egyptian writing. (Serket I).

What is the oldest form of Egyptian writing *? ›

The use of hieroglyphic writing arose from proto-literate symbol systems in the Early Bronze Age, around the 32nd century BC (Naqada III), with the first decipherable sentence written in the Egyptian language dating to the Second Dynasty (28th century BC).

Did Egypt create their own script? ›

The ancient Egyptians devised this “picture writing” in their predynastic period, with the earliest examples known found in an elite chamber in Abydos, Tomb U-J, which dates to around 3200 BCE. Along with these iconic hieroglyphs, Egyptian scribes also established a more cursive method – hieratic (priestly) script.

Who invented Egyptian writing? ›

Who invented hieroglyphs? There is no knowing who invented it, but hieroglyphic writing probably originated at one of the rival royal courts in the late-fourth millennium BC, before Egypt was unified under the first dynasty.

Is Egyptian a dead language? ›

The Egyptian language or Ancient Egyptian (r n km. t) is an extinct Afro-Asiatic language that was spoken in ancient Egypt. It is known today from a large corpus of surviving texts which were made accessible to the modern world following the decipherment of the ancient Egyptian scripts in the early 19th century.

What do Egyptians speak? ›

The official language of Egypt is Arabic, and most Egyptians speak one of several vernacular dialects of that language. As is the case in other Arab countries, the spoken vernacular differs greatly from the literary language.

Was Egyptian the first written language? ›

Hieroglyphics is a writing system invented in Egypt around 5000 years ago. It is the second oldest form of writing, originating a few hundred years after … cuneiform, which uses wedge-shaped characters and was devised by the Sumarians of Mesopotamia.


1. Ancient Mesopotamia | Early Civilizations | World History | Khan Academy
(Khan Academy)
2. Comparing Two Ancient Civilisations: Ancient Egypt vs. Mesopotamia
(World History Encyclopedia)
3. The Egyptian Civilization
(Vlogs Of Knowledge)
4. Ancient Egyptian Government: Interesting (Facts) and History.
(Quill & Ink History)
5. EGYPT Civilization|मिस्र की सभ्यता| Ancient World| Bronze Age| History Lecture for all Exams| IGNOU
(History Edupoint)
6. Ancient Egypt | Early Civilizations | World History | Khan Academy
(Arthur Cassell)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Twana Towne Ret

Last Updated: 23/05/2023

Views: 5921

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (44 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Twana Towne Ret

Birthday: 1994-03-19

Address: Apt. 990 97439 Corwin Motorway, Port Eliseoburgh, NM 99144-2618

Phone: +5958753152963

Job: National Specialist

Hobby: Kayaking, Photography, Skydiving, Embroidery, Leather crafting, Orienteering, Cooking

Introduction: My name is Twana Towne Ret, I am a famous, talented, joyous, perfect, powerful, inquisitive, lovely person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.