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Gallery 20: Case 9

The last Dynasties of Egypt

The first period of Persian rule in Egypt ended around 400 BC when native Egyptian rulers regained political control. The rule of the pharaohs of Dynasty 30, Nectanebo I, Teos and Nectanebo II, was ended by a second Persian invasion in 359 BC. Ancient Greek and Roman authors imply that the Persian rulers had little interest in Egyptian culture. Archaeological evidence, however, shows that many temples were built and new royal palaces constructed at Memphis at this time.

In 332 BC Alexander the Great took control of Egypt, succeeded on his death by his general, Ptolemy I. The Ptolemaic dynasty lasted until the death of Egypt's most famous queen, Cleopatra VII, in 30 BC. The fifteen Ptolemaic rulers, all named 'Ptolemaios' (Ptolemy), were distinguished from each other by their Greek cult titles such as 'Soter' (Saviour) or 'Euergetes' (Benefactor). Many married their sisters, and women played an important political and religious role from the reign of Ptolemy II onwards.

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