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authority. A decisive battle took place at Memphis; the
Assyrians were utterly routed, and Psammetichus found
himself firmly seated on the throne of Egypt. A permanent
settlement was assigned by him to the Ionians and Carians,
and his favour to these foreign soldiers so exasperated the
Egyptian troops, that 200,000 are said to have forsaken
Egypt and settled in Nubia. Psammetichus appears to have
decided that it was useless to attempt to make great con-
quests of remote countries, as did the kings of old, but set to
work to consolidate his kingdom, and to defend its borders.
He was a devout worshipper of the gods, and he repaired and
rebuilt many of the decayed buildings at Heliopolis, Mendes,
Memphis, Abydos and Thebes. He lived at his birthplace,
Sass, and made it the capital of his kingdom. He was a wise
patron of the arts and sciences, and during his rule the great
renaissance of art took place. The statues and wall paintings
of the first empire were diligently copied, many new copies
of ancient religious works were made, and the smallest and
greatest monuments of this period, as well as objects of
ornament, are characterized by a high finish and elaboration of
detail, which was the peculiar product of this time.
Necho II., son of Psammetichus I. and Shepenapt, continued
the policy of his father, and added a considerable number of
foreign troops to his army; he gave the Greeks every facility
to enter and settle in Egypt, and he assisted the commercial
enterprise of the day as much as possible. With the view of
joining the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, he dug a canal
from a place near Pithom, a little above Bubastis, on the
Pelusiac arm of the Nile, which passing first through the plain,
flowed through a valley between the spurs of the Mukattam
hills, in a southerly direction, until it emptied itself into the
Arabian Gulf. It was an indirect connecting of the Medi-
teranean with the Red Sea by means of the Nile, and did
not correspond with the Suez Canal, except in the reach from
the Bitter Lakes to Suez, in which it followed a somewhat
similar course." About 120,000 men perished during the
work, and when an oracle announced that he was only work-
ing for the good of foreigners, Necho desisted from his under-

* Wiedemann, Aegyptische Geschichte, p. 626.

taking. Necho also sent Phoenician seamen to sail round Africa, bidding them to set out from Suez and come home by way of the Strait of Gibraltar; on their return, they stated in proof of their having accomplished their task, that they had seen the sun rise on their right hand as they sailed from east to west. A few years before Nebuchadnezzar (B.C. 604–558) ascended the throne of Babylon, Necho set out on the march to Mesopotamia, and on the road was opposed by Josiah king of Judah, at Megiddo. Then Pharaoh Necho “sent ambassadors to him saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah 2 I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not. Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo. And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded. His servants therefore took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had ; and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers.” Necho went on his way to Carchemish, but did not go any farther into Mesopotamia. On his return he marched to Jerusalem and deposed Jehoahaz, the son of Josiah, whom the Jews had set up as king in the place of his father, and made Eliakim (Jehoiakim), another son of Josiah, king in his stead ; he also imposed a tax of one hundred talents of silver, and a talent of gold.” Soon after Necho had returned to Egypt he heard that a Babylonian army was marching into western Asia, and he again set out for Carchemish, where it was encamped. On his arrival there he found that the Babylonian forces were commanded by Nebuchadnezzar II., and in the battle which followed the Egyptian king was utterly defeated; his troops, Libyans, Ethiopians, and Egyptians, were slain by thousands, and Nebuchadnezzar marched through Palestine to the borders of Egypt. Necho reigned sixteen years, and was buried at Sass; he was succeeded by his son Psammetichus II, whose reign of a few years was, comparatively, unimportant. Apries, in Egyptian Uah-āb-Ră, Heb. yori (Jeremiah xliv. 30), made an attack upon Tyre and Sidon by sea ; Sidon was captured, and the Cyprian fleet which attempted to resist him was destroyed. The Babylonians marched to besiege Jerusalem during his reign, and Nebuchadnezzar having already had Jehoiakim and Jehoiachin, kings of Judah, brought to him in setters at Babylon, determined to punish the new king Zedekiah who had rebelled against him. Notwithstanding the presence of some troops of Apries, Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem, and having blinded Zedekiah and slain his sons before his eyes, set up Gedaliah as king in his stead. Multitudes of Jews flocked to Egypt, where they were received by Apries, and this act of the Egyptian king drew upon him the wrath of Nebuchadnezzar. After a siege of thirteen years, Tyre fell into the hands of the Babylonian king, who thus became master of Phoenicia and Egypt, for Apries had no army to set in the field against him. In a dispute which broke out between the Cyrenians and the Libyans, Apries sent an Egyptian force to help the latter people, for he had a treaty with their king, Adikran. The hostile forces met in battle, but the Egyptian troops were defeated with a great slaughter, and their countrymen were enraged and asserted that Apries had intentionally sent them against the Greeks that they might be destroyed. When the troops returned to Egypt a rebellion broke out among them, and Apries sent Amāsis, an officer, to put it down; but while he was addressing the disaffected troops, a soldier placed a helmet on his head, and declared him king, and all the other soldiers agreeing in this, king he became. Apries then sent Patarbemis to bring Amāsis to him, and because he was unsuccessful in his mission, he gave orders that his nose and ears should be cut off. Soon after this, Apries marched against Amāsis, and in the battle which took place at Momemphis, on the Canopic arm of the Nile, his troops were defeated, and he himself was taken prisoner and led back to his palace at Sass; he was shortly after strangled and buried with his fathers in the temple of Neith. Before the death of

* 2 Chron. xxxv.21–24. * 2 Chron. xxxvi. 1–4.

Rise of

Death of

Nebuchadnezzar II. invades


Capture of

Fall of


of Amāsis, and defeat of Apries.


Apries Nebuchadnezzar II. is said to have invaded Egypt,
and to have sailed up as far as Aswän.
Amāsis II. became sole king of Egypt after the death of
Apries, and as he had married Anch-nes-nefer-āb-Ră, daughter
of Psammetichus II. and of Nit-āqert, a sister of Apries, the
Egyptians regarded him as, more or less, a legal successor to
the throne. He continued the policy of his predecessors
towards foreigners, and gave the Greeks many valuable trading
privileges; in his reign Naucratis became a very important
city, and the centre of Greek influence in Egypt. In addition
to Anch-nes-nefer-āb-Ră he married Ladike, said to be
the daughter either of Critoboulos or Battus or Arcesilaus
the Cyrenian; according to Herodotus he was the first king
of Egypt who conquered Cyprus. The same historian says
(III. 1) that Cambyses, king of Persia, made war upon him
because, having demanded from Amäsis his daughter to wife,
the Egyptian king sent to him Nitetis, the daughter of Apries,
as his own daughter; when the damsel declared who she was,
Cambyses was greatly enraged, and determined to invade
Egypt. During his long reign of forty-five years Amäsis
repaired and added to the temples in many parts of Egypt,
and he worked the mines in the valley of Hammāmāt. He
did not live to see the invasion of the Persians, but he left the
country in such a flourishing condition that it formed very
rich spoil for them.
Psammetichus III., together with his army, formed of
Greek and Egyptian troops, marched against the Persians
and did battle with them at Pelusium, but he was utterly
routed, and the conquering host took possession of Egypt,
and marched on to Memphis, whither the remainder of the
Egyptian army had fled for protection. The reign of Psam-
metichus lasted but a few months, and he was taken captive
to Persia, where he suffered a miserable death.


Cambyses, the first king of the Persian dynasty, seems to have been of a revengeful disposition, for, according to legend, when he arrived at Sass he is said to have ordered the mummy of Amāsis to be dragged from its tomb, and having caused it

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Desecration of mummies and tombs by Cambyses.

tion of
Temple of
Neith at

The coinage and good government of Darius.

Red Sea

to be illtreated had it burned. Tradition, in general, states
that this king caused many barbarous acts to be performed by
his soldiers, and the wrecking of many tombs and statues in
Egypt is said to date from his reign. His expeditions against
the Nubians and the people of the Oasis proving disastrous,
he returned to Memphis in exasperation and grief, and finding
the whole town in festival, on account of the appearance of a
new Apis bull, he ordered this god to be brought to him, and,
in a fit of rage, stabbed it in the thigh. Another view of the
character of Cambyses is, however, given by an inscription on
the statue of a naval commander under Cambyses and Darius,
preserved in the Vatican. This officer, called Ut'a-Heru-en-
pe-resu, states that when Cambyses came to Sais he ordered the
temple of Neith to be cleansed, he restored its revenues and
sacred festivals, he performed all the rites there, and established
the offerings according to what the kings before him had
done. When Darius was king of Egypt the same official was
appointed by him to re-establish the school of scribes in
Egypt, and he seems to have had some influence in preserv-
ing Sass from the destruction which Cambyses spread over
the country, and he probably helped Darius to establish the
beneficent government in Egypt for which he is famous.
Cambyses died from a wound in the thigh, accidentally
caused by his own dagger while mounting his horse.
On ascending the throne Darius Hystaspes, the successor
of Cambyses, set to work to improve the condition of the
country, and to repair the damage done to the prestige of
Persian government in Egypt by Cambyses. He deposed Ary-
andes, the Persian satrap of Egypt, appointed by Cambyses,
and caused him to be slain, because he had made an attack on
Cyrene, and because of his cruelty and misgovernment. Darius
established a coinage, rearranged the taxation of the country,
and completed the canal to join the Red Sea and the Medi-
terranean which Necho had begun. The course of this canal
can still be traced by the inscriptions in hieroglyphics, and in
Persian, Median, and Assyrian cuneiform, which cover the
rocks near which the canal passed. As stated above, Darius
re-established the school of scribes in Egypt, and spared no
pains to improve the condition of the people, and to increase

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