|View of the Nile Valley||Map of Egypt||Map of the Roman World|
Old Kingdom (c. 3200-2100 B.C.) Centralized political and economic organization. Kings (Pharaohs) of divine origin; powerful system of central and local officials.
Middle Kingdom (c. 2100-1800 B.C.) Feudal age of powerful landed nobility, with some centralized power in the hands of the Pharaohs.
New Kingdom (1570-1085 B.C.): Foundation of military empire extending south to Abyssinia, east to Euphrates. Corresponding expansion of foreign trade. Enormous wealth and luxury. Brief, unsuccessful attempt by Ikhnaton to establish monotheism.
Ptolemaic period (c. 300 - 30 B.C.) Centralized power revived briefly.
Egyptian architecture is characterized by preference for simple cubic masses, sense of weight, solidity, permanence. Massive tremendous scale, heavy walls and supports. Repetition of similar geometric forms: rectangular and polygonal piers, columns with capitals and shafts in simplified plant shapes. All-over decoration in low or sunken relief or painting. Axial organization. Architecture symbolic of eternal order, reflects natural order of environment of Nile Valley [001 Nile delta and Mediterranean]. Artistic conventions begun in Old Kingdom last 3000 years. Primary concerns were polytheistic religion and life after death.