People > Psamtik II

Psamtik II

Egypt History - Egyptian Chapter Decoration


Psamtik II, also known as Psammetichus II, was a pharaoh of the 26th Dynasty of ancient Egypt, ruling from approximately 595 to 589 BCE. His reign, although relatively short, was marked by military campaigns, particularly against Kush, and efforts to maintain Egypt's independence and prosperity during a time of emerging foreign threats. Psamtik II’s policies and actions contributed to the stability and cultural achievements of the Saite Period. Here is an overview of Psamtik II and his reign:


  1. 26th Dynasty (Saite Period):

    • The 26th Dynasty, also known as the Saite Period, is characterized by a renaissance of Egyptian culture, art, and governance. It followed the Third Intermediate Period, which was marked by fragmentation and foreign domination.
    • The dynasty was founded by Psamtik I, who reunified Egypt and established Sais as the capital.
  2. Family and Lineage:

    • Psamtik II was the son of Necho II, a prominent pharaoh known for his military campaigns and extensive building projects.
    • He succeeded his father on the throne and continued the policies aimed at strengthening Egypt's position both domestically and internationally.

Reign of Psamtik II

  1. Military Campaigns:

    • Campaign against Kush (Nubia): One of the most significant events of Psamtik II's reign was his military campaign against the Kingdom of Kush in 592 BCE. He aimed to neutralize the Kushite threat to Egypt’s southern borders.
    • The campaign was successful, resulting in a decisive victory at the city of Napata, the capital of Kush. Psamtik II’s forces captured and plundered the city, weakening Kushite influence in the region.
    • Campaign in the Levant: Psamtik II also conducted military operations in the Levant to counter the rising power of Babylon. He sought to maintain Egypt's influence in the region and support allies against Babylonian expansion.
  2. Diplomacy and Foreign Relations:

    • Psamtik II maintained diplomatic relations with other major powers, including the Greeks. He welcomed Greek mercenaries and traders, fostering economic and military cooperation.
    • His reign saw the continuation of friendly ties with Greek city-states, which were important for trade and military alliances.
  3. Building Projects and Cultural Contributions:

    • Psamtik II undertook several building projects, particularly in Thebes, where he restored and enhanced temples and monuments. His contributions to the Temple of Karnak are notable.
    • He continued the Saite tradition of promoting art and culture, leading to a flourishing of sculpture, literature, and religious practices during his reign.
  4. Religious Activities:

    • Psamtik II supported traditional Egyptian religious practices and the powerful priesthood. He made offerings to temples and participated in major religious festivals.
    • His reign reinforced the role of religion in legitimizing royal authority and maintaining social cohesion.

Death and Succession

  1. Death:

    • Psamtik II died in 589 BCE after a relatively short reign of about six years. The cause of his death is not well-documented, but his passing marked the end of a significant period of military and cultural activity.
  2. Succession:

    • He was succeeded by his son, Apries (also known as Haaibre), who continued the policies of his predecessors and faced new challenges, particularly from rising powers in the Near East.


  1. Historical Significance:

    • Psamtik II's reign is significant for its military campaigns, particularly the successful expedition against Kush, which secured Egypt’s southern borders and reduced the threat from Nubia.
    • His efforts to maintain Egypt’s influence in the Levant and his diplomatic relations with Greek city-states helped to preserve Egypt’s strategic position during a time of emerging foreign threats.
  2. Cultural and Religious Impact:

    • Psamtik II's support for traditional religious practices and his building projects contributed to the cultural renaissance of the Saite Period. His reign saw a continuation of the artistic and architectural achievements initiated by his predecessors.
    • The restoration and enhancement of temples, particularly in Thebes, reinforced the cultural and religious heritage of ancient Egypt.
  3. Archaeological Evidence:

    • Inscriptions and reliefs from Psamtik II’s reign provide valuable insights into his military campaigns and religious activities. The documentation of his campaign against Kush is especially significant for understanding Egyptian-Nubian relations.
    • Artifacts and monuments from his reign reflect the high quality of craftsmanship and the continued influence of traditional artistic styles during the Saite Period.


Psamtik II, ruling from approximately 595 to 589 BCE, was a pharaoh of the 26th Dynasty known for his military campaigns, particularly against the Kingdom of Kush, and his efforts to maintain Egypt's independence and prosperity. His reign is marked by significant military achievements, diplomatic relations with Greek city-states, and contributions to religious and cultural institutions. Psamtik II's support for traditional practices and his building projects reinforced the cultural renaissance of the Saite Period. His legacy includes the successful defense of Egypt's borders, the promotion of art and culture, and the preservation of Egypt's strategic position in the ancient world.

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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