Psamtik II

Pharaoh Infobox
Name= Psamtik II |

Caption=Fragmentary statue head of Psamtik.
NomenHiero= p:z-m-T:k
PrenomenHiero=ra-nfr-ib | Prenomen="Neferibre"
HorusHiero= mn:n-x:t-U22*Z1
Reign=595–589 BC
Died=589 BC
Predecessor=Necho II
Successor=Apries | Alt = Psammetichus II
Dynasty=26th dynasty

Psammtik II (also spelled Psammetichus or Psammeticus) was a king of the Saite based Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt (595 BC-589 BC). His prenomen, Neferibre, means "Beautiful is the Heart of Re." [Peter Clayton, Chronicle of the Pharaohs, Thames and Hudson, 1994. p.195] He was the son of Necho II.

Campaigns and battles

We also know that Psamtik II led a foray into Nubia in 592 BC, marching as far south as the Third or even the Fourth Cataract according to a contemporary stela from Thebes (Karnak) which dates to Year 3 of this king's name and refers to a heavy defeat that was inflicted upon the kingdom of Kush. [The New Encyclopaedia Brittanica: Micropaedia, Vol.9, 15th edition, 2003. p.756] A well-known graffito inscribed in Greek on the left leg of the colossal seated statue of Ramesses II, on the south side of the entrance to the temple of Abu Simbel, records that:

cquote|"When King Psammetichus (ie. Psamtik II) came to Elephantine, this was written by those who sailed with Psammetichus the son of Theocles, and they came beyond Kerkis as far as the river permits. Those who spoke foreign tongues (Greek and Carians who also scratched their names on the monument) were led by Potasimto, the Egyptians by Amasis. [ [ king Psammetichus II (Psamtik II)] ] Kerkis was located near the Fifth Cataract of the Nile "which stood well within the Cushite Kingdom." [Brittanica, op. cit., p.756]

This was the first confrontation between Egypt and Nubia since the reign of Tantamani. A Kushite king named Anlamani had revived the power of the kingdom of Napata. Psamtik II's campaign was likely initiated to destroy any future aspirations the Kushites may have had to reconquer Egypt.

The Egyptian army advanced to Pnubs (Kerma) and the capital city of Napata in a series of fierce battles, where they looted its temples and destroyed the royal Kushite statues. [Charles Bonnet & Dominique Valbelle, The Nubian Pharaohs, The American University in Cairo Press, 2005. p.166-167] The Kushite capital was sacked under the reign of the native Kushite king Aspelta who was the younger brother of Anlamani and the son of Senkamanisken. The Year 3 Karnak stela is dated to II Shemu day 10 of Psamtik II's reign and states that: As a result of Psamtik's devastating campaign, Kush's power was crushed, and its kings from Aspelta onwards lost any opportunity of ever seizing control of Egypt. Instead, the Nubian rulers decided to shift their capital further south from Napata to the relative safety of Meroë. Curiously, however, Psamtik II does not appear to have capitalized on his victory. His troops retreated back to the First Cataract, and Elephantine continued to be the southern border of Egypt.

An outcome of this campaign was the deliberate destruction of monuments belonging to the 25th Dynasty Kushite kings in Egypt "by hacking out their names and the emblems of royalty from their statues and reliefs." [Brittanica, op. cit., p.756]

In 591 BC, during the fourth year of his reign, Psamtik II launched an expedition into Palestine "to foment a general Levantine revolt against the Babylonians" that involved, among other, Zedekiah of the Kingdom of Judah. [Alan B. Lloyd, 'The Late Period' in The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt (ed. Ian Shaw), Oxford Univ. Press 2002 paperback, p.381]


When Psamtik II died in 589 BC, he was succeeded by Apries who was his son by Queen Takhut, a Princess of Athribis. Psamtik and Queen Takhut were also the parents of Menekhubaste, a Priestess of Atum at Heliopolis, and Ankhenesneferibre, a God's Wife of Amun who died after 525 BC. [Christian Settipani, Nos ancêtres de l'Antiquité, 1991. p.153 & 161] The date of Psamtik II's death is mentioned in the Adoption stela of Ankhenesneferibre: Year 6, I Akhet day 23. [Bonnet & Valbelle, op. cit., p.170]


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