Necho I

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Menkheperre Necho I (Egyptian: Nekau, [1] Greek: Νεχώς Α' or Νεχώ Α', Akkadian: Nikuu [6] or Nikû [7] ) (? – 664 BCE near Memphis) was a ruler of the Ancient Egyptian city of Sais. He was the first securely attested local Saite king of the 26th Dynasty of Egypt who reigned for 8 years (672–664 BCE) according to Manetho's Aegyptiaca . Egypt was reunified by his son Psamtik I.

Contents

Biography

In 672 BCE Necho became ruler of Sais, assuming the pharaonic titulary, and a year later the Assyrians led by Esarhaddon invaded Egypt. Necho became one of Esarhaddon's vassals, and the latter confirmed Necho's office and his possessions, as well as giving him new territories, possibly including the city of Memphis. [8]

In 669 BCE, king Taharqa of the 25th Dynasty was advancing from the south toward the Nile Delta principalities which were formally under Assyrian control; once he was aware of that, Esarhaddon prepared himself to return to Egypt to repel the invader, but he died suddenly. Esarhaddon's death led to a political crisis in the Neo-Assyrian Empire but at the end his son Ashurbanipal managed to become the new undisputed monarch. The counter-offensive planned by his father took place in 667/666 BCE. [9] [10]

Taharqa was defeated and driven back to Thebes, but Ashurbanipal found that the fleeing king and some of the rulers of Lower Egypt – named Pekrur of Pishaptu (Per-Sopdu), Sharruludari of Ṣinu (maybe Pelusium) and Nikuu (Necho I) – were plotting against him. The Assyrian king captured the conspirators, killed part of the population of the cities they governed, and deported the prisoners to Nineveh. [11]

Unexpectedly, Necho was pardoned by the Assyrian king, and was reinstated at Sais with his previous possessions as well as many new territories as a gift, while his son Psamtik (called Nabusezibanni in Akkadian) was made mayor of Athribis. [12] [6] It has been suggested that with his magnanimity Ashurbanipal hoped to rely on the loyalty of an Egyptian ally in the event of another offensive led by the 25th Dynasty pharaohs, and perhaps to inspire and strengthen a rivalry between the two families (i.e., Kushites and Saites) because of shared interests. [12] According to historical records, Necho I was slain in 664 BCE near Memphis while defending his realms from a new Kushite offensive led by Taharqa's successor Tantamani [12] [6] [13] while Psamtik fled to Nineveh under Ashurbanipal's aegis. This Nubian invasion into the Egyptian Delta was subsequently (664/663 BCE) repelled by the Assyrians who proceeded to advance south into Upper Egypt and performed the infamous sack of Thebes. [14]

With the Nile Delta secured once again, Psamtik I was appointed with his dead father's offices and territories. Later, he ultimately was successful in reuniting Egypt under his sole control. [15]

Family

Danish Egyptologist Kim Ryholt made claims regarding Necho I: studying a papyrus from Tebtunis, he stated that Necho I was the son of a king named Tefnakht, presumably Tefnakht II. [5] Ryholt also put in discussion the existence of Nekauba who was the purported predecessor of Necho I and possibly his brother; Ryholt suggested that the few, dubious documents regarding Nekauba should be attributed to the later Necho II instead, and that Necho I was the direct successor of Tefnakht II. [2]

French historian Christian Settipani believes that Necho married Istemabet, and they were the parents of Psamtik I. [4]

According to British Egyptologist Kenneth Kitchen, it is possible that princess Ta-khered-en-ta-ihet-[weret] was Necho's daughter, given in a politically arranged marriage to the local ruler of Herakleopolis, Pediese. [16]

A now-lost limestone lintel from Luxor depicted a chantress of Amun named Meresamun along with a Saite form of Osiris and the Divine Adoratrice of Amun Shepenupet II; Meresamun is called "royal daughter of the lord of the Two lands, Nec[...]", the latter name written within a royal cartouche. It appears likely that Meresamun's royal father was no other than Necho I who sent his daughter to the Precinct of Amun-Re in Karnak, thus marking the beginning of the Saite influence in the city of Thebes. [17]

Attestations

Kneeling statuette of a king Necho. It may depict either Necho I or II. Brooklyn Museum (acc.no. 71.11) Necho-KnellingStatue BrooklynMuseum c.jpg
Kneeling statuette of a king Necho. It may depict either Necho I or II. Brooklyn Museum (acc.no. 71.11)

Necho I is primarily known from Assyrian documents but a few Egyptian objects are known too. A glazed pottery statuette of Horus which contains his cartouches and a dedication to the goddess Neith of Sais [8] [19] is now exhibited at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology (UC 14869). [1] The aforementioned, long–lost lintel of Meresamun was once photographed in an antiquities market at Luxor. [17] A bronze kneeling statuette of a king Necho is housed at the Brooklyn Museum (acc.no. 71.11), but it is impossible to determine if it actually depicts Necho I or rather Necho II instead. [18] He is also mentioned in several demotic stories. [7]
Necho I's Year 2 is attested on a privately held donation stela that was first published by Olivier Perdu. The stela records a large land donation to the Osirian triad (Osiris, Isis, and Horus) of Per-Hebyt (modern Behbeit el-Hagar near Sebennytos) by the "priest of Isis Mistress of Hebyt, Great Chief... son of Iuput, Akanosh." [20]

Related Research Articles

This article concerns the period 669 BC – 660 BC.

The year 664 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. In the Roman Empire, it was known as year 90 Ab urbe condita. The denomination 664 BC for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

The year 668 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. In the Roman Empire, it was known as year 86 Ab urbe condita. The denomination 668 BC for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

Taharqa Egyptian Pharaoh

Taharqa, also spelled Taharka or Taharqo, was a pharaoh of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty of Egypt and qore (king) of the Kingdom of Kush, from 690 to 664 BC. He was one of the so-called "Black Pharaohs".

Piye Ancient Kushite king and Egyptian pharaoh

Piye was an ancient Kushite king and founder of the Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt who ruled Egypt from 744–714 BC. He ruled from the city of Napata, located deep in Nubia, modern-day Sudan.

Psamtik I Pharaoh

Wahibre Psamtik I (Ancient Egyptian: wꜣḥ-jb-rꜥ psmṯk, known by the Greeks as Psammeticus or Psammetichus, who ruled 664–610 BC, was the first of three kings of that name of the Saite, or Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt.

Tantamani Kushite King of Napata

Tantamani, Tanutamun or Tanwetamani (Egyptian) or Tementhes (Greek) was a Pharaoh of Egypt and the Kingdom of Kush located in Northern Sudan and a member of the Nubian or Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt. His prenomen or royal name was Bakare which means "Glorious is the Soul of Re."

Third Intermediate Period of Egypt period of Ancient Egypt (1069-664 BCE)

The Third Intermediate Period of Ancient Egypt began with the death of Pharaoh Ramesses XI in 1070 BC, which ended the New Kingdom, and was eventually followed by the Late Period. Various points are offered as the beginning for the latter era, though it is most often regarded as dating from the foundation of the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty by Psamtik I in 664 BC, following the expulsion of the Nubian Kushite rulers of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty by the Assyrians under King Assurbanipal. The concept of a "Third Intermediate Period" was coined in 1978 by British Egyptologist Kenneth Kitchen.

Napata city

Napata was a city of ancient Nubia on the west bank of the Nile at the site of modern Karima, Sudan. It was the southernmost permanent settlement in the New Kingdom of Egypt and the main Nubian cult centre of Amun. It was the sometime capital of the Nubian Twenty-fifth Dynasty and, after its fall in 663 BC, of the Kingdom of Kush. In 593 BC, it was sacked by the Egyptians and the Kushite capital was relocated to Meroë. The city was sacked a second time by the Romans in 23 BC but was rebuilt and continued as an important centre of the Amun cult.

Tefnakht Egyptian Pharaoh

Shepsesre Tefnakht was a prince of Sais and founder of the relatively short Twenty-fourth dynasty of Egypt; he rose to become a Chief of the Ma in his home city. He is thought to have reigned roughly 732 BCE to 725 BCE, or 7 years. Tefnakht I first began his career as the "Great Chief of the West" and Prince of Sais and was a late contemporary of the last ruler of the 22nd dynasty: Shoshenq V. Tefnakht I was actually the second ruler of Sais; he was preceded by Osorkon C, who is attested by several documents mentioning him as this city's Chief of the Ma and Army Leader, according to Kenneth Kitchen, while his predecessor as Great Chief of the West was a man named Ankhhor. A recently discovered statue, dedicated by Tefnakht I to Amun-Re, reveals important details about his personal origins. The statue's text states that Tefnakht was the son of a certain Gemnefsutkapu and the grandson of Basa, a priest of Amun near Sais. Consequently, Tefnakht was not actually descended from either lines of Chiefs of the Ma and of the Libu as traditionally believed but rather came from a family of priests, and his ancestors being more likely Egyptians rather than Libyans.

Almost nothing is known of Nekauba or Nechepsos as he is also called except that he is listed as one of the early kings of the 26th Saite Dynasty in Manetho's Epitome and is assigned a reign of six years. However, his status as king is not confirmed by any contemporary documents and he may well be an invention of later Saite rulers to legitimise their kingship. Manetho writes that Nekauba is supposed to have succeeded Stephinates the founder of the 26th Dynasty—perhaps Tefnakht II—and was, in turn, followed by the well known Necho I, father of Psamtik I. Nekauba would have reigned as a local Saite king under the Nubian Dynasty between 678 BC to 672 BC if he did have an independent reign. If not, he would merely have been a local mayor of Sais who served in office for this period of time prior to the accession of king Necho I.

Tefnakht II ancient Egyptian sovereign (0800-0688)

Tefnakht II or Stephinates, was an ancient Egyptian ruler of the city of Sais during the early 7th century BC. He is recognized as an early member of the so-called "Proto-Saite Dynasty", which directly preceded the 26th Dynasty of Egypt.

Atlanersa Kushite king of the Napatan kingdom of Nubia in the 7th century BC

Atlanersa was a Kushite ruler of the Napatan kingdom of Nubia, reigning for about a decade in the mid-7th century BC. He was the successor of Tantamani, the last ruler of the 25th Dynasty of Egypt, and possibly a son of Taharqa or less likely of Tantamani, while his mother was a queen whose name is only partially preserved. Atlanersa's reign immediately followed the collapse of Nubian control over Egypt, which witnessed the Assyrian conquest of Egypt and then the beginning of the Late Period under Psamtik I. The same period also saw the progressive cultural integration of Egyptian beliefs by the Kushite civilization.

Kingdom of Kush c. 785 BC – c. 350 AD kingdom in Nubia, northeast Africa

The Kingdom of Kush was an ancient kingdom in Nubia, located at the Sudanese and southern Egyptian Nile Valley.

Twenty-fourth Dynasty of Egypt Egyptian dynasty

The Twenty-fourth Dynasty of Egypt, is usually classified as the fourth Dynasty of the Ancient Egyptian Third Intermediate Period.

Twenty-fifth Dynasty of Egypt Ethiopian period of Ancient Egypt

The Twenty-fifth Dynasty of Egypt, also known as the Nubian Dynasty or the Kushite Empire, was the last dynasty of the Third Intermediate Period of Egypt that occurred after the Nubian invasion.

Mentuemhat Ancient Egyptian prophet

Mentuemhat or Montuemhat was a Theban official from ancient Egypt who lived during the Twenty-fifth Dynasty of Egypt and Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt. He was the Fourth Priest of Amun in Thebes.

Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt Egyptian dynasty of the Late Period (664-525 BCE)

The Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt was the last native dynasty to rule Egypt before the Persian conquest in 525 BC. The dynasty's reign is also called the Saite Period after the city of Sais, where its pharaohs had their capital, and marks the beginning of the Late Period of ancient Egypt.

Sack of Thebes Assyrian plunder of Kushite Thebes

The Sack of Thebes took place in 663 BC in the city of Thebes at the hands of the Neo-Assyrian Empire under king Ashurbanipal, then at war with the Kushite Twenty-fifth Dynasty of Egypt under Tantamani. After a long struggle for the control of the Levant which had started in 705 BC, the Kushites had gradually lost control of Lower Egypt and, by 665 BC, their territory was reduced to Upper Egypt and Nubia. Helped by the unreliable vassals of the Assyrians in the Nile Delta region, Tantamani briefly regained Memphis in 663 BC, killing Necho I of Sais in the process.

Assyrian conquest of Egypt

The Assyrian conquest of Egypt covered a relatively short period of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from 677 BCE to 663 BCE.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Nekau I". Digital Egypt for Universities. University College London. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  2. 1 2 Ryholt (2011a)
  3. 1 2 von Beckerath (1999), pp. 212–213
  4. 1 2 Settipani (1991) , pp. 153, 160, 161–162
  5. 1 2 Ryholt (2011b) , pp. 123–127
  6. 1 2 3 Lloyd (2001) , pp. 504–505
  7. 1 2 Ryholt (2004) , p. 486
  8. 1 2 Kitchen (1996) , § 117
  9. Kitchen (1996) , § 353
  10. Picchi (1997) , p. 49
  11. Picchi (1997) , pp. 48–52
  12. 1 2 3 Picchi (1997) , p. 52
  13. Kitchen (1996) , §§ 117, 354
  14. Kitchen (1996) , § 354
  15. Spalinger (2001) , p. 74
  16. Kitchen (1996) , §§ 201, 363
  17. 1 2 Coulon & Payraudeau (2015) , pp. 21–31
  18. 1 2 "Kneeling Statuette of King Necho". Brooklyn Museum. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  19. Petrie (1917) , pl. LIV, 25.5
  20. Perdu (2002) , pp. 1215–1244

Bibliography