Reviewing The Late Period Egypt History Essay

It has long been argued that the civilisation of Ancient Egypt was alone in the sense that it is the lone one of the universe ‘s Ancient civilisations which had a high degree of technological and societal development early in its history, but which stagnated and subsequently declined. Thus it is just to state that Late Period Egypt was the last period in which the Ancient Egyptian civilisation flourished, before it was eventually overcome by foreign domination.

There are changing sentiments on precisely when the Late Period began. Some historiographers hold the position that the Late Period began with the reunion of Egypt in 712 BC, under the Nubian Pharaoh Neferkare Shabaka ( besides known as Shabaqo ) of the twenty-fifth Dynasty. However, other historiographers claim that the Late Time period started with the Saite swayers of the 26th Dynasty, get downing either with the laminitis of the 26th Saite Dynasty, Necho I ( besides known as Nekau I or Neco I ) , who ruled from 672 to 664, or with his replacement, Psamtik I ( or Psammetichus I ) who had consolidated his place as Pharaoh by 650 BC, eliminated the Nubian contention for power and established Egypt ‘s independency from Assyria ( Jaromir 1993. p.56 ) . Because some facets of the twenty-fifth Dynasty and the beginning of the 26th dynasty are inextricable, this essay will get down its treatment from the reunion of Egypt in 712 BC.

Similarly, there is a discrepancy of sentiment about the terminal of the Late Period. Some governments province it ended with Alexander the Great ‘s invasion of Egypt in 332 BC, which ended the Second Iranian Period, while others include the Grecian Roman Era within the Late Time period. For the intents of this essay, the terminal of the Late Time period is taken to be the terminal of the thirtieth Dynasty in 343 BC, when the Second Persian Period began. This is because the last Pharaoh of the thirtieth Dynasty, Nectanebo II, was the last native Egyptian swayer of Ancient Egypt. Other writers assert that the Second Iranian Period was a 31st Dynasty, nevertheless this Period ( 343-332 ) , merely marked the beginning of about 2500 old ages of foreign domination of Egypt.

Supporting Evidence

The description of Late Period Egypt as ‘the last pant of a one time great civilization ‘ was made by Shaw ( 2003, p. 354 ) . To impart acceptance to this description, there is need to analyze the historical and archeological record to see how the Egyptians of the Late Time period fared in comparing with their celebrated ascendants, peculiarly of the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms.

As stated earlier, one of the great enigmas of history is why the Ancient Egyptian civilisation did non come on beyond the highs of the Old Kingdom. Rulers in the Late Period frequently looked back to the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms for inspiration and it is possible that their preoccupation with the yesteryear was responsible for the stagnancy and diminution of Ancient Egypt. For the interest of lucidity, the Late Time period is divided into its several dynasties.

The 25th Dynasty

The Nubian/Kushitic Pharaoh of the twenty-fifth Dynasty viewed themselves as reconstructing the true traditions of Egypt, after a period of regulation by Libyan Pharaohs get downing in the 21st Dynasty ( El Mahdy 1997, p. 103 ) . The twenty-fifth Dynasty benefited Egypt economically and it witnessed a resurgence in temple edifice and the humanistic disciplines that continued throughout the Late Time period. In other words, the 25th Dynasty Pharaoh were less interested in doing a name for themselves than in restoring Egypt as it had been in the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms.

During the 25th Dynasty Memphis became the Kushite royal place in Egypt and several male monarchs built memorials at that place. In fact, the 25th Dynasty Pharaoh were so enamoured of Egyptian civilization that they built Egyptian-style temples, both in Egypt and Nubia, with their walls inscribed in Egyptian hieroglyphs ( El Mahdy 1997, p. 105 ) . Normally, a conquest people try to enforce its civilization on a subjected people, but this was non the instance with Nubia and Egypt in the twenty-fifth Dynasty. This shows that the Nubian/Kushitic Pharaoh were merely content to live over past glorifications, alternatively of taking for new highs.

Further grounds of the twenty-fifth Dynasty ‘s efforts to emulate the yesteryear is found in their burial topographic points. Although the Nubian/Kushitic male monarchs of the twenty-fifth Dynasty and their replacements were buried in Upper Nubia, many of them, get downing with Taharqo ( Taharqa ) , were buried in pyramids at Nuri in Nubia ( Bierbrier 1993, p.61 ) . The male monarchs ‘ organic structures were mummified and placed in caskets, and royal mortuary composings used by New Kingdom male monarchs were painted in their burial Chamberss. This was clearly copied, as ab initio Nubian/Kushitic male monarchs were buried in a graveyard at el-Kurru, close Gebel Barkal, where the earliest high position graves were round tumuli with contracted entombments on beds ( Edwards 2004, p. 91 ) . But Piy ‘s grave at el-Kurru was a steep-sided pyramid. Most of the later Nubian/Kushitic male monarchs, get downing with Taharqo, were buried in pyramids at Nuri. The male monarchs ‘ organic structures were mummified and placed in caskets, and royal mortuary composings used by New Kingdom male monarchs were painted in their burial Chamberss.

The Nubian/Kushitic pyramids, with chapels on the east side, are likely the most seeable mortuary grounds of Egyptian socialization by 25th Dynasty male monarchs, who worshipped Egyptian Gods, particularly Amen and Ptah, every bit good as non-Egyptian 1s. Three male monarchs of the twenty-fifth Dynasty, Shabaqo ( Shabaka ) , Shabitqo, and Tanutamani, were buried at el-Kurru in pyramid memorials. But with steep sides and bases merely 8-11 metres in length, the el-Kurru pyramids were really different in form and size from the much earlier Egyptian royal graves of the Old and Middle Kingdoms ( Clark, Somers and Englebach 1990, p.49 ) . The el-Kurru pyramids are more similar to the little pyramids over private New Kingdom grave at Thebes. This besides indicates that the 25th Dynasty was looking back into Egypt ‘s history for inspiration.

The Egyptianization of the grave at el-Kurru is shown by a clear development of grave types from indigenous-type rock tumuli, to tumuli surrounded by horseshoe-shaped enclosure walls ( one with a funerary chapel ) , to pyramid superstructures. The manner of entombments besides alterations with clip, as the earliest Nubian/Kushitic royal mas were contracted and placed on beds ( in Nubian tradition ) , while subsequently 1s were extended ( as Egyptians were buried ) and oriented east-west. With the conquering of Egypt, the Nubian/Kushitic royal entombments emulated Egyptian 1s in the intervention of the organic structure: the organic structure was mummified and placed in nested caskets, and the entrails were embalmed individually in canopic jars. It is likely that Egyptian and Egyptian-trained craftsmen decorated the royal grave ( Lehner 1997, p.127 ) . At this point, it is evident that the Pharaoh of the twenty-fifth dynasty were so impressed with what they found in Egypt that they saw no demand to do any betterments. So they merely maintained what they found, and set the phase for the accomplishments of the 26th Dynasty.

The 26th Saite Dynasty

When the Assyrians withdrew in 663 BC after their concluding invasion, Egypt was left in the custodies of the Saite male monarchs get downing with Nekau I ( Necho/Neco I ) , though it was really merely in 656 B.C. that the 2nd Saite male monarch Psamtik I was able to confirm control over the southern country of the state dominated by Thebes. For the following 130 old ages, Egypt enjoyed the benefits of regulation by a individual strong, native household, the 26th Dynasty. Elevated to power by the invading Assyrians, the 26th Dynasty faced a universe in which Egypt was no longer concerned with its function in international power political relations but with its sheer endurance as a state. The Egyptians, nevertheless, still chose to believe of their land as self-contained and free from external influence, unchanged from the yearss of the pyramid builders 2,000 old ages before. In respect to this ideal, the Saite Pharaoh intentionally adopted much from the civilization of earlier periods, peculiarly the Old Kingdom, as the theoretical account for their ain. Later coevalss would retrieve this dynasty as the last truly Egyptian period and would, in bend, recapitulate Saite signifiers.

The 2nd Saite Pharaoh, Psamtek I ( Psammetichus I ) , had a really long reign – 54 old ages by 656 BC he had destroyed Nubian/Kushitic power and had moreover established Egypt ‘s independency from Assyria, aided by an rebellion in Babylon which distracted the Assyrian ground forces. He so had his girl Nitiqret ( Nitocris ) adopted to the place of Divine Consort of Amun ( Amen ) at Thebes. This ancient and long-neglected office had been revived by Osorkon IV in the 23rd Dynasty and rose to power as the most of import spiritual place in the state. By put ining Nitiqret in it, Psamtek I consolidated his power base. Nitiqret held the place for the remainder of her life. This was another calculated recognition of the yesteryear. The Pharaoh of the 26th Dynasty were non interested in widening their power, but in reconstructing it to what they perceived it to be in more ancient times. In this, they mostly succeeded. Under Saite regulation, Egypt grew from a liege of Assyria to an independent ally ( Silverman 1997, p. 23 ) . There were even reverberations of the water under the bridge might of Egypt ‘s New Kingdom in Saite military runs into Asia Minor ( after the prostration of the Assyrian imperium in 612 B.C. ) and Nubia. In chase of these ends, nevertheless, the Saite Pharaoh had to trust on foreign mercenaries-Carian ( from southwesterly Asia Minor, modern Turkey ) , Phoenician, and Greek-as good as Egyptian soldiers. The 26th Dynasty was so the high point of Egypt ‘s Late Time period. It is considered a ‘last pant ‘ because it ne’er truly attained the glorifications of the older lands, and it declined shortly afterwards.

Unlike the 25th Dynasty, the 26th Dynasty made a few inventions, alternatively of merely copying its predecessors. With the revival of Egyptian regulation and a incorporate province came economic prosperity. Use of the Demotic book besides developed during this dynasty ( Gozzoli 2006, p.137 ) . Underpining the economic system was the profusion of Egypt ‘s agricultural base. Trade connexions that Psamtek I forged in the eastern Mediterranean increased his economic base, as did the extended trade with Grecian metropoliss, which subsequently in the Saite Dynasty was required by jurisprudence to be conducted through the Greek metropolis of Naukratis near Sais.

The invention continued after Psamtek I ‘s decease. His boy, Nekau II, ( Necho/Neco II ) who initiated trade with the southern Red Sea part, began building of a canal from the Delta ‘s Pelusiac subdivision through the Wadi Tumilat to the Gulf of Suez. Harmonizing to Herodotus, Egyptian ships at this clip circumnavigated Africa – which likely reflects spread outing trade in the Red Sea but non historical world. The Phoenicians were besides involved in the Red Sea trade, which included southern Arabia, at this clip. But alien natural stuffs from Nubia and the Punt part were besides coming down the Nile ( Silverman 1997, p. 38 ) .

Although they were originative in political and economic domains, the swayers of the 26th Dynasty were sacredly conservative.The bull was an carnal symbolically associated with the Egyptian male monarch from early times, and different cults for bull Gods are known in ancient Egypt. Although the cult of the Apis bull at Memphis may hold existed every bit early as the Early Dynastic Period, the earliest single bull entombments discovered at Saqqara day of the month to the ulterior 18th Dynasty ( reign of Amenhotep III ) . From Saite times forth Apis bulls were buried at Saqqara in immense granite or basalt sarcophagi, in the belowground Greater Vaults of the Serapeum. Subterranean galleries for entombment of the Apis bulls, known as the Lesser Vaults, were begun at Saqqara tardily in the reign of Rameses II and were in usage until the Greater Vaults were begun in the early 26th Dynasty under Psamtek I. During the Saite Dynasty the Apis bull cult and other animate being cults had tremendous resources invested in them, which continued through Ptolemaic times.

The Serapeum, the entombment composite where the Apis bulls were buried, is located to the Northwest of Djoser ‘s ( Zoser ‘s ) Measure Pyramid. The Serapeum Way was begun in the 26th Dynasty, and in the thirtieth Dynasty 134 sphinxes were placed along the path, farther showing the importance which Egyptian dynasties attached to the yesteryear, which they perceived as a aureate epoch.

The 27th Iranian Dynasty

Most of the Iranian male monarchs of the 27th Dynasty ruled from a distance, and Saite/ Egyptian organisation of the authorities was largely maintained. This is another indicant of the regard in which Ancient Egyptian establishments were held, even by non-Egyptians. The Egyptian legal system was codified. At the top, the state was controlled by a Iranian satrap ( governor ) , and Aramaic, the lingua franca of sou’-west Asia, was used in the Persian satrap ‘s office as a linguistic communication of disposal ( Aldred 1996, p. 152 ) .

The Persians supported Egyptian faith by constructing temples, which may in portion have been an effort to legalize the Iranian male monarch as Pharaoh, by incorporating him into Egyptian history. Most of the Iranian memorials day of the month to the earlier portion of the 27th Dynasty, after which conditions seem to hold been really unsettled. One of the better preserved temples of this period is at Hibis in Kharga Oasis. Begun under the Saites, the Hibis temple was enlarged and decorated by the Persian male monarch Darius I.

During the reign of Darius I the Delta canal, which was begun by Nekau II, was completed through the Wadi Tumilat to Lake Timsah and south to the Bitter Lakes and the Gulf of Suez, and Egyptian naval forces were used by the Persians in their efforts to suppress Greece. Later in the twenty-seventh Iranian Dynasty, after about 450 BC, the Grecian historian Herodotus visited Egypt and wrote his histories, which were by and large biased against the Persians. With the decease of the Persian male monarch Darius II in 404 BC the Egyptians forced the Persians out of Egypt for over 60 old ages.

The 28th, 29th and 30th Dynasties

From 404 to 399 B.C. , Egypt seems to hold been ruled by Amyrtaios II of Sais, who is traditionally recognized as the lone Pharaoh of Dynasty 28. Control so passed for twenty old ages ( 399-380 B.C. ) to Dynasty 29, in the eastern Delta metropolis of Mendes, and eventually to Dynasty 30, in the mid-Delta metropolis of Sebennytos. Following the period of Iranian regulation, the male monarchs of Dynasties 28 through 30 brought a new focal point to their function as upholders of a long tradition. Colossal temple edifice and major production of statuary enacted an impressive reformulation and announcement of the construct of godly kingship and formalized many other facets of Egypt ‘s ancient artistic and spiritual traditions in the face of endangering outside powers.

Although there was much political instability for the last Egyptian swayers of the 28th, 29th, and thirtieth Dynasties, including the looming menace of the Persians and a civil war in 360 BC, memorials were constructed throughout Egypt, including the imposing easternmost pylon at the Temple of Karnak. At Elkab an tremendous mud-brick enclosure was built in the thirtieth Dynasty, perchance as a munition in the event of another Iranian invasion. Although a little temple there was built by either Nectanebo I or II, most of the lasting memorials and town day of the month to the Greco-Roman Period.

The first male monarch of Dynasty 30, Nectanebo I ( 380-362 B.C. ) , managed to drive a Iranian onslaught shortly after he ascended the throne. The staying old ages of his reign were reasonably peaceable and were marked by an ambitious plan of temple building, which was continued on an even grander graduated table by Nectanebo II ( 360-343 B.C. ) . The latter male monarch managed to keep off another Iranian onslaught in 351 B.C. , but in 343 B.C. a 3rd onslaught succeeded, and Egypt fell one time once more to the Persians, who were defeated in bend by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C.


In drumhead, the two chief subjects of the Late Time period in Egypt are revival and diminution. The resurgence began in the 26th Dynasty and peaked in the 26th Dynasty. The Iranian 27th Dynasty was a tableland of advancement, in which the position quo was maintained, while the 28th, 29th and 30th Dynasties are characterized by aggressive resurgence of temple edifice and cultural resurgence, interspersed with rapid diminution due to the changeless menace from Persia.

For illustration, a sort of archaicism is seen in the art of both the Kushite and Saite dynasties, with grave alleviations, sculptures, and mortuary texts resuscitating earlier theoretical accounts, particularly from the Old and Middle Kingdoms. But creative persons did non merely copy earlier manners – they created advanced statues and alleviations. Large high position graves were built, particularly at Saqqara, where animate being cults had become popular.

The glory of Egypt ‘s yesteryear is peculiarly recognizable in royal graphicss. It is possible to spot pronounced affinities for theoretical accounts from certain older periods: Nubian Kushitic male monarchs admired Old Kingdom theoretical accounts, Saite male monarchs those of the Old and New Kingdoms, and subsequently male monarchs of the thirtieth Dynasty looked back beyond the Iranian interlude ( the 27th Dynasty ) to the male monarchs of the late 26th Dynasty. Thus it is just to state that the civilization of Egypt during the Late Time period was a reassertion of Egypt ‘s celebrated yesteryear, before Egyptians lost control of their state to foreign powers.