Tefnakht II

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Tefnakht II may have been a native Saite king who ruled Sais during the 25th Nubian Dynasty of Ancient Egypt or merely a local mayor of Sais who was erroneously assigned a kingship by the later kings of the Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt.


Tefnakht II was a separate person from the illustrious Great Chief of the West Shepsesre Tefnakht (I), who is mentioned in Piye's Year 20 Victory Stela and would have ruled part of Lower Egypt around 685 to 678 BC as a minor Saite king when the Nubian Dynasty still controlled all of Egypt. Tefnakht II appears in Manetho's Epitome as a certain Stephinates and is assigned a reign of seven years. Manetho also writes that he was succeeded by an unknown king named Nekauba at Sais. The father of Tefnakht II is unknown and the king may or may not have been a descendant of the last ruling Saite king, Bakenranef who was executed in Year 2 of Shabaka, and likely replaced with a faithful nubian governor, probably Ammeris. According to Sextus Africanus's version of Manetho's Epitome, the 26th Dynasty comprised nine kings which began with a Stephinates and ended with a Psammetichus (i.e., Psamtik III). Africanus copy of Manetho's Epitome also accurately records Psamtik I's reign of the 26th Dynasty as being 54 years and Apries's reign at 19 years. Consequently, it appears that Manetho regarded Tefnakht II to be the founder of the 26th Dynasty of Sais.

Tefnakht I and Tefnakht II[edit]

Karl-Heinz Priese noted in a 1970 article that there was no compelling reason to identify this king with the more famous Tefnakht—Piye's chief rival in Lower Egypt—aside from the similarity of their names. The earlier Tefnakht is only attested as a "Chief of the West", rather than an actual king of Sais. More significantly, however, a recent 2002 CRAIBL article by Olivier Perdu publishes a newly discovered Year 2 donation stela discovered near Sebennytos which dates to Necho I's reign. Perdu reveals that it is close in style, form and content with the Year 8 donation stela of Shepsesre Tefnakht. Perdu suggested that these two Saite kings were close contemporaries. Hence, Shepsesre Tefnakht would rather be a 7th-century BC king who ruled Sais around the same time as king Necho I (672-664 BC) and likely ruled Sais around 685 BC-678 BC. He would then be succeeded by an unknown Nekauba who was, in turn, succeeded by the well-documented Necho I, father of Psamtik I.

However, Perdu's arguments are not accepted by many Egyptologists who note that his epigraphic criteria here—such as the use of the tripartite wig, the slender figure of the king and the method through which the falcon-headed god keeps his head upright in stelas and temple wall reliefs contemporary with Tefnakht I's time—appear in use already in the early 25th Nubian dynasty during Piye's or Shabaka's reign and even in the Year 38 Shoshenq V donation stela of Tefnakht, Chief of the Ma made by Tefnakht I, who was Piye's rival.[1] Moreover, for Tefnakht II to have begun a native line of kings of Sais in the 680s BC, there must have been a political vacuum in Upper Egypt but Taharqa exercised firm control over this region until his setbacks against the Assyrians in 671 BC. Consequently, the conventional view that Shepsesre Tefnakht should probably be identified with Tefnakht I rather than a hypothethical Tefnakht II remains valid.

According to a papyrus from Tebtunis, Necho I was the son of a king named Tefnakht, presumably Tefnakht II.[2]


  1. ^ Dan'el Kahn, "The Transition from Libyan to Nubian Rule" in Egypt: Revisiting the Reign of Tefnakht, THE LIBYAN PERIOD IN EGYPT, Historical and Cultural Studies into the 21st - 24th Dynasties: Proceedings of a Conference at Leiden University 25-27 October 2007, G.P.F. Broekman, R.J. Demarée & O.E. Kaper, (eds.), pp. 139–48
  2. ^ Kim Ryholt, ‘King Necho I son of king Tefnakhte II’, Von Theben nach Giza. Festmiszellen für Stefan Grunert zum 65. Geburtstag, edited by F. Feder, L. Morenz, and G. Vittmann, Göttinger Miszellen Beihefte 10, Göttingen 2011, pp. 123-127.


  • Olivier Perdu, "De Stéphinatès à Néchao ou les débuts de la XXVIe dynastie," Compte-rendus de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (CRAIBL) 2002, pp. 1215–1244
  • Karl-Heinz Priese, "Der Beginn der kuschitischen Herrschaft in Ägypten," ZÄS 98(1970), pp. 16–32
Preceded by
Pharaoh of Egypt
Twenty-sixth Dynasty
Succeeded by