Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Egypt and Assyria (Cont.)

     Immediately after the death of Taharqa the new Nubian king, Tanutamun, marched north to re-establish Kushite rule in Egypt. Nekau I, the local ruler in Sais, was probably executed by Tanutamun, and was succeeded on the throne of Sais by his son, Psamtek I.

     Psamtek had, as a child, been sent to the Assyrian capital Nineveh to receive instruction in Assyrian customs. He apparently did not learn much, as he immediately set about conquering the other petty kingdoms in Egypt and putting them under his own rule, rather than under the rule of the Assyrians. The full re-unification of Egypt was completed by 656 B. C. with Psamtek using Greek mercenaries in his army (Dodson, Aidan. Afterglow of Empire, Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, 2012).

     Psamtek soon felt confident enough in himself that he sent a series of military expeditions northwards, eventually conquering the city of Ashod after a long siege. At this point the Assyrians formed an alliance with the Egyptians in the hopes that the Egyptians would help them against the Chaldaeans and the Medes. In 616 B. C. Egyptian troops fought against the Chaldaeans in what is now Iraq, surpassing even the border of the Egyptian empire under Tuthmose III almost 1,000 years earlier (Shaw, Ian, ed. The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000).

     In 612 B. C. the Assyrian Empire came to an end at the hands of the Medes and the Babylonians. The Egyptians would continue on for several more centuries, although they would spend most of that time ruled by foreigners (Persia, Alexander the Great and the Ptolemies and then Rome).

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