Ancient Egyptian History

This is the first in what is going to be a series of articles by Mohamed Fahmy who holds a BA in Egyptology and worked for several years as an Egyptologist in Egypt.


Many remains of primitive civilisations are to be found in Egypt.  Stone implements give us grounds to believe that from a time when man used a stone axe, roughly hewn, to when he learned to make the polished flint daggers of the Neolithic period, this country was continuously inhabited.

It is impossible to specify the exact proportions in which African, Asiatic and perhaps even European elements contributed to form the population which developed into the Egyptian race, but once these Ancient Egyptians were in the country, the conditions of life and climate helped them to found one of the oldest centres of civilization in the ancient world.

New generation in one of the oldest civilisations in the world

It seems that among the factors which helped in achieving the prosperity and continuous evolution of civilisation in Ancient Egypt are:

  • 1. A good climate which is suitable for animal, life and plant growth
  • 2. The fertility of the Nile Valley
  • 3. The River Nile
  • 4. The growth of nearly all vegetables necessary for man in the Nile Valley
  • 5. The presence of Eastern and Western Deserts on both side of the Nile Valley which protected Egypt from any invasions of the neighbouring nations
  • 6. The geographical location of Egypt between Africa and Asia and very close to Europe



Sources of Ancient Egyptian History

The sources of Ancient Egyptian history are either documentary or classical.


 The documentary sources

These include tablets giving the names of the Kings, written in order, and the many inscribed monuments found everywhere in Egypt. The most important tablets are the following;

1.      Palermo stone

A large fragment of a basalt stone tablet which gives a big list of Ancient Egypt Kings from the first Dynasty to the Fifth Dynasty and also includes some important events that took place in Ancient Egypt (It’s now in Palermo Museum Italy)

2.      The List of Saqqara

Was found in 1861 in the tomb of the royal scribe Thunery at Saqqara. It gives the names of 47 Ancient Egyptians kings from the first dynasty ending with King Ramesses II. (It’s now in Cairo Museum Piece no 660)

3.      Turin Papyrus

This papyrus tells us lots about the reign of King Ramesses II, it also contain a list of kings ending with those of the 19th Dynasty (It’s now in Turin Museum Italy)

 4.      The list of ABYDOS Temple

Inside the temple of Abydos (built by King Seti I) there is a big tablet on the wall of the temple giving the names of 76 kings. (Abydos temple South of Egypt)

5.      The list of Karank Temple

It was discovered in 1825 in Karnak temple, Luxor city and gave us the names of the Kings who ruled Ancient Egypt (It’s now in the Louvre Museum Paris)


 The Classical Sources:

These include all the books that were written about Egypt by ancient writers and the most important are;

1.      Herodotus

A Greek historian who visited Egypt about 450 BC and wandered all over the country asking the priests about its history and religion, he devoted the second volume of his “histories” to Egypt.

 One of his famous quotes is “Egypt is the gift of the Nile”

2.      Manetho

An Egyptian priest of the Ptolemaic period (The Greek Period in Egypt), who wrote in Greek by the order of King Ptolemy II,  “their Egyptian memoirs” in which he grouped all the kings who ruled Ancient Egypt into 30 Dynasties. Unfortunately Manetho’s works are lost but fragments were found and restored in 70 AD.


This is the first part of what will be a series on Egypt.

Written by Mohamed Fahmy


At Explore Travel and Cruises we are passionate about history and we are really keen to share our love and knowledge. If you have any questions about the history of Egypt please use the comment box below or on our Facebook page and our Egyptologist will answer your questions



What our clients have to say

What a unique experience this was for my husband and I and a group of friends ( 5 other couples). I felt like we were going back in time and living the life that a well to do 19th century family would have while they were sojourning down the Nile River. The decor of the living spaces on the second level upstairs on the upper deck looked like pieces you would see in a palace of royalty. The bedrooms on the first level that had windows that opened up just above the water level were spacious and comfortable. The bed was comfy as can be!!
The staff on the boat, and there were many, were so very attentive and tried their hardest to meet our every need and also surprised us with daily unexpected niceties and full on entertainment. The food was all homemade and delicious. Our chef was quite talented and the meals were never repeated( except for breakfast which was made to order eggs and an assortment of breads/muffins/croissants and fruit etc. Coffee and tea always available.
The tours that were scheduled for us were so well run and our Egyptologist, Ahmed , was obtaining his Ph.D in Egyptology and was so very interesting and knowledgeable. We had the opportunity to go on a hot air balloon ride and also a trip to Abu Simbel which were both amazing and unforgettable. After every tour we arrived back on the boat and were greeted by Tito and Adam with specialty cold lovely drinks and cold lemon scented wet towels to refresh ourselves with.
Tito took us shopping in the Luxor Market for a couple of hours the day before we left. He helped us negotiate the goods we purchased which was a huge help.
Lastly I have to mention our Dahabiya Cruise Captain, Mahmoud . This guy was amazing! He made sure we had everything we needed and kept us entertained with his humour and incredible dancing skills. Our group learned so much about the Egyptian culture from him during our dinner conversations.
Our group all agreed that we would miss these wonderful, thoughtful people that we spent a week with and hope they all knew how much we appreciated each one of them.

Joan Mancini
Travel date Sept 2021

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