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The Early Dynastic or Archaic Period (3100-2686BC)
This period is shrouded in mythology.
Little is known of Menes and his descendants outside of their divine ancestry
and that they developed a complex social system, patronized the arts and constructed
temples and many public buildings.
The foundation of Memphis, the world's first imperial city, is attributed to Menes. From Memphis the third and fifth kings of the First Dynasty, which extended from 3100 to 2890BC set out to conquer the Sinai. During the First Dynasty culture became increasingly refined. The royal burial grounds at Saqqara and Abydos became sites of highly developed mastabas.
The Second Dynasty lasting from 2980 to
2686BC was characterized by regional disputes and a decentralization of
Pharaonic authority, a process that was only temporarily halted by the Pharaoh
Raneb, also called
These regional contentions were very likely the outcome of the unresolved conflict between the two deities Horus in the south and Seth in the Delta. Theistic rivalry seems to have been resolved by Khasekhem, the last Pharaoh of the Second Dynasty.