Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Egypt’s 25th Dynasty
You might ask what has Egypt to do with Nubia and particularly it’s 25th dynasty. My answer would be, “Quite a bit!” And this is why.
Around 750 B.C. Egypt was in cultural and religious turmoil having been routed by Libya and several other kingdoms. Egypt was lost in a period of, what history describes as, decadence.
Piye, the ruler of Nubia, believed the only way to save Egypt from itself was to conquer it. Following a year-long campaign every leader in Egypt yielded to his authority. Thus, Piye became the first of the black pharaohs and the beginning of Egypt’s 25th dynasty.
For three-quarters of a century this series of rulers brought reunification to a worn-torn Egypt, reinstituted their religious culture, and “filled the landscape with glorious monuments, creating an empire that stretched from the southern border at present-day Kartoum all the way north to the Mediterranean Sea. They stood up to the bloodthirsty Assyrians, perhaps saving Jerusalem in the process (Robert Draper,National Geographic, February, 2008, p. 38).”
After conquering Egypt, Piye went back to Nubia and never returned. When he died, his burial wishes were honored. Piye desired to be buried in an Egyptian-style pyramid with 400 horses. He was the first pharaoh to be entombed in this way for over 500 years. This is the line of the 25 dynasty: Piye, who took the Egyptian name Thutmose III, ruled for 35 years. Following his death, his brother, Shabaka, ruled and took up residency in Memphis (the Egyptian capital) and took the name Pepi II. Piye’s son, Taharqa, followed Shabaka to the throne and proved to be not only a military genius, but chose to spend his political capital to create “a panorama of architectural wonderment” from Napata to Thebes,” according to Draper. This pharaoh can be credited with restoring both military might and cultural/religious notoriety to the kingdom of Egypt, setting the stage for all pharaohs to follow.