Late Period of ancient Egypt

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The Late Period of Ancient Egypt refers to the last flowering of native Egyptian rulers after the Third Intermediate Period from the 26th Saite Dynasty into Persian conquests and ended with the conquest by Alexander the Great. It ran from 664 BCE until 332 BCE. Though foreigners ruled the country at this time, Egyptian culture was more prevalent than ever. Libyans and Persians alternated rule with native Egyptians, but traditional conventions continued in the arts.[1]

It is often regarded as the last gasp of a once great culture, during which the power of Egypt steadily diminished.

26th Dynasty[edit]

The Twenty-Sixth Dynasty, also known as the Saite Period, lasted from 672 BCE to 525 BCE. Canal construction from the Nile to the Red Sea began.

During this time many Jews came to Egypt, fleeing the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem by the Babylonians (586 BCE). Jeremiah and other Jewish refugees arrived in Lower Egypt, notably in Migdol, Tahpanhes and Memphis. Some refugees also settled at Elephantine and other settlements in Upper Egypt (see Jeremiah Chapters 43 and 44). Jeremiah mentions Pharaoh Hophra (otherwise known as Apries) in Jeremiah 44: v. 30 whose reign came to a violent end in 570 BCE.

One major contribution from the Late Period of Ancient Egypt was the Brooklyn Papyrus. This was a medical papyrus with a collection of medical and magical remedies for victims of snakebites based on snake type or symptoms.[2]

Egypt 664-332 BCE - Brooklyn Museum

Artwork during this time were representative of animal cults and animal mummies. This image shows the god Pataikos wearing a scarab beetle on his head, supports two human-headed birds on his shoulders, holds a snake in each hand, and stands atop crocodiles.[3]

Figure of Pataikos, 664-30 B.C.E. Brooklyn Museum

27th Dynasty[edit]

The First Achaemenid Period (525–404 BCE), this period saw Egypt conquered by an expansive Achaemenid Empire under Cambyses.

28th–30th Dynasties[edit]

The Twenty-Eighth Dynasty consisted of a single king, Amyrtaeus, prince of Sais, who rebelled against the Persians. He left no monuments with his name. This dynasty lasted 6 years, from 404 BCE to 398 BCE.

The Twenty-Ninth Dynasty ruled from Mendes, for the period from 398 BCE to 380 BCE.

The Thirtieth Dynasty took their art style from the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty. A series of three pharaohs ruled from 380 BCE until their final defeat in 343 BCE led to the re-occupation by the Persians.

31st Dynasty[edit]

There was a Second Achaemenid Period of the Thirty-First Dynasty (343–332 BCE).


  1. ^ Bleiberg, Edward (2013). Soulful Creatures: Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt. Brooklyn Museum. p. 16. 
  2. ^ Bleiberg, Edward (2013). Soulful Creatures: Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt. Brooklyn Museum. p. 55. 
  3. ^ Bleiberg, Edward (2013). Soulful Creatures: Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt. Brooklyn Museum. p. 16. 


  • Roberto B. Gozzoli: The Writing of History in Ancient Egypt During the First Millennium BCE (ca. 1070-180 BCE). Trend and Perspectives, London 2006, ISBN 0-9550256-3-X
  • Lloyd, Alan B. 2000. "The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, edited by Ian Shaw". Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. 369-394
  • Quirke, Stephen. 1996 "Who were the Pharaohs?", New York: Dover Publications. 71-74