Petubastis III

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Seheruibre Padibastet, better known with his hellenised name Petubastis III (or IV, depending on the scholars) was a native Ancient Egyptian ruler, c. 522 – 520 BC, who revolted against Persian rule.[3]

Biography

Petubastis was a local prince, dynast and probably a member of the old royal Saite line who attempted to take control of Egypt and seize power.[6] Although he assumed royal titles and titulary of a pharaoh, he has been a largely unknown character and a shadowy figure in Egyptian history.[6]

Recent excavations at Amheida in the Dakhla Oasis, has suggested that Petubastis may had his royal residence here, a location reasonably far from the Nile valley which was under Persian control. Some blocks from the destroyed temple of Thoth at Amheida bears inscriptions attributable to him, as well as his almost complete royal titulary.[5] From here, Petubastis would have ambushed and defeated the so-called "Lost Army of Cambyses", which was described some decades later by Herodotus as a military expedition sent by Cambyses II to the Oracle of Zeus-Ammon in the Siwa Oasis, only for being completely obliterated by a sand storm instead. Shortly after, Petubastis would have reached Memphis in order to being formally crown as pharaoh, and adopted a royal titulary resembling those of the recently fallen Saite Dynasty.[5]

Petubastis probably took advantage of the disruption caused by the usurpation of Bardiya after the death of Cambyses to rebel.[7] According to the words and writings of the Ancient Greek military author Polyaenus, who wrote about the revolt, it was oppressive taxation imposed by the then Persian satrap Aryandes. The Behistun Inscription, which offers great insight for the events during this period, mentions a rebellion in Egypt which occurred at the same time as other rebellions in the eastern quarters of the Persian Empire. Darius I, the author of the Behistun Inscription, does not go into any detail about how he dealt with the rebellion in Egypt; Polyaenus reports that Darius himself moved to Egypt to suppress the revolt, and entered in Memphis during the mourning for the death of an Apis bull. Cunningly, the Great King promised a hundred talents of silver for the one that would provide a new Apis, impressing the natives to the point that they passed en masse to his side.[8] This story suggests that the rebellion wasn't yet quelled before Darius came to Egypt in 518 BC.[5]

Petubastis was ultimately defeated by Darius, who later ensured the control of the Western oases by embarking on an active campaign of work here (the most famous being the Temple of Hibis at Kharga Oasis); at the same time, he most likely destroyed most evidences regarding Petubastis and his rebellion, including the temple at Amheida and the true fate of the lost army of Cambyses.[5]

Attestations

Prior to the rediscovery of several blocks referring to him in the Dakhla Oasis,[5] the existence of this shadowy rebel ruler was confirmed by inscriptions found on two seals and one scarab that bear his name written in a royal form inside a cartouche.[3] His figure appears on a doorjamb once covered in gold leaf, now at the Louvre Museum, and on a wooden panel now in Bologna (KS 289).[1] There also exists a document that has been dated to 522 BCE, which was the first year of his reign.[6]

See also

  • Psammetichus IV – another Egyptian rebel ruler during the First Persian Period.

References

  1. ^ a b Jean Yoyotte: Pétoubastis III, Revue d'Egyptologie 24 (1972): pp. 216-223, plate 19
  2. ^ Placed in this dynasty only for chronological reasons, as he was not related to the Achaemenids.
  3. ^ a b c d "Ancient Egypt: History and Chronology, 27th dynasty".
  4. ^ Hermann Ranke: Die ägyptischen Personennamen. Verlag von J. J. Augustin in Glückstadt, 1935, p.123
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Kaper, Olaf E. (2015). "Petubastis IV in the Dakhla Oasis: New Evidence about an Early Rebellion against Persian Rule and Its Suppression in Political Memory". In Silverman, Jason M.; Waerzeggers, Caroline. Political memory in and after the Persian empire (SLB monograph, no. 13). Society of Biblical Literature. pp. 125–149. ISBN 978-0-88414-089-4. 
  6. ^ a b c Eiddon Stephen Edwards, The Cambridge Ancient History, Cambridge University Press, 2005, p 262
  7. ^ Clayton,P, Chronicle of the Pharaohs, Thames & Hudson, 2006
  8. ^ Polyaenus, Stratagems VII, 11 §7.
Preceded by
Cambyses II
Pharaoh of Egypt
Twenty-seventh Dynasty
Succeeded by
Darius I
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