II. Ancient and Classical Periods, 3500 B.C.E.–500 C.E. > B. Kingdoms of Western Asia and Africa, to 323 B.C.E. > 3. Egypt, c. 3500–332 B.C.E. > f. The Late Dynastic Period (25th–31st Dynasties)
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
f. The Late Dynastic Period (25th–31st Dynasties)
25th (Kushite) Dynasty. The 25th Dynasty began as a line of Kushite kings, operating from their capital at Napata (See 1490–1426). Piankhy (751–716) sacked Memphis, but did not establish permanent control of Egypt. His brother Shabako (716–702) defeated the last king of the 22nd Dynasty, Osorkon IV; of the 23rd, Sheshonq IV (720–715); of the 24th, Bakenref (Bochchoris, 720–715); and reunited the country. Shabako established his capital at Thebes. The next king, Taharka (690–664) defeated an invading Assyrian army led by Esarhaddon (674), but in 672, the Assyrians returned and captured Memphis. Esarhaddon set up Necho I (672–664), the governor of Sais, as a client king, establishing the 26th Dynasty. When Taharka died, his son Tenuatamun (664–656) continued the resistance to the Assyrians, but in 663 Ashurbanipal finally defeated Tenuatamun and drove him back to Napata (See 1490–1426).  1
26th (Saite) Dynasty. After the final defeat of Tenuatamun, the Assyrians placed Psammetichus I (Psamtek, 664–610) on the throne. The family of Psammetichus stemmed from Sais, but he made Memphis the capital. Toward the end of his long reign, the collapse of the Assyrian Empire allowed Psammetichus to establish his independence and reassert central authority. He used Greek and Carian mercenaries sent by Gyges of Lydia to suppress local dynasts (See 685–547). Political independence produced the Saite revival in painting, architecture, literature, and religion, a nostalgic attempt to recreate the forms and styles of the Old Kingdom. Necho II (610–595) marched north to aid the last remnant of the Assyrians, fighting in Syria against the Babylonians. On his way, he defeated King Josiah at the second Battle of Megiddo (609), and Judah became an Egyptian vassal (See 640–609). Later, Necho II suffered a crushing defeat at the Battle of Carchemish (605) at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. The Egyptians were driven from Syria-Palestine, but in 601 they stopped the Babylonians at the border of Egypt (See 604–562). Herodotus describes the successful circumnavigation of Africa by Phoenician sailors sent by Necho. Apries (589–570, biblical Hophra) attempted unsuccessfully to drive the Babylonians from Judah and was defeated by the Greeks in Cyrene when he attempted to aid his Libyan allies. Apries was deposed by Amasis (`Ahmose-si-neit, 570–526), a commoner from the Delta who had risen in the military. Amasis allied himself with Babylonia and Lydia against the rising power of the Persians, but saw his allies defeated in turn by Cyrus the Great. Psammetichus III (526–525) ruled only for six months, before the Persians invaded (See c. 530–521).  2
27th (Persian) Dynasty. The Persians defeated the Egyptians at the Battle of Pelusium (525). The Persian King Cambyses (525–521) ruled Egypt as pharaoh. Although Herodotus says he suppressed Egyptian religion, according to hieroglyphic inscriptions Cambyses carried out the pharaoh's ritual functions. Darius I (521–485) certainly treated the Egyptians with respect and had Egyptian law codified, both in demotic and Aramaic. He assigned a priest, Udjahorresenet, to reestablish the Houses of Life, which copied sacred writings. Darius placed Egypt, along with Libya and Cyrenaica, in the sixth satrapy (province) with the satrap (governor) at Memphis. The Egyptians revolted in the last years of Darius, and the uprising was not suppressed until the reign of Xerxes (485–464). Persian rule became harsher after the revolt. Greek and Jewish minorities grew considerably in the Persian period. Around 450, Herodotus visited the country. When Darius II (423–404) died, there was another revolt, this time successful (See c. 522–486).  3
28th Dynasty. Amyrtaeus (404–399), probably a Libyan, ruled the entire country but was the 28th Dynasty's only king.  4
29th (Mendesian) Dynasty. Nepherites (Nef`aurud, 399–393) from Mendes (Djed) in Lower Egypt formed an alliance with the Spartans, the most powerful state in the eastern Mediterranean (See 386). In 386, Persia and Sparta signed a peace accord, and Artaxerxes II invaded Egypt (385–383). Achoris (Hakor, 393–380) allied himself with Evagoras, king of Salamis in Cyprus, and defeated the Persians (See c. 586–330). His son, Nepherites II (380) ruled only four months before being overthrown by Nectanebo.  5
30th (Sebennytic) Dynasty. Nectanebo I (Nakhtnebef, 380–362) from Tjeb-neter (Sebennytus) drove off a Persian invasion (371) and built and restored many monuments throughout Egypt. His son, Teos (Djeho, 362–360) attempted an invasion of Phoenicia and Syria but was defeated. The army rebelled and replaced Teos with his son Nectanebo II (Nakhthorhebe, 369–342), the last native pharaoh. In 343–342, Artaxerxes III led a successful invasion, Nectanebo fled to Ethiopia, and Egypt was again made a Persian satrapy.  6
31st (Persian) Dynasty. The second period of Persian rule lasted only ten years. In 332, Alexander the Great entered the country, and the satrap Mazaces surrendered the country to him without resistance (See Persian Asia Minor). (See Ptolemaic Egypt to the Roman Conquest)  7
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.