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Achaemenid Iranian rule over Egypt: 525-404 BC

Persian empire map

Objects directly reflecting Achaemenid domination over Egypt are scarce. There are not many Egyptian style monuments securely dated to the period and there are also not many objects in Achaemenid style found in Egypt. The first Achaemenid kings ruling over Egypt presented themselves as Egyptian kings with an Egyptian titulary. These kings built Egyptian style temples and had objects and inscriptions produced with their names in hieroglyphs (Darius). However, no such Egyptianisation is known from the reigns of later Achaemenid kings (Xerxes II onwards). The capital of the province was Memphis, where the palace of Apries in particular has yielded material of the period. The main writing system in the Achaemenid empire was Aramaic, which was also used in the Egyptian administration of the period. Demotic and hieroglyphic inscriptions are still used by Egyptians.

Aramaic writing in Egypt | Memphis | Persian armour | the Achaemenid kings | the palace of Apries - administrative centre of Egypt ?

Further reading:

  • Kuhrt 1995: 661-664 (on the conquest of Egypt)
  • Lloyd 2000: 383-385 (short summary for the first Persian Period)

Links on the web:

Persepolis and Ancient Iran (Oriental Institute, University of Chicago web site with many photographs)


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