Petubastis III

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Seheruibre Padibastet (Ancient Egyptian: shrw-jb-rꜥ pꜣ-dj-bstt) better known with his hellenised name Petubastis III (or IV, depending on the scholars) was a native Ancient Egyptian ruler, c. 522 520 BC, who revolted against Persian rule. [3]

Ancient Egypt ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa

Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in the place that is now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under Menes. The history of ancient Egypt occurred as a series of stable kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age.



Petubastis was a local prince, dynast and probably a member of the old royal Saite line who attempted to take control of Egypt and seize power. [6] Although he assumed royal titles and titulary of a pharaoh, he has been a largely unknown character and a shadowy figure in Egyptian history. [6]

A prince is a male ruler or member of a monarch's or former monarch's family. Prince is also a title of nobility, often hereditary, in some European states. The feminine equivalent is a princess. The English word derives, via the French word prince, from the Latin noun princeps, from primus (first) and capio, meaning "the chief, most distinguished, ruler, prince".

Pharaoh Title of Ancient Egyptian rulers

Pharaoh is the common title of the monarchs of ancient Egypt from the First Dynasty until the annexation of Egypt by the Roman Empire in 30 BCE, although the actual term "Pharaoh" was not used contemporaneously for a ruler until Merneptah, c. 1200 BCE. In the early dynasty, ancient Egyptian kings used to have up to three titles, the Horus, the Sedge and Bee (nswt-bjtj) name, and the Two Ladies (nbtj) name. The Golden Horus and nomen and prenomen titles were later added.

History of ancient Egypt aspect of history

The history of ancient Egypt spans the period from the early prehistoric settlements of the northern Nile valley to the Roman conquest, in 30 BC. The Pharaonic Period is dated from the 32nd century BC, when Upper and Lower Egypt were unified, until the country fell under Macedonian rule, in 332 BC.

Recent excavations at Amheida in the Dakhla Oasis, has suggested that Petubastis may have had his royal residence here, a location reasonably far from the Nile valley which was under Persian control. Some blocks from the destroyed temple of Thoth at Amheida bears inscriptions attributable to him, as well as his almost complete royal titulary. [5] From here, Petubastis may have ambushed and defeated the so-called "Lost Army of Cambyses", which was described some decades later by Herodotus as a military expedition sent by Cambyses II to the Oracle of Zeus-Ammon in the Siwa Oasis, only for being completely obliterated by a sand storm instead. Shortly after, Petubastis would have reached Memphis in order to being formally crown as pharaoh, and adopted a royal titulary resembling those of the recently fallen Saite Dynasty. [5]

Dakhla Oasis Oasis in New Valley Governorate, Egypt

Dakhla Oasis, translates to the inner oasis, is one of the seven oases of Egypt's Western Desert. Dakhla Oasis lies in the New Valley Governorate, 350 km (220 mi.) from the Nile and between the oases of Farafra and Kharga. It measures approximately 80 km (50 mi) from east to west and 25 km (16 mi) from north to south.

Thoth egyptian deity

Thoth is one of the ancient Egyptian deities. In art, he was often depicted as a man with the head of an ibis or a baboon, animals sacred to him. His feminine counterpart was Seshat, and his wife was Ma'at. He was the god of wisdom, writing, hieroglyphs, science, magic, art, judgment, and the dead.

Herodotus Ancient Greek historian

Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus in the Persian Empire. He is known for having written the book The Histories, a detailed record of his "inquiry" on the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars.

Petubastis probably took advantage of the disruption caused by the usurpation of Bardiya after the death of Cambyses to rebel. [7] According to the words and writings of the Ancient Greek military author Polyaenus, who wrote about the revolt, it was oppressive taxation imposed by the then Persian satrap Aryandes. The Behistun Inscription, which offers great insight for the events during this period, mentions a rebellion in Egypt which occurred at the same time as other rebellions in the eastern quarters of the Persian Empire. Darius I, the author of the Behistun Inscription, does not go into any detail about how he dealt with the rebellion in Egypt; Polyaenus reports that Darius himself moved to Egypt to suppress the revolt, and entered in Memphis during the mourning for the death of an Apis bull. Cunningly, the Great King promised a hundred talents of gold for the one that would provide a new Apis, impressing the natives to the point that they passed en masse to his side. [8] This story suggests that the rebellion wasn't yet quelled before Darius came to Egypt in 518 BC. [5]

Bardiya Achaemenid emperor

Bardiya, also known as Smerdis among the Greeks, was a son of Cyrus the Great and the younger brother of Cambyses II, both Persian kings. There are sharply divided views on his life. He either ruled the Achaemenid Empire for a few months in 522 BC, or was impersonated by a magus called Gaumāta, until he was toppled by Darius the Great.

Ancient Greece Civilization belonging to an early period of Greek history

Ancient Greece was a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Roughly three centuries after the Late Bronze Age collapse of Mycenaean Greece, Greek urban poleis began to form in the 8th century BC, ushering in the Archaic period and colonization of the Mediterranean Basin. This was followed by the period of Classical Greece, an era that began with the Greco-Persian Wars, lasting from the 5th to 4th centuries BC. Due to the conquests by Alexander the Great of Macedon, Hellenistic civilization flourished from Central Asia to the western end of the Mediterranean Sea. The Hellenistic period came to an end with the conquests and annexations of the eastern Mediterranean world by the Roman Republic, which established the Roman province of Macedonia in Roman Greece, and later the province of Achaea during the Roman Empire.

Polyaenus Macedonian autor

Polyaenus or Polyenus was a 2nd-century CE Macedonian author, known best for his Stratagems in War, which has been preserved. The Suda calls him a rhetorician, and Polyaenus himself writes that he was accustomed to plead causes before the Roman emperor. Polyaenus dedicated Stratagems in War to the two emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, while they were engaged in the Roman–Parthian War of 161–166, about 163, at which time he was too old to accompany them in their campaigns.

Petubastis was ultimately defeated by Darius, who later ensured the control of the Western oases by embarking on an active campaign of work here (the most famous being the Temple of Hibis at Kharga Oasis); at the same time, he most likely destroyed most evidences regarding Petubastis and his rebellion, including the temple at Amheida and the true fate of the lost army of Cambyses. [5]

Temple of Hibis Building in Africa

The Temple of Hibis is the largest and best preserved ancient Egyptian temple in the Kharga Oasis, as well as the only structure in Egypt dating to the Saite-Persian period which has come down to modern times in relatively good condition. Located about 2 km north of Kharga, it was devoted to a syncretism of two local forms of the deity Amun: "Amun of Hibis" and "Amun-Ra of Karnak who dwells in Hibis".

Kharga Oasis Place in New Valley, Egypt

The Kharga Oasis "the outer"; Coptic: (ϯ)ⲟⲩⲁϩ `ⲛϩⲏⲃ, (ϯ)ⲟⲩⲁϩ `ⲙⲯⲟⲓ (Di)Wah Ēnhib, "Oasis of Hib", (Di)Wah Ēmpsoy, "Oasis of Psoi") is the southernmost of Egypt's five western oases. It is located in the Western Desert, about 200 km to the west of the Nile valley. "Kharga" or "El Kharga" is also the name of a major town located in the oasis, the capital of New Valley Governorate. The oasis, which was known as the 'Southern Oasis' to the Ancient Egyptians and Oasis Magna to the Romans, is the largest of the oases in the Libyan desert of Egypt. It is in a depression about 160 km long and from 20 km to 80 km wide. Its population is 67,700 (2012).


Prior to the rediscovery of several blocks referring to him in the Dakhla Oasis, [5] the existence of this shadowy rebel ruler was confirmed by inscriptions found on two seals and one scarab that bear his name written in a royal form inside a cartouche. [3] His figure appears on a doorjamb once covered in gold leaf, now at the Louvre Museum, and on a wooden panel now in Bologna (KS 289). [1] There also exists a document that has been dated to 522 BCE, which was the first year of his reign. [6]

Scarab (artifact) object in the form of a scarab beetle in Ancient Egyptian art

Scarabs were popular amulets and impression seals in Ancient Egypt. They survive in large numbers and, through their inscriptions and typology, they are an important source of information for archaeologists and historians of the ancient world. They also represent a significant body of ancient art.

Cartouche oval with inscriptions

In Egyptian hieroglyphs, a cartouche is an oval with a horizontal line at one end, indicating that the text enclosed is a royal name. They came into common use during the beginning of the Fourth Dynasty under Pharaoh Sneferu, but earlier examples date to the mid Second Dynasty on Cylinder Seals of Seth-Peribsen. While the cartouche is usually vertical with a horizontal line, if it makes the name fit better it can be horizontal, with a vertical line at the end . The Ancient Egyptian word for it was shenu, and it was essentially an expanded shen ring. In Demotic, the cartouche was reduced to a pair of brackets and a vertical line.

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  1. 1 2 3 Jean Yoyotte: Pétoubastis III, Revue d'Egyptologie 24 (1972): pp. 216-223, plate 19
  2. Placed in this dynasty only for chronological reasons, as he was not related to the Achaemenids.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "Ancient Egypt: History and Chronology, 27th dynasty".
  4. Hermann Ranke: Die ägyptischen Personennamen. Verlag von J. J. Augustin in Glückstadt, 1935, p.123
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Kaper, Olaf E. (2015). "Petubastis IV in the Dakhla Oasis: New Evidence about an Early Rebellion against Persian Rule and Its Suppression in Political Memory". In Silverman, Jason M.; Waerzeggers, Caroline (eds.). Political memory in and after the Persian empire (SLB monograph, no. 13). Society of Biblical Literature. pp. 125–149. ISBN   978-0-88414-089-4.
  6. 1 2 3 Eiddon Stephen Edwards, The Cambridge Ancient History, Cambridge University Press, 2005, p 262
  7. Clayton,P, Chronicle of the Pharaohs, Thames & Hudson, 2006
  8. Polyaenus, Stratagems VII, 11 §7.

Further reading

Preceded by
Cambyses II
Pharaoh of Egypt
Twenty-seventh Dynasty
Succeeded by
Darius I