Ancient Egypt's Pharaohs: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

Sometimes leaders of countries are called presidents, kings or queens. In the case of ancient Egypt, they were called pharaohs. Learn about what a pharaoh is, as well as some of the most famous pharaohs of all time.

What Were Pharaohs?

In the United States, we call them presidents. In England, they call them kings and queens. In school, they are the teacher. At work, they are the boss. At home, they are the parent. In religion, they might be the priest or rabbi. In ancient Egypt, they were called the pharaoh. What do all of these people have in common? They are in charge and have the highest power in their country or organization.

Pharaohs were both religious and political leaders and were sometimes called the 'High Priest of Every Temple' and the 'Lord of the Two Lands,' which is Lower and Upper Egypt. Pharaohs were held in the highest regard and were considered to be half-god, half-man.

King Tut

Can you imagine if you lived in a country that was ruled by a nine-year-old? Tutankhamun, better known as King Tut, is one of the most famous pharaohs of all time. King Tut began his rule as pharaoh when he was nine, and he ruled until he died at age 19.

King Tut is more famous for his death than his life. When pharaohs died, they were buried in a very elaborate manner. When King Tut's tomb was discovered in 1922, it had been over 3,000 years since he had passed away.

King Tut

Before being placed into the tomb, King Tut was made into a mummy to preserve his body. Mummification was done to honor the pharaoh. King Tut was not alone in his tomb and was joined by many treasures, including a gold burial mask, weapons and chariots. Many pharaohs wore elaborate headdresses and crowns that were similar to King Tut's golden death mask. This was a sign of wealth and power.

Cleopatra VII

A statue of Cleopatra

Cleopatra was the last pharaoh of ancient Egypt and was part of the Ptolemaic dynasty, as her family had been ruling Egypt for more than 300 years. A dynasty is a period of time where there is a series of rulers from the same family. In ancient Egypt, there were about 30 dynasties that were divided into four periods: the Early Kingdom, the Middle Kingdom, the New Kingdom and the Late Period.

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