Dynasty 253rd Intermediate Period - Egypt Through Time - What is Ancient Egypt?
History in the Beginning
The Very Beginning
King Kashta ruled Nubia from his Capital City of Napata; roughly 400km North from the present Sudanese capital of Khartoum. He was a trading partner with most areas of Egypt but had incredibly strong ties with his local neighbour of Thebes. So much so that he understood their whole World and how they ran it. This allowed for him to successfully insert his daughter, Princess Amenirdis I, to become the next God’s Wife of Amun in the mighty city of Thebes once Pharaoh Osorkon III’s daughter, Princess Shepenupet I, vacated the post on her death. This gave future Kushite, Nubian Royals the thread that connected them legitimately to the Throne of Egypt.
On her ascension, God’s Wife of Amun Princess Amenirdis I, took effective control of her city of Thebes and by extension her territory of Upper Egypt. Lower Egypt was contained by her father and with his counterparts in Tanis being able to do little to nothing about it, Kashta declared himself Pharaoh of all Egypt.
The First Invasion
Nubian Pharaoh Piye led the invasion of Egypt himself which he chronicled in his hieroglyphic “Stele of Victory”. This Stelae gives Egyptologists the information of how Piye records his elevation to be, “Pharaoh of all Egypt”, and how he further legitimised his reign by announcing him the “Son of Re …. Beloved of Amun” and Ruler of Lower & Upper Egypt. He therefore became the first Pharaoh of the 25th Dynasty. Current thinking sees the effort and planning that went into this Kushite invasion as the reason as to how Egypt was so readily conquered, and not due to a case of “exhaustion” by the native Egyptians which was previously thought to be the case.
The Capital Cities of the 25th Dynasty
Capital for the first Pharaoh of the 25th Dynasty, 732 – 653 BC
To discover more about the 25th Dynasty’s direct opponents at Tanis in their 22nd Dynasty, click here
Click here to learn more about the 25th Dynasty’s direct opponents at Sais in their 24th Dynasty
Piye tried to extend Egypt’s Empire but many of his campaigns were defeated. He constructed the oldest Pyramid at El Kurru, the Kushite Royal Necropolis. He loved horses and had 8 buried with him
He conquered the Nile Valley and all Lower Egypt apart from the Nile Delta. When he captured Sais, the 24th Dynasty’s Capital City he had Pharaoh Bocchoris, burned to death. Pharaoh went on to make his Capital City in Memphis
Shabaka united Egypt once again, fully adopting the Egyptian ruling methods, deities, and religion. As such, he restored many of the damaged Monuments and Temples which the ancestral Libyan Pharaohs had left to rot
He moved the Capital City to Tanis after being crowned in Memphis in 690BC. He undertook Military Campaigns which were successful against the Libyans, the Shasu Nomads, maybe the Phoenicians, and maybe the Khor
Succeeded his father, former Pharaoh Taharqa to the Throne, and he managed to reclaim the Capital City of Sais, killing the Assyrian leader in Egypt, Necho I. He moved on and reclaimed all land as far as Memphis and some of the cities in the Nile Delta. But soon Assyria was back. Read below to discover what happened next
History in the Middle
Pharaoh Taharqa lost his grip on Egypt in 671BC when ruler of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, King Esarhaddon invaded and conquered Lower Egypt, including the current Capital City of Memphis. He imposed a tribute and then withdrew. But it wasn’t until 669BC that Pharaoh Taharqa managed to regain Memphis and the Nile Delta area.
King Esarhaddon re-entered Egypt and tried to recapture his lost territories, but he died before completing his goal and was succeeded by his son, now King Ashurbanipal. With his Assyrian Army, King Ashurbanipal recaptured Egypt from the North all the way to Thebes in Upper Egypt. Egyptian Pharaoh Taharqa fled with the Royal Family in retreat to his original Kingdom of Nubia and approximately 4 years later, in 664BC, he died.
Pharaoh Taharqa’s probable son and definite successor was Tantamani. He sailed along the Nile north from Napata in Nubia to Thebes via Elephantine. There he set up his Court and centre of Military Campaigns. Pharaoh Tantamani then began his reconquest, claiming back Sais and killing the Assyrian leader in Egypt, Necho I. He moved on and reclaimed all land as far as Memphis and some of the cities in the Nile Delta. But this was not the end, merely the first act of the Reconquest.
The Second Act
The slain Necho I’s son, Psamtik I, managed to escape Pharaoh’s grasp and fled home, back to Assyria where he raised an army with his King, Ashurbanipal. They reinvaded in 664BC, causing Pharaoh Tantamani to flee the north of Egypt to Thebes pursued all the way by the Assyrians.
Perhaps Pharaoh did not have enough strength left within his fleeing army, or maybe for other reasons, Pharaoh fled Egypt back to Nubia and abandoned Thebes to be sacked by the Assyrians; the outcome was that Psamtik I was then made ruler of Lower Egypt by his King who left back to Assyria.
History at the End
Their Last Act
The Nubians never invaded Egypt again but continued to rule from their Capital City in Napata and when former Pharaoh Tantamani died he was buried in the Royal Cemetery with the Nubian Pyramids. They left behind them an Egypt who had been reintroduced to the Temples, Deities and Pyramids of the Middle Kingdom periods. Their Dynasty signalled the end of the Third Intermediate Period and after they fell from the Pharaonic Throne the Late Period of Ancient Egypt commenced.