Egypt and the Near East 630–560 BCE

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Map Code: Ax00006

The power vacuum created by the decline of Assyrian power appeared to offer opportunity for expansion to the Saite pharaohs. First, Psamtek I, and then Neko II, launched campaigns with a northward reach to the borders of Asia Minor in a bid to emulate the New Kingdom. However, there was another contender for the Assyrian mantle: the Babylonians. With their allies, they sacked Nineveh, then acted decisively to reverse Egypt’s expansion with successive victories at Carchemish and Hamath. Nebuchadnezzar’s counteroffensive swept to the borders of Egypt itself before being repelled. Whilst Psamtek II’s military adventurism was directed southward, his son Apries attempted to withstand the Baylonians in Judaea, only to be routed, with Jerusalem captured by Nebuchadnezzar. A further defeat at the hands of Greek settlers in Libya led to revolt and to Apries being deposed and replaced by Amasis, the veteran general of his father’s successful Nubian campaign.

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