Egyptian Timeline:

Late Period (747 B.C.332 B.C.)


Prehistoric and Predynastic Periods First Intermediate Period The Middle Kingdom Second Intermediate Period New Kingdom Third Intermediate Period Late Period Graeco-Roman Period Byzantine Period Early Dynastic Period Old Kingdom
Piankhi, the ruler of a Nubian kingdom centered at Napata in the area of the Fourth Cataract, took advantage of the disunity in Egypt at the beginning of Dynasty 25 to conquer Egypt. He met little resistance. After his victory, Piankhi returned to his capital, leaving his sister, Amenirdis, as the God's Wife of Amen at Thebes, a position that allowed her to maintain control of Egypt in the absence of her brother.
In this way, Nubian pharaohs maintained control over virtually all of Egypt during the dynasty. They carried out many building projects throughout Egypt and Nubia [17446]. They adopted Egyptian customs, beliefs, religion, and kingship in their own culture, and this influence continued long after the end of Dynasty 25. They made Amen the state god of Nubia, were buried under pyramids in Nubia [17425], and adapted the hieroglyphic script for writing their own language. 17446 17425
The Nubians and Assyrians fought several campaigns for control of Egypt. Eventually the Assyrians were successful in ousting the Nubians from power, but soon an Egyptian, Psamtik I, took control of Egypt, beginning Dynasty 26. He arranged for his daughter, Nitocris, to be adopted by the Kushite God's Wife of Amen at Thebes, thus assuring that she would be the next God's Wife of Amen. This position gave Nitocris extraordinary power over the region and significant land endowments throughout Egypt. Psamtik I also allied himself with Mentuemhat [17447], the powerful mayor of Thebes who owned the largest and most complex private tomb in Thebes (TT 34), effectively gaining control over the whole of Egypt. 17447
During this period there was a large influx of foreigners into Egypt. Phoenicians came as traders; Greeks and Carians came as mercenaries. Immigrants from the Near East, Libya, the Aegean, Nubia, and elsewhere settled in Egypt. A new, simplified script, called demotic, was introduced mainly for written documents. On the other hand, monumental architecture, language, and art styles harkened back to the Old Kingdom. These archaizing tendencies also led to the copying of numerous works from the Old Kingdom, most of which are the only surviving copies today.
In 525 B.C., the Persian army under Cambyses conquered Egypt and its kings ruled the country as Dynasty 27 through local representatives based at Memphis. They established juridical guides for Egypt published in both in the demotic Egyptian script and Aramaic, the lingua franca of the age. Like many of their foreign predecessors, the Persian kings built temples in Egypt, and achieved a new technological level by digging a canal linking the Nile to the Red Sea.
During Dynasties 28 to 30, Delta princes gained independence from Persian rule. These dynasties were weak and the Persians eventually reconquered Egypt in 341 B.C., but were able to maintain control for less than a decade.
Published or last modified on: August 23, 2002
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