Amyrtaeus

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Amyrtaeus
Amenirdisu; Amyrtaios of Sais, Greek Ἀμύρταῖος Σαΐτης
Pharaoh of Egypt
Reign 5 years, 404 to October 399 BC, 28th Dynasty
Predecessor Darius II
Successor Nepherites I
Born unknown
Died October 399 BC
Burial unknown
Monuments none known

Amyrtaeus (or Amenirdisu) of Sais is the only king of the Twenty-eighth dynasty of Egypt and is thought to be related to the royal family of the Twenty-sixth dynasty. He ended the First Persian Occupation and reigned from 404 BC to 399 BC.

Amyrtaeus was probably the grandson of the Amyrtaeus of Sais who is known to have carried on a rebellion in 465–463 BC with the Libyan chief, Inarus (himself a grandson of Psamtik III), against the Satrap of Artaxerxes I. He is known from Aramaic and ancient Greek sources, and is mentioned in the Demotic Chronicle. He is not known to have left any monuments, and his name in Egyptian is only reconstructed from demotic notices.

Before assuming the throne of Egypt, Amyrtaeus had revolted against Darius II as early as 411 BC, leading a guerrilla action in the western Nile Delta around his home city of Sais. Following the death of Darius, Amyrtaeus declared himself king in 404 BC. According to Isocrates, Artaxerxes II assembled an army in Phoenicia under the command of Abrocomas to retake Egypt shortly after coming to the Persian throne, but political problems with his brother Cyrus the Younger prevented this from taking place, allowing the Egyptians sufficient time to throw off Achaemenid rule. While the rule of Amyrtaeus in the western Delta was established by 404 BC, Artaxerxes II continued to be recognized as king at Elephantine as late as 401 BC, but Aramaic papyri from the site refer to Regnal Year 5 of Amyrtaeus in September 400 BC. The Elephantine papyri also demonstrate that between 404 and 400 BC (or even 398) Upper Egypt remained under Persian control, while the forces of Amyrtaeus dominated the Delta.

Amyrtaeus was defeated in open battle by his successor, Nepherites I of Mendes, and executed at Memphis, an event which the Aramaic papyrus Brooklyn 13 implies occurred in October 399 BC.

Bibliography[edit]

  • A. Lemaire, 'La fin de la première période perse in Égypte et la chronologie judéene vers 400 av. J.-C., Transeuphratène 9 (1995), 51-61.
  • O. Perdu, 'Saites and Persians (664-332),' in A.B. Lloyd (ed.), A Companion to Ancient Egypt (Chichester, 2010), 140-58 (at 153-7).
  • J.D. Ray, 'Egypt: Dependence and Independence (425-343 B.C.), in Achaemenid History 1 (Leiden, 1987), 79-95.
Preceded by
Darius II
Pharaoh of Egypt Succeeded by
Nepherites I