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Cleopatra VII Philopator, commonly just known as Cleopatra
69 BC - 30 BC
This lady was the last Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. Her family, the Ptolemys, had ruled Egypt since 323 BC and were actually Greek in origin. Most nobles at the time would only speak Greek but Cleopatra learnt Egyptian and told people that she was a re-incarnated goddess!
She was famous for having an affair with the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar and then his best-friend Mark Antony, to make sure she kept her throne.
Unfortunately for her, Mark Antony was defeated by the Emperor Augustus. Antony then committed suicide, followed by Cleopatra, who killed herself with the bite from a poisonous snake – the asp. Egypt was then taken over by the Romans.
Elizabeth Taylor famously played Cleopatra on film
Who would play you in a film of your life...?
Akhenaten, reigned circa 1353 BC - 1336 BC
He was known as Amenhotep IV ("Amun is satisfied") until the 5th year of his reign when he changed his name to Akhenaten ("living spirit of Aten"). This was because he changed the entire Egyptian religion from being Polytheistic (worshipping many gods) to being Monotheistic (worshipping just one, in this case Aten).
This change which, along with his marriage to Nefertiti, is his most notable action was quickly reversed after his death and the people of Egypt reverted to the more traditional religious practice of Polytheism.
Also notable about this period is it's artwork. There are many more naturalistic representations of people, animals, and plants. The Royal Family were drawn in an exaggerated stylized manner and this has led some people to cast doubt on whether Akhenaten's wife, Nefertiti, was really as beautiful as we now think or whether she was simply idealized.
Akhenaten died in about the 17th year of his reign.
Khufu, circa 2580 BC
Often known as Cheops, which is his Hellenized (Greek) name, Khufu was the second Pharaoh of the 4th dynasty.
It is accepted by modern historians that he was responsible for the building of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
There are very few objects surviving from which we can learn about Khufu. In fact, the things we do know all come from inscriptions in his necropolis at Giza.
The length of his reign is unknown but it is somewhere between 20 and 40 years.
Nefertiti, circa 1370 - 1330 BC
Nefertiti was an Egyptian Queen, married to the Pharoah Amenhotep IV.
In artwork found in tombs she is shown as being a very strong leader – often doing jobs that her husband should have been doing!
During their reign, she and her husband changed the Egyptian religion to the worship of just one god –ATEN.
She is very famous because of the wonderful sculptures and paintings that show her – often with a very high headdress.
Tutankhamun, Original Name: Tutankhaten (Living Image of Aten)
circa 1341 BC - 1323 BC
He was a Pharaoh and the son of Amenhotep IV, but not Nefertiti.
He is famous because he became Pharaoh when he was only nine years old!
He was also important because he went back to the old ways of Egyptian religion with the worship of AMUN after his father’s worship of the god ATEN. This is why he changed his name to Tutankhamun (Living image of Amun).
His tomb is well known because when it was discovered it was virtually the same as when he was buried. Most tombs have been robbed and broken into many times by the time we’ve found them.
It was discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter and the Earl of Carnarvon, and its many riches caused a sensation worldwide. Lord Carnarvon died six weeks later and this caused rumours of a curse placed on the tomb!
Imhotep, circa 2650 BC - 2600 BC
Imhotep served as the High Priest of the sun god, Ra, and as the Chancellor for the Pharaoh Djoser of the Third Dynasty.
He is widely considered to be the first engineer, physician and architect in history. He must have been a very busy man; here is a list of his titles -
Chancellor of the King of Egypt
First in line after the King of Upper Egypt
Administrator of the Great Palace
High Priest of Heliopolis
Maker of Vases in Chief!
Imhotep was one of only a handful of common folk to be deified (made a god) after death.
Though we know that he existed and did all of the things we have heard of him we still don't know where his tomb is because he hid it so well.
As well being a great architect and builder he was also a poet, philosopher and even wrote a medical text-book that was remarkably advanced for the time.
Considered by many to be the first Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt and the man who united Upper and Lower Egypt. It is a subject of much debate, though, as his name is not in many records.
It is a possibility that the name Menes (which means "he who endures") is a blanket term for the first few Pharaohs , one of whom was Narmer, who is also credited with being the first Pharaoh.
Menes is thought by varying experts to have been around any time between 5000 BC and 2500 BC but modern scholars put the start of the first dynasty as being between 3100 BC and 3050 BC.
Hatshepsut, 1508 BC - 1458 BC
She was called by James Henry Breasted, a noted Egyptologist, "the first great woman in history". She was the longest reigning female Pharaoh of an indigenous Egyptian dynasty.
Her name means "Foremost of Noble Ladies".
Hatshepsut was a successful military commander early on in her reign but she is better known for bringing a great period of peace to the kingdom in which she fostered successful trading relationships with various other countries.
She reigned for about 22 years and died in early middle age though we don't know how.
He is regarded by most people as the most powerful of the Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs. He was a strong military ruler who won many great victories and had an army that has been estimated at around 100,000 men.
Ramesses II, 1303 BC - 1213 BC
He was the 3rd Pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty and is often known as "Ramesses the Great".
Ramesses was Prince Regent in his fourteenth year and he took the throne sometime in his late teens. We do know that he ruled for 66 years which is longer even than our Queen (at the moment)!
He celebrated more Sed festivals than any other Pharaoh - 14 in total. The first of these festivals was held after 30 years and then every 3 years of the Pharaoh's reign after that. The festival was important because it was at the 30 year mark that a King became a God in the eyes of the people!
Despite all of Ramesses' amazing work during his reign (expanding the empire, bringing peace and making the country rich) it all fell apart within just 150 years of his death. He died from various ailments, most of them related to the fact that he was 90 years old.