The 25th Dynasty in Ancient Egypt



Manetho, strange as it may seem, does not speak of this great Sudanese or Cushite warrior until about 730 B. C. C. suddenly changed the whole course of Egyptian events. Piankhy was the son of a chieftain or king named Kashta, and brother, apparently, of Shabaka, called by Manetho as Sabacon.


The Twenty-Fifth Dynasty in Ancient Egypt

Departed from Napata, Piankhy descended the course of the Nile and, during a long military campaign, defeated the rival of Syrian origin Tefnakht (24th Dynasty), and gave Egypt, after several decades, a semblance of unity.

The stele of Gebel Barkalto which the pharaoh Piankhy entrusted the account of his difficult struggle against Tefnakht, details the stages of the clash, presenting it as a battle of faith as well as weapons.

Piankhy's racial antecedents are obscure and the hypothesis that he was of Libyan descent is based on very tenuous clues. However, his energetic personality, shared by his successors, makes the conjecture that they were mere descendants of emigrant Theban priests proposed by some scholars equally improbable; the names are not Egyptian, but of foreign origin, and certainly new blood must have put so much vigor into their family. It is strange that after Tefnakht's defeat, Piankhy apparently retired to his hometown of Napata leaving almost no trace of himself in Egypt.

There is no way of knowing whether it is true, as Manetone claims, that Boccoris (24th Dynasty) was taken prisoner by Sabacon (Shabaka) and burned alive, but there is no doubt that the latter, Piankhy's younger brother, conquered the whole of Egypt and settled there as a legitimate pharaoh. He left Napata to settle in Memphis, where the divine priestess worshiped by Amon was now of Sudanese descent, and later moved to Thebes.

Shabaka reigned no less than fourteen years and was followed by Shebitku (Sebichos, in the Manetone lists) who were supposed to have remained on the throne until the rise of Taharqa (Tarcos) in 689 B.C. In foreign policy, Shebitku had to endure the difficult confrontation with the Assyrian power that had spread to the detriment of the Jews, whose request for help the Pharaohblack could not escape. The story of the defense of Jerusalem is shrouded in the halo of legend: in fact, it seems that Shebitku never joined the Nubian troops of his brother Taharqa called for the occasion.

With the ascent to the throne of Taharqa, brother and successor of Shebitku, the documentation becomes abundant. Excavations in Kawa between the third and fourth floodgates have exhumed five large steles, mostly in excellent condition, which refer to the events of his first years of reign and the donations he made to the temples where they were found.

The 25th Pharaonic Dynasty:
- Piye
- Shabaka
- Shebitku
- Taharqa