The history of ancient Egypt is long and full of mysteries. But if there is a particularly captivatinTutankhamung figure that represents in itself the 3,500 years of Egyptian civilization, it is that of the pharaoh . But what or who was the pharaoh exactly? In this article we answer that question and we are also going to tell you which were the 10 most important pharaohs of Ancient Egypt whose fame, for one reason or another, reached our days.
To plan your trip, take a look at these tips for traveling to Egypt
Who was the pharaoh?
The pharaoh was the ruler of Egypt, who ruled by divine mandate. For many centuries he was considered a semi-god: for the Egyptians he was the reincarnation of Horus , son of the god Osiris and the goddess Isis, and his task was to mediate between men and divinities. With the passage of time that concept was modified and the pharaoh ceased to be seen as a divinity and came to be considered a man, albeit an all-powerful man.
The term pharaoh means “great home” and refers to the fact that it was the place where the spirit of the God Horus lived, one of the most revered in all of Egyptian mythology. Horus was the God of War, represented with the body of a human and the head of a falcon with a double crown: from Upper and Lower Egypt.
Being pharaoh was a divine and hereditary right . Pharaoh himself reigned until his death, leaving power to his sons (if they did not have them, the priests would choose the successor). It was a theocratic government , where democracy had no place (in fact, at that time it did not even exist), so the people had practically no rights.
Each pharaoh had a Great Royal Wife , whose sole mission was to provide the pharaoh with heirs. There were some exceptions, such as the case of Nefertiti, Great Royal Wife of Akhenaten, who apparently helped her pharaoh in all decisions. Although, of course, there were also “the others”: each pharaoh could sleep with all the women he wanted.
The most important pharaohs of Ancient Egypt
If we think that throughout the 33 Dynasties hundreds of pharaohs passed through Egypt, it is not easy to catalog them all, yes, thanks to Egyptologists, some 10 pharaohs have been identified who, for one reason or another, They had a special importance in the history of Egypt. Are these:
Also known as Narmer, he was the first pharaoh of Egypt , who reigned in the 29th century BC. He is recognized for being responsible for having unified all the lands of the Nile Delta and for founding the first capital of the country: Memphis, which had a strategic position to control the lands of the Lower Nile.
If Menes founded a first Egyptian land, this pharaoh who reigned between 2820 and 2800 BC was responsible for unifying Upper Egypt (the area that goes from Luxor to Cairo ) and Lower Egypt (the area that goes from Cairo to the delta ). It is a fundamental fact in the history of the country, so without a doubt it is one of the most important pharaohs of Ancient Egypt.
Djoser was the second pharaoh of the III dynasty, he was in power from 2665 to 2645 BC. He was the first pharaoh who ordered the construction of one of the most characteristic works of Egyptian architecture: the stepped pyramid of Saqqara . And that is essentially the reason why he went down in history.
According to Herodotus, Greek philosopher and historian, Cheops was one of the most ambitious and cruel pharaohs that the country had (although there are those who doubt that version). Although his great legacy and what he is known for today is the Great Pyramid of Giza , one of the most famous architectural works in the world.
He is remembered for being one of the fairest pharaohs that Egypt had and reigned between 2322 and 2313 BC He tried to create a centralized government since he understood that the nomarchs (heads of local administrations) increasingly had more power, and he exempted from taxes to the Abydos region, due to climatic and harvest problems… something unheard of until then.
She was the first pharaoh queen , and in order to ascend the throne at the time of her coronation she was disguised as a man. She ruled between 1490 and 1468 BC and apparently she was one of the most mature, intelligent and ambitious monarchs to pass through Egypt. But she was not alone, Senenmut, besides the royal architect was her great support (besides probably her lover) of her. The temple of Hatshepsut is one of the most interesting visits on a trip through Egypt , although today there is practically no trace of the queen: when she died, her brother Tutmosis III destroyed all the memory of her.
Tutankhamun, also known as the Child Pharaoh since he only reigned from 9 to 19 years old, is one of the great pharaohs of Egypt, not so much because of what he did in life but because of his tomb ! The year was 1922 when archaeologist Howard Carter discovered the intact tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings. From that moment, both went down in history. Today you can admire the treasures of Tutankhamun in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
He ruled between 1294 and 1279 BC (Dynasty XIX) and is remembered for being a pharaoh who worried about restoring peace to the country , after a few years of revolts and fights. And he did it by getting personally involved, because he was one of the most important pharaoh-warriors.
Ramses II took over from his father Seti I and ruled for more than 6 decades, until his death in 1213 BC Today he is one of the most recognized pharaohs, especially thanks to the enormous number of temples he ordered to be built , among which we highlight Abu Simbel, an essential visit to finish any Nile cruise .
She was the last pharaoh of Egypt , she belonged to the Ptolemaic Dynasty and when she died the country fell into the hands of the Roman Empire . Cleopatra VII was an extremely beautiful and intelligent woman and she inherited the throne jointly with Ptolemy XIII, her brother and her husband. She never got along with him, so much so that Julius Caesar himself had to go to Egypt to “put order” (she convinced Cleopatra by presenting herself as a gift to him, naked and wrapped in a rug). Finally her brother was defeated, she kept the throne and began a long love affair with Julius Caesar. But after the assassination of Julio Cesar, Cleopatra found in Marco Antonio , another great love that, as you well know, ended in tragedy.
Cleopatra is also the last of our article, with the 10 most important pharaohs of Ancient Egypt . If you have questions or want to contribute your grain of sand, do not hesitate to leave a comment.