The 26th Dynasty in Ancient Egypt



Following their conquest, the Babylonians placed governors of their trust at the helm of the Egyptian cities. The system of replacing the evil rulers with others of his choice had been inaugurated by Esarhaddon.


Among the chosen ones was a certain Neko, prince of Sais, perhaps a descendant of Piankhy's opponent, Tefnakht. Neko, however, had not been slow to rebel and had been deported to Nineveh with other prisoners.

Although Manetho places Psamtik I only as of the fourth king, good historical reasons indicate him as the true founder of the dynasty. The name, apparently foreign, is instead Egyptian and means the "drink vendor", an expression that evidently has some relationship with the story of Herodotus according to which he had improvised a libation cup with his helmet.

Son of Psamtic I, Neko II was no less enterprising than his father but was less fortunate. His monuments in Egypt are few and singularly scarce of information. Herodotus remains the main source of news for his home businesses. A courageous attempt to connect the Nile to the Red Sea by means of a canal had to be abandoned, but it is almost certain that the Phoenician ships, sent by him to circumnavigate Africa, succeeded in returning after three years through the Columns of Hercules. For this enterprise, it is still remembered today.

Died Neko II in 595 BC, was succeeded by his son Psamtic II, whose relatively short reign has often underestimated the importance. In reality, the monuments that name the king or his officials are much more numerous than those of the two predecessors, and a much-debated expedition to Nubia confers a particular interest in this kingdom. The news about this expedition derives mainly from a long epigraph, part of a group of Greek inscriptions engraved on one of the giants of Ramses II in Abu Simbel.

In 526 B.C, a few months after the death of Amasis, Cyprus broke the alliance with Egypt, setting off a real storm that fell on the head of Psamtic III. The latter, son of Amasis, went out of his way to ward off the end.

The battle of Pelusio was fought with desperate tenacity (525 BC), but in the end, the Egyptians retreated in disorder to Memphis, who surrendered only after a long siege.

Thus Egypt passed into the hands of the Persians (27th dynasty of Manetho).

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