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Epithet applied to Egyptian kings from c. 1500 to 343 BC. The term later evolved into a generic term for all ancient Egyptian kings. Pharaohs were regarded as gods, retaining their divine status even after death. A pharaoh's will was supreme, and he governed by royal decree, with the assistance of viziers. The common people nevertheless judged a pharaoh by his deeds; many were criticized, plotted against, and even deposed and killed. See alsoAkhenaton; Amenemhet I; Amenhotep II; Amenhotep III; Ramses II; Thutmose III; Tutankhamen.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on pharaoh, visit Britannica.com.