Archaeological Museum of Bologna

Museo Civico Archeologico
Via dell'Archiginnasio 2 - 40124 Bologna

Direzione e Uffici
Via de' Musei 8 – 40124 Bologna
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Collections / Itineraries / Egyptian Collection: Old Kingdom


Egypt reaches political unity towards the end of the 4th millennium, when a sovereign of the kingdom of the South, Menes, conquers the Delta and puts an end to the territorial division of the Country. During the First and Second Dynasty (tinita age: ca. 3100-2705 BC), the capital is transferred to Memphis, in the North, and the administrative structures of the state are gradually defined until arriving to full maturation at the beginning of the Third Dynasty.
Then begins the Old Kingdom, the historical period that extends until the 6th Dynasty (2705-2195 BC). This is the era of the great pyramids, the stone statuary and reliefs of the tombs that reflect an art of the court closely connected with the ideology of power centralized in the hands of the sovereign, the only medium between the earthly world and the divine, and of his most trusted officials.
The great impulse of creativity started at Saqqara during the 3rd Dynasty, which has in the funerary complex of Pharaoh Djoser its center of emanation, reaches the peak during the following dynasty with the pyramids of Cheops, Chephren and Mycerinus in Giza, and exhausted progressively starting from 5th and 6th dynasties. In this last phase of the Old Kingdom the country, governed by a crowd of officials, increasingly autonomous, begins to disintegrate because is challenged the divine nature of the Pharaoh and his indefeasibility in the management of power: we go towards the First Intermediate Period, a century and a half of crisis that separates the Old Kingdom from the Middle Kingdom.
The Egyptian collection of Bologna has some objects belonging to this period, very meaningful; noteworthy are especially a statue of anonymous dignitary of the 4th dynasty and the stele to "false door" of Samery of the 5th Dynasty.

Exhibition rooms | Egyptian collection