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Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt: Map


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Kushite Egypt circa 700 BC.

The Twenty-Fifth Dynasty of Egypt, also known as the Nubian dynasty or Kushite Empire, was a line of rulers originating in the Kingdom of Kush. They reigned in part or all of Ancient Egypt from 760 BC to 656 BC.. The dynasty began with Kashta's invasion of Upper Egypt and culminated in several years of war with the Assyrians that forced the Kushites back to their homeland. The twenty-first, twenty-second, twenty-third, twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth dynasties of Ancient Egypt are often combined under the group title, Third Intermediate Period.


The known rulers, in the History of Egypt, for the twenty-fifth dynasty are the following

Twenty-Fifth Dynasty
Name Dates
Kashta c. 760 BC – c. 752 BC
Piye c. 752 BC721 BC
Shabaka 721 BC707 BC
Shebitku 707 BC690 BC
Taharqa 690664 BC
Tantamani 664656 BC (died 653 BC)

Alara, the first known Nubian king and predecessor of Kashta was not a 25th dynasty king since he did not control any region of Egypt during his reign. While Piye is viewed as the founder of the 25th dynasty, some publications may include Kashta who already controlled parts of Upper Egypt. A stela of his was found at Elephantine and Kashta likely exercised some authority at Thebes since he held enough influence to have his daughter Amenirdis I adopted as the next Divine Adoratrice of Amun there.


The twenty-fifth dynasty originated in Kush (Nubia) presently in north Sudanmarker at the city-state of Napata, whence they invaded and took control of Egyptmarker under Piye (spelled Piankhi in older works). Manetho does not mention either the first king, Piye, or the last king, Tantamani, although inscriptions exist to attest to the existence of both.


The following chronology follows recent research by Dan'el Kahn which suggests that Shebitku was king of Egypt by 707/706 BC. This is based on evidence from an inscription of the Assyrian king Sargon II, which was found in modern day Northwestern Iran and dated to 706 BC. This inscription calls Shebitku the king of Melunha, and states that he sent back to Assyria, a rebel named Iamanni in handcuffs. Kahn's arguments have been widely accepted by many Egyptologists including Rolf Krauss, and Aidan Dodson and other scholars at the SCIEM 2000 (Synchronisation of Civilisations of the Eastern Mediterranean in the Second Millennium B.C.) project with the notable exception of Kenneth Kitchen and Manfred Bietak at present.


Starting from the reign of Taharqa onward, the kings of this dynasty were driven back into Nubia, at first by the Assyrians, then by the kings of the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty. Their successors came to settle in Nubia, where they established a kingdom at Napata (656 - 590 BC) then later, at Meroëmarker (590 BC - 4th century AD).

See also


  1. Török, page 132
  2. "The Inscription of Sargon II at Tang-i Var and the Chronology of Dynasty 25," Orientalia 70 (2001), pp.1-18
  3. Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 82(2002), p.182 n.24


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