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Manetho's dynasties: from 3100 BC

The division of Egyptian history into dynasties derives from a system worked out by Manetho, a priest living in Alexandria in the early Ptolemaic period and perhaps writing his history for Ptolemy I. He divides Egyptian history, from the first kingdom (about 3100 BC) to the arrival of Alexander (332 BC), into thirty dynasties or family groups of pharaohs.

His efforts are frequently inconsistent and often clash with sequences known from other sources. But his division into dynasties has been retained by subsequent historians. The dates attached to them in modern histories are invariably a compromise, and Egyptian chronology remains an inaccurate and controversial subject.

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