April 24, 2012

Ancient Egyptian Dynasties 28/29/30/31

Dynasty 28
404-399 BC
  • Amyrtaeus : 404-399 BC
Dynasty 29
399-380 BC
  • Nefaarud I (Nepherites I) - Baenre Merynetjeru : 399-393 BC
  • Hakor (Achoris) - Maatibre : 393-380 BC
Dynasty 30
380-343 BC
  • Nakhtnebef (Nectanebo I) - Kheperkare : 380-362 BC
  • Djedhor (Teos) - Irmaatenre : 362-360 BC
  • Nakhthorheb (Nectanebo II) - Snedjemibre - Setepeninhur : 360-343 BC

Dynasty 31 
(Second Persian Period) 
343-332 BC
  • Artaxerxes III : 343-338 BC
  • Darius III : 336-332 BC
  • Arses : 338-336 BC
With the death of Darius II in 405, Amyrtaeus Prince of Sais, who had been fighting a guerrilla action against the Persians for at least six years, declared himself king. Somehow he managed to assert his authority as far south as the old Egyptian border at Aswan, but he is otherwise virtually unknown and was the sole king of the 28th Dynasty. In the next dynasty, founded by Nepherites I (Nefaarud I), the northern Delta capital moved from Sais to the more centrally placed Mendes, indicating perhaps a stronger royal line arising from that city and the ousting of the previous one.

To strengthen his claim and position, Nepherites I, like many before him, cast backwards to underline his legitimacy, associating himself with the Saite Renaissance policies. Certainly there is far more evidence of building work and inscriptions in Egypt during his reign, largely located in the northern sphere, than during those of his immediate predecessors. He also maintained the cult of the sacred Apis bull at Memphis and is recorded in a Serapeum inscription. As the capital was at Mendes the presumption was that Nepherites was buried there, but no royal tombs had been found despite intensive excavations in the 1980s. The tomb was eventually found late in 1995. Previously only four of his glazed composition ushabtis were known, since then more than a dozen examples, often only the upper half, have appeared in the art market, indicative of the robbing of the site that has taken place.

Granodiorite fragmentary statue torsi of the pharaoh Hakor, circa 393-381 BC, Now at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
For about a year after the death of Nepherites (in 393) there was confusion, his son and a usurper, Psammuthis, struggling for power. Both were overcome by an unrelated man, Aehoris (Hakor) who disregarded their year and dated the start of his own reign from the death of Nepherites. Aehoris too was concerned to present legitimate continuity and associated himself with Nepherites in such a blatant way on his monuments, naming his son after him into the bargain, that he must have been trying to consolidate a relationship that had no factual basis. Nevertheless, Aehoris' 14-year reign stands out amongst those of the later kings as one in which an enormous amount of building and refurbishing took place. Aehoris took more than a hand in Near Eastern politics as well.

 The Greeks, initially the Spartans and then the Athenians, were the main protagonists in the struggles against Persia,- by comparison, Egypt was merely a flea bite in the Persian arm. Aehoris concluded a treaty with Athens in 389, but it lasted only three years in the face of internal squabbling amongst the Greeks which was settled by the Persian king Artaxerxes II's edict of 386, giving him the cities of Asia Minor and Cyprus and declaring the other Greek cities (with a few exceptions) autonomous, so long as they did not make war on him. The Greeks had been quietened and Egypt was isolated, thus attracting the attentions of Persia. Aehoris repulsed several attacks between 385 and 383, largely with the use of renegade Greeks in the now considerably strengthened Egyptian navy, and Persia turned away and moved against Cyprus.

Aehoris died in 380 but his son did not succeed him, being ousted by Nectanebo I (Nakhtnebef) of Sebennytos who founded the 30th Dynasty. A combined Persian and Greek force entered Egypt from the western (Mendes) side of the Delta, bypassing the strongly fortified and usual access through the eastern Delta fortress of Pelusium. Fortunately for Nectanebo, after being defeated, the strange allies delayed in their march on Memphis, distrusting each other, which gave him time to regroup, launch a successful counter-attack and fling them out of Egypt. Local conditions played a big part in his success - the inundation gave the Egyptians the advantage in a flooded landscape they knew well.

Nectanebo I achieved much in his stable 18-year reign, restoring dilapidated temples throughout the land and, in particular, erecting the small kiosk on the sacred island of Philae that was to blossom into one of the most sacred and delightful sites of later Egypt. He was succeeded by his son, Teos (Djedhor) (by his wife Udjashu), who immediately began to move against Persia, supported by Greek mercenaries, and hoping to gain Syria. Because of heavy tax impositions to pay for the mercenaries, Teos was unpopular in Egypt. In his absence Teos' son Tjahepimu declared his own son (i.e. Teos' grandson) king as Nectanebo II (Nakhthoreb) and Teos fled to sanctuary at Susa after a short two-year reign.

The first eight years of Nectanebo II's reign were protected from Persian aggression by that country's own dynastic squabbles and consequent problems. By 350 BC, however, the new Persian ruler Artaxerxes III had sufficiently re-established authority over most of the empire to contemplate attacking Egypt - but the expedition failed. Word of this spread and soon Greek and Levantine cities were once more militarily challenging the Persian might, at first with a degree of success.

Nectanebo II's reign is characterized by a definite return to the old values and stability brought by the gods. Temples were built or refurbished and the king was presented as the pious one under the gods' protection. This is well exemplified in a superb large stone statue in the Metropolitan Museum, New York of Horus the falcon, wearing the Double Crown. Between its legs it has a diminutive figure of Nectanebo wearing the nemes headdress and carrying a curved harpesh and a small shrine. Not only is it a striking statue, it is also an icon reflecting the age-old clash between Horus (i.e. good, the king and Egypt) and Seth (evil and Persia). Not least, it is also a clever pun or rebus since it symbolizes the king's name as 'Strong [the harpesh is Horus of Behbeit [the shrine]', the latter being a temple, now much ruined, dedicated to the goddess Isis in that Delta city.

Greek mercenaries fought for both Egypt and Persia and it was with some 20,000 Greeks, forming about one-fifth of his army, that Nectanebo II stood at Pelusium, the eastern Delta fortress entrance to Egypt, in 343 BC against the latest Persian advance. Greek generalship on the Persian side outflanked the Egyptians,- Pelusium fell, followed by other Delta strongpoints, and Memphis itself soon afterwards, forcing Nectanebo to take refuge in Nubia. Persian rule was established in Egypt once more.

What became of Nectanebo II is unknown. A splendid large and complete faience ushabti figure of the king (unprovenanced, acquired by Turin Museum in the 19th century), plus ten other known fragments, are all that remains and point to preparations being made for his royal What became of Nectanebo II is unknown. A splendid large and complete faience ushabti figure of the king (unprovenanced, acquired by Turin Museum in the 19th century), plus ten other known fragments, are all that remains and point to preparations being made for his royal

burial, presumably at Sais. His tomb was probably destroyed under the Ptolemies. In the British Museum is a huge black granite sarcophagus, finely carved all over with texts and scenes from the Book of What is in the Underworld, inscribed for Nectanebo II. It was never used and was found in Alexandria where, having had holes cut through its lower walls into the interior, it was later employed as a bath, often called 'Alexander's bath'. Curiously, in medieval legend (recounted in the 'Alexander Romance'), Nectanebo is said to have fled to the Macedonian court (i.e. to the anti-Persian faction). There he was recognized as a great Egyptian magician, attracted the attentions of the Macedonian king's (Philip II's) wife Olympias and became the father - unbeknown to Philip II - of Alexander the Great, thus continuing in due course the pharaoh-bred line legend for Alexander.

Related web Search :
  • Amyrtaeus
  • Nefaarud I
  • Nepherites I
  • Hakor
  • Achoris
  • Maatibre
  • Nakhtnebef
  • Djedhor
  • Nakhthorheb
  • Artaxerxes III
  • Darius III
  • Arses 
  • Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh
  • Ancient Egyptian Kings
  • Ancient Egyptian Dynasties

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