Manetho divided Egyptian history into dynasties which were essentially ruling houses, of which 30 are recognised and used today. These date from unification around 3100 BC up until the death of the last native Egyptian ruler Nectanebo II in 343 BC. Two additional dynasties were then added onto these; the 31st or Second Persian Period, and the 32nd or Macedonian rulers followed by the Ptolemies. While his work has been very useful to scholars, his history covers thousands of years, and while he had perhaps some documentation to assist him that is not available to us today, he lacked the capability of modern scientific archaeological examination and the accumulated data we have today. Nevertheless, his system is so entrenched that we still today, continue to try to “fit” our modern understanding of Egyptian history into his framework.

It is ironic that although great reliance is placed upon Manetho and his “Egyptian History”, no full text of his work actually survives! Manetho’s history is known to us because several writers whose works have survived have quoted extensively from it. These writers included Josephus, writing in the late first century AD, Sextus Julius Africanus, writing around the year 220 AD, and Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea, writing in the early 4th century AD. Around five hundred years later the works of Sextus Julius and Bishop Eusebius were used as a basis for a history of the world, written by George the Monk, the secretary to the Byzantine Patriarch Tarasius (784-806 AD).