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Gallery 20: Case 8

The Late Period and the Persians

A long period of disunity (the Third Intermediate Period) was succeeded around 746 BC by Dynasty 25, the rulers of which were black pharaohs from Napata and Kush in Nubia (modern Sudan). These kings called themselves sons of the god 'Amun of Napata', and declared they were descended from earlier pharaohs: to promote this idea they had themselves portrayed in a traditionally Egyptian style. The royal women of this dynasty played an important role in religion. They were the 'wives' of the god Amun, a position that brought them considerable financial and political advantage.

In the 660s the Kushite rulers were driven south by the Libyan founder or founders of Dynasty 26, which soon controlled much of Egypt from a new capital at Sais in the Delta. These kings embarked on an active foreign policy that brought many foreigners, including Greek mercenaries, to Egypt. During this period a Greek trading post was set up at Naukratis, where the Greeks were allowed to worship their own gods (see Case 12).

In 525 BC the Persian King Cambyses seized control of Egypt, initiating a period of foreign rule by an absent ruler.

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