Persians in Egypt 525–343 BCE


Map Code: Ax00002

Following the defeat of the last Saite king, Psamtik III at Pelusium (525 BCE), Egypt was formally annexed into the Persian Empire, amalgamated with Phoenicia and Cyprus to form the ‘sixth satrapy’. Cambysses II, the victorious Persian emperor, extended his African domains into Nubia and Cyrenaica. Previous rebellions having been quelled, Amyrtaeus, a descendant of the deposed Saites rose against Persian rule in the final years of the reign of Darius II, finally securing independence upon Darius’s death in 404 BCE. His six-year reign constituted Egypt’s 28th Dynasty, ending when he was deposed by Nepherites I, who moved the capital from Sais to Mendes. The 29th and 30th dynasties were dominated by repeated Persian invasions, which initially were repelled, often with Greek assistance from either Sparta or Athens. Finally, in 343 BCE, Artaxerxes II drove the last native pharaoh, Nectanubo II, out of Egypt, reasserting Persian rule. However, the military tsunami that was Alexander the Great was imminent.

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