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Almost nothing is known of Nekauba or Nechepsos as he is also called except that he is listed as one of the early kings of the 26th Saite Dynasty in Manetho's Epitome and is assigned a reign of six years. However, his status as king is not confirmed by any contemporary documents and he may well be an invention of later Saite rulers to legitimise their kingship. Manetho writes that Nekauba is supposed to have succeeded Stephinates the founder of the 26th Dynasty—perhaps Tefnakht II—and was, in turn, followed by the well known Necho I, father of Psamtik I. Nekauba would have reigned as a local Saite king under the Nubian Dynasty between 678 BC to 672 BC if he did have an independent reign.[1] If not, he would merely have been a local mayor of Sais who served in office for this period of time prior to the accession of king Necho I.

The Egyptologist Kenneth Kitchen has suggested[2] that Nekauba's reign be raised by a decade from six to 16 years, though this seems somewhat ambitious for such an obscure ruler. It appears far more economical to adopt – at face value – Manetho's far shorter figure of only six years. This may suggest that only a small amount of time passed between the reign of Tefnakht II and the accession of Necho I.

It is probable that Nekauba and Necho I were both sons of Tefnakht II. His name closely resembles Necho's own name.

Doubtful existence[edit]

In 2002 Olivier Perdu published a newly discovered Year 2 donation stela found 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 I, hence suggested that these two Saite kings were close contemporaries and that Tefnakht I would have ruled Sais around 685 BC-678 BC, just before Nekauba and Necho I, thus equating him with Tefnakht II.[3] Perdu's arguments are not accepted by many Egyptologists who criticized the epigraphic criteria used by him.

In 2011 Kim Ryholt[4] assumed that Nekauba's name translates as "Necho the wise" and that Nekauba or Nechepsos' name refers to Necho II instead. Ryholt maintains that there was no independent Saite king named Nekauba who intervened between Tefnakht II and Necho I. Ryholt also stresses that possible evidence for the removal of an intervening king between Tefnakht II and Necho I was provided by Perdu's aforementioned argument concerning the similarity of the two stelae (although Ryholt attributes the Year 8 stela to Tefnakht II instead); the attribution of 6 years to Nekauba would separate the two stela by a minimum of seven years whereas if Nekauba did not exist, the two stela might have been produced within one to two years since Necho I would have been Tefnakht II's immediate successor.[5]


  1. ^ Karl-Heinz Priese, "Der Beginn der Kuschitischen Herrschaft in Ägypten," ZÄS 98 (1970), pp. 16–32
  2. ^ Kenneth Kitchen, The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (1100–650 BC), 1996, Aris & Phillips Limited, Warminster, ISBN 0-85668-298-5, §§ 117-18.
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ Kim Ryholt, "New Light on the Legendary King Nechepsos of Egypt", Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 97 (2011), pp. 61-72 online PDF
  5. ^ Ryholt, op. cit., p. 66
Preceded by
Tefnakht II?
Pharaoh of Egypt
678 – 672 BC
Twenty-sixth Dynasty
Succeeded by
Necho I