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Viewed as the most powerful person in ancient Egypt, pharaohs served as the heads of the state and religious leaders of the Egyptian people. These monarchs held the titles “Lord of the Two Lands” and “High Priest of Every Temple”.
See the fact file below for more information on the pharaohs or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Pharaohs worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The term “pharaoh” is the Greek form of the Egyptian compound pr ꜥꜣ, which means “great house”, coined from the two bilateral hieroglyphs pr, meaning “house”, and ꜥꜣ, meaning “column.”
- The name of the royal residence or palace became correlated with the king, and as years passed, was used only for the leader of the kingdom.
- It started to be used to address the king in the era of the New Kingdom, Second Intermediate Period. The earliest recorded use of pr ꜥꜣ was seen in a letter to Akhenaten, addressed to “Great House, L, W, H, the Lord.”
- In the Eighteenth Dynasty (10th century BCE), the title pharaoh was used as a reverential designation of the king.
THE KINGSHIP IS ESTABLISHED
- In 3150 BCE, the First Dynasty in ancient Egypt was ruled by King Menes, also known as King Narmer.
- Based on reports, King Menes wore the two crowns of Egypt to unify Upper Egypt (the Nile Valley area in the South, whose cities were mainly urban) and Lower Egypt (the Nile Delta area, which was more agricultural). His reign was also believed to be in accordance with the will of the gods.
- Because of this unification, the “Upper and Lower Crowns” were merged into a single crown named “The Double Crown”.
- King Raneb or Nebra of the Second Dynasty associated his name with the prophecy and his dominion with the will of the gods. Rulers who succeeded Raneb also followed this kind of kingship.
- Osiris was honored by other rulers, who also embraced the crook (kingship – guidance of the people) and flail (fertility of the land – threshing wheat). It was believed that these two items were adopted by Osiris from the god Andjety. Osiris’ son Horus also became a pharaoh, following his father’s footsteps.
- The Cylinders of Pharaoh and the Rods of Horus, used to channel spiritual and intellectual energy, are the objects visible in the hands of Egyptian rulers’ statues.
- As the most powerful monarch in ancient Egypt, the pharaoh was treated as a god on earth, a mediator between the gods and the people. Upon stepping on the throne, the pharaoh is linked to Horus, the god who brought back order after conquering the forces of evil. After his death, he would be connected with Osiris, god of the dead.
- As “High Priest of Every Temple”, it was the pharaoh’s duty to construct new temples and monuments to commemorate his victories and to pay devotion and honor the gods of the land who allowed him to rule the kingdom. He was also made to preside over rituals and other religious ceremonies.
- As “Lord of the Two Lands”, the pharaoh served as a lawmaker, owner of all the lands in Egypt, tax collector, and defender of the country against any attacks from other rulers.
- Most pharaohs were the sons or declared heirs of the previous rulers, born of the Great Wife (pharaoh’s chief consort), or sometimes a wife of lower rank whom the pharaoh had laid his eyes on. It was also a practice to let these kings marry female monarchs to set the legitimacy of their kingdom by associating it to the upper class of Egypt’s capital, Memphis.
- King Narmer, considered to be the first king of Egypt, started this marriage tradition as he made Memphis his capital and married princess Neithhotep of Naqada to secure his kingship and bridge Memphis to his wife’s city and to his home city of Thinis.
- To continue the practice and to keep the bloodline absolute, a number of pharaohs married their sisters or half-sisters; Pharaoh Akhenaten wedded his own daughters.
THE PHARAOH AND MA’AT
- It was the main responsibility of the pharaoh to monitor the ma’at across the land. Ma’at, an ancient goddess of truth, justice, harmony, and balance, guided the pharaoh’s decisions and actions in ruling his land.
- Warfare was an important feature of the pharaoh’s rule, especially for the rehabilitation of balance and harmony in Egypt. If he won the battle, the conquered people had to bend their knees for the Egyptian ruler and offer him the finest and most treasured goods from their land.
PHARAOHS AND THE PYRAMIDS
- King Djoser of the Third Dynasty authorized enough wealth, power, and possessions to build his eternal home, the Step Pyramid. Designed by Imhotep, this iconic tourist attraction was the tallest structure of its time.
- It was initially constructed as Djoser’s ultimate resting place but the grandeur of the surrounding complex and its immense height were made to honor not only the pharaoh, but also the prosperity of all the lands of Egypt under his kingship.
- King Sekhemkhet and Khaba constructed the Buried Pyramid and the Layer Pyramid, following Imhotep’s design.
18TH DYNASTY AND EGYPT’S EMPIRE
- After losing the battle, the Middle Kingdom in 1782 BCE was put into the hands of Semitic people known as the Hyksos. However, these rulers imitated all the practices of Egyptian pharaohs and preserved all their customs until their kingdom was conquered by the royal line of the Egyptian 18th dynasty.
- King Ramesses the Great and Amenhotep III were two of the most famous pharaohs of this period.
- The 18th dynasty rulers also controlled the resources of some areas in Mesopotamia, Levant, Libya, and the Nubian Kingdom of Kush. King Ahmose I overthrew the Hyksos and created buffer zones around the borders of Egypt, guarded by Egyptian administrators who would report to the pharaoh, thus preventing other invasions.
- Queen Hatshepsut of the 18th Dynasty ruled successfully as a female pharaoh for over 20 years. Egypt flourished during her rule; she renewed trade with the Land of Punt and strengthened trade expeditions which caused Egypt’s economy to prosper.
- King Thutmose III succeeded her, removing her image from all of her temples and monuments. He believed that only men should be a pharaoh, never women. It seems King Thutmose III feared Hatshepsut’s example might encourage other women to step up and disregard their roles in the sacred order and aim for the power the gods had allotted for men.
DECLINE OF THE PHARAOH
- After the rule of King Ramesses III, the power of the pharaoh started to fall apart when the Sea People (naval raiders) invaded Egypt. Egypt won the battle, but many lives were lost and the economy was damaged.
- The power of the pharaoh greatly diminished after Egypt’s loss over the Persians at the Battle of Pelusium in 525 BCE.
- By the time of Cleopatra VII, the last pharaoh of the Ptolemaic Dynasty, the title no longer had the prestige it once had. After her death, Egypt turned into a province of Rome, thus erasing the glory of the pharaohs.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the pharaohs across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Pharaohs worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the pharaohs who served as the heads of the state and religious leaders of the Egyptian people. These monarchs held the titles “Lord of the Two Lands” and “High Priest of Every Temple”.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Pharaoh Facts
- Getting to Know a Pharaoh
- Who’s Who?
- What Makes a Pharaoh?
- Ask a Pharaoh
- Pharaoh vs Pharaoh
- Queens of Egypt
- Mummification 101
- Leaders Then and Now
- Pharaoh’s Rules
- As a Pharaoh
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Link will appear as Pharaohs Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, April 1, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.