as guides, Cambyses, the Persian king, conquered Egypt easily, after
Despite his initial success, Cambyses (r. 525 - 522) faced subsequent
crises. His entire army was lost in the deserts on his way to Siwa
Oasis in the west. Historians are trying nowadays to find traces
of this lost army.
Another expedition was sent to Napata
but was also unsuccessful.
Cambyses left Egypt few years after the invasion, leaving satraps
who governed the country. Greek historian Herodotus said Cambyses
went insane because of his military failures in Egypt. He also described
him as sacrilegious.
Hereinafter, Persian kings will adopt a remote reign of Egypt and
depend on local satraps to control it.
After internal unrest in Persia, Darius I (r.
521 - 486) succeeded Cambyses. He was more interested in the country's
internal affairs. His reign was a renewed prosperity for Egyptians.
Darius I hunting on his chariot in a trilingual
cylinder-seal, engraved with his name
image 2004 ©
He had the desire to reconcile with the people by respecting their
religions. In this context he reconstructed the temple of Hibis at
dedicated for God Amun
and restored other temples. He continued digging the canal between
the Red Sea and the Nile that Nekau
II of the 26th dynasty initiated.
Challenges facing Darius mounted after the Greeks defeated the Persian
army at the battle of Marathon.
Furthermore, Egyptians revolted and resisted the Persians but their
revolt was later suppressed by Xerxes (r. 486 - 466), the next Persian
king, who ruled for 20 years.
When Xerxes ascended the Persian throne he had to face the Greeks
again. On the other hand, he appointed his brother, Achaemenes,
as a satrap in Egypt whose cruelty caused Egyptians to revolt again.
Achaemenes was finally assassinated.
Artaxerxes I (r. 465 - 424), then took power and in at attempt to
quell Egypt fought two of its prominent princes; Inaros of Heliopolis
and Amyrtaeus, who is probably the one who established the 28th
dynasty at Sais.
Although Athenians aided Egyptians in their resistance Inaros was
Darius II (r. 424 - 404) and Artaxerxes II
succeeded respectively King Artaxerxes I. Once again revolts were
associated to their rules. Inter-familiar conflicts of the Persians
were giving Egyptians the opportunity to rise.