|664 BC–525 BC|
|Common languages||Egyptian language|
|Religion||Ancient Egyptian religion|
• 664–610 BC
|Psamtik I (first)|
• 526–525 BC
|Psamtik III (last)|
|Dynasties of Ancient Egypt|
All years are BC
See also: List of Pharaohs by Period and Dynasty
The Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt (notated Dynasty XXVI, alternatively 26th Dynasty or Dynasty 26) was the last native dynasty to rule Egypt before the Persian conquest in 525 BC (although others followed). The dynasty's reign (664–525 BC) 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.
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.
The history of Persian Egypt is divided into three eras:
Sais or Sa El Hagar was an ancient Egyptian town in the Western Nile Delta on the Canopic branch of the Nile. It was the provincial capital of Sap-Meh, the fifth nome of Lower Egypt and became the seat of power during the Twenty-fourth Dynasty of Egypt and the Saite Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt during the Late Period. Its Ancient Egyptian name was Zau.
This dynasty traced its origins to the Twenty-fourth Dynasty. Psamtik I was probably a descendant of Bakenranef, and following the Neo-Assyrian Empire's invasions during the reigns of Taharqa and Tantamani, he was recognized as sole king over all of Egypt. While the Neo-Assyrian Empire was preoccupied with revolts and civil war over control of the throne, Psamtik threw off his ties to the Assyrians circa 655 BC, formed alliances with King Gyges of Lydia, and recruited mercenaries from Caria and ancient Greece to resist Assyrian attacks.
The Twenty-fourth Dynasty of Egypt, is usually classified as the fourth Dynasty of the Ancient Egyptian Third Intermediate Period.
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.
Bakenranef, known by the ancient Greeks as Bocchoris, was briefly a king of the Twenty-fourth dynasty of Egypt. Based at Sais in the western Delta, he ruled Lower Egypt from c. 725 to 720 BC. Though the Ptolemaic period Egyptian historian Manetho considers him the sole member of the Twenty-fourth dynasty, modern scholars include his father Tefnakht in that dynasty. Although Sextus Julius Africanus quotes Manetho as stating that "Bocchoris" ruled for six years, some modern scholars again differ and assign him a shorter reign of only five years, based on evidence from an Apis Bull burial stela. It establishes that Bakenranef's reign ended only at the start of his 6th regnal year which, under the Egyptian dating system, means he had a reign of 5 full years. Bakenranef's prenomen or royal name, Wahkare, means "Constant is the Spirit of Re" in Egyptian.
With the sack of Nineveh in 612 BC and the fall of the Assyrian Empire, both Psamtik and his successors attempted to reassert Egyptian power in the Near East, but were driven back by the Neo-Babylonian Empire under Nebuchadnezzar II. With the help of Greek mercenaries, Apries was able to hold back Babylonian attempts to conquer Egypt, only for the Persians to eventually do so. Their king, Cambyses II, captured and later executed Psamtik III.
Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city of Upper Mesopotamia, located on the outskirts of Mosul in modern-day northern Iraq. It is located on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and was the capital of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. Today it is a common name for the half of Mosul that lies on the eastern bank of the Tigris.
The Neo-Babylonian Empire was a period of Mesopotamian history which began in 626 BC and ended in 539 BC. During the preceding three centuries, Babylonia had been ruled by their fellow Akkadian speakers and northern neighbours, Assyria. A year after the death of the last strong Assyrian ruler, Ashurbanipal, in 627 BC, the Assyrian empire spiralled into a series of brutal civil wars. Babylonia rebelled under the Chaldean Nabopolassar. In alliance with the Medes, Persians, Scythians and Cimmerians, they sacked the city of Nineveh in 612 BC, and the seat of empire was transferred to Babylonia for the first time since the death of Hammurabi in the mid-18th century BC. This period witnessed a general improvement in economic life and agricultural production, and a great flourishing of architectural projects, the arts and science.
Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon c. 605 BC – c. 562 BC, was the longest-reigning and most powerful monarch of the Neo-Babylonian Empire.
The 26th Dynasty may be related to the 24th Dynasty. Manetho begins the dynasty with:
When the Nubian King Shabaka defeated Bakenranef, son of Tefnakht, he likely installed a Nubian commander as governor at Sais. This may be the man named Ammeris. Stephinates may be a descendant of Bakenrenef. He is sometimes referred to as Tefnakht II in the literature. Nechepsos has been identified with a local king named Nekauba (678–672 BC). Manetho's Necho is King Necho I (672–664 BC); Manetho gives his reign as 8 years. I fled to Nineveh – capital of the Neo-Assyrian Empire – and returned to Egypt when Ashurbanipal defeated Tantamani and drove him back south. Scholars now start the 26th Dynasty with the reign of Psamtik I.Necho was killed during a conflict with the Nubian king Tantamani. Psamtik
Neferkare Shabaka was the third Kushite pharaoh of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty of Egypt, who reigned from 705–690 BC.
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.
Ammeris was a governor of Sais attributed to the so-called "Proto-Saite Dynasty" of ancient Egypt.
Sextus Julius Africanus states in his often accurate version of Manetho's Epitome that the dynasty numbered 9 pharaohs, beginning with a "Stephinates" (Tefnakht II) and ending with Psamtik III. Africanus also notes that Psamtik I and Necho I ruled for 54 and 8 years respectively.
|Name of Pharaoh||Image||Reign||Throne name||Burial||Consort(s)||Comments|
|Psamtik I/Psammetichus I||664–610 BC||Wahibre||Sais||Mehytenweskhet||Reunified Egypt and ended the Nubian control of Upper Egypt. Manetho gives his reign as 54 years.|
|Necho II||610–595 BC||Wehemibre||Khedebneithirbinet I||Necho II is the Pharaoh most likely mentioned in several books of the Bible.|
|Psamtik II/Psammetichus II||595–589 BC||Neferibre||Takhuit|
|Wahibre Haaibre (Apries)||589–570 BC||Haaibre||Overthrown and forced into exile by Amasis II. Returned to Egypt at the head of a Babylonian army, but was defeated and likely killed. Manetho gives his reign as 19 years.|
|Amasis II/Ahmose II||570–526 BC||Khnem-ib-re||Sais|| Tentkheta |
|Herodotus claims that when Cambyses II invaded Egypt, realizing he was not able to exact revenge for Amasis's previous misdeeds and trickery, he exhumed his body, desecrated it and burned what remained of the mummy.|
|Psamtik III/Psammetichus III||526–525 BC||Ankhkaenre||Ruled for only 6 months according to Herodotus before a Persian invasion led by Cambyses II.|
The 7th century BC began the first day of 700 BC and ended the last day of 601 BC.
This article concerns the period 619 BC – 610 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 around 627 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.
Psamtik II was a king of the Saite-based Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt. His prenomen, Nefer-Ib-Re, means "Beautiful [is the] Heart [of] Re." He was the son of Necho II.
Menkheperre Necho I 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 according to Manetho's Aegyptiaca. Egypt was reunified by his son Psamtik I.
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."
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.
Napata was a city-state of ancient Nubia on the west bank of the Nile at the site of modern Karima, Sudan.
The Late Period of ancient Egypt refers to the last flowering of native Egyptian rulers after the Third Intermediate Period in the 26th Saite Dynasty founded by Psamtik I, but includes the time of Achaemenid Persian rule over Egypt after the conquest by Cambyses II in 525 BC as well. The Late Period existed from 664 BC until 332 BC, following a period of foreign rule by the Nubian 25th dynasty and beginning with a short period of Neo-Assyrian suzerainty, with Psamtik I initially ruling as their vassal. The period ended with the conquests of the Persian Empire by Alexander the Great and establishment of the Ptolemaic dynasty by his general Ptolemy I Soter, one of the Hellenistic diadochi from Macedon in northern Greece. With the Macedonian Greek conquest in the latter half of the 4th century BC, the age of Hellenistic Egypt began.
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 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.
The family tree of the 26th Dynasty is just as complex and unclear as earlier dynasties. This dynasty possibly traced its origins to the Saite 24th Dynasty, and scholars now start the dynasty with the reign of Psamtik I, sometimes referrings to the previous rulers – Ammeris to Necho I – as "proto-Saites". The rule of the family of Necho I and Psamtik I ends with the death of Apries, who was replaced by Amasis II, originally a general, and not of the royal house at all. Amasis and his son Psamtik III are the final rulers of the 26th Dynasty.
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 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.
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 stuggle 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.