A. What do we know about Egypt?
1. Ask the question—“Where is Egypt?”
a. Africa or on the African continent
b. Show globe to demonstrate how far away it is
c. Ask question—“Can anyone tell me anything they
know about Egypt?”
d. Ask question—“What sorts of things come to
mind when you think of Egypt?”
e. Is Egypt a modern country? What is it like now?
Talk about Islam, closeness to Israel, discuss
how many people still live like they did a thousand
years ago. Talk about how Cairo is one of the
largest modern cities in Africa.
2. What kind of climate does it have? The climate is
very hot and dry; it seldom rains.
3. What is around it? Egypt is surrounded on the east
and west by deserts. North: the Mediterranean Sea.
East: the Red Sea. South: the Sudan and Ethiopia.
4. How does Egypt play a part in our lives today?
a. Movies—The Mummy, the Mummy Returns, The
Scorpion King, other mummy movies, Raiders of
the Lost Ark; Prince of Egypt
b. Egyptian-influenced jewelry
c. Middle-East tensions
d. Biblical history
e. Memphis, TN; the Pyramid of Memphis
f. Las Vegas (plus Luxor Casino)
g. The Great Seal of the United States
h. Washington Monument
5. What we are talking about is ancient history—how long
ago are we talking?
a. 5000 years ago Egypt became unified
b. King Menes brought together Upper and Lower
Egypt into one powerful country
c. What does A.D. and B.C. stand for?
A.D= Anno Domini (Year of our Lord)
B.C.= Before Christ
B.C.E.= Before the Common Era (2007 years ago,
now more often used by archaeologists)
B. Geography of Ancient Egypt
1. The Nile River
a. What is the major geographical feature of
ancient Egypt? The Nile River, the longest river
in the world, more than 4,000 miles.
b. The Nile starts far to the south with two rivers,
the White Nile and the Blue Nile.
c. The White Nile begins at Lakes Albert, Edward
and Victoria, which border the countries of
Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.
Those are strange names for African lakes—why
do they have those names? Victoria was the
queen of England when they were first
discovered by Europeans. Albert was her
husband, and Edward, her son.
d. The Blue Nile starts at Lake Tana in Ethiopia.
The two rivers come together to form the Nile
River at Khartoum, Sudan.
e. Why was the Nile so important to the ancient
--they used it for transporting goods and people
--the yearly flooding (Innundation) helped the
crops to grow
f. What made the Nile so useful? The current
flows to the north, but the winds blow to the
south, so one could travel either direction fairly
2. What were the boundaries of ancient Egypt?
a. The land that was ancient Egypt did not have the
same political boundaries that you see today on a
map or globe. The vast majority of people lived
along the Nile River, or close to the mouth of the
Nile, in an area called the “Delta.” Ask if this is
a familiar term to anyone.
b. One either side of the river were vast deserts
and mountains. The Egyptians called the area
around the Nile, the “Black Land” or “Kemet,”
because of the rich, black soil deposited by the
annual flooding. They called the desert the “Red
Land” because of the color of the red sands.
3. Travel on the Nile—although the river could be used
for transportation, it wasn’t an easy ride. There are
six cataracts, or waterfall/rapids areas that have to
be negotiated. There were also plenty of crocodiles,
and even more dangerous, hippopotami that could
easily overturn a boat.
**NILE RIVER, LIFEBLOOD OF EGYPT ACTIVITY**
4. Upper and Lower Egypt—look on a map of Egypt.
Upper Egypt is the southern part of the country.
Lower Egypt is the northern part of the country. Can
anyone figure out why? Because the Nile flows from
south to north.
5. Major cities of Egypt
a. Giza, where the pyramids are built
b. Memphis (capital city of Egypt)
c. Thebes and Luxor (near the Valley of the Kings)
**WAY DOWN IN EGYPT LAND MAP ACTIVITY**
C. Egypt’s Ancient History
1. Egypt’s history is so old that even the ancient Greeks
and Romans were amazed at its history!
2. Before about 3000 B.C., Egypt was divided into two
lands, Upper and Lower Egypt, and ruled by local
leaders. Around 3000 B.C., a powerful king named
Menes combined Upper and Lower Egypt into one
powerful country, and started the line of kings known
as Dynasties, or groups of related kings. There were
31 Dynasties in about 3000 years.
3. There is some evidence that even before Menes, there
was a powerful king whose name was Scorpion, but
there is only one mention of him in ancient texts, so
nothing more is known.
4. The unification of Upper and Lower Egypt also began a
historical period called the “Old Kingdom,” which last
about 500 years (2700-2200 B.C.).
a. Egyptian history is divided into several periods.
Along with the Old Kingdom, there were also Middle
(2100-1780 B.C.) and New (1570-1320 B.C.)
Kingdoms. In between these times were
“Intermediate Periods,” times of struggle and
political unrest, and sometimes invasion or rule by
b. Egypt also had some other important periods in
--The Ptolemaic Period (332-30 B.C.), where Egypt
was conquered by Alexander the Great, a Greek.
The Greeks who ruled Egypt for 300 years mostly
belonged to a family called the Ptolemies. Cleopatra
VII was a Greek ruler of Egypt.
--The Roman Period (30 B.C.-330 A.D.), the Romans
conquered Egypt and drove the Ptolemies out of
--Coptic Christian Period (330-641 A.D.), when an
ancient form of the Christian church started in
--Islamic Period (641-present), began with the
conquest of Egypt by the Islamic Moors, who
brought their religion with them. Today, most of
Egypt is of the Muslim faith.
**TIME LINE ACTIVITY**