A small kneeling bronze statuette, likely Necho II, now residing in the Brooklyn Museum
|Reign||610–595 BC (26th dynasty)|
Necho II : נְכוֹ, Modern: Nəkō, Tiberian: Nekō) of Egypt was a king of the 26th Dynasty (610–595 BC), which ruled out of Saite. Necho undertook a number of construction projects across his kingdom. In his reign, according to the Greek historian Herodotus, Necho II sent out an expedition of Phoenicians, which in three years sailed from the Red Sea around Africa to the Strait of Gibraltar and back to Egypt. His son, Psammetichus II, upon succession may have removed Necho's name from monuments.(sometimes Nekau, Neku, Nechoh, or Nikuu; Greek: Νεκώς Β'; Hebrew
Necho played a significant role in the histories of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, the Neo-Babylonian Empire and the Kingdom of Judah. Necho II is most likely the pharaoh mentioned in several books of the Bible.The aim of the second of Necho's campaigns was Asiatic conquest, to contain the westward advance of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, and cut off its trade route across the Euphrates. However, the Egyptians were defeated by the unexpected attack of the Babylonians and were eventually expelled from Syria.
The Egyptologist Donald B. Redford observed that although Necho II was "a man of action from the start, and endowed with an imagination perhaps beyond that of his contemporaries, Necho had the misfortune to foster the impression of being a failure."
Necho II was the son of Psammetichus I by his Great Royal Wife Mehtenweskhet. His prenomen or royal name Wahem-Ib-Re means "Carrying out [the] Heart (i.e., Wish) [of] Re."Upon his ascension, Necho was faced with the chaos created by the raids of the Cimmerians and the Scythians, who had not only ravaged Asia west of the Euphrates, but had also helped the Babylonians shatter the Assyrian Empire. That once mighty empire was now reduced to the troops, officials, and nobles who had gathered around a general holding out at Harran, who had taken the throne name of Ashur-uballit II. Necho attempted to assist this remnant immediately upon his coronation, but the force he sent proved to be too small, and the combined armies were forced to retreat west across the Euphrates.
In the spring of 609 BC, Necho personally led a sizable force to help the Assyrians. At the head of a large army, consisting mainly of his mercenaries, Necho took the coast route Via Maris into Syria, supported by his Mediterranean fleet along the shore, and proceeded through the low tracts of Philistia and Sharon. He prepared to cross the ridge of hills which shuts in on the south the great Jezreel Valley, but here he found his passage blocked by the Judean army. Their king, Josiah, sided with the Babylonians and attempted to block his advance at Megiddo, where a fierce battle was fought and Josiah was killed (2 Kings 23:29, 2 Chronicles 35:20–24).
Herodotus reports the campaign of the pharaoh in his Histories, Book 2:159:
Necos, then, stopped work on the canal and turned to war; some of his triremes were constructed by the northern sea, and some in the Arabian Gulf (Red Sea), by the coast of the Sea of Erythrias. The windlasses for beaching the ships can still be seen. He deployed these ships as needed, while he also engaged in a pitched battle at Magdolos with the Syrians, and conquered them; and after this he took Cadytis (Kadesh), which is a great city of Syria. He sent the clothes he had worn in these battles to the Branchidae of Miletus and dedicated them to Apollo.
Necho soon captured Kadesh on the Orontes and moved forward, joining forces with Ashur-uballit and together they crossed the Euphrates and laid siege to Harran. Although Necho became the first pharaoh to cross the Euphrates since Thutmose III, he failed to capture Harran, and retreated back to northern Syria. At this point, Ashur-uballit vanished from history, and the Assyrian Empire was conquered by the Babylonians.
The Second Book of Kings states that Necho met King Josiah of the Kingdom of Judah at Megiddo and killed him(2 Kings 23:29) (see Battle of Megiddo (609 BC)). Leaving a sizable force behind, Necho returned to Egypt. On his return march, he found that the Judeans had selected Jehoahaz to succeed his father Josiah, whom Necho deposed and replaced with Jehoiakim. He brought Jehoahaz back to Egypt as his prisoner, where Jehoahaz ended his days (2 Kings 23:31; 2 Chronicles 36:1–4).
The Babylonian king was planning on reasserting his power in Syria. In 609 BC, King Nabopolassar captured Kumukh, which cut off the Egyptian army, then based at Carchemish. Necho responded the following year by retaking Kumukh after a four-month siege, and executed the Babylonian garrison. Nabopolassar gathered another army, which camped at Qurumati on the Euphrates. However, Nabopolassar's poor health forced him to return to Babylon in 605 BC. In response, in 606 BC the Egyptians attacked the leaderless Babylonians (probably then led by the crown prince Nebuchadrezzar) who fled their position.
At this point, the aged Nabopolassar passed command of the army to his son Nebuchadnezzar II, who led them to a decisive victory over the Egyptians at Carchemish in 605 BC, and pursued the fleeing survivors to Hamath. Necho's dream of restoring the Egyptian Empire in the Middle East as had occurred under the New Kingdom was destroyed as Nebuchadnezzar conquered Egyptian territory from the Euphrates to the Brook of Egypt (Jeremiah 46:2; 2 Kings 23:29) down to Judea. Although Nebuchadnezzar spent many years in his new conquests on continuous pacification campaigns, Necho was unable to recover any significant part of his lost territories. For example, when Ashkalon rose in revolt, despite repeated pleas the Egyptians sent no help, and were barely able to repel a Babylonian attack on their eastern border in 601 BC. When he did repel the Babylonian attack, Necho managed to capture Gaza while pursuing the enemy. Necho turned his attention in his remaining years to forging relationships with new allies: the Carians, and further to the west, the Greeks.
At some point during his Syrian campaign, Necho II initiated but never completed the ambitious project of cutting a navigable canal from the Pelusiac branch of the Nile to the Red Sea. Necho's Canal was the earliest precursor of the Suez Canal. km west of Ismailia. The waterway was intended to facilitate trade between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean.It was in connection with a new activity that Necho founded a new city of Per-Temu Tjeku which translates as 'The House of Atum of Tjeku' at the site now known as Tell el-Maskhuta, about 15
Necho also formed an Egyptian navy by recruiting displaced Ionian Greeks. This was an unprecedented act by the pharaoh since most Egyptians had traditionally harboured an inherent distaste for and fear of the sea.The navy which Necho created operated along both the Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts. Necho II constructed warships, including questionably triremes.
At some point between 610 and before 594 BC, Necho reputedly commissioned an expedition of Phoenicians,who it is said in three years sailed from the Red Sea around Africa back to the mouth of the Nile; and would thereby be the first completion of the Cape Route. Herodotus' account was handed down to him by oral tradition, but is seen as potentially credible because he stated with disbelief that the Phoenicians "as they sailed on a westerly course round the southern end of Libya (Africa), they had the sun on their right"—to northward of them (The Histories 4.42 ). Pliny reported that Hanno had circumnavigated Africa, which may have been a conflation with Necho's voyage, while Strabo, Polybius, and Ptolemy doubted the description; at the time it was not generally known that Africa was surrounded by an ocean (with the southern part of Africa being thought connected to Asia) . F. C. H. Wendel, writing in 1890, concurred with Herodotus as did James Baikie. Egyptologist A. B. Lloyd disputed in 1977 that an Egyptian Pharaoh would authorize such an expedition, except for the reasons of Asiatic conquest and trade in the ancient maritime routes.
Necho II died in 595 BC and was succeeded by his son, Psamtik II, as the next pharaoh of Egypt. Psamtik II, however, apparently removed Necho's name from almost all of his father's monuments for unknown reasons. However, some scholars, such as Roberto Gozzoli, express doubt that this actually happened, arguing that the evidence for this is fragmentary and rather contradictory.
The Kingdom of Judah was an Iron Age kingdom of the Southern Levant. The Hebrew Bible depicts it as the successor to the United Monarchy, a term denoting the Kingdom of Israel under biblical kings Saul, David and Solomon and covering the territory of two historical kingdoms, Judah and Israel; but some scholars, including Israel Finkelstein and Alexander Fantalkin, believe that the existent archaeological evidence for an extensive Kingdom of Judah before the late 8th century BCE is too weak, and that the methodology used to obtain the evidence is flawed. Such scholars believe that, prior to this era, the kingdom was no more than a small tribal entity which was limited to Jerusalem and its immediate surroundings.
The 7th century BC began the first day of 700 BC and ended the last day of 601 BC.
Cambyses II was the second King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire from 530 to 522 BC. He was the son and successor of Cyrus the Great and his mother was Cassandane.
Canaan was a Semitic-speaking region and civilization in the Ancient Near East during the late 2nd millennium BC. The name Canaan appears throughout the Bible, where it corresponds to the Levant, in particular to the areas of the Southern Levant that provide the main setting of the narrative of the Bible: Phoenicia, Philistia, Israel, and other nations.
This article concerns the period 609 BC – 600 BC.
Nabopolassar (; cuneiform: 𒀭𒀝𒌉𒍑𒌶dAG.IBILA.URU3Akkadian: Nabû-apla-uṣur; c. 658 BC – 605 BC) was a Chaldean king of Babylonia and a central figure in the fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. The death of Assyrian king Ashurbanipal in 631 BC resulted in political instability. In 626 BC, a native dynasty arose under Nabopolassar. He made Babylon his capital and ruled over Babylonia for a period of about twenty years (626–605 BC). He is credited with founding the Neo-Babylonian Empire. By 616 BC, Nabopolassar had united the entire area under his rule.
The Battle of Carchemish was fought about 605 BC between the armies of Egypt allied with the remnants of the army of the former Assyrian Empire against the armies of Babylonia, allied with the Medes, Persians, and Scythians.
Sinsharishkun or Sin-shar-ishkun was the penultimate king of Assyria, reigning from the death of his brother and predecessor Ashur-etil-ilani in 627 BC to his own death at the Fall of Nineveh in 612 BC.
Jehoahaz II of Judah was the seventeenth king of Judah and the fourth son of king Josiah whom he succeeded. His mother was Hamautal, daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. He was born in 633/632 BC and his birth name was Shallum.1 Chronicles 3:15
Jehoiakim, also sometimes spelled Jehoikim was the eighteenth and antepenultimate king of Judah from 609 to 598 BC. He was the second son of king Josiah and Zebidah, the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah. His birth name was Eliakim.
Carchemish, also spelled Karkemish was an important ancient capital in the northern part of the region of Syria. At times during its history the city was independent, but it was also part of the Mitanni, Hittite and Neo-Assyrian Empires. Today it is on the frontier between Turkey and Syria.
Josiah or Yoshiyahu was the sixteenth king of Judah who, according to the Hebrew Bible, instituted major religious reforms. Josiah is credited by most biblical scholars with having established or compiled important Hebrew Scriptures during the "Deuteronomic reform" which probably occurred during his rule. Josiah became king of Judah at the age of eight, after the assassination of his father, King Amon, and reigned for thirty-one years, from 641/640 to 610/609 BCE. Josiah is known only from biblical texts; no reference to him exists in other surviving texts of the period from Egypt or Babylon, and no clear archaeological evidence, such as inscriptions bearing his name, has ever been found. Nevertheless, most scholars believe that he existed historically and that the absence of documents is due to few documents of any sort surviving from this very early period, and to Jerusalem having been occupied, conquered, and rebuilt for thousands of years.
This Battle of Megiddo is recorded as having taken place in 609 BC when Pharaoh Necho II of Egypt led his army to Carchemish to join with his allies, the fading Neo-Assyrian Empire, against the surging Neo-Babylonian Empire. This required passing through territory controlled by the Kingdom of Judah. The Judaean king Josiah refused to let the Egyptians pass. The Judaean forces battled the Egyptians at Megiddo, resulting in Josiah's death and his kingdom becoming a vassal state of Egypt. The battle is recorded in the Hebrew Bible, the Greek 1 Esdras, and the writings of Josephus.
The Battle of Nineveh is conventionally dated between 613 and 611 BC, with 612 BC being the most supported date. Rebelling against the Assyrians, an allied army which combined the forces of Medes and the Babylonians, besieged Nineveh and sacked 750 hectares of what was, at that time, the greatest city in the world. The fall of Nineveh led to the destruction of the Neo-Assyrian Empire over the next three years as the dominant state in the Ancient Near East. Archeological records show that the capital of the once mighty Assyrian Empire was extensively de-urbanized and depopulated in the decades and centuries following the battle.
The Canal of the Pharaohs, also called the Ancient Suez Canal or Necho's Canal, is the forerunner of the Suez Canal, constructed in ancient times. It followed a different course than its modern counterpart, by linking the Nile to the Red Sea via the Wadi Tumilat. Work began under the Pharaohs. According to Suez Inscriptions and Herodotus, the first opening of the canal was under Persian king Darius the Great, but later ancient authors like Aristotle, Strabo, and Pliny the Elder claim that he failed to complete the work. Another possibility is that it was finished in the Ptolemaic period under Ptolemy II, when engineers solved the problem of overcoming the difference in height through canal locks.
The Neo-Assyrian Empire was an Iron Age Mesopotamian empire, in existence between 911 and 609 BC, and became the largest empire of the world up until that time. The Assyrians perfected early techniques of imperial rule, many of which became standard in later empires, The Assyrians were the first to be armed with iron weapons, and their troops employed advanced, effective military tactics.
The ancient Near East was the home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, ancient Iran, Anatolia/Asia Minor and the Armenian Highlands, the Levant, Cyprus and the Arabian Peninsula. The ancient Near East is studied in the fields of Ancient Near East studies, Near Eastern archaeology and ancient history.
The timeline of the Assyrian Empire lists the kings, their successors and the major events that occurred in the Assyrian history.
Ancient Semitic-speaking peoples were Western Asian people who lived throughout the ancient Near East, including the Levant, Mesopotamia, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Horn of Africa from the third millennium BC until the end of antiquity.
The Medo-Babylonian conquest of the Assyrian Empire was the last war fought by the Neo-Assyrian Empire between 626 and 609 BC. The multiple failed offensives against the Medes and the Neo-Babylonian Empire ultimately led to the destruction of the Assyrian Empire, which had dominated the ancient Near East since 911 BC.