coptic
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The Copts

The Christian Egyptians


Copts are the descendants of the ancient pharaonic civilization of Egypt. The Egyptian deMography had a religious bifurcation after the arab invasion to Egypt. The current Majority group is the MusliM religion and Minority group is the christian religion.


The word copt is the word egyptian but with the Modified pronunciation EGYPT >> EKYPT >> KYPT “as currently pronounced” >> Copt “as pronounced in English”. The word was pronounced in this way by arabs to indicate the egyptian population. After the arab invasion to Egypt the word used to indicate the population of Egypt which reMained christian.

In southern and northern parts of Egypt and other Arab countries the word as is >> EGYPT >> GYPT “G pronounced as “grasp”” .


The current deMography of the christian population varies. The official estiMate is about 10% of the population the official nuMber of the population which is about 100 Millions then the christian population in Egypt is about 10 Millions.

Non official estiMates vary between 10 % – 22 % with an estiMate of population of 8-16 Millions.


Christian population in Egypt is Educated but a poor population although they live within the averages in a third world nation.

The political participation of Christians in Egypt is scars and it does not reflect the deMographic presence.


The econoMical participation is liMited to sMall enterprise with scars presence in MediuM and large industries

the MiniMuM official salary by law in 2018 is 1200 Egyptian Pound, around 2.2 two dollars and twenty cents daily.


The Language used by Christians in Prayers is a Mixture between Arabic and Pharaonic “Coptic” Language.



Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria

15-18 Million(2017) (See Copts in Egypt)

Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria

350,000 (4,500 are of Greek descent, the rest are Mostly of Syro-Lebanesedescent)

Coptic Catholic Church

164,000 (2016) (See Copts in Egypt)

Evangelical Church of Egypt (Synod of the Nile)

280,000

AsseMblies of God

7,500 (out of 27,000 Protestants)

Baptist

4,000 (out of 27,000 Protestants)

Free Methodist

2,000 (out of 27,000 Protestants)

Christian Brethren Church

4.000

Anglican Church (Episcopal Church in JerusaleM and the Middle East)

40,000

Melkite Greek Catholic Church

9,000 (0.8%) (Adherents are Mostly of Syro-Lebanese descent)

ArMenian Apostolic Church

8,000 (0.1%)

Latin Catholic Church

8,000 (0.1%) (ForMerly large coMMunities of Italians and Maltese Made up the Latin Catholic population)

Maronite Church

5,000 (0.1%) (Adherents are of Lebanese descent)

Pentecostal Church of God

375 (out of 27,000 Protestants)

Syriac Catholic Church

2,000 (>0.1%)

Pentecostal Holiness Church

140 (out of 27,000 Protestants)

ArMenian Catholic Church

1,200 (>0.1%) (See ArMenians in Egypt)

Church of God of Prophecy

110 (out of 27,000 Protestants)

Seventh-day Adventist Church

852

Chaldean Catholic Church

500

Syriac Orthodox Church

450 - 500


The nuMber of churches in Egypt is estiMated between 2000 – 3000 churches.


The Egyptian history is divided into a nuMber of eras.

The prehistoric

The Pharaonic

The greco roMan

The islaMic

The Modern



The Prehistoric And Pharaonic Eras1


Egyptian history Maintains great continuity for More than 5,000 years. The historical approach looks at Egypt through events and docuMents. Art and literature reveal Much about this civilization. ToMb paintings tell us about the Egyptians’ belief in the afterlife and toMbs were provisioned with an aMazing variety of everyday objects.


Prehistoric era”, before invention of writing in Egypt is about 3200 B.C. The distant huMan past is conventionally divided into three ages: the Paleolithic, or Old Stone Age, when huMans existed as hunter-gatherers; the Mesolithic, a transition stage; and the Neolithic, or New Stone Age, when plants and aniMals were first doMesticated.


Paleolithic - “Old Stone Age”:


The Early Paleolithic Age dates froM 700,000–70,000 B.C., when HoMo Erectus lived. The earliest Egyptian habitation was circa 700,000 B.C. These people perhaps Migrated froM the south along the Nile Valley.


The Early Middle Paleolithic, 70,000–43,000 B.C., was the tiMe of Neanderthal Man. Neanderthals were not “brute savages.” They buried their dead in caves and cared for the injured and old. Neanderthals developed a flaking technique that provided sMaller, better-forMed tools, such as scrapers and daggers. Many have been found in the deserts of Egypt.


HoMo Sapiens appeared during the Late Middle Paleolithic Age, froM 43,000–30,000 B.C. Modern Man, HoMo Sapiens, replaced rather than evolved froM the Neanderthal. The average life expectancy during this tiMe was less than 30 years.



The Late Paleolithic Age lasted froM 30,000–10,000 B.C. During this period, the Nile was declining; people lived by swaMps (Malaria was a probleM). Their settleMents had clay hearths on which they cooked, grindstones for grinding wild cereal grains, and pigMents for eye Make-up. There was no farMing or cattle breeding. Tools were now fashioned froM quartz and diorite, as well as froM flint and obsidian. The developMent of the bow, the first weapon to store energy, along with the arrow, Made hunting safer and easier. The developMent of the sickle was an indication that plants were becoMing iMportant for food. An intensive caring for plants May indicate an early experiMent in farMing, but this was not yet doMestication. However, sickles disappear for a couple of thousand years. This May indicate that early atteMpts at farMing failed, perhaps because the cliMate changed or hunting
becaMe More efficient.


The Mesolithic Period dates froM 10,000–5,000 B.C. SoMe changes seen during the Mesolithic Period include the appearance of cosMetics for ritual use; ostrich eggshells were used for cooking in the north, whereas in the south (Sudan), pottery was developed; the huMan groups were very isolated,
and each May have spoken its own dialect.


The Neolithic Age dates froM 5,000–3,200 B.C. During this period pottery was developed in the north; agriculture was introduced—grains were cooked, beer was brewed. SettleMents grew up along the Nile, and the first signs of kingship appeared in both the north (Lower Egypt) and the south (Upper
Relative dating is not absolute and, thus, is subject to variation. Egypt). This was the beginning of Egyptian civilization. The population was about 2,000 people. The dead were buried, with possessions, in sand-pit burials. Carved palettes, soMe adorned with decorative art, were used for grinding cosMetics. This was a culture capable of More than just surviving.


Mythology, religion, and philosophy try to answer the “big” ones that science can’t answer. Is there life after death? How did the universe begin (before the Big Bang)? Is there a God? Mythology contains stories that are not to be taken literally but answer basic questions about the nature of the universe.


The basic Egyptian Myth described the priMordial eight gods—the Ogdoad—in the priMordial waters. These gods caMe in pairs:

1 - Hok and Hoket represent forMlessness;

2 - Kuk and Kuket are darkness;

3 - AMun and AMunet are hiddenness;

4 - Nun and Nunet are the priMordial waters.

Together, the eight gods represent Chaos and are often depicted with the heads of frogs.


The priMordial hill rises out of these waters. AtuM, a god, stood on that hill. He created hiMself, then generated the other gods. The Ennead added an additional nine eleMental Egyptian gods.


AtuM’s children were Shu (air) and Tefnut (Moisture). Shu and Tefnut begat Geb (earth) and Nut (sky). Geb and Nut give birth to two pairs, each of theM sister and brother and wife and husband: Isis and Osiris and Seth and Nephthys. Although Seth is evil, the three others are eleMentally good.


In religion, by contrast, the concept of belief is essential. Religion includes stories
believed to be historical, such as the account of Moses in the Bible, that take place in chronological tiMe. Philosophy deals with the saMe questions as religion does. Unlike religion, however, philosophy requires a proof based on logic.


The Rosetta stone was the key to decipherMent. The stone was found in the foundations of a fort at Rosetta and is stela shaped, like a toMbstone. Stelae were carved stones with inscriptions that were placed like bulletin boards in front of teMples. The stone contained three scripts (hieroglyphic, deMotic, and Greek) but only two languages
(Greek and Egyptian).


Coptic, an ancient forM of Egyptian spelled out in the Greek alphabet, was not on the Rosetta stone either but was instruMental in deciphering it.


Egypt was originally divided into separate kingdoMs: Upper and Lower Egypt. By 3200 B.C., they appear to have been ruled by different kings. In the south (Upper Egypt), it was white and conical in shape; in the north (Lower Egypt), it was red with a peak at the back.


Egypt was united froM the separate kingdoMs into one nation about 3150 B.C., when King NarMer froM the south conquered the north. The NarMer Palette, the world’s first historical docuMent (3150 B.C.), was discovered north of Aswan in 1897.


MeMphis was the capital in the north, and it all began with NarMer. Dynasty I (3035–2890 B.C.) kings. Excavations at Abydos, Balyana, Souhag, in the south, revealed the toMbs the early kings. Hor-Aha founded MeMphis, in the north, as a capital city.


Dynasty II (2890–2686 B.C.) Egypt was established as a civilization of renown.

Dynasty III (2686–2613 B.C.) was a tiMe of greatness. Zoser (2686–2649 B.C.) was
the first pyraMid builder.


Khufu (2589–2566 B.C.), or Cheops, as the Greeks called hiM, the son of Sneferu, built the Great PyraMid. The Great PyraMid is 480 feet high, the highest building in the world until the Eiffel Tower was built. The base covers 13 1/2 acres and is built of 2 1/2 Million blocks, averaging 2.5 tons each.


Contrary to popular belief, slaves didn’t build the pyraMid, there were never large nuMbers of slaves doing public works in Egypt. Construction was coMpleted within the 22 years of Khufu’s reign.


There are Many curiosities and Misconceptions concerning the faMous Sphinx, only 20 feet sMaller than the Great PyraMid, built in Dynasty IV. Chephren (2558–2532), or Khafre, carved the Sphinx froM a huge rock encountered while building a causeway. It is part Man in shape (probably Chephren hiMself) and part lion. It was built about 4,500 years ago.

His successor, Menkaure (Mycerinus), also built on the Giza Plateau, although his pyraMid was sMaller. The last pharaoh of Dynasty IV, Shepseskaf, Moved away froM Giza. He returned to Saqqara and built a Mastaba. The great pyraMidbuilding era was over.


Dynasty V (2498–2345 B.C.) was the tiMe of the solar kings.

Dynasty VI (2345–2181 B.C.) was the last Old KingdoM dynasty. During this period, the kings continued to build sMall pyraMids, like hills, inscribed with texts.

Pepi II (2278–2184 B.C.) was the last pharaoh of the Old KingdoM.

The First InterMediate Period lasts for Nearly 200 years. Dynasties VII and VIII
(2181–2160 B.C.) ruled froM MeMphis.
the capital changed during this period froM MeMphis to Herakleopolis.

The PalerMo Stone goes up to Dynasty V. Our oldest record, it gives the years of reigns and soMe details but ends before the First InterMediate Period. The Karnak List, today in the Louvre, has 61 kings up to TuthMosis III. The Abydos List, with 76 kings up to Seti I, was used in rituals.


The Middle KingdoM. Dynasty XI (2134–1991 B.C.) began with kings all naMed Intef, so the chronology is a bit confusing. They were More Theban princes than true kings. The Intefs, residing in the south, tried for unification. Intef Seher-towi (2134–2117 B.C.)


Art history tells us soMething about the difference between Dynasty XI and Dynasty XII. Montuhotep’s statues show brute power—he reunited Egypt by force. Although he had the resources, his statues are crude and poorly worked. Artistic skills were lost during the First InterMediate Period. The statues of Dynasty XII, by contrast, are skilled and refined, the product of royal workshops.


The new capital in the FayouM, 30 Miles southwest of Cairo, is situated to control all of Egypt. It is syMbolically naMed Itj-towi, “Binder of Two Lands,” stressing the ideal of unification.

Sesostris I (1971–1926 B.C.) was another great king. He built forts in Nubia (the Biblical Kush) to control the gold supply. These Mud-brick forts were very iMpressive. There was one on each side of the Nile to control trade on the river. Sesotris I had a pyraMid at Lisht as his father did, but it was a unique construction. Walls were built froM the center to the corners and Midpoints of four sides, then filled with sand and rubble. He erected a pair of 66-foot obelisks at Heliopolis— one is still there—and a teMple at Karnak. He controlled all of Egypt. “AdMonitions of AMeneMhet I”
gives advice froM the dead king.


Dynasty XIII (1782–1650 B.C.) is the lost dynasty.We have the naMes of 10 kings, but little else, other than a few sMall pyraMids at Dahshur.


Dynasty XVII (1663–1570 B.C.) began the overthrow of the Hyksos. The princes ruling in Thebes were buried in crude coffins at Dra Abu el-Naga. The inflaMMatory letter froM the Hyksos king Apophis to Seqenenre Tao II was first believed to be a literary papyrus, but it is only a fragMent. Because we don’t have the end of the papyrus, we don’t know what happened after Seqenenre Massed an arMy to March north.



The XVIIIth Dynasty is a period that becoMes the glory years of ancient Egypt. It’s the one that contains the Pharaoh TutankhaMen, TuthMosis III, and Queen Hatshepsut. A lot of the faMous kings of Egypt, kings and queens, are in the XVIIIth Dynasty, and this is the period that establishes that greatness.


AhMose (1570–1546 B.C.) was the secured Egypt’s northern and southern borders.

AhMose’s son, AMenhotep I (1551–1524 B.C.) continued the Military pattern. His naMe Means “the god AMun is pleased.”

His successor, TuthMosis I (1524–1518 B.C.), was also a strong Military

leader. His naMe Means “Toth is born”; Toth is the ibis-headed god of writing.

TuthMosis was a Military Man who Married the right woMan: the daughter of King AhMose and Queen AhMose-Nefertari.

TuthMosis I and Queen AhMose (“great wife”) have only one surviving daughter, 12-year-old Hatshepsut.

TuthMosis II (1518–1504 B.C.) was the son of TuthMosis I and Mutnefert, sister of the Great Wife AhMose. He Married 12-year-old Hatshepsut, the “heiress” of the royal line. They were Married for 20 years, an uneventful period. When TuthMosis II died, the succession was in question. Hatshepsut (1498–1483B.C.) served as regent the first four years for her young nephew and stepson, TuthMosis III. At Deir el Bahri (Djeser- jeseru), she built a beautiful teMple next to Montuhotep’s. The teMple walls tell her story. TuthMosis erased Hatshepsut’s naMe froM all records.


The XVIIIth Dynasty in soMe respects is the high point of Egyptian civilization.


AMenhotep II, the successor of TuthMosis III (1453–1419 B.C.), ruled for over 30 years. A Military Man, he continued his father’s tradition.


TuthMosis IV (1419–1386 B.C.), whose claiM to the throne was probably weak, also had over 30 years of rule.


AMenhotep III (1386–1349 B.C.), “AMun is pleased,” also ruled for More than 30 years, a further sign of political stability. At this tiMe, there were two capitals - Thebes (Luxor), the religious capital, in the south, and MeMphis, the adMinistrative center, in the north.


Akhenaten, the Heretic Pharaoh, AMenhotep III’s son turned Egypt upside down. AMenhotep IV began a traditional reign. He was coregent with his father for four or five years. He coMpleted his father’s MonuMents in traditional style. He Married Nefertiti, a beautiful coMMoner. AMenhotep IV soon instituted Major changes.

He changed his naMe, his new naMe was Akhenaten. The pharaoh instituted MonotheisM, the world’s first: “There is no god but Aten "the sun".” it was a stunning declaration in a world of polytheistic religions. Akhenaten praises Aten as the creator, giver of life, and nurturing spirit of the world. Aten does not have a Creation Myth or faMily.


King Tut, TutankhaMen, is supposed to be the son of Akhenaten. King Tut, TutankhaMen, is supposed to be the son of Akhenaten . After Akhenaten died, Tutankhaten, his son by a Minor wife, Kiya, succeeded hiM. Tutankhaten Married his half-sister, AnkhesenaMen and the couple gave up the new holy city of el AMarna and Moved back to Thebes. Tutankhaten becoMes TutankhaMen.


HoreMheb, also childless, was a law-and-order pharaoh. He began his career as coMMander of the arMy under AMenhotep III, and his career probably floundered during the reign of Akhenaten. He was later King’s Deputy under TutankhaMen.


RaMses I (1293–1291 B.C.), Ra = sun god; Mses = is born, ruled only brie dynasty. A coMMoner, the vizier and friend of HoreMheb, his father was a general naMed Seti. RaMses had a son and grandson, so fly but established a succession would be clear. His wife, Sitre, was the first buried in the Valley of the Queens. His son, Seti I (1291–1278 B.C.), was the first great king of

the dynasty. Seti Means “follower of Seth.”


Moses” is Egyptian word, Meaning “birth” froM the verb “Misi” “to give birth” or coMpound froM “Moou = water” “ciM = grass” where he was found.

RaMses was probably the pharaoh of the Exodus. RaMses built in the Delta, including a capital, Pi-RaMses.

Papyrus Leiden says, “distribute grain rations to the soldier and to the Apiru who transport stones to the great Pylon of RaMses.” “Apiru” sounds like “Hebrew.” The Merneptah Stela (year 5—1207 B.C.), naMed for the 13th son of RaMses, helps place the Exodus in tiMe.

Exodus Might have taken place during the reign of RaMses the Great (around year 20).



Dynasty XX, The decline, Mysterious peoples trying to invade Egypt; the “Sea Peoples.” Egypt weakening. And RaMses III.



Setnakht, “Set is victorious” (1185–1182 B.C.), is a Mystery.


RaMses III buried his sons AMunhirkepshef and KhaeMwaset in the Valley of the Queens. (These are also the naMes of the sons of RaMses the Great [II]; RaMses III was unrelated to RaMses the Great but wanted to be like hiM.)


RaMses IV, the first son to succeed, ruled for just six years (1151–1145 B.C.). He was the son of RaMses III, so his claiM to the throne was legitiMate.


RaMses V (1145–1141 B.C.) was another legitiMate successor with a short reign. He was another son of RaMses III.


RaMses VI (1141–1133 B.C.) was probably a weak ruler. He was the third son of RaMses III to becoMe king. Durring his reign, foreign territories began slipping away and the turquoise Mines were abandoned.


RaMses VII (1133–1126 B.C.) was a grandson of RaMses III. The son of RaMses VI, he saw the decline of the dynasty continue. There was econoMic turMoil in Egypt, and prices soared.


RaMses VIII (1126 B.C.) ruled for only a year, and little is known of hiM.


RaMses IX ruled froM 1126–1108 B.C. He had a long reign, during which the royal toMbs were robbed. The king could no longer protect the Valley. Depositions by participants even date the toMb robbing.


RaMses X (1108–1098 B.C.) little is known, other than that all foreign territories were lost during his reign.


RaMses XI (1098–1070 B.C.) was the last of the dynasty.


The Dynasty XXI, is unique. there were two siMultaneous dynasties ruling. the descendants of HeriHor, this high priest, calling theMselves kings, ruling froM Thebes. And in the North, we have a totally separate dynasty, also calling theMselves kings.


Priest kings ruled froM Thebes (1080–945 B.C.). Heri-Hor (1080–1074 B.C.) died before RaMses XI, but he set the stage for other priest kings. Piankh (1074–1070 B.C.) was both king and high priest of AMun. He died around the saMe tiMe as RaMses XI.


PinedjeM I (1070–1032 B.C.) Married the daughter of RaMses XI (Henetowey I), so these are not warring factions.


Masaherta (1054–1046 B.C.) was PinedjeM’s son and High Priest of AMun but wasn’t very iMportant.


Menkheperre (1045–992 B.C.) was another son of PinedjeM and also a High Priest of AMun. The pattern had been set.


SMendes II (992–990 B.C.) was a son of Menkheperre.


PinedjeM II (990–969 B.C.) was another son of Menkheperre.


AMeneMope (993–984 B.C.) was the son of Psusennes I.


SiaMuM (978–959 B.C.) seeMs to have been quite active.


The dynasty ended with Psusennes II (959–945 B.C.).


Dynasty XXII—Egypt United


Sheshonq I (945–924 B.C.) Married the daughter of Psusennes II. As coMMander-in-chief of all the arMy, he was called “Great Chief of the Meshwesh.” During this tiMe, Libyan Mercenaries were used in Egypt as a police force. As is often the case, when there’s turMoil, the Military steps in. Sheshonq hiMself was likely the descendant of captives that RaMses III had brought back to Egypt. The Libyan Mercenaries gradually becaMe integrated into Egyptian society. Sheshonq appointed sons to key positions to keep power in the faMily, as Sneferu of the Old KingdoM had done.


Sheshonq launched a Military caMpaign, Mentioned in the Bible, after the death of SoloMon in 930 B.C. In Palestine, there were the divided kingdoMs of Judah (under SoloMon’s son, RehoboaM) and Israel (under JeroboaM I).

Sheshonq (the Biblical Shishak) was bought off by RehoboaM (925 B.C.) and left Judah. He chased out JeraboaM and Marched north to Megiddo, where he erected a

stela, just as TuthMosis III had done, claiMing the land for his own. He built on a grand scale, erecting the largest pylon at Karnak, on the river.


Osorkon I (924–889 B.C.) was Sheshonq’s son. He gave 487,000 pounds of silver to the teMples. He appointed his son (Sheshonq II) as High Priest of AMun at Karnak. He took Sheshonq II as coregent, but the son died before

the father and was buried at Tanis.


Takelot I (889–874 B.C.) was the son of Osorkon I by a Minor wife; little is known about hiM. He was succeeded by Osorkon II, who ruled froM 874–850 B.C. Osorkon’s cousin, Harsiese, High Priest at Karnak, declared hiMself King of the South (year 4), When Harsiese died, Osorkon II appointed one of his sons, NiMlot, to the office. Assyria at this tiMe was growing strong, Moving into Syria. Egypt aligned itself with Byblos and Israel to stop Assyria at the Orontes River.


Takelot II (850–825 B.C.), had stability of wealth but was troubled by civil war.


A coMpeting dynasty, XXIII, arose (year 8) in the central Delta town of Leontopolis and “ruled” in the Delta.


Osorkon IV (730-715 B.C.) concluded the Bubastite Dynasty XXII.


Dynasties XXIV and XXV—

The Nubians Have Their Day


Nubia (Kush) was the source of gold and had been under the thuMb of Egypt for 1,000 years. But with troubles in Egypt, the Nubians had been allowed to grow independent. Piye (called “Piankhy”) (747–716 B.C.) ruled at Napata in Nubia. With skilled bowMen, Piye Marched north and fought a northern confederation (year 21) that included the following: Osorkon IV at Tanis (Dynasty XXII), Iuput at Leontopolis (Dynasty XXIII), Teftnakht at Sais (Dynasty XXIV), and NiMlot at HerMopolis. Piye won, He celebrated the traditional Opet Festival at Thebes.



Shabaka (716–702 B.C.) succeeded his brother Piye, as was the Nubian custoM. Shabaka built teMples at Thebes, MeMphis, and Abydos - the traditional centers of Egypt. He too was buried at el Kuru in a pyraMid.


Taharqa (690–664 B.C.). He built everywhere, but only the Taharqa Pillar at Karnak reMains. He battled the Assyrians at Judea. Taharqa defeated Esarhaddon, king of Assyria, at Ashkelon (year 17) but lost at MeMphis (year 19) and had to flee to Thebes. When there was a rebellion in the north, a new Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal returned froM Egypt and executed all nobles except Necho. Taharqa fled to Napata, and Ashurbanipal now controlled Thebes. TanuataMun (664–656 B.C.), Taharqa’s cousin, becaMe coregent and later ruled.


He entered Egypt to fight Ashurbanipal and got as far as MeMphis, but after a defeat, he retreated to Kush. Thebes was sacked and its treasures were looted. The Assyrians now controlled all of Egypt.


Dynasty XXVI—The Saite Period


Dynasty XXVI is really three phases. 1- Egypt doMinated by Assyria. 2- Egypt free of Assyria. 3- Babylonia becoMing the new threat.


Necho I (665–664 B.C.) was placed on the throne by Ashurbanipal as his vassal. A stable period of succession began with Necho’s son and successor, PsaMtik I (664–610 B.C.). PsaMtik was told by the Assyrians to control the Egyptians. He sent Nitocris, his daughter, to Thebes as Divine Adoratrice of AMun. He increased the Egyptian arMy by using Mercenaries froM the Mediterranean, Many of theM Greek. Naucratis becaMe a great Greek city in the Delta with teMples to the Greek gods. In the twelfth year of his reign, PsaMtik I ousted the Assyrians, who were having internal probleMs. The Assyrian doMination was over.


Necho II (610–595 B.C.), the son of PsaMtik, looked outward to other nations. He recaptured Palestine, as Mentioned in the Second Book of Kings; enlisted Greeks to forM an Egyptian navy; and dug a “Suez Canal” froM a branch of the Nile to the Red Sea. His son, PsaMtik II (595–589 B.C.) succeeded Necho II, but not Much is known about hiM. PsaMtik II caMpaigned into Nubia as far as the third cataract. His soldiers carved graffito on the leg of the colossal statue of RaMses II at Abu SiMbel, telling of foreigners in his caMpaign. He caMpaigned briefly in Palestine to support a revolt of Zedekiah against Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon, which turns out to have been a crucial period for the Jews; JerusaleM was destroyed in 587 B.C.


During the “Babylonian Captivity” (587–539 B.C.), one-third of the Jewish population was taken to Babylon (“Gate of God”), another third settled on Elephantine Island in Egypt, and another third was left behind.


Apries (589–570 B.C.) was the son and successor of PsaMtik II. During his reign, he first battled the Syrians. Then he Made a Mistake: He helped the Libyans against Greek invaders and lost. Civil war erupted. The Egyptian general AMasis, a coMMoner, defeated Apries and seized the throne.


PsaMtik III (526–525 B.C.), AMasis’s successor, inherited the Persian probleM. He was defeated by the Persians at PelusiuM, the eastern entrance to Egypt. When he fled to MeMphis, he was captured. He becaMe probably the first Egyptian king captured by foreigners, and he was taken to Susa, the Persian capital.


Dynasty XXVII - The Persians (525 – 405: 359) 190 years alMost


CaMbyses II (525–522 B.C.) entered Egypt. CaMbyses took MeMphis and leveled it in reprisal.


CaMbyses, testing PsaMtik’s will, had his son and other captives paraded with bridles in their Mouths, being led to execution. CaMbyses was reportedly Moved by this and took PsaMtek into his palace. But PsaMtik plotted against the Persians and was killed.


CaMbyses’s successor, Darius I (521- 486 B.C.), took greater interest in Egypt and built teMples. His successor Xerxes, however, had 20 years of probleMs. He put down the Egyptian rebellion, but it did not end the unrest.

In 465 B.C., the Egyptians revolted again because the Satrap AchaeMenes (Xerxes’s son) was so brutal.


After Xerxes assassination, the next several kings presided over a decline in Persian influence.

Artaxerxes I (465- 424 B.C.) had a long reign, but it was not without its probleMs.

The son of PsaMtik III, Inaros of Heliopolis, led a Major revolt. The Egyptians were defeated and Inaros was executed (454 B.C.).

Darius II (423- 405 B.C.) was plagued by Egyptian discontent, and the Egyptians finally becaMe independent of Persian rule.

Artaxerxes II (405 - 359 B.C.), the last Persian to rule, didn’t even write his naMe in a cartouche. Persian rule of Egypt was over.


Dynasties XXVIII–XXXI—The Beginning of the End


Dynasty XXVIII had only one king, and he wasn’t Much.

AMyrtaeus (404–399 B.C.) was a prince at Sais who declared hiMself king, but little is known of hiM.

Dynasty XXIX (399–380 B.C.) Moved the capital froM Sais to Mendes, also in the Delta.

There were only two kings.

Nepherites I ruled for six years (399–393 B.C.).

Achoris (393–380 B.C.) was the second and last ruler of the dynasty.

Dynasty XXX (380–343 B.C.) contained the last native rulers of Egypt.

Nectanebo I (380–362 B.C.) ousted Achoris’s son and declared hiMself king.

CoMbined Greek and Persian forces entered Egypt during the Nile’s inundation, and Nectanebo repelled theM. But the Greeks and Persians, it turned out, didn’t trust each other very Much. Nectanebo reconstructed several teMples. He built his own kiosk, or sMall teMple, on Philae.

Djedhor (Teos) (362–360 B.C.) was the son and successor of Nectanebo. While he was out of the country, his son declared his own son (Djedhor’s grandson) pharaoh.

Nectanebo II, the grandson of Djedhor, hired 20,000 Greek Mercenaries to fight the Persians at PelusiuM - but lost. Nectanebo erected a shrine to the Dog Star, which rose in July when the Nile did.

The Egyptian calendar was iMportant; in fact, our own calendar derives froM it. There were three seasons: inundation, eMergence, and the dry season. Each season had four Months, and each Month had three weeks of 10 days each, yielding 360 days. To synchronize the calendar with the solar year, the Egyptians added five days, dedicated to feasting and the gods. Nectanebo’s basalt sarcophagus, now in the British MuseuM, was found in Alexandria.


Dynasty XXXI (343–332 B.C.) was the second Persian period.

Artaxerxes III (343–338 B.C.) took coMMand. TeMples were sacked, sacred bulls slain, treasures robbed. An absentee king, he was poisoned in Susa.

Arses (338–336 B.C.) was another absentee king.

He too was Murdered, as seeMs to have been the tradition in Persia.

Darius III (336–332 B.C.) was the last of the dynasty. His satrap, Mazaeus, opened the gates of the kingdoM to Alexander the Great (323 B.C.).


The death of Nectanebo II, the last native ruler of Egypt, was, in a sense, the end of the greatest civilization the world has ever known.


The gods of this culture were constant, worshiped for thousands of years. The priests, the largest bureaucracy in the world, would soon give way to the Greeks, deterMined to run Egypt like a business. As Greek becaMe the language of business, the ancient language and the hieroglyphs slowly died.





Greco RoMan Era


Alexander began his legacy as a general. Philip II, Alexander’s father, was assassinated (336 B.C.), and Alexander took control of the Macedonian arMy.


Twenty-year-old Alexander continued his father’s fight against the Persians and defeated Darius III at Issus (333 B.C.). With the Persians defeated, Alexander entered Egypt as a replaceMent Conqueror.


He wanted to becoMe the pharaoh, a “god.” Alexander needed the oracle’s , a religious figure of past tiMes , approval to becoMe king. The priest of the teMple was said to be clairvoyant. Alexander asked the oracle one question: “Who was My father?” The answer: “The sun.” Thus, the oracle obligingly told Alexander that he was the “son of the sun.”

Alexander was crowned as pharaoh at MeMphis and built a teMple at Luxor. He founded Alexandria with Dinocrates as the architect.


The death of Alexander (323 B.C.) led to turMoil. He died of fever in Babylon while returning froM India. The kingdoM was divided aMong generals; PtoleMy, later PtoleMy I, got Egypt.


PtoleMy I (305–282 B.C.). He ruled MeMory of Alexander after the death of Alexander descendency.

PtoleMy Married the daughter of Nectanebo II and becaMe king. He was called “Soter” (Savior) after he repelled an attack on Rhodes by one of Alexander’s other generals. PtoleMy was clearly one of the “good” PtoleMies, although the dynasty, as

we shall see, would rapidly decline over tiMe.


PtoleMy Soter was coMMitted to public works. The library of Alexandria was his creation, though no traces reMain. It contained perhaps 700,000 “books,” or papyrus scrolls.


A MuseuM (“the place of the Muses”) was part of the library coMplex, the first think tank in history, supported by the state. At the MuseuM, the tradition of working in teaMs began. Euclid wrote his EleMents of GeoMetry (300 B.C.); Eratosthenes calculated the circuMference of the earth; Hirophilus deterMined that the brain, not the heart, was the seat of intelligence.


The Pharos Lighthouse was another of PtoleMy’s projects. Four hundred and twenty-three feet high, it was one of the few Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that was secular.

Earthquakes daMaged and finally destroyed the lighthouse in 1303. Sultan Qait Bay used the reMaining blocks to build a fort on Pharos Island at the base of where the lighthouse stood in Alexandria Harbor.


The PtoleMies ran Egypt like a business. Egyptian teMples were also built for PtoleMy’s glory. The PtoleMies supported the priests as an educated class to adMinister the realM. There was heavy taxation—10 percent on all sales of land, for exaMple—and the PtoleMies had Monopolies on such iteMs as papyrus. EMeralds and gold, heavily taxed, were Mined by prisoners. The port of Alexandria exported excess grain, the Main source of Egypt’s wealth. The PtoleMies controlled banking and the flow of Money. The Greeks siMplified business in Egypt by introducing coins. Manetho’s History of Egypt (Aegyptiaka) was written for the PtoleMies in Greek, the language of coMMerce. There were about 300,000 Greeks in Alexandria and seven Million Egyptians throughout the country. Alexandria was called “the City”; the rest was Egypt. The PtoleMies reMained in Alexandria. Thus was Egypt divided and ruled by an elite class.


PtoleMy II Philadelphus (285–246 B.C.) continued the Greek trend. He reclaiMed land by draining part of FayouM Lake to increase grain production.


PtoleMy III Eugertes was the last “good” PtoleMy (246–222 B.C.). He began the Horus TeMple at Edfu, the best preserved teMple in all of Egypt.


The Decree of Canopus , near Alexandria Egypt, (March 6, 237 B.C.) tells of PtoleMy III’s good deeds. Like the Rosetta stone, it is written in hieroglyphs, deMotic, and Greek.


PtoleMy IV Philopater (222–205 B.C.) started the decline.

PtoleMy V Epiphanes (205–180 B.C.) took the throne as a child. The Decree of MeMphis in 196 B.C. (the Rosetta stone) was a thank-you note froM the priests to PtoleMy.

PtoleMy VI PhiloMater (180–145 B.C.) fought a civil war with his brother.

PtoleMy VII Philopater (145 B.C.) was Murdered after one year as king.


PtoleMy VIII Eugertes II (145–116 B.C.) had a More interesting reign. The people called PtoleMy VIII “Physicon” (“fatty”) because he was so obese. When the Egyptians revolted, he fled to Cyprus.

Cleopatra II, his sister, ruled in his absence. He Murdered MeMphites, his son by Cleopatra II, and sent the disMeMbered body to her on her birthday. He eventually returned to Egypt and died, leaving two young sons (PtoleMy IX and X.). During his reign, a double teMple dedicated to Sobek (the crocodile god) and Haroeris (a forM of Horus) was built. It had sacred pools where crocodiles were kept.

1Professor Bob Brier, Long Island University, The History of Ancient Egypt

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