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3rd Intermediate Period
(1070 - 664 BC)
21st Dynasty 22nd Dynasty 23rd Dynasty
24th Dynasty 25th Dynasty
25th Dynasty
from KushWhat does it mean?
(770 - 657 BC)
In the extreme south, a NubianWhat does it mean? dynasty was established earlier and their power rose in challenge to the northern royal houses. At that time the country was divided between many leaders; King Osorkon IV (at Tanis), King Peftjauabastet (at Herakleopolis), Nimlot (at Hermopolis), Iuput (at Leontopolis) and King Tefnakht (at Sais).

Tefnakht of the 24th dynasty realized their growing threats and swept the northern area, almost uniting it and marched south to face the Nubian dynasty.
The northern army gained limited success at first against Nubian King Piankhi (a.k.a. Piyi or Menkheperre) but eventually it was defeated and forced to retreat back. The vanquished leaders were allowed to govern their cities but this time as rulers.

Piankhi (r. 750 - 712) then maintained his grip over the power in at the kingdom of Napata of Nubia and it seems that he preferred to rule the country from there.
After his death, Piankhi was buried at El-Kurru.
He had a pyramid that is indeed very different than the regular Egyptian pyramids as Kushite kings used to build much smaller pyramids with sharper slopes.

Granite sphinx of Taharqa
image courtesy of
The Egypt Archive

Piankhi was succeeded by his brother Shabaka (a.k.a. Neferkare, Sabacon) (r. 712 - 698) who ruled for 14 years and is said to have killed the 24th dynasty's Bakenrenef. Shabaka was succeeded by his nephew Shebitku (a.k.a. Djedkare) (r. 698 - 690), Piankhi's son. Shebitku was succeeded by his brother, Taharqa (i.e. Piankhi's other son) (r. 690 - 664).

This dynasty was associated with confrontations with the Assyrians.
During Taharqa's reign, confrontations reached its peak. Radically the Assyrians succeeded to capture Memphis and so Taharqa had to escape to Thebes (Luxor). In a second time, Assyrians recaptured Memphis and Taharqa had to escape again but this time to Napata in the south.

Taharqa was succeeded by his defiant cousin (or nephew) Tanutamun (a.k.a. Tantamani), who attempted to seize Memphis for some period but Assyrians led by Ashurbanipal eventually took Memphis then the great city of Thebes, the biggest Egyptian stronghold. Tanutamun (r. 664 - 657) was forced to flee to Napata where he lived safely till his death.

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