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Ancient Egypt - Pharaoh Nectanebo II


The first eight years of Nectanebo II's reign were protected from Persian aggression by that country's own dynastic problems. This gave Nectanebo II time to commission building projects at over 100 sites. The only annotated portrait of Nectanebo II is the greywacke statue featuring the image of Horus wearing the double crown. The king wears the nemes headdress while carrying a harpesh and a small shrine. Not only is it a striking statue, it is also an icon reflecting the age old clash between Horus and Seth... a last testament of the Ancient Egyptians and their plight against the Persian Empire.

By 350 BC, the new Persian ruler Artaxerxes III had sufficiently regained power and made an unsuccessful attempt to regain Egypt. Their return seven years later would be completely devastating. Greek mercenaries fought for both Egypt and Persia and it was with some 20,000 Greeks, forming about one-fifth of his army, that Nectanebo II stood at Pelusium against this latest Persian advance. The details of this battle are not specified, but what is known is that the Greek generals on the Persian side outflanked the Egyptians and ended their chance of ever ruling Egypt again.

This Eastern Delta fortress became a part of the Persian Empire and soon Memphis would fall, along with other Delta strong-points. Nectanebo II would flee to Nubia and Persian rule would be reestablished once more.

Nectanebo II would be the last native Egyptian Pharaoh. He would also be the last Egyptian to rule Egypt for 2300 years until General Neguib and the 1952 Revolution. What became of Nectanebo II is unknown. His black granite sarcophagus was discovered in Alexandria where it had been used as a bathtub during the Ptolemaic times. It was inscribed for Nectanebo II and had images and writing from the Book of 'What is in the Underworld.'

Curiously, in medieval legend, Nectanebo is said to have fled to Macedonia. There he was recognized as a great Egyptian magician and attracted the attention of Olympias and the Macedonian court. His union with the queen would produce his son, Alexander the Great, who would secretly continue true Pharaonic rule.

In reality, the native Egyptians would end with Nectanebo II. This Second Persian Period would only last another 10 years. Artaxerxes III would be poisoned in Persia in 338 BC, and his young successor Arses, would survive for only two years. He would be murdered by Darius III, who would lose the Persian Empire to Alexander.


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