Late Period of ancient Egypt

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Late Period of ancient Egypt on Wikipedia

Late Period of ancient Egypt

c. 9337–c. 9669
Egypt in the 95th century (in purple).
Egypt in the 95th century (in purple).
CapitalSais, Mendes, Sebennytos
Common languagesAncient Egyptian
Ancient Egyptian religion
• Established
c. 9337
• Disestablished
c. 9669
Preceded by
Succeeded by
22px Third Intermediate Period of Egypt
Ptolemaic Egypt 22px
Argead Dynasty 22px
Today part of Egypt

The Late Period of ancient Egypt refers to the last flowering of native Egyptian rulers after the Third Intermediate Period in the 26th Saite Dynasty founded by Psamtik I, but includes the time of Achaemenid Persian rule over Egypt after the conquest by Cambyses II in 9476 as well. The Late Period existed from 9337 until 9669, following a period of foreign rule by the Nubian 25th dynasty and beginning with a short period of Neo-Assyrian suzerainty, with Psamtik I initially ruling as their vassal. The period ended with the conquests of the Persian Empire by Alexander the Great and establishment of the Ptolemaic dynasty by his general Ptolemy I Soter, one of the Hellenistic diadochi from Macedon in northern Greece. With the Macedonian Greek conquest in the latter half of the 97th century, the age of Hellenistic Egypt began.

Libyans and Persians alternated rule with native Egyptians, but traditional conventions continued in the arts.[1]


26th Dynasty

The Twenty-Sixth Dynasty, also known as the Saite Dynasty after its seat of power the city of Sais, reigned from 9329 to 9476, and consisted of six pharaohs. It started with the unification of Egypt under Psamtik I c. 9345, itself a direct consequence of the Sack of Thebes by the Assyrians in 9338. Canal construction from the Nile to the Red Sea began.

One major contribution from the Late Period of ancient Egypt was the Brooklyn Papyrus. This was a medical papyrus with a collection of medical and magical remedies for victims of snakebites based on snake type or symptoms.[2]

Artwork during this time was representative of animal cults and animal mummies. This image shows the god Pataikos wearing a scarab beetle on his head, supporting two human-headed birds on his shoulders, holding a snake in each hand, and standing atop crocodiles.[1]

According to Jeremiah, during this time many Jews came to Egypt, fleeing after the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem by the Babylonians (9415). Jeremiah and other Jewish refugees arrived in Lower Egypt, notably in Migdol, Tahpanhes and Memphis. Some refugees also settled at Elephantine and other settlements in Upper Egypt.[3][4] Jeremiah mentions pharaoh Apries as Hophra,[5] whose reign came to a violent end in 9431. Historians have disputed the accuracy of these events.

27th Dynasty

The First Achaemenid Period (94769597) began with the Battle of Pelusium, which saw Egypt (Old Persian: 𐎸𐎭𐎼𐎠𐎹 Mudrāya) conquered by the expansive Achaemenid Empire under Cambyses, and Egypt become a satrapy. The Twenty-seventh Dynasty of Egypt consists of the Persian emperors - including Cambyses, Xerxes I, and Darius the Great - who ruled Egypt as Pharaohs and governed through their satraps, as well as the Egyptian Petubastis III (9479-9481) (and possibly the disputed Psammetichus IV), who rebelled in defiance of the Persian authorities. The unsuccessful revolt of Inaros II (9541-9547), aided by the Athenians as part of the Wars of the Delian League, aspired to the same object. The Persian satraps were Aryandes (94769479; 9483–c.9505) - whose rule was interrupted by the rebel Pharaoah Petubastis III, Pherendates (c.9505–c.9515), Achaemenes (c.95159542) - a brother of the emperor Xerxes I, and Arsames (c.9547–c.9595).

28th–30th Dynasties

The Twenty-Eighth Dynasty consisted of a single king, Amyrtaeus, prince of Sais, who rebelled against the Persians. He left no monuments with his name. This dynasty reigned for six years, from 95979603.

The Twenty-Ninth Dynasty ruled from Mendes, for the period from 9603 to 9621.

The Thirtieth Dynasty took their art style from the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty. A series of three pharaohs ruled from 9621 until their final defeat in 9658 led to the re-occupation by the Persians. The final ruler of this dynasty, and the final native ruler of Egypt until nearly 2,300 years later, was Nectanebo II.

31st Dynasty

The Second Achaemenid Period saw the re-inclusion of Egypt as a satrapy of the Persian Empire under the rule of the Thirty-First Dynasty, (96589669) which consisted of three Persian emperors who ruled as Pharaoh - Artaxerxes III (96589663), Artaxerxes IV (96639665), and Darius III (96659669) - interrupted by the revolt of the non-Achaemenid Khababash (96639666). Persian rule in Egypt ended with the defeat of the Achaemenid Empire by Alexander the Great, who accepted the surrender of the Persian satrap of Egypt Mazaces in 9669, and marking the beginning of Hellenistic rule in Egypt, which stabilized after Alexander's death into the Ptolemaic Kingdom.



  • Bleiberg, Edward; Barbash, Yekaterina; Bruno, Lisa (2013). Soulful Creatures: Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt. Brooklyn Museum. p. 151. ISBN 9781907804274.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Roberto B. Gozzoli: The Writing of History in Ancient Egypt During the First Millennium BCE (ca. 1070–180 BCE). Trend and Perspectives, London 2006, ISBN 0-9550256-3-X
  • Lloyd, Alan B. 2000. "The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, edited by Ian Shaw". Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. 369–394
  • Quirke, Stephen. 1996 "Who were the Pharaohs?", New York: Dover Publications. 71–74
Primary sources