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Was Regicide Common in Ancient Egypt

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Psamtek III’s regicide brought an end to the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty and ushered in a period of instability and decline that would last until Alexander the Great arrived in Egypt in 332 BC. Before Alexander and the Macedonians came to Egypt, the Nile Valley would witness at least one more case of regicide. The primary source documentation of post-Saite Egypt is often sketchy at best because the dynasties were often too unstable to erect any monuments and Herodotus’ accounts of course ended with his death. Other Greek historians and geographers such as Diodorus and Strabo are helpful, but their accounts take the Greek perspective so important details concerning the Egyptian kings were often overlooked. In the midst of this chaotic period in Egypt, the particularly weak Twenty-Ninth Dynasty was apparently overthrown by an able king named Nectanebo I (ruled 379-361 BC), who became the first king of the Thirtieth Dynasty. Nectanebo I’s usurpation of the throne was commemorated on the hieroglyphic text known as the “Hermopolis Stela,” which indicates that he may have also killed the last king of the previous dynasty.
“His majesty came to Hesiret for him, in the time of the king, he was a general. The one, he became ruler . . . the hill country in the land of the mayor. He delivered the rebel to the work (monument) of the town officials and he caused to make the children live in the rage of the king who were before him. Son of Ra, lord, Nectanebo I, who lives like Ra.” <ref> Roeder, Gunther. “Zwei hieroglyphische Inschriften aus Hermpolis (Ober-Ägypten).” <i>Annales du Service des antique’s de l’Égypte.</i> 52 (1952) p. 389</ref>
Since the king killed would have been considered a rebel and anathema to the Egyptians, his name was never mentioned but it was obviously Nefertites II (reigned 379-380 BC), the last king of the Twenty-Ninth Dynasty.

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