Psamtik III

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Psamtik III (also spelled Psammetichus, Psammeticus, or Psammenitus, from Greek Ψαμμήτιχος or Ψαμμήνιτος) was the last Pharaoh of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt from 526 BC to 525 BC. Most of what is known about his reign and life was documented by the Greek historian Herodotus in the 5th century BC. Herodotus states that Psamtik had ruled Egypt for only six months before he was confronted by a Persian invasion of his country led by King Cambyses II of Persia. [1] Psamtik was subsequently defeated at the Battle of Pelusium, and fled to Memphis where he was captured. The deposed pharaoh was carried off to Susa in chains, and later committed suicide.

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.

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.

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. He is widely considered to have been the first writer to have treated historical subjects using a method of systematic investigation—specifically, by collecting his materials and then critically arranging them into an historiographic narrative. On account of this, he is often referred to as "The Father of History", a title first conferred on him by the first-century BC Roman orator Cicero.

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Family

Psamtik III was the son of the pharaoh Amasis II and one of his wives, Queen Tentkheta. He succeeded his father as pharaoh in 526 BC, when Amasis died after a long and prosperous reign of some 44 years. According to Herodotus, he had a son named Amasis and a wife and daughter, both unnamed in historical documents.

Amasis II Egyptian pharaoh

Amasis II or Ahmose II was a pharaoh of the Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt, the successor of Apries at Sais. He was the last great ruler of Egypt before the Persian conquest.

Tentkheta (Tanetkheta) was the Great Royal Wife of Amasis II. She dates to the Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt.

Defeat and imprisonment

Head of a statue of Psamtik III Psamtik III.jpg
Head of a statue of Psamtik III

Psamtik ruled Egypt for no more than six months. A few days after his coronation, rain fell at Thebes, which was a rare event that frightened some Egyptians, who interpreted this as a bad omen. The young and inexperienced pharaoh was no match for the invading Persians. After the Persians under Cambyses had crossed the Sinai desert with the aid of the Arabians, a bitter battle was fought near Pelusium, a city on Egypt's eastern frontier, in the spring of 525 BC. [1] The Egyptians were defeated at Pelusium and Psamtik was betrayed by one of his allies, Phanes of Halicarnassus. Consequently, Psamtik and his army were compelled to withdraw to Memphis. [1] The Persians captured the city after a long siege, and captured Psamtik after its fall. Shortly thereafter, Cambyses ordered the public execution of two thousand of the principal citizens, including (it is said) a son of the fallen king.

Achaemenid Empire first Persian Empire founded by Cyrus the Great

The Achaemenid Empire, also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian empire based in Western Asia founded by Cyrus the Great. Ranging at its greatest extent from the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper in the west to the Indus Valley in the east, it was larger than any previous empire in history, spanning 5.5 million square kilometers. Incorporating various peoples of different origins and faiths, it is notable for its successful model of a centralised, bureaucratic administration, for building infrastructure such as road systems and a postal system, the use of an official language across its territories, and the development of civil services and a large professional army. The empire's successes inspired similar systems in later empires.

Sinai Peninsula peninsula in the Red Sea

The Sinai Peninsula or simply Sinai is a peninsula in Egypt, and the only part of the country located in Asia. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Red Sea to the south, and is a land bridge between Asia and Africa. Sinai has a land area of about 60,000 km2 (23,000 sq mi) and a population of approximately 600,000 people. Administratively, the vast majority of the area of the Sinai Peninsula is divided into two governorates: the South Sinai Governorate and the North Sinai Governorate. Three other governorates span the Suez Canal, crossing into African Egypt: Suez Governorate on the southern end of the Suez Canal, Ismailia Governorate in the center, and Port Said Governorate in the north.

Arabs are a population inhabiting the Arab world. They primarily live in the Arab states in Western Asia, North Africa, the Horn of Africa and western Indian Ocean islands. They also form a significant diaspora, with Arab communities established around the world.

Captivity and suicide

Psamtik's captivity and subsequent execution are described in The Histories by Herodotus, Book III, sections 14 and 15. Psamtik's daughter and the daughters of all the Egyptian noblemen were enslaved. Psamtik's son and two thousand other sons of noblemen were sentenced to death, in retaliation for the murder of the Persian ambassador and the two hundred crew of his boat. An "old man who had once been the king's friend" was reduced to beggary. [2] All these people were brought before Psamtik to test his reaction, and he only became upset after seeing the state of the beggar.

<i>Histories</i> (Herodotus) book by Herodotus

The Histories of Herodotus is considered the founding work of history in Western literature. Written in 440 BC in the Ionic dialect of classical Greek, The Histories serves as a record of the ancient traditions, politics, geography, and clashes of various cultures that were known in Western Asia, Northern Africa and Greece at that time. Although not a fully impartial record, it remains one of the West's most important sources regarding these affairs. Moreover, it established the genre and study of history in the Western world.

Psamtik's compassion for the beggar caused him to be spared, but his son had already been executed. The deposed pharaoh was then raised up to live in the entourage of the Persian King. [3] After a while, however, Psamtik attempted to raise a rebellion among the Egyptians. When Cambyses learned of this, Psamtik is reported by Herodotus to have drunk bull's blood and immediately died. [4]

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Psamtik II Egyptian pharaoh

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Phanes of Halicarnassus was a wise council man, a tactician, and a mercenary from Halicarnassus, serving the Egyptian pharaoh Amasis II. Most of what history recounts of Phanes is from the account of Herodotus in his grand historical text, The Histories. According to Herodotus, Phanes of Halicarnassus was "a resourceful man and a brave fighter" serving Amasis II on matters of state, and was well connected within the Egyptian pharaoh's troops. Phanes of Halicarnassus was also very well respected within the military and royal community of Egypt.

Battle of Pelusium (343 BC)

The Battle of Pelusium in 343 was fought between the Persians, with their Greek mercenaries, and the Egyptians with their Greek mercenaries. It took place at the stronghold of Pelusium, on the coast at the far eastern side of the Nile Delta. Overall, Artaxerxes III commanded the Persians, and Nectanebo II commanded the Egyptians. The Greek troops with Egyptians inside the fortress were commanded by Philophron. The first attack was by Theban troops under Lacrates.

References

  1. 1 2 3 The New Encyclopædia Britannica: Micropædia, Vol.9 15th edition, 2003. p.756
  2. The Histories, by Herodotus, Book III.14, Penguin Classics
  3. http://data.perseus.org/citations/urn:cts:greekLit:tlg0016.tlg001.perseus-grc1:3.15.1
  4. The Histories, by Herodotus, Book III.15, Penguin Classics