I have always imagined that Paradise would be a kind of library.
Jorge Luis Borges

So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?
Saint John, Letter to Galatians 4:16

Freedom of Religion - Freedom from Religion - Freedom of Public Display of Religion and Traditions

We establish no religion in this country, nor will we ever. We command no worship. We mandate no belief. But we poison our society when we remove its theological underpinnings. We court corruption when we leave it bereft of belief. All are free to believe or not believe; all are free to practice a faith or not. But those who believe must be free to speak of and act on their belief.
Ronald Reagan (Temple Hillel Speech, 1984)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chapter 3: Religion of the Pharaohs, Part B - Dynasties

Continuation of Part A - Chapter 3, Religion of the Pharaohs

Early Dynastic Period (c.2925 to c. 2575 BC)
In the pre-dynastic period Paleolithic inhabitants settled in the fertile Nile Valley. The early period of rulers seemed to have grown and matured during the Naqãda rulers from Badarian. By the time the 1st Dynasty between 2925 through 2775 BC came, the kings introduced writing, bureaucratic administration, and organized religion. The beginning of this historical period there are writings that were collected as documents and transferred to monuments such as the Palermo Stone. The first real king of Egyptian history, Menes, was given credit for founding the capital of Memphis and elaborates irrigation canals. He was followed by a king named Ahas whose tomb at Abydos was more elaborate than previous tombs. During the 1st Dynasty papyrus was invented for writing and there was an increase in prosperity. Thousands of tombs of the wealthy have been found throughout the country from this period. The richest tombs contained metal, ivory, and other materials, such as stone vases. The titles Golden Horus and Dual King were given to the kings during this period, which was associated with Upper and Lower Egypt. Later these would be written in a cartouche.

2nd Dynasty (c.2775 BC to c.2550 BC)

At the end of the 1st Dynasty there were rivals claiming the throne. One of the rivals who may have begun the 2nd dynasty was Hetepeskemwy, which means “peaceful in respect of the two powers.” Hetepeskemwy and his successor, Reneb, moved their burial places to Saqqarah – the tomb of the third king, Nynetjer, has never been found.

3rd Dynasty (c.2650 BC to c.2575 BC)

During the beginning of this period, the royal burial place was moved to Memphis. The 3rd dynasty’s first king was Sanakhte and can be seen in reliefs from Maghara in Sinai. His successor, Djoser (Horus name of Netjerykhet) was one of the outstanding kings of Egypt. His Step Pyramid at Saqqarah was the first large all-stone building – larger than any built before. The columns, cornices, and moldings used were later copied in later periods. It is believe that Imhotep, a master sculpture and architect, was the builder of this pyramid. Anyone familiar with Egyptology recognizes that name and it was used in the action-adventure film, Mummy, produced by Universal PicturesImhotep lived during two kings’ reign and became so famous he had achieved the status of being a deity, the god of healing in the Late Period of the Egyptian Kingdom. In Manethos’ history he is associated with the improvement of writing into the more simple hieroglyphs, which became standardized during the 3rd dynasty.

4th Dynasty, Old Kingdom (c.2575 to c.2465 BC)
The first king of the 4th dynasty was Snefru who is thought to have built the step pyramid of Maydûm and later modified it to build the first true pyramid. The 4th dynasty was unique because centralized government was created and most of Egypt’s resources were put into the tombs and the buildings associated with it. No significant tombs were built during this period and those that were built are found in the Memphis area. Snefru was the first king’s name that was written inside the cartouche, which was an elongated oval plaque that has become one of the most famous Egyptian symbols, being used as neck jewelry today. The cartouche is the oldest symbol and can be seen on tomb paintings that were a gift by gods to the kings, which allowed a long period on the throne. Snefru's successor, Khufu, built the great the Great Pyramid at Giza, to which a smaller pyramid was added by one of Khufu's sons, Khafre[28] The Palermo Stone records a campaign to lower Nubia during the reign of Snefru. The Egyptians founded a settlement at Buhen, at the north side of the Second Cataract, which lasted for 200 years. Other settlements may have been founded between Buhen and Elephantine. It was probably established to increase the length of the trade routes. In later ages this would be considered the classic age. Worship of the sun god (Re) began to be popular during this period and reached a peak in the next, 5th dynasty.

5th Dynasty (c.2465 to c.2325 BC)

The first two kings of the 5th dynasty were sons of a lady called Khentkaues, who was a member of the royal family in the 4th dynasty. The third king, Neferikare, may also have been her son. A story that comes from the Middle Kingdom is that her sons’ father was a priest of Re. Six kings of the 5th dynasty showed their devotion to the sun god by building personal temples to his cult. These temples, of which two are near the great pyramids, were used as mortuaries, as well as a place to honor the sun god, Re. State officials of the 5th dynasty were no longer required to be part of the royal family, although a few married princesses. Their offices were still appointed by the king and their titles were manipulated by the king during the 5th and on into the 6th dynasty. During the same period the tombs of the wealthy were no longer positioned by the king. It is believed that this period is when there was more independence from royal control. The last three kings of the 5th dynasty, MenkauhorDjedkare Izesi, and Unas, did not have their personal names tied in with Re. It is assumed there was a slight drop in the popularity of the sun god worship. Izesi and Unas did not build solar temples. Osiris, god of the dead, became more of a link with the royal family and its subjects. The pyramid of Unas, whose entrance was decorated with historical and religious scenes, is inscribed inside the tomb with spells that would help the deceased in the afterworld. These spells occur again in all later Old Kingdom pyramids. [29]

6th Dynasty (c.2325 to c.2150 BC)

There wasn’t much change between the last king of the 5th dynasty, Unas and that of Teti, the first king of the 6th dynasty. Around Teti's pyramid located in the northern part of Saqqarah, a cemetery of large tombs was built. Information on the 6th dynasty had more detail because of the length of the inscriptions that were found, which included information about officials other than the king. During this period there were three large trading expeditions, as recorded in three biographies of officials from Elephantine during the reigns of Pepi I and Pepi II. During the reign of Merenre there was a special judge appointed during a time of conspiracy in the royal household, which caused several campaigns against a region east of Egypt and in southern Palestine. The pyramid complex of Pepi II at southern Saqqarah was completed during the first 30 years of his 94-year reign. It is the last major monument of the Old Kingdom. He survived three queens who were buried in small pyramids around his own. It is interesting to note that three queens’ tombs were the only monuments of queens to be inscribed with the Pyramid Texts.

7th and 8th Dynasty (c.2150 to 2130 BC)

Pepi II was followed by rulers who didn’t live very long. The king of the 8th dynasty was Ibi who built a small pyramid at southern Saqqarah. His rule was centralized, but unstable because of political decay. At the end of the 8th dynasty, the Old Kingdom collapsed. During this time there was famine and violence which increased the death rate and also increased the number of burials in cemeteries. The country became decentralized and impoverished.

9th Dynasty (1st Intermediate Period, 2130 to 2080 BC)

After the end of the 8th dynasty the throne passed to kings from Heracleopolis, who made their city the capital, although Memphis continued to be important. Inscriptions show Nubian mercenaries in battle, which shows that this was a period of military action.

10th Dynasty (c.2080 to c.1970 BC) and 11th Dynasty (1970 BC to 1938 BC)

The founder of the 9th and 10th dynasty was named Khety and the two dynasties were called the House of Khety. Another important name from this period is Merikae. Until the 11th dynasty made Thebes its capital, Hermonthis on the west bank of the Nile, became the center of Theban culture. The dynasty honored as its ancestor the god’s father Mentuhotep, probably the father of the first king. The fourth king, Mentuhotep I (2008 to 1957 BC), gradually reunited Egypt and removed the Heracleopolitans from the picture. During the 20thyear of his reign he changed his name from Divine of the White Crown to United of the Two Lands. Later he would be known as the founder of the Middle Kingdom. His magnificent tomb is at Dayr al-Bahri. In addition to the Pyramid Texts, other texts were placed in the coffins and these came to be referred to as the Coffin Texts. This practice continued during the Middle Kingdom.

Middle Kingdom (1938 to c.1600 BC)

In the 12th dynasty, Amenemhet I followed the Mentuhotep generation of three kings. He moved the capital back to Memphis. In his 20th year of his reign, he took his son Sesostris I as his co-regent in order to avoid instability. This was also done in the next two reigns and occurred in later periods of the Egyptian empire. During the following ten years of the joint rule, Sesostris began campaigns in Lower Nubia that led to the conquest of the Second Cataract of the Nile River. Several fortresses were built and occupied, but the population of Nubia was not integrated within the Egyptian culture. While Sesostris was away, Amenemhet I was murdered. Little is known about the reigns of Amenemhet II and Sesostris II, but they built pyramids at Fayyûm. Frequent campaigns and military occupations continued for the next 150 years. Sesostris III finally reorganized Egypt into four regions. The religious center was at Abydos and administrative documents were found at al-Lahûn. After the reigns of Amenemhet III and Amenemhet IVSebeknefu (c.1760 BC to 1756 BC) ruled as the first female pharaoh, which ended the dynasty.

13th Dynasty (c.1756 to 1630 BC)

During this period of Egyptian history, Egypt lost control of lower Nubia, where the garrisons could not be replaced with fresh troops. A rival dynasty was formed known as the 14th at Xois in the northern and central part of the Nile Delta. The increase of competition for power in Egypt and Nubia formed two new dynasties: the 15th, called the Hyksos (c.1630 to c. 1523 BC), with its capital at Avaris in the Nile Delta; and the 17th dynasty (c.1630 to 1540 BC), which ruled from Thebes. The word Hyksos means “ruler of foreign lands” and also as an historical footnote, is found in Manethos’ text which mentions the works of the Jewish historian, Josephus (1st century AD), who describes how the rulers were spoiling the land. It is also Josephus who investigates the background of the MessiahJesus the Christ, and the story concerning his miraculous birth that brought fierce opposition against the newly formed religion called Christianity. During this period there was influence from Asia that brought more technology to Egypt: new breeds of cattle, new types of crops, composite bows were invented, and new types of daggers and scimitars invented. The most important change was the horse and chariot, which gave the Egyptians a tactical advantage on the battlefield.Moses the prophet who led the Hebrews out of bondage in Egypt to the Promised Land was born during the next era – the New Kingdom around 1400 BC.

New Kingdom – 15th Dynasty (c.1539 to 14 BC)

Egyptian tradition regards Ahmose as the founder of the new dynasty, even though he was preceded by Kamose, who was either his father or brother. Ahmose married his sister, Ahmose-Nofretari, who was given the title of God’s Wife of Amon, and who also became a major influence. After her death she was designated as a goddess among the deities. Ahmose destroyed the Hyksos Empire and drove them beyond the eastern frontier. Egypt becomes an empire once again. Ahmose's officers and soldiers were rewarded with loot and captives who became personal slaves. This was the beginning of the military class which became more influential. Like the Middle Kingdom, Ahmose appointed a vizier to be his chief deputy in the affairs of the state. Later he would appoint another vizier, one for Upper and one for Lower Egypt. Young bureaucrats were educated at the temple schools, which reinforced the administration and the priesthood. Ahmose’s son and successor was Amenhotep I who ruled between 1514 BC and 1493 BC. He expanded the Egyptian frontier further south to the Third Cataract of the Nile River near the capital of the Karmah state. The New Kingdom increased the devotion to the official state god Amon-Re, whose cult gave the pharaoh the mission of expanding the Egyptian borders. Spoils of war were turned over to the Amon-Re’s treasury and sacred monuments were constructed at Thebes. The tombs during this period were erected at the edge of the desert. The location of Amenhotep I’s tomb has never been found as of this date. Amenhotep I did not have a child, so he was succeeded by one of the generals, Thutmose I who ruled from 1493 BC to c.1482 BC, and who married his sister, Ahmose. He destroyed the Karmah state and inscribed at the border of the Fifth Cataract of the Nile River on a rock his declaration of his territorial claim. During Thutmose I’s reign, Egypt achieved its greatest conquests. Thutmose II continued his father’s campaigns and policies. At Thutmose II's death, his queen, Hatshepsut, had only a young daughter, but another wife conceived a boy, who served as a priest in the Temple of Amon. This son, Thutmose III ruled from 1479 BC to 1426 BC, and reconquered Egypt’s Asiatic empire and became one of the most famous rulers of the Egyptian Empire. Thutmose III controlled the land, but Hatshepsut governed as the throne-bound regent. Between the second and seventh years of his reign, Hatshepsut assumed the throne for herself. She is often depicted on monuments as a male.
Thutmose III continued to rule after her death and saved Egypt from attack by the Syrians. Two years before Thutmose III's death, he appointed his son, Amenhotep II as co-regent. Amenhotep II’s son, Thutmose IV ruled from 1400 BC to 1390 BC and established more peace. Artatama, a Mitannian king, gave his daughter for marriage to Thutmose IV. It is probably the first diplomatic marriage in history, as far as we know. During this time there was cultural influence from other regions, such as Phoenicia, Crete, and the Aegean Islands. In the Theban tombs there are representations of Syrians carrying Aegean products and Aegeans carrying Syrian bowls and amphorae. Egyptian ships traded with the Phoenicians and Syrians. The Aegeans provided silver to the Egyptians and the Egyptians provided gold to the Aegeans. A new appreciation of foreign culture developed in Egypt during this period. Thutmose IV’s son, Amenhotep III ruled from 1390 BC to 1353 BC and gained the throne at the age of 12. Later he married Tiy, whose father was a commander of the chariot corps. In his fifth year of reign, Amenhotep III won a victory over Cushite rebels. Another diplomatic marriage took place during the pharaoh’s tenth year reigning from, once again, the Mitannian empire. Her name was princess Gilukhepa and was welcomed in Amenhotep III’s harem. Also during his reign, there were many new architectural achievements, such as the huge third pylon at Karnak and a new Temple of Amon at Luxor. He also built a huge harbor and a palace complex nearby. Amenhotep III was succeeded by Amenhotep IV who ruled from 1353 BC to 1335 BC. In his fifth year as pharaoh, Amenhotep changed his name to Akhenaton (one useful to Aton) from his new term for the sun god Aton, the solar disk. He declared that the sun god was his father. During the first five years of the religious change, Akhenaton built many temples, the most important being the Temple of Amon-Re at Karnak. During the construction of these temples, the cult of Amon and other gods were discontinued.
The king’s wife, Nerfertiti, a familiar name in Egyptology, became a frequent figure in his reliefs and had a shrine dedicated to her. After this point of time she became more important. The capital was changed to Amarna in Middle Egypt. There he constructed a well-planned city - Akhetaton (The Horizon of Aton) - which contained temples to Aton, palaces, official buildings, and villas for high-ranking officials, and several residential quarters. In the eastern desert cliffs surrounding the city, tombs were excavated for the officials and deep in a secluded Wadi, the royal sepulcher was prepared. The reliefs in these tombs have shown us what life was like at Armana. In Akhenaton's ninth reigning year, he declared that Aton was the only god to be worshiped. Amon's name was removed from older monuments all over Egypt. This religious revolution could not have been accomplished without a strong military support.  Akhenaton and Nerfertiti had six daughters and one or two sons, one of which ruled. His name was Smenkhhare (1335 to 1332 BC).
After his brief rule, the other son, Tutankhamen succeeded his older brother at the age of nine years old. He was married to the third oldest daughter of Akhenaton and her name was Ankhesenpaaten. Sometime during Tutankhamen's third year as pharaoh, he moved his capital to Memphis, abandoned the Aton cult, and changed his and the queen’s name to Tutankhamen and Ankhesenpaaten. This change was probably influenced by the high priests. In the new doctrine of religion, all gods were from three: Amon, Re, and Ptah. [30] He also named his three army divisions after these gods. Tutankhamen built many new buildings at Thebes. His Luxor colonnade shows detailed reliefs of the festival of Opet; at Karnak he decorated a structure with scenes of war. Tutankhamen’s name is well known in the modern world because of the discovery of his fantastic tomb in the Valley of the Kings found untouched by grave robbers like so many tombs before that time. His tomb revealed much more historical information than other archaeological finds. Tutankhamen’s funeral was conducted by his grand vizier, Ay who ruled from 1322 BC to 1319 BC, and who was succeeded by Horemheb who ruled from 1319 BC to 1292 BC. Horemheb dismantled many monuments erected by Akhenaton and his successors and used the blocks as fillers for the huge pylons at Karnak. During this process Nerfertiti's image seems to have been defaced more than others. At Karnak and Luxor he defaced Tutankhamen’s reliefs by replacing King Tut’s cartouches with his own. Horemheb replaced officials and priests from the army, not established priestly families as was the ancient custom. He issued police regulations that dealt with misbehavior of court officials, reformed the judicial system, reorganized the courts, and selected new judges.

19th and 20th Dynasties
Horemheb was the first post-Armana king to be considered legitimate in the 16th dynasty. He had no son so he selected his general (who also was his vizier), Ramses, to succeed him. Ramses I ruled from 1292 BC to 1290 BC. Ramses I was succeeded by his son and co-regent, Seti I, who buried his father and provided him with mortuary buildings at Thebes and Abydos. Seti I ruled from 1290 to 1279 BC and was a successful military leader who reestablished authority over Egypt’s weakened empire in the Near East. Long before his death, Seti I appointed Ramses II (1279 BC to 1213 BC) as crown prince. Ramses II had a long reign from 1279 BC to 1213 BC, in which he expanded building throughout Egypt and Nubia, to include the new capital of Pi Ramesse in the eastern Nile Delta. Ramses II is famous for his battle scenes on temples. The pharaoh had a large family by his numerous wives. His favorite was Nefertari to whom he dedicated a temple at Abu Simbel, in Nubia. He built a magnificent tomb for her in the Valley of the Queens. Also, for the first time in Egyptian history, princes were depicted on monuments, such as Ramses II’s fourth son, Khaemwese, who as a famous high priest of Ptah at Memphis. Ramses II restored many monuments in the Memphite area, including pyramids and pyramid temples of the Old Kingdom. He had buildings constructed near the Sarapeum at Saqqarah as well. He was famous even into the Roman Empire period as a sage and a magician and became a hero in a series of stories. Ramses II’s thirteenth son, Merneptah ruled from 1213 BC to 1204 BC as his successor. One of the inscriptions of him ends with a poem of victory of a battle which stated: Israel is desolated and has no seed. This is the earliest mention of Israel that has been found so far. Scholars believe that the exodus of the Jews from Egypt took place under Ramses II. Biblical texts give the more detailed history of Israelites than what could be found in Egyptian archaeological remains.[31] Upon the death of Merneptah, factions within the royal family competed for the throne. Merneptah's son Seti II, ruled 1204 to 1198 BC, and who was succeeded by Seti II’s widow,Tausert, who ruled from 1193 to 1190 BC.
In the early 20th dynasty, order was restored by Setnakht, who ruled from 1190 BC to 1187 BC, and was the founder of the 20th dynasty and who seized Tausert's tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Setnakht's son, Ramses III, ruled from 1187 BC to 1156 BC and was the last great pharaoh of the New Kingdom. Ramses III was succeeded by his son Ramses IV who ruled from 1156 BC to 1150 BC. During this period the priesthood gained economic power as landholders. The priesthood began their power as a family, especially at Thebes. Ramses IV tried to control the priesthood by installing Ramessesnakht who took care of administrative and priestly affairs. He personally led an expedition to the quarries in the Eastern Desert and supervised the distribution of rations to the workmen who decorated the royal tomb at Thebes.
Ramses V, who ruled from 1150 BC to 1145 BC, Ramessesnakht's son served as a steward of Amon and held the post of administrator of royal lands and chief tax master. In this way the family gained authority over the wealth of Amon and Egypt’s finances.
Ramses VI ruled from 1145 BC to 1137 BC and was probably the son of Ramses III. A papyrus describes a civil war during this period. The next two Ramses are not well known because not enough documents have been found or other sources like reliefs to tell us about them. By the time Ramses IX (1126-1108 BC), the Theban high priest, had gained much influence, though he was still out ranked by the pharaoh. The empire began to shrink. Supply of copper and silver was cut off, and the amount of gold entering the economy was reduced. During his reign the economy was so bad the inhabitants of western Thebes pillaged the tombs of kings and nobles, more so than in the past. The pillaging brought fresh gold, silver and copper back into the economy and the price of copper rose, but the price of grain dropped. During this period, private tombs only showed religious scenes, oracles making decisions, and private letters that usually contained references to prayers and regular visits to temples to perform rituals. A common expression used in letters was I am all right today; tomorrow is in the hands of god.

21st Dynasty (1075 BC to c.950 BC)
Most of the Nile Valley came under the control of the priests at the end of the New Kingdom and the Tanite pharaohs who seemed to share the control of Egypt. Beginning with Herihor and continuing through the 21st dynasty, the high priests re-wrapped and reburied New Kingdom royal mummies. The ransacking of royal tombs during the 20th dynasty caused the priesthood to transfer royal remains to the tomb of Amenhotep II and a cliff tomb at Dayr al-Bahri. These burial places remained undisturbed until modern times. After the fall of the Asiatic empire, the kingdom of Israel eventually developed under David and Solomon. During the reign of Solomon in Israel, Egypt presented a diplomatic marriage of King Siamon's daughter. This was another first in Egypt’s history, for Amenhotep III had written:
From of old, a daughter of the king of Egypt has not been given to anyone.
In this period and up to the 24th and 25th dynasties, Egypt began to lose its greatness.

26th Dynasty (664 to 525 BC)
In the Late Period (664 BC to 332 BC), the 26th dynasty, Greece began to influence cultural activities in Egypt. Babylonian military power became a threat under Nebuchadnezzar who inflicted heavy damage to Egyptian forces at Carchemish. The Saite dynasty during this period avoided territorial expansion and concentrated on preserving what they still had. After the Psamtik II made an expedition to Phoenicia, the next pharaoh, Apries (589 to 570 BC) tried unsuccessfully to end Babylonian domination of Palestine. With the withdrawal of Egyptian forces, Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple of Jerusalem in 586 BC. Many Jews then fled to Egypt, where some were enlisted as soldiers in the Persian army of occupation. Apries’ army was defeated in Libya when it attacked the Greek colony at Cyrene. During the Late Period animal worship became more popular in Egypt. It had always existed, much to the scorn of classical writers, but it became more interesting to the Egyptian for some reason. Maybe it was because that more Egyptians had domesticated animals as pets around their households. Whatever the reason, any species were mummified and buried causing a need for caretakers of the necropolises. At Saqqarah, the Apis bull, which had been worshiped as a display for the god Ptah since the 1st dynasty, was buried in a huge granite sarcophagus in ceremonies. It seems Memphis citizens buried the most species (ten) and the amount of animals buried was in the millions.
27th Dynasty (525 to 404 BC)
For the first three years of Cambyses’ reign he was occupied with strife connected with his succession to the throne until the murder of his brother, Smerdis. According to the Greek historian, Herodotus, Cambyses was a cruel king. His control over Phoenicia provided him with a valuable fleet for his proposed operations. Cambyses died in 526 BC and his son, Psammetichus III was left to battle against his enemies his father made and while the Battle of Pelusium (525 BC) was fought hard by the Egyptians then ended up fleeing to Memphis, which surrendered after a long siege. Egypt then fell under Persian rule under the thumb of Manetho, whose reign only lasted three years. A Jewish document written in 407 BC describes the destruction of all temples of the Egyptian gods’ during the time of Cambyses, so the king’s evil reputation had apparently lasted over time and spread around the ancient world. Whatever be the case, when the Persians had taken over the ancient world, it was ruled by Darius I, the son of Hystaspes, a member of the family of Cyrus. His long reign lasted thirty-six years (521-486 BC) and the Persian Empire became organized under his wise leadership. Little is known of what was going on in Egypt at this time. Darius spent his early years suppressing revolts and after the region settled he finally made a visit to Egypt. An important event came about when Darius sent an order to Satrap in the third year of his reign to assemble the wisest men among Egypt’s soldiers, priests and scribes to write the complete law of Egypt all the way back to year 44 of Amasis. This task would take 16 years to complete. This explains the fact that Darius is considered to be one of the greatest law givers of Egypt. During this time, as related by Herodotus, Darius completes the canal that led from the Nile River to the Red Sea. Neko II had abandoned the project, but Darius not only repaired the channel, but completed it. This allowed 24 ships full of tribute from Egypt to Persia to sail down its length in safety. The stele that commemorates this even was erected along the banks of the canal and inscriptions in hieroglyphs and in cuneiform tell the story of Darius seeking the legitimate right to govern Egypt as Pharaoh. Of all the Persian kings, he alone built the temples of Egyptian gods, rather than changing the religious structure Egyptian society. If it wasn’t for the Greek historians in the fifth century, little would be known about Egypt during this period.

26th Dynasty
Forty years after the death of Darius II in 404 BC, Egyptian history remains a blank. Manetho ends at this point of time with the tale of events concerning the accession of Artaxerxes II and the end of Persian rulers. He begins the 28th dynasty with Amyrtaeus of Sais, but the Pharaoh, Diodorus, mistakenly called Psammetichus. What little we know about this dynasty was taken from a papyrus called The Demotic Chronicle. We have no idea how this Pharaoh came to power or any information on any monuments.

29th Dynasty
After Egypt’s conquest by Alexander the Great in 332 BC, the main aim of Egypt’s foreign policy was to defend its independence against Persia, who viewed Egypt as a rebellious province. The first and last kings of this dynasty have the same name – Nepherites (I ; II).  In 396 BC Sparta looked for an alliance with Egypt, and it was granted.

30th Dynasty
After only four months’ reign of Nepherites II, the throne passed into the hands of a general from SebennytusNekhtnebef, according to Manetho, succeeded Nepherites II, who built many monuments.

31st Dynasty
Through strategic skill and the weak political nature, Egypt becomes a Persian province once more. Artaxerxes, after demolishing walls of the most important cities, plundered the shrines of their silver and gold and carried away inscribed records from the ancient temples, which later was returned to the Egyptian priests upon payment of huge amounts of gold. Egypt was once again under the thumb of a foreign element, this time the Greeks. But this is also the period when Ptolemy Soter became satrap of Egypt and a new age of enlightenment came to be. This only came to be after a period of wars among Alexander’s successors. Ptolemy Soter invades Syria and regains territory for Egypt, and Syria in turn rules over Palestine. Rome is in its infancy and commences to overtake Etruscan rule in Italy and the First Punic War with the Carthaginians. Egypt is now ruled by Greeks but retain the title Pharaoh and Egyptian culture and religion continues. It is during this period that the Egyptian historian is commissioned to write the history of Egypt. Manetho has become important to scholars and historians as a reference that has aided them in their endeavor to piece together the history of Egypt, but little is known about the man.
Manetho lived in Sebennytus, the capital of Egypt during the 30th dynasty and was a priest during the reigns of Ptolemy I and Ptolemy II. It is said that he was involved in the creation of the cult of Serapis, a god added to the Egyptian religion that had both Hellenistic and Egyptian characteristics – but this has not been confirmed. Manethos wrote a collection of three books entitled Aegyptiaca, and as mentioned, was commissioned by Ptolemy II. The Greek Pharaohs realized the importance of history and it was a means of bringing together the Egyptian and Hellenistic cultures. Manetho had access to the archives of the temple where he served as a priest. Those archives contained a large number of different kinds of writings that ranged from mythological texts to official records, from magical formulas to scientific texts. Therefore it shouldn’t surprise anyone if myth and folk tales were mixed in with the historical facts about Egypt. It is Manetho that we have the division of Ancient Egypt into 30 dynasties. Other references that can be matched to and examined with Manetho's history is were later authors like JosephusAfricanusSyncellus, and Eusebius. Unfortunately, Methano's works were filled with excerpts and comments from these authors and thus brought about conflicting text. For instance, Eusebius describes only three kings in the 22nd Dynasty, while Africanus lists 9. So the classical authors who copied, commented or made references to the Aegyptiaca were supplied with different sources – all of who claim their writing was based upon the original work of Manetho. Josephus, on the other hand, known both the original work and the fake Manethoan literature, but he seemed to have had difficulty distinguishing between them. No one can deny that Alexandria during this period until the Greek pharaonic line ended with Cleopatra became a dominating city of the eastern Mediterranean as far as culture, politics, and economically. Alexandria became the new capital of the Egypt in 320 BC after replacing Memphis. This remained so on up to and including the Byzantine period. Trade became an important factor in Alexandria with products like papyrus, medicine, perfume, jewelry, and art.
Alexander the Great took Egypt from the Persians in 332 BC and made it part of the Greek Empire. Alexander was the first Greek to be crowned Pharaoh in Memphis before sailing northwards down the Nile River. Alexandria was home to two wonders of the ancient world: Library of Alexandria and Pharos Lighthouse. The Egyptian culture remained under Ptolemy and his descendants because they adopted Egyptian customs and added Egypt’s religion to their own, worshiping gods of Eternity and building temples to them, and even were mummified and buried in sarcophagi as the Pharaohs before them. This adoption of Egyptian culture by Ptolemy was the secret of his success as a foreigner ruling Egypt, while Alexander came and left, Ptolemy desired to become one of the people he intended to rule. It was a golden age that only ended when Egypt’s might was usurped by the ever-growing Roman Empire.
Ptolemy invited scholars and artists from all over the known world to come to Alexandria. Ptolemy I, II, and III were all interested in science and were avid collector of books, so it was no surprise that the Library of Alexandria became an important entity to bring Greek science, art, and literature to Egypt; as well as other texts from all over the ancient world. Despite Ptolemy’s interest in Egyptian culture and its importance, he believed that the Greek culture was superior and so most of what was in the Library of Alexandria was from Greek sources. Along with the Great Library was research and learning centers created by Aristotle at the Lyceum and Plato’s Academy. At the height of the history of the Great Library, it held close to 50,000 books, an astonishing amount for the ancient world. Ptolemy III, grandson of Ptolemy I, wouldn’t allow ships docked at Alexandria to leave without first seizing their cargo of books, having copies made, and then returning the copies to the ship’s captains. The originals were kept in the Library of Alexandria. The librarians had complete works of AeschylusEuripides, and Sophocles from the collections in Athens, which never were returned. The library was open to anyone who could read and wished to learn. The Greek alphabet was taught to the Egyptians who now only had to learn thirty symbols as compared to a much larger number when using hieroglyphs. It was not just a golden age as far as wealth and opportunity, but a new age of learning. The eventual destruction of the Great Library is pretty much a mystery. Most of the Library was destroyed during Julius Caesar’s war against Pompey; but the Library, was presumed to have been totally destroyed during the 270s, along with portions of the palace. It did not exist when the Arabs conquered the region in the 7th century AD. Stories of course tell that part of the Library was rescued and remains hidden somewhere waiting to be discovered. As far as anyone can tell, this was just a story. The Ptolemaic Dynasty lasted 300 years, surviving family feuds and external conflicts while living a combination of Hellenic and Egyptian lifestyle. If Alexandria had been a bit more prosperous, some say it could have replaced Rome as the center of the world. Everything was not peaceful within Egypt during this period. Some Egyptians resented the presence of the Greeks; after all, they had survived 14 centuries without outside help. It was the cost of these restless periods that brought Egypt more under the influence of Rome as the last dynasty approached its end.

Phenomenology of Religions, its chapters, annexes and appendices are protected under US and international copyright laws - please respect that. Linked/Sourced excerpts may be used if author is identified and linked. No commercial reproduction may be produced without the express permission of the author. Unless otherwise identified, photographs/images are public domain or the property of Keith Allen Lehman.
Endnotes to Part B

[28] Mentioned in ancient Egyptian text as Rekhaef and Chephren in ancient Greek text.
[29] This collection of spells is known as the Pyramid Texts, mentioned previously. Pyramid Texts shows the importance of Osiris who assists the king to pass into the underworld through spells and rituals.
[30] Later Seth was added.
[31] Manetho, Egyptian historian (300 BC), as reported by Josephus, Hebrew historian (100 AD), wrote that the Exodus was dues to the desire of the Egyptians to protect themselves from plague that had broken out among the destitute and enslaved Jews, and that Moses was an Egyptian priest who went as a missionary among the Jewish “lepers” and gave them laws of cleanliness modeled upon those of Egyptian clergy. Greek and Roman writers repeat this explanation concerning the Exodus; but their anti-Semitic inclinations make them unreliable guides.

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