Amasis II (Ab-Mosé) (the Greek version of the ancient Egyptian name Khnumibr Yakhmos II ) was a pharaoh of ancient Egypt , who ruled around 570 - 526 BC. e., from the XXVI (Saisskoy) dynasty.
|Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt|
Detail of the statue of Amasis II. Old Museum . Berlin
|Dynasty||XXVI (Saiss) dynasty|
|Historical period||Later kingdom|
Mamas Amasis had something to do with Aprià . Contrary to this, Herodotus claims that Amasis was a commoner, elevated to the status of commander by Libyan mercenaries due to his abilities. During the reign of Necho II and Psammetichus II, Amasis made a swift military career, and Pharaoh Psammetikh II himself, preparing for the invasion of Nubia, in 590 BC. er entrusted to him the command of a large Egyptian army sent against the Napat kingdom .
Due to his military successes, Amasis was rewarded with the post of chamberlain of the royal palace and received a high judicial position.
Ascension to the throne
The predecessor of Amasis on the Egyptian throne, Pharaoh Apriy (589–570 BC) was known for his philhellenism, in particular, he brought great gifts to Greek temples, depriving the Egyptian proper of his attention. Despite the growth in trade and tax revenues, Aprii failed to provide Egypt with a successful foreign policy, which led to an increase in discontent, especially among military circles. So, he was unable to provide military assistance to his ally, besieged by the Babylonians to Jerusalem , and on the southern borders of Egypt there was an attempt to desertion from a significant number of foreign mercenaries (Syrians, Libyans and Nubians).
However, the last straw in the cup of popular anger was the episode when Aprius came out to greet the people in Greek armor (moreover, the Egyptian army had been defeated by Greek mercenaries in Cyrenaica shortly before that). In the fact that the army sent against Cyrene , there was not a single Greek mercenary, the indigenous Egyptians saw the direct intent of the pharaoh, who sent them soldiers to certain death.
The army began an uprising against Aprià, which led to a civil war that lasted for almost four years (570-567 BCE, with a break). The uprising became rampant, and to calm the rebels, Pharaoh sent Amasis, hoping that the famous Egyptian military leader would quickly pacify the rebels in the army, among the common people, and among wealthy citizens. However, Amasis took advantage of these circumstances of the uprising that broke out in his favor and, having gone over to the side of the rebel soldiers, he was proclaimed pharaoh by them. Furious Aprii, having learned about the betrayal of his commander, sent a messenger to that with orders to stop the rebellion and appear in Sais to the royal court. Amasis, of course, refused and sent the messenger back with ridicule and insults destined for Apriya. He, in turn, did not find anything better than how to pour out his anger on the unfortunate messenger, whose high position did not prevent Aprià from cutting off his nose and ears. The unfair attitude of Pharaoh to his subject pushed many of his entourage to take the side of Amasis.
Herodot reports that a significant battle took place between the armies of Aprià and Amasis, the victor in which the insurgent military leader was victorious. The Greek mercenaries Apriya suffered significant damage, and the pharaoh himself was captured. Although Aprius was defeated by the rebels, but the victorious Amasis did not overthrow him. On the contrary, he treated his enemy relatively mildly: he proclaimed his co-ruler, allowing him to keep the throne and royal titulators. Amasis was formally equalized with Apriem and officially became his co-ruler (the joint image of the two pharaohs as co-rulers is known), in effect defining the internal and foreign policy of Egypt without Aprie's participation. In addition to relying on the royal personage cartouche , Amasis retained non-royal titles that corresponded to his previous positions.
Despite the defeat, Aprius was not going to put up with the loss of sole power and was preparing a speech against the co-ruler. In the 3rd year of their joint rule (c. 568 BC), Aprius, with the support of the Greek mercenaries, made an attempt to overthrow Amasis, but again suffered a defeat and fled. If you believe Herodotus, he was expelled, but, relying primarily on the support of the Greeks, he moved to Sais from the north, accompanied by a fleet.
However, the Middle Eastern sources call another, much more powerful, ally of Pharaoh. As a result of the defeat in Palestine, Aprius betrayed his daughter Nitokris (Netiktikert) for the winner, the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II , and thus became a relative of the dynasty of the rulers of the New Babylonian kingdom . Now the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II wanted to seize the moment when civil strife took place in the country and invaded Egypt. The details of this military confrontation between Egypt and Babylon ( 568 - 567 BC) are not well known. It is only known that the Babylonian king passed through the entire valley of the Nile up to Thebes , but turned back.
Amasis reacted to the performance of the co-ruler with lightning speed and, thanks to another quick victory, dispersed the Aprius' mercenaries in the Delta. Apparently, it seemed to Amasis that his rival was no longer dangerous for him, since he did not continue to pursue Apriya. However, in the next five months, the remnants of the latter’s troops continued to devastate Lower Egypt and engage in robbery, which forced Amasis to send an army in order to end the annoying competitor. Deprived of any support, Aprius tried to escape on one of his ships, but was overtaken and executed by his own supporters. It is noteworthy that Amasis ordered to bury his enemy with royal honors among family burials in Sais and to establish generous posthumous offerings in honor of the deceased.
After the death of Aprius, Amasis became the sole ruler of Egypt (c. 567 BC ). Some scholars also claim that Amasis, although he considered himself a member of the XXVI dynasty and was included in its composition in the royal lists, was in fact a fictitious king. He did not belong to the royal family, and therefore the royal nobility could not forgive him for this. They spread rumors about him that he came from a simple family and was in poverty and engaged in theft in his youth. He was accused of drunkenness and ignorance of noble manners and propriety.
Despite the fact that his nomination Amasis was obliged to the Egyptian army, he did not lose contact with the Greeks. On the Canopic arm of the Nile in the Northwest Delta, the city of Nawkrates was assigned to the Greeks. This city enjoyed every kind of privilege. In addition, foreign trade was concentrated in it.
The first reforms of Amasis II (the abolition of privileges for Greek soldiers, the restriction of the stay of the Greeks by Nukratis) were designed to calm the Egyptian Hellenistic priests and reduce the tension between the Egyptians and the Greeks, especially in the army. In particular, such a goal was pursued and the transfer of Ionian and Carian mercenaries from the camps, which were located in Delta, including the military colony in Daphne , in Memphis , where they amounted to the personal guards of the king.
At the same time, Amasis understood the importance of maintaining friendly relations with Greece and the Greek world as a whole. Therefore, the Greek woman Ladika , the daughter of the Cyrenian king, became the wife of Amasis, and the Greeks themselves again filled the Egyptian markets and barracks. Thanks to such measures, the enmity between the emigrants and the indigenous population has virtually ceased. In addition, even some restrictions were on hand to Greek merchants; for example, the special status of Nawkratis caused a surge in revenue and the transformation of the city into one of the most important commercial centers of the Mediterranean , thanks to which the Greeks considered Amasis their benefactor.
Still dominant position in the country occupied by the nobility. Of the legends that were subsequently composed of King Amasis, the latter appears before the next generations as a humorous fellow. However, it should be noted in this connection that in reality he was the king of the nobility, primarily the priestly. The main wife of Amasis and the mother of his successor were the daughter of the high priest Ptah .
Amasis was very active in supporting the priesthood. Even when it was later discussed about the restoration of food, monetary and other state contributions to the temples, reduced by the Persians, the income of the times of Amasis was taken as the desired sample. But, despite the abundant temple buildings listed by Herodotus and partly witnessed by the monuments, the pharaoh's sympathy for the Greeks caused for Amasis notoriety among the priests and Egyptians. In addition, he didn’t particularly take into account traditions and led a life that was not very suitable for Pharaoh. They began to make up various gossips about the tsar, partly reported by Herodot, partly stated in the Paris demotic chronicle: allegedly he was previously an ataman of thieves, then, being the king, he continued to drink, indulge in rude amusements, etc. But Herodot also has traces of a tradition favorable to Amasis, which says that Egypt enjoyed the greatest wealth with him, and that he was the author of the wise law on the control of livelihoods.
At the time of the reign of Amasis II, Egypt reached the peak of the economic power of Sais. Revenues from trade, especially from the Mediterranean world, provided a fabulous increase in wealth, which remained in people's memory and later testified by ancient authors (Herodot writes that “there were 20,000 cities in the country”).
Pharaoh was engaged in further improvement of the laws, some of which, obviously, was inherited from Saiss rulers from the XXIV dynasty. One of them, which consisted in revising the land cadastre to alleviate tax oppression and demanded an annual tax report on the income of each resident to the local governor, after Egypt was introduced in Athens by Solon , who met him during his visit to Egypt. Unfortunately, material science is practically inaccessible to modern science for the economic and social revival of the country, since they should be concentrated in the Delta, where conditions are extremely unfavorable for the preservation of ancient monuments.
Foreign Policy Activity
In foreign policy, Amasis, during his long reign, showed tremendous energy. True, he refused the aggressive policy on the Asian mainland, but the sea power with him increased. In the Greek world, Egyptian influence increased. The emergence in Asia of a new formidable force, the Persian Power , caused Amasis to worry. A coalition was formed against the Persian king Cyrus , which, in addition to Egypt, included Lydia , Babylon, and Sparta .
The strongest and most friendly ties were strengthened between the pharaoh and the tyrant of Samos Polikrat , as well as with Sparta and Cyrene . According to Plutarch , Egypt of the times of Amasis received many eminent Greek thinkers who were striving to comprehend the wisdom of the Egyptian priests. So, Thales of Miletus, together with Pharaoh, visited the pyramids and delighted Amasis, calculating the height of the structure without tools, according to the shadow cast by him (see About Amasis and Thales ). Pharaoh brought generous gifts not only to Egyptian temples in Sais and Memphis, but also to Greek shrines. So, in 548 BC. er Amasis made a large donation (1000 talents in size) for the restoration of the burned temple at Delphi . In addition, he generously bestowed the temples of Samos , Cyrene and Lindos .
At the same time, remembering the experience of his predecessor, Pharaoh did not overlook the Egyptian temples: significant extensions and architectural skills of the extension to the temples in Sais and Memphis , as well as another temple, erected in the northern oasis in the Libyan desert . The ruins of the temple of the goddess, founded by Amasis, who even called himself “the son of Neith ” in his titles, survived even in the Greek commercial settlement of Nawkratis , where Neith was identified with Athena . Near the first rapids, a huge monolithic chapel was erected from a whole piece of stone, erected in Sais and described by Herodotus. However, the mercenary army and navy required expensive maintenance, and subsequently Amasis had to secularize the income and property of the largest temples of Egypt. From this moment begins the onset of power on the privileged priestly class , which reached its apogee in the Persian era (and was reflected in the stories about the excesses of Camby II , known to the Greek authors).
Among the other famous foreign actions of Amasis - and the establishment of peaceful relations with the recent enemy, Babylon. Although the reign of Pharaoh began with the Babylonian invasion, the failure of Nebuchadnezzar II , ascertained by the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel, forced him to re-divide the spheres of influence. Syria and Palestine , known in Mesopotamian sources as Zarechye, remained for the Babylonians, and Egypt was forced to abandon any claims to control these territories. At the same time, the Egyptians, thanks to the substantial replenishment of their military fleet , whose power would be decisive for ensuring Egyptian hegemony in the Mediterranean until the Ptolemaic era, inclusive, secured the island of Cyprus , turned into an Egyptian vassal and a tributary (paid even more tribute to Pharaoh than in military dominance of Egypt in the XVIII dynasty).
It was under Amasis that the threat of Persian invasion hung over Egypt, so Pharaoh directed his efforts to strengthen the trilateral alliance of Egypt with the Babylonian king Nabonid and the traditional ally the king of Lydia Creuse , backed by the support of the Greeks, in particular Sparta. However, Pharaoh was unable to provide substantial assistance to his allies during their occupation by the Persian king Cyrus the Great. Amasis himself, who ruled for 44 years, died at the end of 526 BC. e., on the eve of the Persian invasion of Egypt. A bloody denouement came six months after his death in Psammetichus III , when after the Battle of Pelusia in 525 BC. er all of Egypt was captured by Cambis II .
Greek sources point out the pharaoh’s excellent sense of humor (there were a lot of jokes about his wit in the ancient world) and his tendency to arrange feasts and drinking time during his free time from social activities, to which he invited his many friends. In particular, Herodotus attributes the following statement to Amasis: “If a person wanted to be serious all the time and would not take time for entertainment, he would turn, without noticing it, into an evil spirit or a fool ...”
Sexton Afrika quoting Manetho indicates that Amasis II (Amosis) ruled for 44 years, but Eusebius of Caesarea (from Sinkella and the Armenian version), referring to the same Manetho, says - Amasis reigned 42 years. [one]
- Herodotus Story. Prince Iv.
- Brown T. The Greeks in Egypt // Cambridge History of the Ancient World . - T. III, Part 3: Expansion of the Greek world. VIII — VI centuries. BC er - M .: Ladomir, 2007 (also in many other parts of the book; see “Index”). - ISBN 978-5-86218-467-9 .
- Turaev B.A. . History of the Ancient East / Edited by V. V. Struve and I. Snegirev L. - 2nd stereo. ed. - L .: Sotsekgiz, 1935. - T. 2. - 15 250 copies.
- Ancient East and antiquity . // The rulers of the world. Chronological genealogical tables on world history in 4 vols. / Compiled by V. V. Erlikhman . - T. 1.
- Amasis // Encyclopedic Dictionary of Brockhaus and Efron : 86 t. (82 t. And 4 extra.). - SPb. , 1890-1907.
- Amasis II (English) . - in Smith 's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
- Amasis II on livius.org
- Amasis II on the site antikforever.com
|XXVI (Saiss) dynasty|
|pharaoh of egypt|
570 - 526 BC. er
(the rules of the years)