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Dynasties of Ancient Egypt

The Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt (also written Dynasty XXVI or Dynasty 26) was the last native dynasty to rule Egypt before the Persian conquest in 525 BC (although others followed). The Dynasty's reign (c. 685-525 BC) is also called the Saite Period after the city of Sais, where its pharaohs had their capital, and marks the beginning of the Late Period of ancient Egypt.

This dynasty traced its origins to Dynasty XXIV. Psamtik I was the great-grandson of Bakenrenef, and following the Assyrians invasions during the reigns of Taharqa and Tantamani, he was recognized as sole king over all of Egypt. While the Assyrian Empire was preoccupied with revolts and civil war over control of the throne, Psammetichus threw off his ties to the Assyrians, and formed alliances with Gyges, king of Lydia, and recruited mercenaries from Caria and Greece to resist Assyrian attacks.

With the sack of Nineveh in 612 BC and the fall of the Assyrian Empire, both Psamtik and his successors attempted to reassert Egyptian power in the Near East, but were driven back by the Babylonians under Nebuchadrezzar II. With the help of Greek mercenaries, Apries was able to hold back Babylonian attempts to conquer Egypt, but it was the Persians who conquered Egypt, and their king Cambyses II carried Psamtik III to Susa in chains.

Dynasty XXVI
Name Dates Comments
Tefnakht II Founder of dynasty in Manetho, but existence debated.
Nekauba 678 - 672 BC
Necho I 672 - 664 BC Manetho gives his reign as 8 years
Psamtik I (Wahibre) 664 - 610 BC Manetho gives his reign as 54 years
Necho II (Wehemibre) 610 - 595 BC
Psamtik II (Neferibre) 595 - 589 BC
Apries (Haaibre) 589 - 570 BC Manetho gives his reign as 19 years
Amasis II (Khnemibre) 570 - 526 BC
Psamtik III (Ankhkaenre) 526 - 525 BC

Sextus Julius Africanus states in his often accurate version of Manetho's Epitome that the dynasty numbered 9 pharaohs, beginning with a "Stephinates" (Tefnakht II) and ending with Psamtik III. Africanus also notes that Psamtik I and Necho I ruled for 54 and 8 years respectively.

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