Monday, December 10, 2012

Egypt's Dynasty 26

The Kings of Dynasty 26 were:

  • Nekau I
  • Psamtik I
  • Nekau II
  • Psamtek II
  • Apries
  • Ahmose II
  • Psamtek III

     Psamtik I re-united Egypt after the departure of the Assyrians. The Assyrians never returned to trouble him, as their empire was in the process of collapsing. Psamtik's even felt secure enough to invade the Levant where they finally captured the city of Ashdod after a long siege.

     But Egypt was to have trouble with more foreigners. Psamtik had used Greek mercenaries (among others) to re-unite Egypt. These Greeks seem to have become favorites of the Pharaoh, which left the native Egyptian / Libyan soldiers displeased.

     The Greek mercenaries, who seem to have lived in their own settlements in the Nile delta rapidly became a flashpoint for trouble. During the reign of Apries an anti-Greek backlash forced the Pharaoh from his throne (Shaw, Ian. The Oxford History of Egypt, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, p. 373).

     Egypt rapidly recovered, and Ahmose II (Apries' successor) saw a prosperous Egypt enjoying a series of bumper crops, or so Herodotus tells us (Shaw, p. 374). The Greeks played a very active role in trading with Egypt, which also helped the Egyptian economy. Under Nekau II, the state tried to revive trade in the Red Sea area by attempting to build a canal from the Nile to the Red Sea (this project seems to have failed). Herodotus also claims that Nekau II sent an expedition to circumnavigate Africa, but this is not likely to be true (Shaw, p.376).

     Nekau II does seem to have sent an army to fight in what is now Iraq and this is by far the furthest extension of Egyptian military power northwards since the death of Tuthmose III. However, a defeat at Carchemish at the hands of the Babylonians pushed the Egyptians back to the Nile Delta.

     The Babylonians were never able to conquer Egypt, but they turned out to be the lesser of two problems. The bigger problem was Cyrus the Great.


No comments:

Post a Comment