Psammetich I.

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Name of Psammetich I.
Psammetique Ier T Pabasa.jpg
Relief representation of Psammetich I in the tomb of Pabasa
Horus name
ib Z1
With great will
Gold name
Throne name
Hiero Ca1.svg
ra wAH ib
Hiero Ca2.svg
Strong is the heart (will) of Re
Proper name
Hiero Ca1.svg
m T
Hiero Ca2.svg
Psmṯ [j] k
The mixed wine seller
for Manetho
Ψαμμήτιχος (Psammetichos)

Psammetich I ( Assyrian Nabu-šēzibani, Pišamilki. Tušamilki ) ruled from 664–610 BC. As Pharaoh (King) and founder of the 26th Dynasty (Saïten Dynasty).

Psammetich I was during the lifetime of his father Necho I from 667–664 BC. In Athribis (Assyrian Ḫatḫariba ) worked as Gaufürst . With this measure, Assyria tried to militarily secure its influence in the Nile Delta . Contrary to Assyrian reports that control over all of Egypt was reported, Assyria only ruled the lower Egyptian regions.

His coronation as Pharaoh took place at the same time as the beginning of his first year of reign on the second day of the ancient Egyptian lunar calendar ( 2. Achet I ; January 29th Greg. ) Of the year 664 BC. Made.

Psammetich I as Assyrian governor

As Pharaoh Tanotamun ( 25th Dynasty ) after the death of Taharqa in 664 BC. BC attacked the Nile Delta to end Assyrian rule, Necho I died as the Assyrian governor of Sais . Psammetich I fled to Syria after the defeat of his father . There the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal transferred the governorship of Egypt to him as successor to Necho I.

Because Tanotamun took possession of the Nile Delta, a meeting followed in Memphis to discuss further steps. Pakruru represented the interests of all Nile Delta princes in this peace negotiation. Psammetich I and Ashurbanipal had in the meantime raised a joint army to overthrow the rebellion of Tanotamun. Ashurbanipal therefore advanced in 663 BC. BC together with Psammetich I. against Tanotamun.

After the capture of Lower Egypt, Assurbanipal persecuted Tanotamun to Thebes (Assyrian Ni'a ), which he then claims to have " destroyed and plundered ". Tanotamun had to withdraw to the borders of Upper Egypt for a short time , but later returned to the Theban areas. After his victory, Assurbanipal entrusted Psammetich I with the task of uniting the princes of the Nile Delta and placing them under his leadership.


When the Assyrian Empire through rebellions in Babylon and Elam from the year 660 BC When he was weakened, he freed Lower Egypt from Assyrian dominance with the help of King Gyges of Lydia and Greek mercenaries. He succeeded in uniting Lower and Upper Egypt in his ninth year of reign, shortly after Tanotamun's death. Montuemhat arranged that Psammetich's daughter Nitokris I greg on March 12th . (15. Achet II) 656 BC Was adopted as the wife of God of Amun and the new name Schepenupet III. received.

He strengthened the north-eastern border of the Egyptian empire, which was created in the war against Assyria, by stationing Ionic and Carian mercenaries in permanent camps at Pelusion and having the borders fortified. This fortification was done by expanding three large military garrisons ( Daphnae , Marea , Elephantine ). He made the city of Sais in the west of the Nile Delta the new Egyptian capital.

During the following years Psammetich I tried to cope with undesirable social developments by reintroducing ancient Egyptian orders. However, this led to strong resistance from the old families of officials and priests, who insisted on the inheritance of their offices or their land holdings. He also tried to recreate a reliable civil servant.

Amulet in the form of a counterweight bearing the name Psammetichs I (Louvre, Paris)

However, the petition of Priest Peteese published in the Rylands Papyri shows that the selfishness of the officials and priests was so strong that this venture failed. Psammetich I could only rely on the army as a state-maintaining power. As the army consisted to a large extent of Greek mercenaries, his reign was the beginning of an era of strong Greek influence in Egypt.

The inscription on a Serapeum stele shows that on January 7th, Greg. ( 20. Schemu IV ) the Apis bull died, who had previously been in the 26th year of Taharqa's reign on September 4th . ( 9th Peret IV ) 666 BC Was born in BC. In the 53rd year of the reign of Psammetich I, another sacred Apis bull was greg. (24. Peret II) 612 BC Born in BC. He died on February 16, greg. (6th Achet II) 595 BC In the 16th year of the reign of Necho II.

The process of internal reorganization of the state was interrupted 28 years after the Pharaoh came to power by an external threat posed by the decline of the Assyrian Empire and the expansion of the Neo-Babylonian Empire . In spite of this, Psammetich I managed to bring the country to a new boom in trade and a great cultural boom, as it had not been for 500 years.

One in 628 BC Attempt by the Assyrian Empire to bring Egypt back under its control, which began in 627 BC Fend off. In 616 BC He supported the already very weakened Assyria with troops in the fight against the Babylonians . He saw Babylon as a danger to Egypt and wanted Assyria to be preserved as a buffer zone.

Death of Psammetich I.

The Assyrian king Aššur-uballiṭ II saw himself in 610 BC. Exposed to intensified attacks by the Babylonian king Nabopolassar , who had conquered numerous Assyrian towns on his advance since June ( Simanu ). Aššur-uballiṭ II, who had to withdraw further and further, must have therefore asked Egypt for military help. Psammetich I died in his garrison Daphne in the eastern Nile Delta , probably while preparing for his campaign to Assyria. The embalming of Psammetich I is said to have also been carried out in Daphne.

The approximate time of death of Psammetich I could, among other things, by means of the report on the solar eclipse of September 23, 610 BC. To be dated. The first documented pronouncement by Necho II is from August 24th, greg. ; Psammetich's death will therefore have occurred shortly before. The event, rarely documented by the Egyptians, occurred in the early morning of the 12th Schemu I. However, the umbra ran over Spain and France , which is why the natural spectacle in ancient Egypt had the character of a partial solar eclipse . The special feature of this event is the simultaneous beginning of the Amun Re festival in Thebes, which is why the eclipse was interpreted as a negative omen . After his death, his son Necho II took over the office of Pharaoh.


Herodotus reports that Psammetich wanted to find out the original language of man. On this occasion, he had two children raised in isolation by a shepherd who was not allowed to speak to them. After two years they said bekos , which is said to have meant “bread” in Phrygian . Hence, it was believed that Phrygian was the oldest language. The experiment was in the 13th century by the Italian chronicler and Franciscans - monk Salimbene of Parma used to Emperor Frederick II. Vilify.

Statue find

Recovery of a fragment of the colossal statue of Psammetich I from El Matariya

In March 2017 , larger fragments of a quartzite statue were found in a mud pit in the El Matariya district of Cairo , where the ancient city of Heliopolis is said to have been located. After it was initially suspected that it was a representation of Ramses II , after an initial investigation an inscription that reads Nebaa indicates Psammetich I, who was the only pharaoh to have this Nebtin name . Later in September 2017, during excavations on the site of the Temple of Heliopolis, fragments of a colossal statue of Ramses II and other finds as well as other parts of the Psammetich statue were discovered. With these new finds it can now be said with certainty that the quartzite figure Psammetich shows the standing Pharaoh and was about nine meters high without a base.


  • James Henry Breasted : History of Egypt . Phaidon, Zurich 1936, (reprint of the 1957 edition: Parkland-Verlag, Cologne 2001, ISBN 3-89340-008-7 )
  • Leo Depuydt : Saite and Persian Egypt, 664 BC-332 BC (Dyns. 26-31, Psammetichus I to Alexander's Conquest of Egypt). In: Erik Hornung, Rolf Krauss, David A. Warburton (eds.): Ancient Egyptian Chronology (= Handbook of Oriental studies. Section One. The Near and Middle East. Volume 83). Brill, Leiden / Boston 2006, ISBN 978-90-04-11385-5 , pp. 265-283 ( online ).
  • Alan H. Gardiner : History of Ancient Egypt. Weltbild, Munich 1993, ISBN 3-89350-723-X .
  • Albert Kirk Grayson : Assyria 668-635 BC: The Reign of Ashurbanipal. In: John Boardman: The Assyrian and Babylonian Empires and other states of the Near East, from the eighth to the sixth centuries BC Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2006, ISBN 0-521-22717-8 , pp. 142-161.
  • Wolfgang Helck : History of Ancient Egypt . Brill, Leiden 1968, ISBN 90-04-06497-4 .
  • Friedrich Karl Kienitz : The political history of Egypt from the 7th to the 4th century before the turn of the times . Academy, Berlin 1953.
  • Susanne Martinssen-von Falck: The great pharaohs. From the New Kingdom to the Late Period. Marix, Wiesbaden 2018, ISBN 978-3-7374-1057-1 , pp. 206-212.
  • Diana Alexandra Pressl: Officials and soldiers: the administration in the 26th dynasty in Egypt (664-525 BC) . Lang, Frankfurt 1998, ISBN 3-631-32586-X .
  • Thomas Schneider : Lexicon of the Pharaohs. Albatros, Düsseldorf 2002, ISBN 3-491-96053-3 , pp. 200-201.

Web links

Commons : Psammetich I.  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. John H. Hays: The Beginning of the regnal Years in Israel and Judah. In: John Andrew Dearman, Matt Patrick Graham: The land that I will show you: Essays on the History and Archeology of the Ancient Near East in honor of James Maxwell Miller. Sheffield Academy Press, Sheffield 2001, ISBN 1-84127-257-4 , p. 99.
  2. ^ A b Anthony Spalinger: Psammetichus, King of Egypt: I. In: Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt. No. 13. 1976, p. 133.
  3. M. Smith: Did Psammetichus I Die Abroad? In: Orientalia Lovaniensia Periodica. (OLP) Vol. 22, 1991 , pp. 101-109.
  4. September 23rd corresponds to September 30th in the proleptic- Julian calendar; NASA documentation of the solar eclipse in the astronomical year -609 (610 BC) ; see. in addition Rolf Krauss: Sothis- und Monddaten: Studies on the astronomical and technical chronology of ancient Egypt. Gerstenberg, Hildesheim 1985, p. 174.
  5. Herodotus: Histories. Book II. 2
  6. Wolfgang Stürner: Friedrich II. Part 2: The Kaiser 1220-1250. Primus-Verlag, Darmstadt 2000, ISBN 3-89678-025-5 , p. 449.
  7. Cairo: Archaeologists find a huge pharaoh statue. In: Spiegel Online . March 10, 2017. Retrieved June 9, 2018 .
  8. Pharaoh statue: It's not Ramses after all. In: Spiegel Online . March 17, 2017. Retrieved June 9, 2018 .
  9. Aiman ​​Ashmawy, Dietrich Raue: Actually finished. Egyptian-German excavations in the area 200 Suq el-Khamis of Heliopolis. In: Amun. Magazine for the friends of the Egyptian museums. Leipzig 2017, Volume 55, pp. 4–11.
  10. Aiman ​​Ashmawy, Dietrich Raue: Héliopolis en 2017: les fouilles égypto-allemandes dans le temple du soleil à Matariya / Le Caire. In: Bulletin de la Société Française d'Égyptologie. (BSFE) Paris 2017, Volume 197, pp. 29-45.
  11. ^ After a sensation in Cairo: Further important finds uncovered . Press release of October 11, 2017 on: ; last accessed on March 4, 2019.
predecessor Office successor
Necho I. Pharaoh of Lower Egypt
664–657 BC Chr.
Necho II.
predecessor Office successor
Tanotamun Pharaoh of Egypt
656–610 BC Chr.
Necho II.