Introduction - Egyptian PharaohsAt the dawn of civilization Egypt emerged as the dominant power of the ancient world. Their leaders, who we call Pharaohs, were believed to be half-man and half-god. These rulers had great power and wealth as proven by the great tombs filled with gold that were made for them where it was believed they would spend their afterlife. They ruled Egypt for thousands of years. In this section of Ancient Egyptian Facts you will find interesting information and facts about the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt. Below we have a list of some general facts about these Egyptian kings followed by a list and short description of a few of the more famous pharaohs. As with all the pages of this site the facts in this section are written for both adults and kids to understand and enjoy.
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General Ancient Egypt Pharaohs Facts
- The pharaoh was the most important person in ancient Egyptian civilization; he (or she) was the high priest and the leader of the army.
- Only the pharaoh and high priests were able to enter temples and speak to the gods.
- The word "Pharaoh" originates from the ancient Egyptian word Per-aa meaning "Great House" referring to the king's palace. Starting in the New Kingdom the word "pharaoh" came into use as a title for the Egyptian king.
- The ancient Egyptians believed the pharaoh's spirit would survive after death. This is why they built elaborate tombs filled with gold and items that the deceased ruler could use in the afterlife.
- The sun god Ra was believed to be the father of all the pharaohs.
List of Famous Ancient Egypt PharaohsThere were over three hundred Pharaohs that ruled Egypt over the centuries; the exact number is not known with many of their names being lost to history. Below we have listed just a few of the more famous rulers along with the years that they reigned over Egypt.
- Ramses III (approximately 1186 BC to 1155 BC) - This great military leader defended ancient Egypt from several invasions. First against the Libyans and then against the Sea Peoples. He was also responsible for the building of numerous beautiful palaces and temples and is considered the last great Pharaoh.
- King Tutankhamen (1332 BC to 1323 BC) - Made famous by the discovery of his treasure filled tomb in 1922 this boy king became pharaoh at the age of nine. The four rooms of his burial chamber contained over 5,000 objects many made of gold.
- Ramses II (1279 BC - 1213 BC) - Ramses II ruled over Egypt for 67 years. He was a great builder and warrior. He waged several campaigns against the mighty Hittites to regain territory the Hittites had taken from Egypt.
- Khufu (ruled around 2580 BC, length of reign is unknown) - He gained fame for building his tomb; the Great Pyramid of Giza. This amazing structure became one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and the only one still standing. By erecting this structure he showed with no uncertainty the power and influence he commanded.
- Cleopatra VII (51 BC to 30 BC) - She is one of the most famous pharaohs in history. She was the last pharaoh of ancient Egypt.She became the ruler of Egypt at seventeen years of age along with her brother who she would later have killed in order to take full control. She ruled the eastern part of the Roman Empire including Egypt along with Mark Anthony. She committed suicide when the Roman general Octavius defeated her and Mark Anthony's army and was about to capture her.