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Word Count: 477
Egypt Historians divide Egyptian history into thirty one dynasties regrouped into four periods of political centralization pre- and early dynastic Egypt 3150-2770 BC the Old Kingdom 2270-2200 BC the Middle Kingdom 2050-1786 BC and the New Kingdom 1560-1087 BC The time gap between kingdoms was periods of disruption and political confusion Women of ancient Egypt were more independent and involved in public life than those of Mesopotamia Egyptian women owned property conducted their own business entered legal contacts and brought lawsuits They shared in the economic and professional life of the country at every level except one Women were apparently excluded from formal education The professional bureaucracy was open only to those who could read and write As a result the primary route to public power was closed to women and the power remained in the hands of men During the Old and Middle Kingdoms great pyramid temple tomb complexes were build for the kings Within the temples priests and servants performed rituals to serve the dead kings just as they had served the kings when they were alive The founder of the Old Kingdom King Zoser who was an approximate contemporary of Gilgamesh build the first pyramid temple the Step Pyramid at Saqqara In the Old Kingdom population has been estimated at perhaps 15 million more than 70000 workers at that time were employed in the building these great temple tombs Gradually the power of the king declined The increasing demands for consumption by the court and the cults forced agricultural expansion into aeries where returns were poor which resulted decreasing the flow of wealth As bureaucrats increased their efforts to supply the needs of living and dead kings and their attendants they neglected the maintenance of the economic system that supplied their needs By around 2200 BC Egyptian royal authority collapsed entirely leaving political and religious power in the hands of provincial governors Ahmose I
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