Monday, September 12, 2016

Ancient Egypt

Probably the oldest genealogy which I have are those from ancient Egypt. Narmer is the first ruler of a united Egypt from the early Dynastic Period about 3100 BCE. Prior to him Egpyt was divided between the upper and lower Nile areas - and even through much of the later history Egypt is known as the Two Lands.

However, the earliest genealogy I have starts with the 11th Dynasty with Inyotef the Elder about 2150 BCE. I am not real familiar with all the various rulers of Egypt and only know a few stories about a few of the more well known pharoahs so this is only a brief commentary - not even an outline of Egypt's history. Egypt has a very long history, which is divided into the following periods:
  • Pre-History pre-3100 BCE
  • Ancient Egypt  3100-332 BCE
  • Classical Antiquity 332 BCE - 629
  • Middle Ages 641-1517
  • Early Modern 1517-1914
  • Modern Egypt since 1914
Of course, here we are talking about the Ancient period, although later we shall show some genealogy from Classical Antiquity. Ancient Egypt is further divided into Old, Middle, New, Late Kingdoms with intermediate periods. This all covers up to at least 32 Dynasties and almost 3000 years of history.

One thing that is quite noticeable in my genealogy is how often these rulers married their own sister or half-sister.  I have noticed this happening even in the later Ptolemaic genealogy in Classical Antiquity and other Near Eastern genealogies.  Below is an interesting quote I found on the Bible Archaeology Society website which clearly lays out the reasons why ancient histories are so myopic. Even more recently just over a 100 years, I find that farming communities are all intermarrying, though perhaps not as close as brothers and sisters, but certainly cousins marrying was not so uncommon.
"Looking at recent work done by sociologists and anthropologists, she [Mary Joan Winn Leith] notes that when forming a group identity, we tend to define ourselves by how we differ from other groups. In the ancient Near East, sometimes those outside of a particular group or society were considered less 'human' by those inside of the group. An important factor that contributes to this mindset is geography. People in the ancient Near East typically stayed close to home, which affected their perception of the world. Surely they knew that other groups of people—potential enemies or allies—existed far away, but if they never came into contact with these groups, what did they matter?"  (
To point out just a couple of famous pharaohs, I will start with Amenhotep IV Akhenaten. This Pharoah is especially famous for abandoning traditional Egyptian polytheism and introducing the worship of Aten, the sun god, as a quasi-monotheist religion. He was married to one of the few famous women of ancient Egypt, Nefertiti, the most influential woman of the Bronze Age. (See link below to a good book about Queen Nefertiti.)

Rameses II the Great is often considered the greatest and most powerful Pharaoh of Egypt. As such, others liked to link to him as an ancestor.  Even the Irish whose Milesian Legends say that Rameses had a daughter called Scota who was married to Nel, the son of Feinus Farsaid, King of Scythia, shown in my genealogy Chart #1 in an earlier post. Rameses is also the Pharaoh who tradition says lived during the time of Moses, whose army was drowned in the Red Sea. However, the Bible does not actually name the Pharaoh who Moses dealt with. Even "scholarly consensus sees Moses as a legendary figure and not a historical person. Archaeological evidence does not support a mass-migration from Egypt, as described in the Bible." (

The single genealogical link to these Egyptian Pharaohs is through a woman named Neithiyti who married Cyrus II "the Great", King of Persia, who we will discuss in a later post.

Here are links to some of the key people in my online genealogy database:

Here are some links to help you learn more:

History of Ancient Egypt:
Inyotef (Intef) the Elder:
Amenhotep IV Akhenaten:
Rameses II :

Here are some useful books to read pertaining to the subjects in this blog.

Note: Links to books do not appear in emailed blog posts. They only appear when viewed on the web.

Cumberland Family Software:

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