Fourth Dynasty of Egypt

The Fourth Dynasty of ancient Egypt (notated Dynasty IV) is characterized as a "golden age" of the Old Kingdom of Egypt. Dynasty IV lasted from c.2613 to 2494 BC.[1] It was a time of peace and prosperity as well as one during which trade with other countries is documented.

Fourth Dynasty of Egypt
ca. 2613 BC–ca. 2494 BC
Sneferu's bent pyramid at Dahshur, an early experiment in true pyramid building
Common languagesEgyptian language
ancient Egyptian religion
GovernmentAbsolute monarchy
Historical eraBronze Age
ca. 2613 BC
ca. 2494 BC
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Third Dynasty of Egypt
Fifth Dynasty of Egypt

The Fourth Dynasty heralded the height of the pyramid-building age. The relative peace of the Third Dynasty allowed the Dynasty IV rulers the leisure to explore more artistic and cultural pursuits. King Sneferu's building experiments led to the evolution from the mastaba-styled step pyramids to the smooth sided “true” pyramids, such as those on the Giza Plateau. No other period in Egypt's history equaled Dynasty IV's architectural accomplishments.[2] Each of the rulers of this dynasty (except for Shepseskaf, the last) commissioned at least one pyramid to serve as a tomb or cenotaph[citation needed].

The Fourth Dynasty was the second of four dynasties that made up the "Old Kingdom". King Sneferu, the first king of the Fourth Dynasty, held territory from ancient Libya in the west to the Sinai Peninsula in the east, to Nubia in the south. It was a successful period and this era is known for its advancement and concentrated government, as seen in the organized building of pyramids and other monuments.

Knowledge of the Old Kingdom comes mainly from these structures and objects discovered in the desert cemeteries of Giza.