Twenty-Sixth Dynasty

   Posted by: Keith Payne   in

Twenty-Sixth Dynasty

The Saite Dynasty

664 to 525 BC

Period Seat of Power Factions Dating System
Late Kingdom Period Sais Saite, Kushite, Assyrian, Babylonian/Persian Shaw and Nicholson


The Assyrians, who still held sway in the northern region, installed Necho I to serve as their vassal in the delta city of Sais.  When Tantamani, last ruler of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty, threatened to take Sais, the Assyrians counter-attacked and drove him out of Lower and Middle Egypt and into exile in Nubia.  Sais had a strong tradition of local nobility, having been the seat of power during the Fourteenth Dynasty and home to the Great Chiefs of the West during the Twenty-Fourth, and it is from this line of Great Chiefs, particularly Bakenrenef, that this dynasty hails.

Necho I is included in this list for reference purposes, but the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty doesn’t really begin until his son, Psamtik I, comes to power.  Psamtik I begins his reign as governor of Egypt on behalf of the Assyrian Empire, but as the Assyrian Empire’s power wanes during its long war of attrition with the Babylonians, Psamtik I is left pretty much to rule Egypt independently.  Around 656 BC Psamtik I sails his navy up the Nile to Thebes, which peacefully capitulates.  With the Upper and Lower Kingdoms again under the rule of a single pharaoh, Egypt begins its final period under a native Egyptian family.

The dynasty is largely defined in terms of its conflict with the Babylonian Empire, the new force to be reckoned with.  This external threat, combined with mutinous mercenaries and the threat of civil war, would prove to be too much for the Saite Dynasty, which ends with the invasion of the Persian King Cambyses II and the flight of Psamtik III to Memphis

Name of Ruler Years of Reign Capitol
Necho I 672 to 664 BC Sais
Psamtik I 664 to 610 BC Sais
Necho II 610 to 595 BC Sais
Psamtik II 595 to 589 BC Sais
Apries (Haaibre) 589 to 570 BC Sais
Ahmose II 570 to 526 BC Sais
Psamtik III 526 to 525 BC Sais