The pharaohs who followed the
20th dynasty only held sway over the lands of Upper Egypt. The
leaders of the Libyan mercenary troops employed by the kings
grew in power until one of them, 1
Shoshenq I (ca. 945-924 B.C.), managed to seize the throne.
Through their dynastic connections, the Libyan pharaohs were
initially able to exert a certain influence in Upper Egypt, but
Lower Egypt eventually disintegrated into a multitude of
principalities and kingdoms.
1 Pharaoh Shoshenq I
holds Israelite captive,
hieroglyphic inscription, ca. 930 B.C.
2 high priests of
Amun, in Thebes, had already established a form of
theocracy in Upper Egypt, which they legitimized
through the prophecies of the
4 "god-wife of
Amun." The functions of this high office were
usually performed by the princesses of Libya, and
later by princesses from the Kushite roval families.
The Kushites began advancing out of Nubia into Egypt
in about 740 B.C. They established themselves as
pharaohs, first in Thebes and then, under the
3 25th dynasty,
in Lower Egypt as well. They succeeded in
establishing a single Egyptian state in 712.
2 Egyptian priest reading scrolls
3 Taharka, from the 25th dynasty, bows before the
falcon god Hemen, statue
"god-wife of Amun" Karomama,
statuette, ca. 870 B.C.
After 671 в.с, the Assyrians
launched repeated invasions of Egypt. They installed Psamtik I,
a Libyan prince from the Nile Delta, as governor. In 663, with
the help of Greek mercenaries, he declared independence and
founded the 26th dynasty. He forced the Kushite god-wife of Amun
to name one of his daughters as her successor and thus brought
Upper Egypt under his rule by 656. Psamtik I also brought Greek
tradesmen to Egypt, who settled primarily in the Nile Delta.
Overtime, the relationship with the Greeks became ever closer.
The pharaohs married Greek women, donated votive offerings to
Delphi, and minted coins after the Greek model.
Egypt in 525 в.с. and incorporated it into their empire. After
many uprisings, Egypt regained its independence only to fall to
the Persians a second time in 343. When Alexander the Great
conquered the Persian empire in 332 B.C., Egypt also came under
his rule and he founded the city of Alexandria. After his death
Egypt once again rose to a position of supremacy in the Eastern
Mediterranean region under the rule of the Ptolemies.
5 Pharaoh Psamtik
III defeated and made to submit to his conqueror,
Persian King Cambyses, painting, 19th century
Egyptian hieroglyphics were a pictographic script,
primarily used on monuments and for religious texts. The
Egyptians continued to use simplified forms of
hieroglyphics in their daily lives until the time of the
early Christians, when they switched to writing the
Egyptian language with the Greek alphabet. Over the
centuries, the understanding of ancient hieroglyphics
was lost. In 1799, a French military officer, who had
come to Egypt as part of Napoleon's expedition,
discovered the "Rosetta Stone." On this monument from
the second century B.C. he found a text chiseled in both
hieroglyphics and Greek. With this new evidence,
philologists finally deciphered hieroglyphics in 1822.
Stone, ca. 196 B.C.