People > Necho I

Necho I

Egypt History - Egyptian Chapter Decoration


Necho I, also known as Nekau I or Neku, was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh who ruled during the Twenty-sixth Dynasty, also known as the Saite Period. Here's an overview of Necho I and his reign:

  1. Background: Necho I ascended to the throne around 672 BCE, succeeding his father Psamtik I. He was a member of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty, which was founded by Psamtik I and marked a revival of Egyptian power and influence after a period of Assyrian domination.

  2. Military Campaigns: Necho I is known for his military campaigns, particularly his ambitious attempt to circumnavigate the continent of Africa. According to ancient Greek historians such as Herodotus, Necho I sent Phoenician sailors on an expedition to sail around Africa, starting from the Red Sea and ending in the Mediterranean. While the expedition may not have completed the full circumnavigation, it demonstrated Egypt's maritime capabilities and ambitions.

  3. Canal Construction: Necho I is also credited with the construction of a canal connecting the Nile River to the Red Sea. This canal, known as the "Canal of the Pharaohs" or the "Necho Canal," aimed to facilitate trade between Egypt and its eastern neighbors and enhance Egypt's strategic position in the region.

  4. Relations with Assyria: Necho I maintained diplomatic relations with the Assyrian Empire, which was a dominant power in the Near East at the time. He supported Assyria's efforts to maintain control over its vassal states in the Levant, including Judah, which led to a confrontation with the kingdom of Judah under King Josiah. According to the biblical account, Necho I defeated Josiah at the Battle of Megiddo in 609 BCE, resulting in Josiah's death.

  5. Succession: Necho I was succeeded by his son Psamtik II, who continued his father's policies and military campaigns. Psamtik II further consolidated Egypt's power in the region and expanded its influence in the eastern Mediterranean.

  6. Legacy: Necho I's reign is remembered for his ambitious maritime and infrastructure projects, as well as his military campaigns in the Near East. While his attempt to circumnavigate Africa may not have been entirely successful, it demonstrated Egypt's maritime capabilities and its aspirations for regional dominance.

Overall, Necho I's reign represents a period of revival and expansion for Egypt during the late seventh century BCE, as the Twenty-sixth Dynasty sought to assert Egypt's power and influence in the Near East and the Mediterranean.

Twenty-Sixth Dynasty of Egypt (Saites)

Royal TitleNameReignDynasty
MencheperreNecho I672-664 BCESaite Dynasty (26th)
WahibraPsamtik I (Psammetichus I)664-610 BCESaite Dynasty (26th)
WehemibraNecho II610-595 BCESaite Dynasty (26th)
NeferibraPsamtik II (Psammetichus II)595-589 BCESaite Dynasty (26th)
Ha'a'ibraWahibra (Apries)589-567 BCESaite Dynasty (26th)
ChenibraAmose-si-Neith (Amasis II)570-526 BCESaite Dynasty (26th)
AnchkaenraPsamtik III (Psammetichus III)526-525 BCESaite Dynasty (26th)
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