Ancient History: Egypt : The Collapse of the Old Kingdom

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for Ancient History: Egypt

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : The Collapse Of The Old Kingdom

During the rule of the Fifth and Sixth dynasties, Egypt __________.

Possible Answers:

constructed the great stone pyramids

experienced a prolonged Golden Age

was conquered by the Persian Empire

experienced a steady decline and political destabilization

experienced a massive population growth

Correct answer:

experienced a steady decline and political destabilization

Explanation:

The Fifth and Sixth dynasties were the last two dynasties of the Old Kingdom period of Egyptian history. During the rule of the Fifth Dynasty, the authority of the Pharaoh was slowly eroded by the growing power of the Egyptian nobility and priesthood. Egypt underwent a prolonged period of decline and destabilization which eventually led to the fall of the Old Kingdom and the beginning of the First Intermediate Period.

Example Question #2 : The Collapse Of The Old Kingdom

Which of these factors contributed most heavily to the decline of the Old Kingdom?

Possible Answers:

agricultural failure and climate change

foreign invasion

epidemic and poor public health

the growing power of the nobility and the priesthood

religious schism

Correct answer:

the growing power of the nobility and the priesthood

Explanation:

The Old Kingdom of ancient Egypt declined during the rule of the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties, finally dissolving in the 22nd century BCE. There were several factors that contributed to the decline of the Old Kingdom, but the most important issue was the erosion of the authority of the Pharaoh and the accompanying growing power of the nobility and priesthood. This led to the decentralization of power in Egypt and constant power struggles and civil war.

Example Question #3 : The Collapse Of The Old Kingdom

Which of these statements about the construction of pyramids after the reign of Khufu is most accurate?

Possible Answers:

The pyramids built after Khufu’s reign were much smaller.

The pyramids built after Khufu’s reign were much bigger.

None of these answers are accurate; there was no notable change after Khufu’s reign.

After Khufu’s reign, architects began using limestone for pyramid construction.

After Khufu’s reign, pyramids stopped being built until the Middle Kingdom.

Correct answer:

The pyramids built after Khufu’s reign were much smaller.

Explanation:

The Great Pyramids of Giza were most likely built during the reign of Khufu (in the fourth dynasty of the Old Kingdom). After Khufu’s reign, the Old Kingdom entered a gradual period of decline. Most of the pyramids built after Khufu’s death were much smaller and less expensive. Especially during the fifth and sixth dynasties.

Example Question #4 : The Collapse Of The Old Kingdom

Why were the pyramids built during the waning years of the Old Kingdom so much smaller than the pyramids built during the middle years of the Old Kingdom?

Possible Answers:

Egypt experienced a prolonged period of economic decline towards the end of the Old Kingdom.

As a result of the loss of knowledge caused by the massacre of the Theban population by Nubian raiders.

Because Egypt was occupied by foreign invaders who did not believe in the necessity of tomb construction.

The known-reserves of limestone and marble were exhausted during the waning years of the fifth dynasty.

As a result of the loss of knowledge caused by the massacre of the Memphite population by Libyan raiders.

Correct answer:

Egypt experienced a prolonged period of economic decline towards the end of the Old Kingdom.

Explanation:

The pyramids built during the middle years of the Old Kingdom (such as the Great Pyramids of Giza) were much larger than the pyramids that were built during the fifth and sixth dynasties (towards the latter years of the Old Kingdom). This is primarily the result of Egypt’s gradual economic decline and the subsequent inability of rulers to fund the construction of great monuments.

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