The Late Period The Saite Renaissance. 664-332 BC. 26th Dynasty (664-525 BC). Psamtek I 664-610 BC Nekau II 610-595 BC Psamtek II 595-589 BC Apries 589-570 BC Ahmose II 570-526 BC
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Psamtek I 664-610 BC
Nekau II 610-595 BC
Psamtek II 595-589 BC
Apries 589-570 BC
Ahmose II 570-526 BC
Psamtek III 526-525 BC
Cambyses 525-522 BC
Darius I 522-486 BC
Xerxes I 486-465 BC
Artaxerxes I 465-424 BC
Darius II 424-405 BC
Artaxerxes II 405-359 BC
Amyrtaios 404-399 BC
29th Dynasty (399-380 BC)
Nepherites I 399-393 BC
Hakor 393-380 BC
Nepherites II c.380 BC
Nectanebo I 380-362 BC
Teos 362-360 BC
Nectanebo II 360-343 BC
2nd Persian Period (343-332 BC)
Artaxerxes III 343-338 BC
Arses 338-336 BC
Darius III 336-332 BC
Inherited several internal and external problems:
When Psamtek II died, Egypt’s careful diplomacy ended with his young son Apries (589-570 BC) ascending to the throne. He first made Jerusalem and some of the cities of the Levant to revolt against Babylonian rule but his attempt failed after Nebuchadnezzar’s the second successful assault on Jerusalem. He also conducted a series of campaigns against Cyprus and Phoenicia. At the end of his reign, Apries also fought against Cyrene, a Greek colony in Libya. His troops mutinied and elected general Ahmose II as their leader. In the ensuing conflict Apries died and Ahmose II (570-526 BC) became pharaoh.
Once again the new king’s careful diplomacy resulted in a long and peaceful reign. The rising new Persian power ended the almost idyllic state of affairs in Egypt. Against Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Persian Empire, he created an international alliance consisting of Egypt, Croesus of Lydia, Sparta, and Chaldaeans. Although the alliance was short lived, Cyrus the Great could not live to see the Persian conquest of Egypt. Neither could Ahmose II as he died when Cyrus’ son, Cambyses (530-522 BC) was preparing the Persian invasion of Egypt.
The Persian conquest of Egypt by Cambyses in 525 BC ended the Saite Renaissance abruptly, and during the 27th Dynasty Egypt became a satrapy ruled by a Persian appointed local satrap with the Persian king residing in the distant capital of the Empire.
The satrap, selected from the Persian elite, was essentially a viceroy, whose actions were carefully monitored by the Persian king’s eyes, or by the listeners.
For example, in his HistoriesHerodotus tells that Cambyses, in a jealous rage, stabbed the Apis bull that died shortly afterwards and the priests buried it secretly in the Serapeum.
The situation is more clear with Darius I (522-486 BC) who fostered Egypt’s love for monumental buildings by enlarging the Serapeum, building a new temple of Amun at the el-Kharga Oasis and codified Egyptian law in Aramaic, the official language of the Persian Empire.
Amyrtaios (404-399 BC), a local king of Sais of Libyan descent and a single king of the 28th Dynasty, routed the Persians from Upper Egypt but the next in line Persian king, Artaxerxes II was still noted as Egypt’s ruler. The takeover was facilitated by Persia’s frustrating involvement with Greece and by their own civil war.
Nepherites I (399-380 BC), the founder of the 29th Dynasty had a brief intermission from war and was able to initiate a modest building activity. It was during this time when the first Egyptian coins were minted.
The 30th Dynasty, the last native dynasty started with Nectanebo I usurping Nepherites II, the last king of the 29th Dynasty. Both dynasties had recurring military conflicts with Persia which eventually led to their defeat by Artaxerxes III 343 BC, and the new 31st (?) Persian Dynasty started.
Amyntas was a Macedonian commander who deserted Alexander, went over to Darius’ side and actually commanded the Greek forces in the Persian army against Alexander in the battle of Issus. After the Persian defeat, with a force of 4000 he fled to Cyprus and then to Pelusium, pretending that he was appointed by Darius as governor of Egypt.