Unit 1: Ancient Africa - The Cradle of Civilization
(200,000 B.C. - 476 B.C.)

Unit 1: Class 10: Ancient Kemet (Egypt): The New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period (1550 B.C. – 712 B.C.) Part 1

The New Kingdom (1550 – 1070) and Third Intermediate Period (1070 – 712 B.C.E.) cont.

25th Nubian Dynasty
Pharaoh Shebiktu. Shebitku was the second king of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty of Egypt who ruled from 714 BC-705 BC, according to the most recent academic research. He was a son of Piye, the founder of this dynasty. Shebitku's prenomen or throne name, Djedkare, means "Enduring is the Soul of Re."
Egypt was reunited in the Twenty-Second Dynasty founded by Shoshenq I (who was probably the same as the Biblical Shishak) in 945 BC (or 943 BC). Descended from Meshwesh immigrants, originally from Libya, Shoshenq brought stability to the country that lasted well over over a century.

But three pharaohs later, after the demise of Osorkon II (reign 872–837 BC), who joined an allied force that was defeated by Shalmaneser III of Assyria at the Battle of Qarqar in 853 BC, Egypt was shattered and split into two states with Shoshenq III of the Twenty-Second Dynasty controlling Lower Egypt by 818 BC and Takelot II and his son Osorkon, the Crown Prince and High Priest of Amun (and future Osorkon III), ruled Middle and Upper Egypt during the Twenty-Third Dynasty. 

In Thebes, a civil war engulfed the city between the forces of Pedubast I, who had proclaimed himself Pharaoh, versus the existing Takelot/Osorkon line of succession. The conflict between these two factions was resolved in the 39th year of the reign of Shoshenq III when Osorkon III obliterated his enemies and founded the Upper Egyptian Libyan Dynasty, ruled by Osorkon III, followed by Takelot III and Rudamun, the final pharaoh of the Twenty-Third Dynasty. But this kingdom quickly fragmented after Rudamun's death with the rise of local city states under petty kings such Peftjaubast of Herakleopolis, Nimlot of Hermopolis, and Ini at Thebes.

The Nubian kingdom to the south took full advantage of this division and political instability. Prior to Piye's Year 20 campaign into Egypt, the previous Nubian ruler – Kashta – had already extended his kingdom's influence over Thebes when he compelled Shepenupet, the serving Divine Adoratice of Amun and Takelot III's sister, to adopt his own daughter Amenirdis, to be her successor. 

Twenty years later, around 732 BC, his successor, Piye, commanded an army that marched north and defeated the combined might of several native Egyptian rulers: Peftjaubast, Osorkon IV of Tanis, Iuput II of Leontopolis and Tefnakht of Sais. Piye established the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty and appointed the defeated rulers as his provincial governors. He was succeeded first by his brother, Shabaka, and then by his two sons Shebitku and Taharqa respectively.

The international prestige of Egypt had declined considerably by this time. The country's international allies had fallen firmly into the sphere of influence of Assyria and from about 700 BC the question became when, not if, there would be war between the two states. 

Despite Egypt's size and wealth, Assyria had a greater supply of timber, while Egypt had a chronic shortage, allowing Assyria to produce more charcoal needed for iron-smelting and thus giving Assyria a greater supply of iron weaponry. This disparity became critical during the Assyrian invasion of Egypt in 670 BC.

Consequently, Pharaoh Taharqa's reign and that of his successor, (his cousin) Tantamani (also called Tanutamun), were consumed by conflict with the Assyrians. 

In 664 BC the Assyrians dealt the final blow in its war with Egypt by sacking Thebes and Memphis. The dynasty ended with its rulers stuck in the relative backwater of the city of Napata.

War with Assyrian caused rule in Egypt to shift (from 664 BC, a full eight years prior to Tanutamun's death) to the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty, which was made up of client kings established by the Assyrians. Psamtik I was the first to be recognized by them as the King of the whole of Egypt, and he brought increased stability to the country in a 54-year reign from the city of Sais.

Four successive Saite kings continued guiding Egypt into another period of unparalleled peace and prosperity during the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty, from 610-526 BC. Unfortunately for the Saite kings, a new power was growing in the Near East – Persia. Pharaoh Psamtik III had succeeded his father Amasis II (Ahmose II) for only six months before he had to face the Persian Empire at Pelusium.

Sphinx of Taharqa
Sphinx of King Taharqa. Taharqa succeeded his brother Shabataka and ruled from 690-664 BC . He is regarded as a ruler who re-united the Land after the defeat against the Assyrians by Shabataka, which would have influenced internal rebellions.





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