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Dynasties of Ancient Egypt

The Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt (also written Dynasty XXVI or Dynasty 26) was the last native dynasty to rule Egypt before the Persian conquest in 525 BC (although others followed). The Dynasty's reign (c. 685–525 BC) is also called the Saite Period after the city of Sais, where its pharaohs had their capital, and marks the beginning of the Late Period of ancient Egypt.[1]


This dynasty traced its origins to 24th dynasty. Psamtik I was probably a descendant of Bakenrenef, and following the Assyrians' invasions during the reigns of Taharqa and Tantamani, he was recognized as sole king over all of Egypt. While the Assyrian Empire was preoccupied with revolts and civil war over control of the throne, Psammetichus threw off his ties to the Assyrians, and formed alliances with Gyges, king of Lydia, and recruited mercenaries from Caria and Greece to resist Assyrian attacks.

With the sack of Nineveh in 612 BC and the fall of the Assyrian Empire, both Psamtik and his successors attempted to reassert Egyptian power in the Near East, but were driven back by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar II. With the help of Greek mercenaries, Apries was able to hold back Babylonian attempts to conquer Egypt, but it was the Persians who conquered Egypt, and their king Cambyses II carried Psamtik III to Susa in chains.

Dynasty 26th pharaohs

The 26th dynasty may be related to the 24th dynasty. Manetho begins the dynasty with:

  • Ammeris the Nubian, 12 (or 18) years
  • Stephinates, 7 years
  • Nechepsos, 6 years
  • Necho, 8 years.

When the Nubian King Shabaka defeated Bakenrenef, son of Tefnakht, he likely installed a Nubian commander as governor at Sais. This may be the man named Ammeris. Stephinates may be a descendant of Bakenrenef. He is sometimes referred to as Tefnakht II in the literature. Nechepsos has been identified with a local king named Nekauba (678–672 BC). Manetho's Necho is King Necho I (672–664 BC) Manetho gives his reign as 8 years.[2] Necho was killed during a conflict with the Nubian king Tanutamun. Psamtik I fled to Nineveh – capital of the Assyrian Empire – and returned to Egypt when Assurbanipal defeated Tanutamun and drove him back south.[1] Scholars now start the 26th dynasty with the reign of Psamtik I.[1][2]

Dynasty XXVI pharaohs
Pharaoh Horus-name Reign (BCE) Burial Consort(s) Comments
Psamtik I Wahibre 664 - 610 BC Sais Mehytenweskhet Manetho gives his reign as 54 years
Necho II Wehemibre 610 - 595 BC Khedebneithirbinet I
Psamtik II Neferibre 595 - 589 BC Takhuit
Apries Haaibre 589 - 570 BC Manetho gives his reign as 19 years
Amasis II Khnemibre 570 - 526 BC Sais Tentkheta
Herodotus claims that when Cambyses II invaded Egypt, realizing he was not able to exact revenge for Amasis's previous misdeeds and trickery, he exhumed his body, desecrated it and burned what remained of the mummy.
Psamtik III Ankhkaenre 526 - 525 BC

Sextus Julius Africanus states in his often accurate version of Manetho's Epitome that the dynasty numbered 9 pharaohs, beginning with a "Stephinates" (Tefnakht II) and ending with Psamtik III. Africanus also notes that Psamtik I and Necho I ruled for 54 and 8 years respectively.

See also


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