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Late Period

The 26th Dynasty (664-525 BC) ruled from Sais. The country was united for over 100 years, before the armies of Achaemenid Iran conquered Egypt. The political history is relatively well-known: there are many Egyptian texts from the period, and the description of the fifth century BC Greek historian Herodotus gives much important information. There are also other foreign sources reporting about this time, notably the Bible and, for the first part of the 26th Dynsaty, Assyrian sources. It is the first period of Egyptian history with a secure absolute chronology.

The Late Period is in many ways a period of revivals. Especially in art Old, Middle and New Kingdom prototypes were copied. There are numerous monuments of the Late Period preserved throughout the country, such as impressive tombs of officials at Thebes and Saqqara. However, most of the important buildings of the period are lost, because the focus of the country was in the Delta and the monumental aspects and even archaeological remains of cities there are today very much destroyed. In addition, archaeology in Egypt has been very intensely focussed on the earlier, more 'classical' periods. Therefore the Late Period has never won the attention it deserves. In the burials of the period there were often only placed objects especially produced for tombs. As a result, in comparison to other periods, only relatively few daily life objects have survived.


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