30th Dynasty PharaohsThe Pharaohs - The People
Brief History of the 30th Dynasty
The last Dynasty of the Late Period and was conceived by Pharaoh Nectanebo I after he, backed by the Army, ousted Pharaoh Nepherites II, and it is considered the final Egyptian native Dynasty of Egypt. Similar to his predecessors, Pharaoh sided with Sparta and Athens against their foe, the Persians and together they repelled many invasions.
To cement his Dynasty, Pharaoh Nectanebo I co-reigned with his son, Crown Prince Teos from 365 BC. Pharaoh Teos looked to expand Egypt and invaded Persian areas that we know today as Palestine/Israel and Syria trying to reconquer land which Egypt held during the New Kingdom. To do this, he imposed heavy taxes and seized Temple property which the populace as well as the priesthood grew to hate Pharaoh for. Whilst away, Prince Tjahapimu, Pharaoh’s brother seized the Throne and declared his son as the new Pharaoh Nectanebo II. Despite Nectanebo II being Teos’ nephew, he was not willing to accept this usurpation. He tried to get the Army involved in the regal struggle, but they, as well as the Court, sided with Pharaoh Nectanebo II and so Teos fled to the Persian Court.
Pharaoh Nectanebo II ruled Egypt peacefully for 10 years before the Persians looked to re-take Egypt as a vassal state. The Persian failed invasion of 351 to 350 BC set off revolts in Cilicia (modern south Turkey), Phoenicia (roughly modern Lebanon) and Cyprus. Persia put down all these revolts and turned back towards Egypt in 343 BC. This invasion was successful for Persia which conquered Egypt in the Nile Delta. Pharaoh Nectanebo II had to withdraw southwards to Memphis. On consolidating his position, he realised that he was lost to Egypt as their Pharaoh and fled to the Court of Napata in Nubia.
This 30th Dynasty of Egypt was ended in 343 BC by Persian Ruler King Artaxerxes III. Technically from now on all Rulers of Egypt were invaders.
Pharaoh Nectanebo I
Family: Son of a Military Officer Djedhor but his mother’s name has not survived time and erosion who lived and brought Pharaoh up in Sebennytos
Title: Army General
Coronation: Sais and again in Memphis
The initiation of Dynasty 30 and Pharaoh acceded to the Throne after undertaking a campaign of disruption which succeeded in ousting Pharaoh Nepherites II from his rule with the support of the Army and potentially the Greek Commander Chabrias of Athens.
He moved the Capital City to his home City of Sebennytos and then began a massive building campaign which included: the commencement of the Temple of Isis on Philae Island (click here to learn more about the Temple of Isis); First Pylon of Amun at Karnak Temple, Thebes (click here to discover more about the First Pylon); the earliest Mammisis at Dendera Temple (to find out more about the Temple at Dendera, click here); and buildings in Memphis (click here to visit the City of Memphis) and Tanis (click here to visit the City of Tanis).
Pharaoh Nectanebo I is listed on Stele’s that remain today listing how generous he was to the local and the nationally known Deities and the Temples which he often supported financially. This worked in his favour when the Persians looked to retake Egypt over as a vassal state in 374 to 373 BC.
They invaded down the Mendesian Branch of the Nile as Pharaoh Nectanebo I had reenforced the Pelusium Branch of the Nile so strongly that it posed too large a threat to an Army and Navy. The Mendesian Branch took much longer to navigate and by the time the Persians had reached the religiously significant city of Memphis, Pharaoh had taken the opportunity and time it took the Persians to advance to reenforce the defences at Memphis.
By this point, the infighting amongst the Persians, their mercenaries and the Nile flood conspired for the Egyptians and against the Persians who were repealed. Pharaoh continued against the Persians and sided with Sparta and Athens when they rebelled against Ruler Artaxerxes II and the Persians, keeping them at bay.
In Regnal Year 16, Pharaoh rose his son and Crown Prince Teos to be co-Ruler alongside him, reinstituting a long-forgotten method of ensuring the succession. When he died his son continued to rule as Pharaoh Teos.
Son of Pharaoh Nectanebo I, Pharaoh Teos had co-ruled with his father for 3 years before his father died. He reigned from 361 to 360 BC. Emboldened by his father’s wise military use, Pharaoh Teos invaded Persian lands that we know today as Palestine/Israel and Syria trying to reconquer land which Egypt held during the New Kingdom. To do this, he imposed heavy taxes and seized Temple property which the populace as well as the priesthood grew to hate Pharaoh for.
Whilst away, Prince Tjahapimu, Pharaoh’s brother and approved Regent, seized the Throne and declared his son as the new Pharaoh Nectanebo II. Despite Nectanebo II being Teos’ nephew, he was not willing to accept this usurpation. He tried to get the Army involved in the regal struggle, but they, as well as the Court, sided with Pharaoh Nectanebo II and so Teos fled to the Persian Court at Susa. He was pursued and returned to Egypt in chains.
Pharaoh Nectanebo II
He reigned from 360 to 342 BC when he took over the Throne from Pharaoh Teos who had lost the support of the populace, the priesthood, the court, and the army after his questionable invasion of Persian lands. Under his leadership, Egypt once again prospered, and he decided to outdo even his namesake in his building achievements. He commenced an immense building program of over 100 different sites which included: the Temple of Isis on Philae Island (click here to learn more about the Temple of Isis); monuments in Memphis after Pharaoh officiated over the Funeral of an Apis Bull at the Necropolis of Saqqara (click here to visit the City of Memphis or click here to discover the Necropolis at Saqqara); many items and the Temples at his Capital City of Sebennytos (click here to learn more about the capital city of Sebennytos), the Temple of Khnum on Elephantine Island, Aswan (click here to discover more about the Temple of Khnum); and a Temple to God Amun at Sekhtam.
Whilst peace reigned between the Persians and Egypt, the Pharaoh took the time to rebuild the Army which also included Greek Mercenaries. So, when the Persians tried to invade in 351 BC Pharaoh with his Allied Generals of Diophantus of Athens and Lamius of Sparta defeated the Persian attack after roughly a year of fighting. To support his allies and weaken the Persians, Pharaoh supported the Phoenicians with 4,000 Greek Mercenaries but this strategy failed. Towards the end of 344 BC the Persians tried to persuade Greece to fight with them against Egypt, but this failed, and Greece remained as Egypt’s ally.
Despite Pharaoh Nectanebo II re-enforcing his weaker Mediterranean Sea Border with Forts and Military Camps, deploying flat bottomed boats along the Nile mouths, and having a combined army of roughly 100,000 fighters, Pharaoh and Egypt were defeated in the summer of 342 BC. Pharaoh fled to Upper Egypt and then down into Nubia where he was given protection by the Court of Napata in Nubia.
Persian Ruler, King Artaxerxes marched into Memphis and Egypt was never again ruled by a native Egyptian Ruler. Egypt’s 30th Dynasty was ended.