Twenty-seventh Dynasty of Egypt

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Twenty-seventh Dynasty of Egypt
𐎸𐎭𐎼𐎠𐎹
Mudrāya  (Old Persian)
Province of the Achaemenid Empire
525 BC–404 BC
Standard of Cyrus the Great (White).svg
Western part of the Achaemenid Empire.jpg
Western part of the Achaemenid Empire, with the territories of Egypt. [1] [2] [3] [4]
Government
Pharaoh  
 525-522 BC
Cambyses II (first)
 423-404 BC
Darius II (last)
Historical era Achaemenid era
525 BC
 Rebellion of Amyrtaeus
404 BC
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Blank.png Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt
Twenty-eighth Dynasty of Egypt Blank.png
The Svenigorodsky cylinder seal depicting a Persian king thrusting his lance at an Egyptian pharaoh, while holding four other Egyptian captives on a rope. Zvenigorodsky seal.jpg
The Svenigorodsky cylinder seal depicting a Persian king thrusting his lance at an Egyptian pharaoh, while holding four other Egyptian captives on a rope.

The Twenty-seventh Dynasty of Egypt (notated Dynasty XXVII, alternatively 27th Dynasty or Dynasty 27), also known as the First Egyptian Satrapy (Old Persian : Mudrāya [8] ) was effectively a province (satrapy) of the Achaemenid Persian Empire between 525 BC and 404 BC. It was founded by Cambyses II, the King of Persia, after his conquest of Egypt and subsequent crowning as Pharaoh of Egypt, and was disestablished upon the rebellion and crowning of Amyrtaeus as Pharaoh. A second period of Achaemenid rule in Egypt occurred under the Thirty-first Dynasty of Egypt (343-332 BC).

Contents

History

The last pharaoh of the 26th Dynasty, Psamtik III, was defeated by Cambyses II at the battle of Pelusium in the eastern Nile delta in May of 525 BC. Cambyses was crowned Pharaoh of Egypt in the summer of that year at the latest, beginning the first period of Persian rule over Egypt (known as the 27th Dynasty). Egypt was then joined with Cyprus and Phoenicia to form the sixth satrapy of the Achaemenid Empire, with Aryandes as the local satrap (provincial governor).

As Pharaoh of Egypt, Cambyses' reign saw the fiscal resources of traditional Egyptian temples diminished considerably. One decree, written on papyrus in demotic script ordered a limitation on resources to all Egyptian temples, excluding Memphis, Heliopolis and Wenkhem (near Abusir). Cambyses left Egypt sometime in early 522 BC, dying en route to Persia, and was nominally succeeded briefly by his younger brother Bardiya, although contemporary historians suggest Bardiya was actually Gaumata, an impostor, and that the real Bardiya had been murdered some years before by Cambyses, ostensibly out of jealousy. Darius I, suspecting this impersonation, led a coup against "Bardiya" in September of that year, overthrowing him and being crowned as King and Pharaoh the next morning.

As the new Persian King, Darius spent much of his time quelling rebellions throughout his empire. Sometime in late 522 BC or early 521 BC a local Egyptian prince led a rebellion and declared himself Pharaoh Petubastis III. The main cause of this rebellion is uncertain, but the Ancient Greek military historian Polyaenus states that it was oppressive taxation imposed by the satrap Aryandes. Polyaenus further writes that Darius himself marched to Egypt, arriving during a period of mourning for the death of the sacred Herald of Ptah bull. Darius made a proclamation that he would award a sum of one hundred talents to the man who could produce the next Herald, impressing the Egyptians with his piety such that they flocked en masse to his side, ending the rebellion. [9]

Egyptian statue of Darius I, discovered in the Palace in Susa. National Meusem Darafsh 6 (42).JPG
Egyptian statue of Darius I, discovered in the Palace in Susa.
Modern impression of an Achaemenid cylinder seal from Iran, with king holding two lion griffins at bay and Egyptian hieroglyphs reading "Thoth is a protection over me". Circa 6th-5th century BC. Cylinder seal and modern impression king holding two lion griffins at bay and Egyptian hieroglyphs ca. 6th-5th century BC.jpg
Modern impression of an Achaemenid cylinder seal from Iran, with king holding two lion griffins at bay and Egyptian hieroglyphs reading "Thoth is a protection over me". Circa 6th–5th century BC.

Darius took a greater interest in Egyptian internal affairs than Cambyses. He reportedly codified the laws of Egypt, and notably completed the excavation of a canal system at Suez, allowing passage from the Bitter Lakes to the Red Sea, much preferable to the arduous desert land route. This feat allowed Darius to import skilled Egyptian laborers and artisans to construct his palaces in Persia. The result of this was a minor brain drain in Egypt, due to the loss of these skilled individuals, creating a demonstrable lowering of quality in Egyptian architecture and art from this period. Nevertheless, Darius was more devoted to supporting Egyptian temples than Cambyses, earning himself a reputation for religious tolerance in the region. In 497 BC, during a visit by Darius to Egypt, Aryandes was executed for treason, most likely for attempting to issue his own coinage, a visible attempt to distance Egypt from the rest of the Persian Empire. [13] [14] Darius died in 486 BC, and was succeeded by Xerxes I.

Egyptian soldier of the Achaemenid army, circa 470 BCE. Xerxes I tomb relief. Xerxes I tomb Egyptian soldier circa 470 BCE.jpg
Egyptian soldier of the Achaemenid army, circa 470 BCE. Xerxes I tomb relief.

Upon the accession of Xerxes, Egypt again rebelled, this time possibly under Psamtik IV, although different sources dispute that detail. Xerxes quickly quelled the rebellion, installing his brother Achaemenes as satrap. Xerxes ended the privileged status of Egypt held under Darius, and increased supply requirements from the country, probably to fund his invasion of Greece. Furthermore, Xerxes promoted the Zoroastrian god Ahura Mazda at the expense of traditional Egyptian deities, and permanently stopped the funding of Egyptian monuments. Xerxes was murdered in 465 BC by Artabanus, beginning a dynastic struggle that ended with Artaxerxes I being crowned the next King and Pharaoh.

In 460 BC another major Egyptian rebellion took place, led by a Libyan chief named Inaros II, substantially assisted by the Athenians of Greece. [15] Inaros defeated an army led by Achaemenes, killing the satrap in the process, and took Memphis, eventually exerting control over large parts of Egypt. Inaros and his Athenian allies were finally defeated by a Persian army led by general Megabyzus in 454 BC and consequently sent into retreat. Megabyzus promised Inaros no harm would come of him or his followers if he surrendered and submitted to Persian authority, terms Inaros agreed to. Nevertheless, Artaxerxes eventually had Inaros executed, although exactly how and when is a matter of dispute. [16] Artaxerxes died in 424 BC.

Artaxerxes successor, Xerxes II only ruled for forty-five days, being murdered by his brother Sogdianus. Sogdianus was consequently murdered by his brother Ochus, who became Darius II. [17] Darius II ruled from 423 BC to 404 BC, and nearing the end of his reign a rebellion led by Amyrtaeus took place, potentially beginning as early as 411 BC. In 405 BC Amyrtaeus, with the help of Cretan mercenaries expelled the Persians from Memphis, declaring himself Pharaoh the next year and ending the 27th Dynasty. Darius II's successor, Artaxerxes II made attempts to begin an expedition to retake Egypt, but due to political difficulty with his brother Cyrus the Younger, abandoned the effort. Artaxerxes II was still recognized as the rightful Pharaoh in some parts of Egypt as late as 401 BC, although his sluggish response to the situation allowed Egypt to solidify its independence.

During the period of independent rule three indigenous dynasties reigned: the 28th, 29th, and 30th Dynasty. Artaxerxes III (358 BC) reconquered the Nile valley for a brief second period (343 BC), which is called the 31st Dynasty of Egypt.

Pharaohs of the 27th Dynasty

Egyptian alabaster vase of Darius I with quadrilingual hieroglyphic and cuneiform inscriptions. The hieroglyph reads: "King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Lord of the Two Lands, Darius, living forever, year 36". Egyptian alabaster vase of Darius I with quadrilingual hieroglyphic and cuneiform inscriptions.jpg
Egyptian alabaster vase of Darius I with quadrilingual hieroglyphic and cuneiform inscriptions. The hieroglyph reads: "King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Lord of the Two Lands, Darius, living forever, year 36".

The pharaohs of the 27th Dynasty ruled for approximately one hundred and twenty one years, from 525 BC to 404 BC. Rulers with violet background were native Egyptian pharaohs who rebelled against the Achaemenid rule.

Name of PharaohImageReignThrone NameComments
Cambyses II Stela Cambyses Apis closeup.jpg 525-522 BCMesutireDefeated Psamtik III at the Battle of Pelusium in 525 BC
Bardiya/ Gaumata Gaumata portrait on the Behistun inscription.jpg 522 BCPossible impostor
Petubastis III Ignota prov., pannello decorativo del re sehibra, xxiii dinastia, 823-716 ac..JPG 522/521-520 BCSeheruibreRebelled against the Achaemenid Pharaohs
Darius I the Great Flickr - isawnyu - Hibis, Temple Decorations (III).jpg 522-486 BCStutre
Psamtik IV 480s BCProposed rebel against the Achaemenid Pharaohs
Xerxes I the Great Xerxes Image.png 486-465 BC
Artabanus 465–464 BCAssassinated Xerxes I, later killed by Artaxerxes I
Artaxerxes I Cartouche Artaxerxes I Lepsius.jpg 465-424 BC
Xerxes II 425-424 BCClaimant to throne
Sogdianus 424-423 BCClaimant to throne
Darius II Darius ii.png 423-404 BCLast Pharaoh of the 27th Dynasty

Timeline of the 27th Dynasty (Achaemenid Pharaohs only)

Darius IISogdianusXerxes IIArtaxerxes IXerxes IDarius IBardiyaCambyses IITwenty-seventh Dynasty of Egypt

Satraps of the 27th Dynasty

Name of satrapRuleReigning monarchComments
Aryandes 525–522 BC;
518–c.496 BC
Cambyses II, Darius IDeposed following a revolt in 522 BC, later restored in 518 BC then deposed again by Darius I
Pherendates c.496–c.486 BCDarius IPossibly killed during a revolt
Achaemenes c.486–459 BCXerxes I, Artaxerxes IA brother of Xerxes I, later killed by the rebel Inaros II
Arsames c.454–c.406 BCArtaxerxes I, Xerxes II, Artaxerxes IILongest ruling satrap of Egypt

Historical sources

Related Research Articles

Year 404 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Tribunate of Volusus, Cossus, Fidenas, Ambustus, Maluginensis and Rutilus. The denomination 404 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.

Xerxes I Ancient Persian king

Xerxes I, commonly known as Xerxes the Great, was the fourth King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire, ruling from 486 to 465 BC. He was the son and successor of Darius the Great and his mother was Atossa, a daughter of Cyrus the Great, the first Achaemenid king. Like his father and predecessor Darius I, he ruled the empire at its territorial apex. He ruled from 486 BC until his assassination in 465 BC at the hands of Artabanus, the commander of the royal bodyguard.

Cambyses II King of Kings

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.

Darius the Great 4th king of the Persian Achaemenid Empire (550–486 BC)

Darius I, commonly known as Darius the Great, was the third Persian King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire, reigning from 522 BCE until his death in 486 BCE. He ruled the empire at its peak, when it included much of West Asia, parts of the Caucasus, parts of the Balkans, most of the Black Sea coastal regions, Central Asia, as far as the Indus Valley in the far east and portions of north and northeast Africa including Egypt (Mudrâya), eastern Libya, and coastal Sudan.

Darius II King of the Persian Empire from 423 BC to 404

Darius II, also called Darius II Nothus or Darius II Ochus, was king of kings of the Persian Empire from 423 BC to 404 or 405 BC.

Artaxerxes I of Persia Fifth king of kings of the Achaemenid Empire

Artaxerxes I was the sixth King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire, from 465-424 BC. He was the third son of Xerxes I.

Artaxerxes II of Persia King of Persia from 404 to 358 BC

Artaxerxes II Mnemon was the King of Kings of Persia from 404 BC until his death in 358 BC. He was a son of Darius II and Parysatis.

Megabyzus Persian general

Megabyzus was an Achaemenid Persian general, son of Zopyrus, satrap of Babylonia, and grandson of Megabyzus I, one of the seven conspirators who had put Darius I on the throne. His father was killed when the satrapy rebelled in 482 BCE, and Megabyzus led the forces that recaptured the city, after which the statue of the god Marduk was destroyed to prevent future revolts. Megabyzus subsequently took part in the Second Persian invasion of Greece. Herodotus claims that he refused to act on orders to pillage Delphi, but it is doubtful such orders were ever given.

The Twenty-eighth Dynasty of Egypt is usually classified as the third dynasty of the Ancient Egyptian Late Period. The 28th Dynasty lasted from 404 BC to 398 BC and it includes only one Pharaoh, Amyrtaeus (Amenirdis), also known as Psamtik V or Psammetichus V. Amyrtaeus was probably the grandson of the Amyrtaeus of Sais, who is known to have carried on a rebellion in 465–463 BC with the Libyan chief, Inarus, against the satrap Achaemenes of Achaemenid Egypt.

Achaemenes (satrap) Satrap

Achaemenes was an Achaemenid general and satrap of ancient Egypt during the early 5th century BC, at the time of the 27th Dynasty of Egypt.

Late Period of ancient Egypt time period of Ancient Egypt

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Amyrtaeus Egyptian Pharaoh

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Lydia (satrapy) satrapy of the Achaemenid empire

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Petubastis III Egyptian pharaoh

Seheruibre Padibastet better known by his hellenised name Petubastis III was a native Ancient Egyptian ruler, c. 522 – 520 BC, who revolted against Persian rule.

Aryandes Persian satrap

Aryandes was the first Achaemenid satrap of ancient Egypt between the 6th and 5th centuries BCE, during the early 27th Dynasty of Egypt.

Arsames (satrap of Egypt)

Arsames was an Achaemenid satrap of ancient Egypt during the 5th century BC, at the time of the 27th Dynasty of Egypt.

Achaemenid Empire 550 BC – 330 BC Iranian empire founded by Cyrus the Great

The Achaemenid Empire, Xšāça (Old Persian); translation:The 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.

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Thirty-first Dynasty of Egypt

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See also