Standard of Cyrus the Great
Cambyses II (first)
Darius II (last)
Battle of Pelusium
Rebellion of Amyrtaeus
Twenty-seventh Dynasty of Egypt
Twenty-seventh Dynasty of Egypt (notated Dynasty XXVII,
alternatively 27th Dynasty or Dynasty 27), also known as the First
Satrapy (Old Persian: Mudrāya) was effectively a province
(satrapy) of the Achaemenid Persian Empire between 525 BC to 404 BC.
It was founded by Cambyses II, the King of Persia, after his conquest
of Egypt and subsequent crowning as
Pharaoh of Egypt, and was
disestablished upon the rebellion and crowning of
2 Pharaohs of the 27th Dynasty
3 Timeline of the 27th Dynasty (Achaemenid Pharaohs only)
4 Satraps of the 27th Dynasty
5 Historical sources
7 External links
8 See also
The last pharaoh of the 26th Dynasty, Psamtik III, was
defeated by Cambyses II at the battle of Pelusium in the eastern
Nile delta in May of 525 BC. Cambyses was crowned
Egypt in the summer of that year at the latest, beginning the first
period of Persian rule over Egypt (known as the 27th Dynasty). Egypt
was then joined with
Phoenicia to form the sixth satrapy of
the Achaemenid Empire, with
Aryandes as the local satrap (provincial
Pharaoh of Egypt, Cambyses' reign saw the fiscal resources of
traditional Egyptian temples diminished considerably. One decree,
written on papyrus in demotic script ordered a limitation on resources
to all Egyptian temples, excluding Memphis, Heliopolis and Wenkhem
(near Abusir). Cambyses left Egypt sometime in early 522 BC, dying en
route to Persia, and was nominally succeeded briefly by his younger
brother Bardiya, although contemporary historians suggest
actually Gaumata, an impostor, and that the real
Bardiya had been
murdered some years before by Cambyses, ostensibly out of jealousy.
Darius I, suspecting this impersonation, led a coup against "Bardiya"
in September of that year, overthrowing him and being crowned as King
Pharaoh the next morning.
As the new Persian King, Darius spent much of his time quelling
rebellions throughout his empire. Sometime in late 522 BC or early 521
BC a local Egyptian prince led a rebellion and declared himself
Pharaoh Petubastis III. The main cause of this rebellion is uncertain,
but the Ancient Greek military historian
Polyaenus states that it was
oppressive taxation imposed by the satrap Aryandes.
writes that Darius himself marched to Egypt, arriving during a period
of mourning for the death of the sacred Herald of Ptah bull. Darius
made a proclamation that he would award a sum of one hundred talents
to the man who could produce the next Herald, impressing the Egyptians
with his piety such that they flocked en masse to his side, ending the
Darius took a greater interest in Egyptian internal affairs than
Cambyses. He reportedly codified the laws of Egypt, and notably
completed the excavation of a canal system at Suez, allowing passage
Bitter Lakes to the Red Sea, much preferable to the arduous
desert land route. This feat allowed Darius to import skilled Egyptian
laborers and artisans to construct his palaces in Persia. The result
of this was a minor brain drain in Egypt, due to the loss of these
skilled individuals, creating a demonstrable lowering of quality in
Egyptian architecture and art from this period. Nevertheless, Darius
was more devoted to supporting Egyptian temples than Cambyses, earning
himself a reputation for religious tolerance in the region. In 497 BC,
during a visit by Darius to Egypt,
Aryandes was executed for treason,
most likely for attempting to issue his own coinage, a visible attempt
to distance Egypt from the rest of the Persian Empire. Darius
died in 486 BC, and was succeeded by Xerxes I.
Upon the accession of Xerxes, Egypt again rebelled, this time possibly
under Psamtik IV, although different sources dispute that detail.
Xerxes quickly quelled the rebellion, installing his brother
Achaemenes as satrap. Xerxes ended the privileged status of Egypt held
under Darius, and increased supply requirements from the country,
probably to fund his invasion of Greece. Furthermore, Xerxes promoted
Ahura Mazda at the expense of traditional Egyptian
deities, and permanently stopped the funding of Egyptian monuments.
Xerxes was murdered in 465 BC by Artabanus, beginning a dynastic
struggle that ended with
Artaxerxes I being crowned the next King and
In 460 BC another major Egyptian rebellion took place, led by a Libyan
chief named Inaros II, substantially assisted by the Athenians of
Greece. Inaros defeated an army led by Achaemenes, killing the
satrap in the process, and took Memphis, eventually exerting control
over large parts of Egypt. Inaros and his Athenian allies were finally
defeated by a Persian army led by general
Megabyzus in 454 BC and
consequently sent into retreat.
Megabyzus promised Inaros no harm
would come of him or his followers if he surrendered and submitted to
Persian authority, terms Inaros agreed to. Nevertheless, Artaxerxes
eventually had Inaros executed, although exactly how and when is a
matter of dispute. Artaxerxes died in 424 BC.
Xerxes II only ruled for forty-five days, being
murdered by his brother Sogdianus.
Sogdianus was consequently murdered
by his brother Ochus, who became Darius II.
Darius II ruled from
423 BC to 404 BC, and nearing the end of his reign a rebellion led by
Amyrtaeus took place, potentially beginning as early as 411 BC. In 405
BC Amyrtaeus, with the help of Cretan mercenaries expelled the
Persians from Memphis, declaring himself
Pharaoh the next year and
ending the 27th Dynasty. Darius II's successor, Artaxerxes II made
attempts to begin an expedition to retake Egypt, but due to political
difficulty with his brother Cyrus the Younger, abandoned the effort.
Artaxerxes II was still recognized as the rightful
Pharaoh in some
parts of Egypt as late as 401 BC, although his sluggish response to
the situation allowed Egypt to solidify its independence.
During the period of independent rule three indigenous dynasties
reigned: the 28th, 29th, and 30th Dynasty. Artaxerxes III
(358 BC) reconquered the Nile valley for a brief second period
(343 BC), which is called the 31st Dynasty of Egypt.
Pharaohs of the 27th Dynasty
Main article: List of pharaohs
The pharaohs of the 27th Dynasty ruled for approximately one hundred
and twenty one years, from 525 BC to 404 BC.
Name of Pharaoh
Psamtik III at the Battle of Pelusium in 525 BC
Rebelled against the Achaemenid Pharaohs
Darius I the Great
Proposed rebel against the Achaemenid Pharaohs
Xerxes I the Great
Assassinated Xerxes I, later killed by Artaxerxes I
Claimant to throne
Claimant to throne
Pharaoh of the 27th Dynasty
Timeline of the 27th Dynasty (Achaemenid Pharaohs only)
Satraps of the 27th Dynasty
Name of satrap
Cambyses II, Darius I
Deposed following a revolt in 522 BC, later restored in 518 BC then
deposed again by Darius I
Possibly killed during a revolt
Xerxes I, Artaxerxes I
A brother of Xerxes I, later killed by the rebel Inaros II
Artaxerxes I, Xerxes II, Artaxerxes II
Longest ruling satrap of Egypt
Thucydides (History of the Peloponnesian War)
Diodorus Siculus (Bibliotheca historica)
Flavius Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews)
^ electricpulp.com. "ACHAEMENID SATRAPIES – Encyclopaedia Iranica".
www.iranicaonline.org. Retrieved 2017-09-30.
^ Smith, Andrew. "Polyaenus: Stratagems -
Book 7". www.attalus.org.
^ electricpulp.com. "DARIUS iii.
Darius I the Great – Encyclopaedia
Iranica". www.iranicaonline.org. Retrieved 2017-02-25.
^ Klotz, David (19 September 2015). "UCLA Encyclopedia of
Persian Period". Retrieved 25 February 2017.
^ Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War.
^ Photius. "Photius' excerpt of Ctesias' Persica (2)". www.livius.org.
^ S. Zawadzki, "The Circumstances of Darius II's Accession" in
Jaarbericht Ex Oriente Lux 34 (1995-1996) 45-49
Persian Period from the UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology
Thirty-first Dynasty of Egypt
Thirty-first Dynasty of Egypt (343 BC–332 BC) — also
known as the 2nd Egyptian Satrapy.
Provinces of the Achaemenid Empire
(Behistun / Persepolis / Naqsh-e Rustam / Susa /
1st Egypt / 2nd Egypt
See also Districts of the
Achaemenid Empire (according to Herodotus)
Ancient Egypt topics
Glossary of artifacts
Architecture (Egyptian Revival architecture)
Great Royal Wives
Ancient Egypt portal