dynasty was known as the "Saite Dynasty". Psamtek I reunified
His father, Nekau I, had been ruler from Sais with protection
from the Assyrians. Psamtek continued to be supported by the Assyrians
when he had taken on his fathers role. The important administrative centres
were at Sais, Memphis and Athribis. Buto was
an important religious centre. The
Assyrians were being stretched to the limit in trying to maintain influence
over such a large area. In 658 BC Psamtek managed to remove the
Assyrian control having had military assistance from Ionian and Carian
mercenaries Psamtek had also established trade agreements with Greece
whole of the Delta region was under Psamtek's control by 660
BC. Following a further four years of diplomatic efforts he again controlled
the whole of Egypt. In an effort to take control of the Theban Priesthood
of Amun-Ra, his daughter, Nitiqret, was named as the next
Wife of Amun".
I maintained a strong military force many of whom had been the mercenaries
that had helped him to overthrow the Assyrians. They helped to protect
Egypt from the threat of external enemies e.g. Assyrians, Babylonians
and Persians. They also maintained control within Egypt by reducing
the threat of the Machimoi (The Libyan warriors who had settled in Egypt).
a period of time the Machimoi became more and more annoyed at the preferential
treatment received by the Greek and Carian troops. This eventually
led to the later king, Apries, being removed from the throne by the Machimoi
in 570 BC.
Pharaoh needed to restore the old style respect for kingship in order to
obtain the support of the Egyptian people. By reunifying the country Psamtek
I had managed to achieve one of the major responsibilities of the Pharaoh
in the restoration of order, known as Maat. He supplied the estate
of "God`s Wife of Amun" with generous gifts and began numerous building
programmes to honor the gods. It is thought that Psamtek I built
the Southern Pylon of the Temple of Ptah at Memphis and developed
the shrine to the Apis Bull here too.
Nekau II, Psamtek`s
successor, constructed further monuments honoring the Apis Bull
in Memphis. Ahmose II had a pylon constructed at the Temple of Neith,
along with many statues and sphinxes to form a processional way. The sacred
enclosure of Neithconsisted of the "Mansion of Neith" (the
main cult centre) as well as areas Neith other gods, e.g., Osiris,
Horus, Sobek, Atum, Amun, Bastet, Isis, Nekhbet, Wadjet and
burial place of Osiris was thought to be here and the "Festival
of Resurrection of Osiris" was celebrated on a sacred lake at Sais.
also erected colossi and constructed a Temple to Isis in Memphis
further buildings were erected at Philae, Abydos,
Additions and alterations were also made to buildings at Karnak,
Edfu and other sites.
kings of the Saite dynasty were buried in Chapel Tombs within the
Temple of Neith at
Sais. These were made up of a mortuary
chapel built above ground level, which could be entered through a double
door from a columned Portico. The Royal sarcophagus was buried below ground
within a decorated Royal Burial Chamber.
the 26th dynasty Egypt constantly had to keep a close eye on events
around her borders.In the early years the threat of repeated invasions
from the Assyrians were high on the list of potential enemies. This never
actually happened as the Assyrians had problems defending their own territory.
At one stage the Assyrians actually formed an alliance with Egypt
in order to combat the newest threat by the Chaldaeans from southern
the kingship of Nekau II, Egypt expanded their territories along
the Euphrates.This position was only maintained for a short time
before the Egyptian's were forced to return within their original borders
by the Chaldaean forces.
Egypt`s borders were not penetrated by
them at this time.
II led an expedition into Palestine. His diplomatic skills negotiated
a revolt of most of the Levant against Babylon. His successor, Apries,
led further attacks on the Chaldaeans with the support of Phoenicia
II managed to defeat the Chaldaean's attempts to invade Egypt
the early part of his reign. Persia
developed into the next threat
for Egypt to worry about. Another alliance of nations, this time
Sparta, Croesus of
Lydia and even the Chaldaeans,tried to
counteract this new threat. Unfortunately for Egypt, Cyrus destroyed
Lydia in 546 BC before capturing the Chaldaean`s capital of
Babylon in 558 BC. This left Egypt with no allies from the Near
East. In an attempt to protect
Egypt from the attack that was expected
by the Persians, Ahmose tried to strengthen relations with the Greeks.
died in 526 BC before such an attack had taken place.
needed to monitor it's southern border as the threat of attack from the
Nubian's had not been completely removed. A rebellion in Nubia was
dealt with by troops in the reign of Nekau and a further military
operation was led by Psamtek II.
BC Egypt was defeated by Persia in the Battle of Pelusium.
Psamtek III was captured and the Persian ruler, Cambyses
became king of Egypt. This began the First Persian Period and the
Dynasty was also known as the "First Persian Period".
attempted not to offend the native Egyptians and took on the role of Pharaoh,
he respected the Egyptian religion and also included native Egyptians in
his government. When he died in 522 BC there was a revolt in
Egypt in an attempt to regain self rule. Darius eventually regained
control for the Persians in 519 BC. During Darius` reign
the medical school at Sais was repaired and a number of temples
were built or rebuilt.He also instigated changes in the law. Unfortunately
did not show the same respect for Egyptian culture and was particularly
Persians soon realized that Egypt`s administrative system could
not be bettered and the country was absorbed into the Achaemenid Empire.
A person called the "Satrap", a type of viceroy,who was a member
of the Persian aristocracy, was in charge of the administration of the
country. Below the satrap was a chancellor who had a scribe to assist
him. The administration used Aramaic as its language therefore a number
of Egyptian translators were needed. The Persians utilized the craftsmanship
and military skills of the Egyptians in expanding their own Empire.
the Persian rule was quite relaxed the fact that the King was based in
made the Egyptians feel that he was not a true pharaoh. Many native Egyptians
were poised ready for the opportunity to retain native rule for Egypt
from the Persians. In c 404 BC Amyrtaios successfully achieved this.
period of Egyptian independence was full of the potential threat of re
invasion by the Persian empire and internal instability.There are records
for this period from both Egyptian and classical Greek perspectives. Most
of the reigns of the 29th dynasty were brief apart from that of
Many were overthrown and probably killed in order to take control of the
thirtieth dynasty was founded my an army general called, Nectanebo
I. It is thought that he claimed the throne after a successful military
coup. He appointed
Teos as his co-regent before he died in an attempt
to maintain the family succession.His reign did not go smoothly though.
He was overthrown following a rebellion by his cousin, Nectanabis.
of these native Egyptian kings wished to honor their gods by building new
temples for them.The thirtieth dynasty pharaoh, Nectanebo I, built
many additions to or new temples throughout Egypt at sites such
as Sais, Karnak, Hermopolois, Philae and Edfu. Nectanebo
II was also involved with the burial of an Apis Bull at Saqqara
and of a Buchis bull at Armant.
type shrine of Nectanebo II, in the sanctuary of the Temple of Horus
at Edfu. It is constructed from a single block of grey granite and
stands 13 feet (4 metres) high.
native Egyptian rule came to an end again when the Persian Empire regained
control of Egypt c. 341 BC.
return of Persian rule saw many of the temples being plundered. The same
style of administration system that had existed in the earlier Persian
period of Egyptian domination was reintroduced.This short period of occupation
was full of various attempts to overthrow the Persians.The rule of the
Persians was despised by the majority of the native Egyptians and when
in 332 BC Alexander the Great
invaded Egypt he had few problems
in overthrowing the Persians.This marked the end of the Late Period and
the beginning of the Ptolemaic Period.
Statuette of a woman, c 664 - 525 BC. Late dynastic period, dynasty
Reliefs from the tomb of Nes-peka-shuty, c 656 - 610 BC. Early dynasty
26, late reign of Psamtek I, late dynastic period.
Head of an antelope c 525-404 BC. Dynasty 27, late dynastic period.
Pavilion of Nectanebo I with Bell columns and hathor capitals at the Temple
The god Horus protecting king Nectanebo II, c 360 - 343 BC dynasty 30,
reign of Nectanebo II, late period.
Great Naos type shrine of Nectanebo II, in the sanctuary of the Temple
of Horus at Edfu. It is constructed from a single block of grey granite
and stands 13 feet (4 metres) high.
Magical Stela, c 360 - 343 BC, Dynasty 30, reign of Nectanebo II, late
Son of Nekau I