Chapter 4 Section 3, 4, 5 Egypt-3100 B.C. - 671 B.C.

Section 3-The middle kingdom

Map of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt

About 2300 B.C., government officials, jealous of the pharaoh's power, took control of Egypt. Almost 200 years of confusion followed. Finally, new pharaohs brought peace and a new period called the Middle Kingdom.

Pharaohs had less power in the Middle Kingdom. After death, they were no longer buried in pyramids but in tombs cut into cliffs. Then the Egyptians began to trade with countries beyond the Nile Valley.

Egyptian Chariots

The Middle Kingdom came to an end in 1786 B.C. when Egypt was invaded by the Hyksos (hik´ sōs), a people from western Asia. The Hyksos crossed the dessert in horse-drawn chariots and used weapons made of bronze and iron. Egyptians had always fought on foot with weapons made of copper and stone and were defeated.

Ancient Egyptian Bronze Weapon

The Hyksos ruled Egypt for about 150 years. They copied some Egyptian customs but most Egyptians hated them. Around 1550 B.C., an Egyptian prince named Ahmose (ah mo´ suh), using Hyksos weapons, led an uprising and drove the Hyksos out of Egypt.

Egyptian battle axe of Ahmose

Section 3 Assessment

  1. How did the Middle Kingdom come about?
  2. What ended Hyksos rule?

Section 4-The New Kingdom

New Kingdom of Egypt

Ahmose founded another line of pharaohs and began the period known as the New Kingdom. During this time, Egypt became richer and its cities grew larger.

During the New Kingdom, most pharaohs were no longer content to remain within the Nile valley but marched their armies into the lands to the east. It was during this period that the Egyptian empire was founded. One warrior-pharaoh, Thutmose III (thūt mō' suh), with an army of 20,000 archers, spear throwers, and charioteers, extended Egyptian control into Syria (sir' ē uh) and Palestine (pal' uh stīn).

Statue of Thutmose III, Mummified body of Thutmose III, Thutmose III Tomb

One of the few pharaohs who was not interested in war and conquest was Hatshepsut (hat shep' sūt), Thutmose III's stepmother, who had ruled Egypt before her stepson. Her chief interests were trade and the building of temples. During her rule, Egyptian traders sailed along the coast of east Africa to the land of Punt. In the land of Punt, the Egyptians traded beads and metal tools and weapons for such things as ivory, a black wood called ebony (eb' uh nē), monkeys, hunting dogs, leopard skins, and incense, or material burned for its pleasant smell. The Egyptians had never seen most of these things. They welcomed the returning traders with a huge reception.

Queen Hatshepsut


Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics on Papyrus Paper

TEMPLE AT KOM OMBO-Warring pharaohs of the New Kingdom built large temples to honor their gods. The stone block in front of this temple shows Egyptian hieroglyphs. This temple has many statues and monuments. Who provided the labor to build temples?

The Egyptians of the New Kingdom began to worship a new god. As the god of the city Thebes, he had been called Amon. When Thebes became the capital of Egypt, however, the Egyptians combined Amon with the sun god Re. They called the new god Amon-Re (ah' muhn ŕa'). Amon-Re became the most powerful god of all. People built many temples in his honor. These were built, in part, by enslaved persons who had been captured by the warring pharaohs.


The temples were more than houses of worship. They were industrial centers. They gave work to sculptors and artisans who carved statues, built furniture, and made clothes for priests. They were treasuries, filled with copper, gold jewelry, glass bottles, bundles of grain, dried fish, and sweet-smelling oils. The temples were also schools-places where young boys were trained to be scribes. The right to become a scribe was passed on from father to son.

Ancient Egyptian Scribes
Egyptian Scribe

Scribes wrote religious works in which were spells, charms, and prayers. They kept records of the pharaohs' laws and list of the grain and animals paid as taxes. They copied fairy tales and adventure stories and wrote down medical prescriptions.

There were several kinds of Egyptian writing. One was hieroglyphic (hī uhr uh glif' ik), or a kind of writing in which pictures stand for words or sounds. The Egyptians carved and painted hieroglyphs, or picture symbols, on their monuments. However, scribes needed an easier form of writing to keep records. So, they developed two other kinds of writing in which hieroglyphs were rounded off and connected.

HIEROGLYPHS-Ancient Egyptians viewed hieroglyphs as gifts from the gods. The pictures were first used as a way of keeping records. Later, they represented the sounds of spoken language. How did hieroglyphs differ from cuneiform?

Decline of Egypt

Over time, the priest of Amon-Re gained much power and wealth. They owned one third of Egypt's land and began to play a major role in the government. As time passed, the pharaoh's power declined.

Amenhotep IV

Then, about 1370 B.C., a new pharaoh named Amenhotep IV (ah muhn hō' tep) came to the throne. He did not like the priests. He did not agree with them on what was good for Egypt. He wanted to return power to the pharaohs. Amenhotep IV closed the temples of Amon-Re and fired all temple workers. He set up a new religion that was different from the old religions because only one god was worshiped. This god was called Aton (ah' tuhn). Amenhotep IV changed his name to Akenaton (ahk nah' tuhn), which means "Spirit of Aton." Only his family and close advisers, however, accepted the new religion.

Amenhotep IV aka Akhenaton

After Amenhotep IV died, about 1360 B.C., his son-in-law Tutankhamen (tū tahng kah' muhn) became pharaoh. He was only nine years old. The priest made Tutankhamen return to the old religion. He dies after ruling for only nine years.


C. 1369 B.C.-1351 B.C.

Egyptian Pharaoh nicknamed the "boy king," Tutankhamen came to power at age 9. He pleased the priests by rejecting Akhenaton's religion. Although frail, he loved to race chariots and hunt animals. When he died at age 18, officials placed him in a treasure-filled tomb. The tomb's beautiful contents, discovered in 1922, made "King Tut" one of Egypt's most famous pharaohs.

Little by little, Egypt lost its power. One reason was the struggle between the priest and the pharaohs. Another was the pharaohs' attempts to keep neighboring countries under Egyptian control. Much energy and money was spent on war. Then, too, other peoples of the eastern Mediterranean were using iron weapons. Since Egypt had no iron ore, money was spent to bring in small amounts to make weapons.

By 1150 B.C., Egypt's empire was gone. Egyptian civilization kept growing weaker until Egypt was taken over by a people known as the Assyrians (uh sē' rē uhnz) in 671 B.C.

Section 4 Assessment

  1. Define: hieroglyphic.
  2. How did rulers of the New Kingdom expand trade?
  3. Why did Egypt grow weak?

Section 5 contributions

The Egyptians made many contributions to other civilizations. One was a paper called papyrus (puh pī' ruhs). It was made from a reed also called papyrus. In order to write on papyrus, the Egyptians invented ink. The dry climate of Egypt preserved some writings so well that they can still be read today.

Papyrus had other uses. It was made into baskets and sandals. It was also tied in bundles to make columns for houses. Even rafts and riverboats were made of papyrus.

Egyptian Papyrus

Other contributions of the Egyptians lay in the field of mathematics. They used a number system based on ten. They also used fractions and whole numbers. They used geometry to survey, or measure, land. When floods washed away the boundary markers that separated one field from the next, the Egyptians surveyed the fields to see where one began and the other ended.

The Egyptians knew the Nile flooded about the same time every year. They used this knowledge to make a calendar. The calendar had three seasons of 120 days each, and 5 special feast days for the gods.

The Egyptians also made contributions in the field of medicine. As dentist, eye doctors, animal doctors, and surgeons, Egyptian doctors were the first specialists in medicine. They were the first to use splints, bandages, and compresses. They were masters at sewing up cuts and at setting broken bones. The Egyptians also treated such problems as indigestion and hair loss. For indigestion, they used castor oil. For hair loss, they used a mixture of dog toes, dates, and a donkey hoof.

MEDICAL PRACTICE IN ANCIENT EGYPT Egyptian skill in medicine was highly valued in the Mediterranean area for 2,500 years. Here, an Egyptian doctor gives medicine to a patient. The doctor's assistant holds a scroll listing directions for treating the illness. What kind of medical help did Egyptian doctors give their patients?

Section 5 Assessment

  1. Define: papyrus.
  2. What mathematical contributions did the Egyptians make to civilization?
  3. What medical contributions did the Egyptians make to other civilizations?
Created By
Jennifer Miller


Created with images by Sriom - "tutankhamun pharaoh gold mask" • edenpictures - "Hatshepsut" • dalbera - "Nebamun chassant les oiseaux (British Museum)" • S J Pinkney - "Kom Ombo Temple, Egypt" • Paul Mannix - "Bust of Amenhotep IV in the Luxor Museum, Egypt" • daddyboskeazy - "king tut"

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.