Egyptian Dynasties > Thirty-First Dynasty of Egypt

Thirty-First Dynasty of Egypt

Egypt History - Egyptian Chapter Decoration


The Thirty-First Dynasty of Egypt, also spelled the 31st Dynasty or Dynasty XXXI, was the second dynasty of Achaemenids and a satrapy of the empire during the Late Period of Egypt. Following the brief period of native Egyptian rule under the 28th, 29th, and the 30th dynasties the Achaemenids managed to regain control over Egypt under leader Artaxerxes III and installed a vassal kings between 343 BCE and 332 BCE.

It is not known to history who actually served as the initial satrap under Artaxerxes III but under the rule of Darius III it was known to have been a man named Sabaces who later fought and died at the Battle of Issus during the campaign of Alexander the Great. He was succeeded as satrap by Mazaces who promptly turned the territory over to Alexander without a fight in 332 BCE when he marched into Egypt following the conquering of Phoenicia. Following this the satrapy of Egypt transferred hands from the Achaemenids to Alexander the Great who would hold it until his death.

Following the death of Alexander and the subsequent Wars of the Diadochi the civilization of Egypt was taken by Ptolemy I Soter who established the Ptolemaic Dynasty of Egypt as well as the larger Ptolemaic Kingdom. Following several centuries of Greek rule over Egypt the territory would once again shift hands to the Romans following the death of Cleopatra VII.

Egyptian & Persian Culture

The Thirty-First Dynasty of Egypt, also known as the Second Persian Period, was a brief but significant period in ancient Egyptian history characterized by foreign rule. Here's an overview:

  1. Duration and Context: The Thirty-First Dynasty ruled over Egypt from approximately 343 BCE to 332 BCE. This period followed the Third Intermediate Period, during which Egypt was divided and ruled by various local rulers and foreign powers.

  2. Persian Conquest: The Thirty-First Dynasty began with the conquest of Egypt by the Achaemenid Persian Empire under the rule of King Cambyses II. The Persians defeated the last native Egyptian ruler, Psamtik III of the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty, and brought Egypt under their control.

  3. Satrapy of Egypt: Egypt became a satrapy, or province, of the Persian Empire. The Persians appointed satraps, or governors, to administer the region on behalf of the Persian king. These governors were often selected from the Persian nobility and were responsible for collecting taxes, maintaining order, and overseeing local administration.

  4. Cultural and Religious Policies: The Persian rulers generally allowed Egypt to maintain its distinct cultural and religious traditions. They continued to worship Egyptian gods and goddesses alongside Persian deities, and they maintained the traditional administrative and religious institutions of Egypt.

  5. Art and Architecture: The art and architecture of the Thirty-First Dynasty continued to reflect Egyptian traditions, although there was also some influence from Persian artistic styles. Temples and monuments were still constructed during this period, although they often incorporated elements of both Egyptian and Persian design.

  6. Resistance and Revolts: Throughout the Thirty-First Dynasty, there were sporadic revolts and uprisings against Persian rule. Some Egyptians sought to overthrow their Persian overlords and restore native rule, while others collaborated with the Persians in exchange for positions of power and privilege.

  7. End of the Dynasty: The Thirty-First Dynasty came to an end with the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great of Macedon in 332 BCE. Alexander defeated the Persian forces at the Battle of Issus and swiftly marched into Egypt, where he was welcomed as a liberator by the Egyptian population.

  8. Legacy: Although the Thirty-First Dynasty was relatively short-lived, it played a significant role in Egypt's history as part of the larger narrative of foreign domination and conquest. Its legacy is evident in the continued influence of Persian culture and administration on Egypt during this period.

Late Period of Egypt


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