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Architecture and Mathematics in Ancient Egypt
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  • 102 b/w illus. 9 tables
  • Page extent: 304 pages
  • Size: 247 x 174 mm
  • Weight: 0.75 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 722/.2
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: NA215 .R67 2004
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Architecture, Ancient--Egypt
    • Architecture--Egypt--Mathematics
    • Pyramids--Egypt

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521829540 | ISBN-10: 0521829542)


In this fascinating new study, architect and Egyptologist Corinna Rossi analyses the relationship between mathematics and architecture in ancient Egypt by exploring the use of numbers and geometrical figures in ancient architectural projects and buildings. While previous architectural studies have searched for abstract ‘universal rules’ to explain the history of Egyptian architecture, Rossi attempts to reconcile the different approaches of archaeologists, architects and historians of mathematics into a single coherent picture. Using a study of a specific group of monuments, the pyramids, and placing them in the context of their cultural and historical background, Rossi argues that theory and practice of construction must be considered as a continuum, not as two separated fields, in order to allow the original planning process of a building to re-emerge. Highly illustrated with plans, diagrams and figures, this book is essential reading for all scholars of ancient Egypt and the architecture of ancient cultures.

Dr Corinna Rossi is a Junior Research Fellow in Egyptology at Churchill College, Cambridge.



The Pitt Building, Trumpington Street, Cambridge, United Kingdom

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© Corinna Rossi 2003

This book is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception
and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements,
no reproduction of any part may take place without
the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2003

Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge

Typeface Times 11/14 pt.    System LATEX 2e   [TB]

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN 0 521 82954 2 hardback


  List of illustrations page viii
  List of tables xiii
  Preface xiv
  Acknowledgments xvii
  List of abbreviations xix
Part I Proportions in ancient Egyptian architecture
  Introduction to Part I: Harmony and proportions in architecture 2
1 In search of ‘the rule’ for ancient Egyptian architecture 7
  Triangles and other figures 7
    Three triangles for ancient Egypt 7
    Viollet-le-Duc, Babin and the primeval pyramid 11
    Choisy and the introduction of the Golden Section 16
  The Golden Section 23
    The origin and definitions of the Golden Section 23
    The Golden Section and ancient Egyptian art and architecture 28
    The theory of Alexander Badawy 32
2 Mathematics and architecture in ancient Egypt 57
  Ancient Egyptian mathematics 57
    The mathematical sources and their language 57
    On φ, π and other anachronisms 60
  Intention, coincidence or tendency? 68
    Triangles and architecture 68
    Psychological experiments and involuntary trends 78
    Cases from ancient Egypt 80
  Conclusion to Part I: Ancient mathematics and practical operations 87
Part II Ancient Egyptian sources: construction and representation of space
  Introduction to Part II: Tradition and variations in ancient Egyptian art and architecture 92
3 Documents on the planning and building process 96
  Architectural drawings 96
    Representations of buildings and working drawings 96
    Drawings with written dimensions: the problem of the scale 101
    Full-size geometrical sketches of architectural details 113
    The use of square grids and the idea of a module 122
  Architectural models 128
    Votive objects 128
    Working models 135
  Projects and works in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynasty royal tombs 139
    Documents on the works 139
    Recording the progress: from the project to the survey 142
4 Foundation rituals 148
  Foundation ceremonies 148
    The ritual sequence 148
    Cords and geometry 154
  Building Texts 161
    The dimensions of the primeval temples 161
    The dimensions of the temples at Edfu and Dendera 166
  Conclusion to Part II: From the plan to the building 174
Part III The geometry of pyramids
  Introduction to Part III: Combining the knowledge 178
5 Symbolic shape and constructional problems 180
  The form 180
    Pyramidal form and solar cult 180
    Benben and benbenet 182
    As high as possible 184
  The technique 185
    Seked, side-length, diagonals and corners 185
    Methods for obtaining the slope 188
    Dimensions and proportions 196
6 The proportions of pyramids 200
  Analysing true pyramids 200
    Numerological theories 200
    Lauer’s simple ratios 202
  A list of true pyramids 204
    Available data 204
    Pyramidia as alternative sources 205
7 Pyramids and triangles 212
  Geometrical models 212
    Approximation and seked 212
    Equilateral and b = h triangles 214
    Seked 5 ½ palms, generally called 14/11 triangle 215
    Pythagorean triplets 216
  The evolution of the form 221
    Old Kingdom pyramids 221
    Middle Kingdom pyramids 228
    New Kingdom and Late Period pyramids 231
  Conclusion to Part III: Interpreting the slope of pyramids 236
  An overview 239
  Appendix List of Old and Middle Kingdom true pyramids 242
  Bibliography 255
  Index 271


1   Early nineteenth-century reproductions of Egyptian monuments. page 8
2   Equilateral and ‘Egyptian’ triangles according to Viollet-le-Duc. 12
3   Construction of the vertical section of the pyramid of Khufu by means of the 3-4-5 triangle according to Viollet-le-Duc. 13
4   Proportions obtained by means of equilateral and ‘Egyptian’ triangles in four temples. 14
5   ‘Egyptian’ triangle in the design of the façade of the Parthenon according to Viollet-le-Duc. 15
6   Equilateral and ‘Egyptian’ triangles in the design of the Basilica of Constantine according to Viollet-le-Duc. 16
7   Proportions of the section of the Cathedral of Amiens according to Viollet-le-Duc. 17
8   Dimensions of various elements of a pyramid. 18
9   Proportions of the section of the Great Temple of Paestum according to Babin. 19
10   Relationship between the dimensions of some Greek temples and the proportions of some triangles according to Babin. 20
11   Design of the façade of the southern peripteral chapel at Elephantine according to Choisy. 22
12   Triangles used by the Egyptians according to Choisy. 22
13   Constructions of equilateral and ‘Egyptian’ triangles according to Choisy. 23
14   Subdivision of a segment according to the Golden Section and two geometrical constructions of the same proportion. 24
15   Visualisation of the relationship among elements of a continuous proportion and of the Golden Section. 25
16   Gnomonic growth visualised as a √5 spiral (reprinted by permission of the author). 27
17   Scene from the east wall of the chapel of the Ptolemaic tomb of Petosiris (drawn after Lefebvre, Petosiris, pl. 32). 29
18   Two interpretations of the geometrical figures in a scene from the tomb of Petosiris by Lawlor and Lamy (reprinted by permission of the author). 30
19   ‘Tracés harmoniques égyptiens’ according to Ghyka (reprinted by permission of Editions Gallimard). 32
20   Sketch of the proportions of the pyramid of Khufu, according to Ghyka (reprinted by permission of Editions Gallimard). 33
21   Parallel between the proportions of the human body and of the temple of Luxor according to Schwaller de Lubicz (reprinted by permission of Editions Caractères). 34
22   Gnomonic expansion of the temple of Luxor (reprinted by permission of the author). 35
23   An interpretation based on of the plan of the Osireion (Nineteenth Dynasty) by Lawlor and Lamy (reprinted by permission of the author). 36
24   Vertical section of the pyramid of Khufu showing the use of the eight ‘Ratios of Divine Harmony’ according to Fournier des Corats (reprinted by permission of Trédaniel Editeur). 37
25   Application of the eight Ratios of Divine Harmony to a New Kingdom brooch (above) and to the body of the goddess Nut from the Ptolemaic Dendera Zodiac (below) according to Fournier des Corats (reprinted by permission of Trédaniel Editeur). 38
26   Application of the eight Ratios of Divine Harmony to some columns of the temple of Amon at Karnak according to Fournier des Corats (reprinted by permission of Trédaniel Editeur). 40
27   Pillars 1:2, 1:4, 1:8 and prismatic pillar according to Badawy. 41
28   Method to design triangles by means of cords according to Badawy. 44
29   Analysis of the plan of the mortuary temple of Khafra (Fourth Dynasty), according to Badawy. 45
30   Analysis of the reconstructed plan of the temple of Senusret I at Tôd (Twelfth Dynasty), according to Badawy. 46
31   Actual archaeological remains of the temple of Senusret I at Tôd (Twelfth Dynasty) and reconstruction of the original plan by Arnold (reprinted by permission of DAIK). 47
32   Analysis of the plan of the Sanctuary of the Great Aten Temple at Amarna (Eighteenth Dynasty), by means of a network of 8:5 triangles according to Badawy. 48
33   Plan of the actual archaeological remains of the Sanctuary of the Great Aten Temple at Amarna (Eighteenth Dynasty) according to the 1986 survey (courtesy of the Egypt Exploration Society). 49
34   Analysis of the plan of the temple of Luxor (Eighteenth Dynasty), according to Badawy. 50
35   Analysis of the plan of the temple of Karnak, New Kingdom, according to Badawy. 51
36   Analysis of the plan of the Ptolemaic temple at Dendera according to Badawy. 52
37   Analysis of the plan of the Ptolemaic temple at Kom Ombo according to Badawy. 53
38   Analysis of the plan and reconstruction of the western façade of the chapel of Hakoris at Karnak (Twenty-ninth Dynasty) based on a network of 8:5 triangles, according to Lauffray (copyright: ADPF-ERC – Ministère des Affaires étrangeres, Paris; reprinted with permission). 55
39   Examples of Dieter Arnold’s studies: the temple of Mentuhotep at Deir el-Bahari (reprinted by permission of DAIK) and the Middle Kingdom temple of Qasr el-Sagha (reprinted by permission of DAIK). 62
40   The calculation of the area of the circle, based on RMP problem 48, according to Robins and Shute, and Gillings (reprinted by permission of Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press). 65
41   Interpretation of some marks as traces of an equilateral triangle in the plan of the Roman temple at Kalabsha according to Siegler (reprinted by permission of Gebrüder Mann Verlag). 72
42   Interpretation of the design of a façade and a section of the Roman temple at Kalabsha according to Siegler (reprinted by permission of Gebrüder Mann Verlag). 74
43   Interpretation of the plan of the Small Aten Temple at Amarna (Eighteenth Dynasty), according to Badawy and Mallinson (reprinted by permission of CAJ). 76
44   The development of the square grid system according to Legon (reprinted by permission of the author). 82
45   Plan and section of the Amarna Royal Tomb (courtesy of the Egypt Exploration Society). 84
46   Geometrical method to double a 100-square unit area. 89
47   Eighteenth Dynasty (?) drawing of a portable shrine on papyrus (reprinted by permission of Oxford University Press). 93
48   Proportions of Egyptian columns. 94
49   Representation of the royal granaries and storehouses of Amarna (Eighteenth Dynasty) from the tomb of Meryra (courtesy of the Egypt Exploration Society). 97
50   Representation of an Amarna royal palace from the tomb of Meryra, Eighteenth Dynasty (courtesy of the Egypt Exploration Society). 98
51   Akhenaten rewarding Meryra from the Window of Appearance, Eighteenth Dynasty (courtesy of the Egypt Exploration Society). 100
52   Slate tablet from Heliopolis representing a temple and two reconstructions by Ricke (reprinted by permission of Akademie Verlag). 102
53   Ostracon BM 41228 (Eighteenth Dynasty), reconstruction of the plan by Glanville (courtesy of the Egypt Exploration Society) and by Van Siclen (reprinted by permission of GM). 106
54   Sketches of a subterranean tomb, from the tomb of Senenmut (Eighteenth Dynasty). 108
55   Plan on a wooden board (Eighteenth Dynasty), (courtesy of the Egypt Exploration Society and the Metropolitan Museum of Arts); reconstructions of the plan by Badawy and by Davies (courtesy of the Egypt Exploration Society and the Metropolitan Museum of Arts). 110
56   Plan of the peripteral temple of Tuthmosis III (Eighteenth Dynasty) facing the Sacred Lake in the temple of Karnak. 111
57   Sketch of a Twentieth Dynasty elliptical vault. 114
58   Diagram of a curve (Third Dynasty), with hieroglyphic transcription. 116
59   Construction of an ellipse by means of a 3-4-5 triangle. 118
60   Sketch of a Ptolemaic column at Philae and of a Roman capital, and reconstruction of their proportions according to Borchardt (reprinted by permission of Akademie Verlag). 119
61   Sketch of a capital at Gebel Abu Foda, Roman (copyright: Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, University College London; reprinted with permission). 123
62   Plan of the temple of Qasr el-Sagha with a superimposed 1-cubit grid (reprinted by permission of DAIK). 124
63   Plan of the Small Aten Temple at Amarna (Eighteenth Dynasty), with 20-cubit grid and with 18-cubit grid (reprinted by permission of CAJ). 125
64   Plan of the basement of the model of a temple of Seti I (Nineteenth Dynasty) and frontal view of Badawy’s reconstruction of the entire model. 130
65   Fragment of a model of the northern corner of the first hall of the Ptolemaic temple at Tôd. 132
66   Plan and elevation of the model of a step pyramid (date unknown). 134
67   Model of the funerary apartment in a late Twelfth Dynasty pyramid (reprinted by permission of DAIK). 136
68   Plan and elevation of the model of the pyramid of Amenemhat III at Hawara (?) (Twelfth Dynasty). 137
69   Ostracon Cairo 25184 and plan of KV 6, the tomb of Ramses IX, Twentieth Dynasty. 143
70   Ostracon Cairo 51936, Nineteenth Dynasty. 145
71   Papyrus Turin 1885 and plan of KV 2, the tomb of Ramses IV, Twentieth Dynasty. 146
72   Scene from a foundation ceremony from the reign of Khasekhemwy, Second Dynasty. 150
73   Fragmentary foundation scene from the valley temple of Snefru at Dahshur, Fourth Dynasty. 151
74   Scene from a foundation ceremony from the sun temple of Neuserra, Fifth Dynasty (reprinted by permission of Akademie Verlag). 152
75   Scene from the foundation ceremony of the Ptolemaic temple of Dendera. 152
76   Land-surveyors from the Eighteenth Dynasty tomb of Amenhotepsesi (courtesy of the Egypt Exploration Society). 154
77   Figures based on the 3-4-5 triangle according to Lauer (reprinted by permission of IFAO). 158
78   3-4-5 triangle in the plans of the valley temple of Snefru at Dashur and of the funerary temple of Khufu (Fourth Dynasty), according to Lauer (reprinted by permission of IFAO). 160
79   3-4-5 triangle in the plan of the funerary temples of Teti, Pepi I and Pepi II (Sixth Dynasty), at Saqqara according to Lauer (reprinted by permission of IFAO). 161
80   Final stage of the Primeval Temple of the Falcon according to the Edfu texts. 163
81   Predynastic temple of Satet at Elephantine. 164
82   Plan of the Predynastic ceremonial centre at Hierakonpolis, named HK29A (reprinted by permission of R. Friedman). 165
83   Plans of the Ptolemaic temples of Edfu and Dendera (reprinted by permission of IFAO). 168
84   RMP problem 57: the height of a pyramid is calculated from the base-length and the seked (slope) (reprinted by permission of MAA). 185
85   Seked of a sloping face according to the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus. 186
86   New Kingdom ostracon from Soleb representing two pyramids, plan of pyramids 14 and 15 at Soleb and sketch of a pyramid on a Meroitic jar. 187
87   Petrie’s drawings of the diagrams at the four corners of Mastaba 17 (Third to Fourth Dynasty) at Meidum (copyright: Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, University College London; reprinted with permission). 189
88   Diagram of pyramid Beg. 8 at Meroe, as drawn on the wall of its chapel and its reconstruction (reprinted by permission of Akademie Verlag). 190
89   Geometrical relationships in a pyramid one cubit high. 193
90   Method for obtaining the slope in a pyramid according to Lehner (reprinted by permission of the author). 194
91   Method for obtaining the slope in a Meroitic pyramid according to Hinkel (reprinted by permission of Akademie Verlag). 195
92   Plan and section of the Bent Pyramid, Fourth Dynasty. 198
93   Relationship between face and vertical section in a pyramid. 208
94   West face of the pyramidion of Khendjer, Thirteenth Dynasty. 209
95   Equilateral triangle as vertical section and face of a pyramid. 210
96   Sekeds corresponding to an equilateral triangle, and to a triangle in which base = height. 214
97   Seked of palms, also called triangle. 217
98   Pythagorean triplets possibly employed as models in the construction of pyramids (to different scales). 220
99   Diagram of the evolution of the slope of Old and Middle Kingdom true pyramids, with the addition of four New Kingdom pyramids. 222
100   Pyramids of Snefru (Fourth Dynasty). 224
101   Pyramids of Khufu, Djedkara, Khafra and Menkaura (Fourth Dynasty). 227
102   Pyramids of Pepi I, Pepi II, their satellites and their queens (Sixth Dynasty). 237


1 Schematic chronology of ancient Egypt page xxi
2 List of ancient Egyptian units of measurements 61
3 Architectural sketches and drawings 104
4 Full-size geometrical sketches 113
5 Architectural models of funerary and religious monuments 128
6 Documents on the architectural work in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynasty tombs 144
7 The dimensions of some chambers of the Ptolemaic temples of Edfu and Dendera according to the Building Texts 170
8 Proportions of some pyramids according to Jean-Philippe Lauer 203
9 List of surviving pyramidia of pyramids 206


Mathematics has always played an important role in architecture, in the past just as in the present. Despite this continuity, however, reconstructing exactly how the relationship between architecture and mathematics worked in an ancient culture may prove rather complicated. An investigation into the way architecture and mathematics interacted in the past, in ancient Egypt as well as in other cultures, may be misled by three main sets of tangled problems. The first is generated by our expectations of the results of such a research; the second depends on the reliability of the drawings used to test or ‘discover’ a theory; and the third stems from the way mathematics is employed during the research.

   Regarding the first point, it is evident that in ancient monuments people have found all they wanted to find in terms of mathematical concepts and geometrical figures. A small-scale plan, a ruler, a compass and a bit of imagination are enough to ‘discover’ several mathematical relationships in the design of any building. This does not imply, however, that the ancient architects based their reasoning on the same points, nor that they were aware of all of the possible interpretations of their plans.

   A second point concerns the drawings employed in this type of study. The habit of using mainly plans to analyse the proportions of buildings may produce a dangerous distance between the actual monument and its schematic representation. A plan is a useful and simple way to represent a building, but it includes just a few clues about the elevation, and even less about the masses and materials involved. Defining a building just by means of its plan may be reductive, and discussing its proportions on this basis may be misleading. Another problem related to the use of drawings is their reliability. Precision in architectural surveys has not always been a priority, and graphic reconstructions sometimes have been based on the imagination more than is appropriate.

   A third, important point is the way scholars use mathematics. In their search for a ‘rule’ that would explain the proportions of ancient Egyptian architecture, modern scholars have generally ignored ancient Egyptian mathematics and have based their theories on our modern mathematical system. In some extreme cases, this line of research has led to complicated interpretations based on symbolic and esoteric concepts. These theories do not necessarily provide any useful information about the ancient culture to which they are supposed to refer, but on the other hand they may play an important role in a study of the culture and the historical period that produced them – that is, Europe in the last two centuries. The modern diffusion of a scientific and logical way of thinking seems to have corresponded to a growing need for an imaginary escape into mysterious worlds, where there are still secrets to discover. Egypt, with its impressively oversized architectural remains, its legendary wealth, its obscure and fascinating writing, seems to be the ideal candidate to hide the key of a lost wisdom. Even if the ancient Egyptians would have been flattered by this attitude, the results of this kind of speculation have, unfortunately, little to do with the actual historical and archaeological remains.

   This does not mean that there is nothing left to discover; it simply means that we must look in other directions. The structure of this book reflects the existence of two separate channels of research that have taken shape in the last two centuries. Broadly speaking, they can be attributed to the two main groups of scholars who have dealt with ancient Egyptian architecture: architectural historians and Egyptologists. Finding a mathematical rule that would explain the proportions of ancient Egyptian architecture has generally been an idea entertained by architects and architectural historians, who rarely took into account any archaeological or textual evidence. On the other hand, the archaeological and textual evidence usually has been studied in detail by Egyptologists who had no interest in or did not believe in the existence of a more general rule, and so rarely tried to set any piece of architectual evidence into a broader picture.

   The search for a rule has the merit of encouraging a perception of the subject from a more general and less particular point of view, but it also is true that the desire to find links, interconnections and similarities has often overstepped the boundaries of rigorous historical interpretation. A combination between these two viewpoints, however, may yield interesting results. Part I of this book is dedicated to the theories suggested in the past to explain the proportions of ancient Egyptian architecture. The discrepancy between the methods used by modern scholars and the ancient mathematical sources proves the inconsistency of many modern interpretations. Part II is dedicated to a detailed analysis of the surviving archaeological evidence on the planning and building process, such as architectural drawings, models and texts. Although this material has already been studied in detail by several scholars, comparisons between documents from different periods, and between the architectural and the mathematical sources, provide new clues about the way mathematics was used by ancient Egyptian architects, scribes and workmen.

   Therefore, Part I may be defined as the ‘architectural’ approach corrected by the Egyptological studies, whereas Part II is based on the inverse combination. Finally, Part III is an attempt to reconcile these two views and prove that the association between them may be extremely productive. A group of monuments, the Old and Middle Kingdom pyramids, have been analysed on the basis of the conclusions drawn at the ends of Parts I and II. The result is a coherent picture which incorporates symbolic needs, theoretical reasoning and practical considerations, while setting aside the complicated implications of some past theories and pointings to new, interesting directions of research.

   In conclusion, this study does not aim to discover any secret, nor to find out any formula which might explain the proportions in ancient Egyptian architecture. It is simply an attempt to outline the relationship between architecture and mathematics in ancient Egypt; that is, the way the ancient Egyptians used numbers and geometrical figures when planning and building. My wish is that it will act as a bridge between architects and Egyptologists and will help to set the path for a consistent analysis, in mathematical terms, of future archaeological evidence.


This book is the outcome of several years of research that took shape and gained consistency in Cambridge under the guidance of Barry J. Kemp. As my Ph.D. supervisor, he encouraged and supported my research and offered me the possibility of learning from his experience. To him I wish to express my deepest gratitude and respect.

   Turning my doctoral dissertation into a book has been made possible by several people and institutions. My manuscript benefited from the comments and suggestions offered by Ian Shaw, Stephen Quirke and Dieter Arnold. The publication has been supervised with an expert hand by Simon Whitmore, patiently edited by Nancy Hynes, and also supported by Helen Barton and Jessica Kuper. My post-doctoral studies have been generously funded by a Junior Research Fellowship at Churchill College, Cambridge, that provided a lively and stimulating environment for interdisciplinary research such as mine.

   My doctoral dissertation was funded by the Lady Wallis Budge Fund, offered by Christ’s College. My research was supported on a daily basis by the staff of the library of the Faculty of Oriental Studies and occasionally by the Faculty of Classics and the University Library. The section of this book dedicated to the Ptolemaic temples is the result of a separate study, funded by the Gerald Averay Wainwright Near Eastern Archaeological Fund, Oxford.

   Over the years, I received useful comments and suggestions from Katherine Spence, Serafina Cuomo, Penelope Wilson, Sarah Clackson, Günter Burkard, Ted Brock and the Theban Mapping Project, Stephen Seydlmayer, Nabil Swelim and Jan Nekovar. Thanks are also due to Sally MacDonald and the Petrie Museum, Carol Andrews, Richard Parkinson and the British Museum, Catharine H. Roehrig and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ingeborg Müller and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Enrichetta Leaspo and the Museo Egizio in Turin, and the Dutch Archaeological Institute in Cairo.

   In the early years of my research, important figures have been Professor Giulio Pane, with whom I graduated in History of Architecture at the Facoltà di Architettura, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Professor Rodolfo Fattovich, Rosanna Pirelli and, at the very beginning, Professor Anna Maria Iurza, who taught me Greek and Latin.

   I must say a special thanks to Adriano, because there is more to life than just research. Finally, for their unfailing support, I wish to thank my parents, Aldo and Donatella, architects, to whom this book is dedicated.


AOS American Oriental Series
ASAE Annales du Service des Antiquités de l’Egypte
ASE Archaeological Survey of Egypt
AV Archäologische Veroffentlichungen
BCA Bulletin de Correspondance Africaine
BdE Bibliothèque d’Etude
Beiträge Bf Beiträge zur Ägyptischen Bauforschung und Altertumskunde
BIFAO Bulletin de l’Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale
BMMA Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
BSAE British School of Archaeology in Egypt
CAJ Cambridge Archaeological Journal
CdE Chronique d’Egypte
CG Catalogue Général des Antiquités Egyptiennes du Musée du Caire
DAIK Deutsches Archäologisches Institut Kairo
DE Discussions in Egyptology
DFIFAO Documents de Fouilles de l’Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale
EA Egyptian Archaeology
EEF Egypt Exploration Fund
EES Egypt Exploration Society
ERA Egyptian Research Account
GM Göttinger Miszellen
HM Historia Mathematica
IFAO Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale
JARCE Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt
JEA Journal of Egyptian Archaeology
JEOL Jaarbericht ex Oriente Lux
JSAH Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians
Helck Wolfgang and Eberhard Otto (eds.), Lexikon der Ägyptologie, Wiesbaden 1975–92.
MIFAO Mémoires de l’Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale
MDAIK Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts Kairo
NARCE Newsletter of the Americal Research Center in Egypt
OLA Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta
PSBA Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology
RAPH Recherches d’Archéologie, de Philologie et d’Historie
RdE Revue d’Egyptologie
SAE Service des Antiquités de l’Egypte
SAK Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur
TTS Theban Tombs Series
VA Varia Aegyptiaca
ZÄS Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde

Table 1. Schematic chronology of Ancient Egypt

      Kings and Queens
Historical Period Dynasty Approximate dates mentioned in the text

Early Dynastic Period Dynasty 0 3100–3000 BC  
First Dynasty 3000–2750 BC  
Second Dynasty 2750–2686 BC Hetepsekhemwy, Ninetjer
Old Kingdom Third Dynasty 2686–2600 BC Djoser, Sekhemkhet, Khaba
  Fourth Dynasty 2600–2450 BC Snefru, Khufu (Cheops), Djedefra, Khafra (Chefren), Menkaura (Mykerinos), Shepseskaf, Nebka (?)
  Fifth Dynasty 2450–2300 BC Userkaf, Sahura, Neferirkara, Shepseskara, Raneferef, Neuserra, Menkauhor, Djedkara-Isesi, Unas
  Sixth Dynasty 2300–2181 BC Teti, Pepi I, Merenra, Pepi II
First Intermediate Period Seventh Dynasty no historical evidence  
  Eighth Dynasty 2180–2160 (?) BC Iby
  Ninth/Tenth Dynasty (Herakleopolis) 2160–2025 (?) BC  
  Eleventh Dynasty (Thebes) 2160–2025 BC Nebhetepra Mentuhotep
Middle Kingdom Eleventh Dynasty (all Egypt) 2025–1976 BC  
  Twelfth Dynasty 1976–1794 BC Amenemhat I, Senusret I, Amenemhat II, Senusret II, Senusret III, Amenemhat III, Amenemhat IV
  Thirteenth Dynasty 1794–1700 BC Ameny-Qemau, Khendjer, Merneferra-Ay
Second Intermediate Period Fourteenth Dynasty chronology uncertain, some dynasties were contemporary  
  Fifteenth Dynasty (Hyksos rulers in Lower Egypt)    
  Sixteenth Dynasty    
  Seventeenth Dynasty (Thebes) 1650–1550 (?) BC Kamose
      Kings and Queens
Historical Period Dynasty Approximate dates mentioned in the text
New Kingdom Eigtheenth Dynasty 1550–1292 BC Ahmose, Tuthmosis I, Hatshepsut, Tuthmosis III, Amenhotep III, Amarna Period, Tutankhamun
  Amarna Period 1351–1334 BC Akhenaton (Amenhotep IV)
  Nineteenth Dynasty 1292–1185 BC Seti I, Ramses II, Merenptah, Seti II, Siptah, Tawosret
  Twentieth Dynasty 1186–1069 BC Sethnakht, Ramses III, Ramses IV, Ramses V, Ramses VI, Ramses IX
Third Intermediate Period Twenty-first Dynasty 1069–945 BC  
  Twenty-second Dynasty 945–735 BC  
  Twenty-third Dynasty 818–715 BC  
  Twenty-fourth Dynasty (‘Saite’) 727–715 BC  
  Twenty-fifth Dynasty (from Napata) 747–664 (?) BC  
Late Period Twenty-sixth Dynasty 664–525 BC  
First Persian Period Twenty-seventh Dynasty 525–404 BC  
Late Dynastic Period Twenty-eighth Dynasty 404–399 BC  
  Twenty-ninth Dynasty 399–380 BC  
  Thirtieth Dynasty 380–343 BC Nectanebo I, Nectanebo II
Second Persian Period Persian kings 343–332 BC  
Macedonian Period Macedonian Dynasty 332–304 BC Alexander the Great
Ptolemaic Period Ptolemaic Dynasty 304–30 BC Ptolemy, Ptolemy II, Ptolemy III, Ptolemy VI, Ptolemy VIII, Ptolemy X, Ptolemy XI, Ptolemy XII, Cleopatra VII
Roman Period Roman Emperors 30 BC – 395 AD Augustus
Byzantine Period   395–640 AD  
Islamic Period   640–1517 AD  
Ottoman Period   1517–1805 AD  
Khedival Period   1805–1919 AD  
Monarchy   1919–1953 AD  
Republic   1953-today  

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