AFTER THE NEW KINGDOM OF ANCIENT EGYPT (After 1075 B.C.)

AFTER THE NEW KINGDOM OF ANCIENT EGYPT

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Cleopatra was a GreeK
(See Greeks)
After 1085 B.C. Egypt was divided and ruled by priests. Egyptian culture went into a period of decline. Treasuries shrunk as a result of expensive monument building and military campaigns. There were food riots and strikes. In 525 B.C., Egypt was conquered the Persians

The New Kingdom was followed by the Third Intermediate Period (1075 to 715 B.C.), the Late Period (715 to 332B.C.) and the Greco-Roman Period (332 B.C. to A.D. 395).

Third Intermediate Period (1075 to 715 B.C.) included the 21st. 22nd , 23rd, 24th and 24 the dynasties, with 35 rulers and long periods of rule by the Libyans and Nubians. The 22nd and 23rd dynasties were Libyan. The 25th dynasty was Nubians

The Late Period (715 to 332 B.C.) included the second part of the 25th dynasty, and 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th and 31st dynasties and one period of Nubia rule and two periods of Persian rule. The 25th dynasty was Nubian. The 27th and 31st dynasties were Persian. After the 27th dynasty the Persians were expelled but returned once again. By some reckonings the Late period began when Egypt was conquered by the Persians in the 525 B.C. After experiencing a brief period of autonomy Egypt was conquered again by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C.

The capital moved from Tanis to Thebes to Salis to Leontopolis to Hermoplois to Herakleopolis to Thebes.

Lybians

Shoshenq I, a Lybian referred to in the Bible as King Shishak, was a military man who unified Egypt at the time there were two power centers, one in Tanis and one in Thebes. He then turned his attention to Palestine. King Solomon had just died, and Judea and Israel were feuding.

Hoping to gain control of trade routes held by Egypt in the New Kingdom, Shoshenq I invaded Palestine. One army came in from the south and another came down from north, A number of towns were defeated and Jerusalem was forced to pay tribute but in the end Shosheng retreated and died soon after his return to Egypt.

Assyrians

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Assyrians
Taharqa, a Nubian leader of Egypt, sent troops to the southern Levant to support a revolt against the Assyrians. Esarhaddon stopped the effort and launched an attack into Egypt which Taharqa’s army pushed back in 674 B.C.

Robert Draper wrote in National Geographic, “The victory clearly went to the Nubian’s head, Rebel states along the Mediterranean shared his giddiness and entered into an alliance against Esarhaddon. In 671 B.C., the Assyrians marched with their camels into the Sinai desert to quell the rebellion, Success was instant: now it was Esarhaddon who brimmed with bloodlust. He directed his troops towards the Nile Delta.”

In 671 B.C. The Assyrians sacked Memphis, “Taharqa and his arm squared off against the Assyrians. For 15 days they fought pitched battles—“very bloody”---by Esarhaddon’s own admission. But the Nubians were pushed back all the way to Memphis. Wounded five times Taharqa escaped with his life and abandoned Memphis. In typical Assyrian fashion, Esarhaddonslaughtered the villagers and “erected piles of theirs heads.”

The Assyrians later wrote: “His queen, his harem, Ushankhuru his heir, and the rets of his ons and daughters, his property and his goods, his horses, his cattle, his sheep, in countless numbers I carried off to Assyria. The root of Kush I tore up out of Egypt.” To commemorate the event a stelae was raised that showed Taharqa’s son Ushankhuru, kneeling before the Assyrian king with a rope around his neck.

In 669 B.C. Esarhaddon died on route to Egypt but his successor quickly mounted a n assault on Egypt. Taharqa knew he was outnumbered this time and fled to Napata never to return to Egypt again. How Taharqa spent his final years is unknown but he was allowed ti remain in power in Nubia. Like his father Piye he was buried in a pyramid.

Persians in Ancient Egypt

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Egyptian cartouche for
the Persian Darius_II
Egypt was conquered the Persians in 525 B.C. After experiencing a brief period of autonomy it was conquered again by the Persians around. 300 B.C. Egypt remained in Persian hands until they were defeated by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C., at which time Egypt fell under Greek control.

A weak Egypt was no match for Persia at the height of its power. After being conquered by the Persian king Cambyses, Egypt became a backwater province in a large empire. After five Persian rulers, the Egyptian retained control for 10 rulers until the Persian regained control. Among other things the Persians were known for being religiously tolerate and accommodating to the Jews in Egypt.

The Late Period of ancient Egyptians history (715 to 332 B.C.) included the second part of the 25th dynasty, and 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th and 31st dynasties and one period of Nubia rule and two periods of Persian rule. The 25th dynasty was Nubian. The 27th and 31st dynasties were Persian. After the 27th dynasty the Persians were expelled but returned once again.

Egyptian art from the Persian period includes a headless but still impressive stone statue of Ptahhotep, an Egyptian treasury official, dressed in Persian costume with a Persian bracelet but an Egyptian chest ornament. The sculpture, about one-quarter life size and probably from Memphis, illustrates the accommodating mix of Persian and Egyptian costumes during the period of Egypt's rule by Persian kings.

Greco-Roman Period (332 B.C. to A.D. 395)

The Greco-Roman Period (332 B.C. to A.D. 395) began when the Persians were defeated by Alexander the Great in the early forth century B.C. When Alexander died his kingdom was divided into two: one of generals, Ptolemy took over Egypt. His descendants ruled Egypt until the death of Cleopatra in the first century A.D. Cleopatra was the only Ptolemy who learned to speak Egyptian.

Alexander the Great, Ptolemies, Alexandria, Cleopatra See Greeks

The Romans took over Egypt in the second century B.C. Wheat and barley were exported to Rome and the rest of the empire. The worship of Egyptian gods and the building of Egyptian-style temples continued under the Romans. See Romans

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Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons, The Louvre, The British Museum, The Egyptian Museum in Cairo

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Yomiuri Shimbun, The Guardian, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

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© 2008 Jeffrey Hays

Last updated January 2012

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