Egyptian Camel

The 3rd Intermediate Period

Time period : c. 1070 BC - c. 700 BC

Dynasties : 21st Dynasty - 25th Dynasty

After the end of the 20th Dynasty, the High Priests of Amun gained tremendous power. The High Priests, led by Herihor and based in Thebes, managed to gain control of Upper Egypt. Once again, without strong Egyptian pharaohs, the empire was split into separate kingdoms.

The war chariot

This lack of central control enabled the Libyans, led by Shoshenq I, to conquer Lower Egypt. Seeing the loss of power of the Egyptian pharaohs, more factions tried to conquer Egypt.

The Nubians, led by King Piye, was quite successful. During the political turmoil, Piye was able to take back parts of Nubia that the Egyptians had previously conquered, and conquer most of Egypt, all the way north to the Nile delta.


The Late Kingdom Period

Time period : c. 700 BC - 332 BC

Dynasties : 26th Dynasty - 30th Dynasty

The Persian army

The local Egyptian pharaohs, based in the city of Sais, succeeded in uniting Egypt once again. However, these Saite kings would be the last of the native Egyptian pharaohs to rule Egypt.

Around 525 BC, King Cambyses II of Persia succeeded in adding Egypt to the Persian Empire, which at that time had already included most of the Middle East. The Egyptian pharaohs were unable to stand against the greater numbers and military might of the Persian Empire.

During this period, descendants of the Saite kings were able to drive off the Persians for a few decades. However, the Persians conquered Egypt again, and from then on until the 20th Century, Egypt was ruled by various foreign powers.


The Macedonian Period

Time period : 332 BC - 323 BC

Statue of Alexander the Great at Alexandria

In the late 4th century BC, a new power was growing north of Egypt. King Phillip of Macedonia succeeded in uniting the warring city-states of Greece, and was planning to invade the Persian Empire.

However, Phillip was assassinated before he could launch his attack, and the task fell to his ambitious son, Alexander the Great. In 332 BC, King Alexander the Great wrested control of Egypt from the Persian Empire.

As a province of the growing Greek Empire, Egypt retained most of its lifestyle and culture. Alexander the Great did not impose Greek religion or culture on the Egyptians, instead accepting the local practices. The Macedonian rule ended with Alexander's death in 323 BC.


The Ptolemaic Period

Time period : 323 BC - 30 BC

Queen Cleopatra of Egypt

After Alexander's death, Egypt came under the rule of Ptolemy, one of Alexander's generals. He followed the Macedonian method of administration, adopting a lot of the local customs.

The most famous ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty was Queen Cleopatra of Egypt. She allied herself with the growing Roman Empire, and its leader Julius Caesar.

After Caesar's death, Cleopatra feared that the Roman Empire would conquer Egypt. She allied herself with Marcus Antonius. However, their alliance was defeated by Rome in 30 BC. Cleopatra committed suicide, and Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire.

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