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New Date for the Second Persian Conquest, End of Pharaonic and Manethonian Egypt: 340/39 B.C.E.

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image of Journal of Egyptian History

Artaxerxes III’s conquest of Egypt signified the end of Egypt of the Pharaohs. For more than half a century now, the event has been dated to either 343 B.C.E. or 342 B.C.E. Detailed calibrations focus on the winter of 343/42 B.C.E., especially early 342 B.C.E. Yet, there is no evidence whatsoever for this date. The presumed evidence has escaped scrutiny in Egyptology because it involves subtle reasoning about the supposed purport of Classical Greek sources whose chronology is uncertain or whose authenticity is in doubt. The surviving sources instead unambiguously point to an interval lasting from November of 340 B.C.E. to the summer of 339 B.C.E. as the time when the conquest most probably took place. This date can be styled as 340/39 B.C.E. The slash signifies a time interval shorter than two full years ‐ in this case also shorter than a year ‐ that spans two Julian years. The conquest is therefore dated here to roughly three years later than when everyone now assumes it took place.

Affiliations: 1: Brown University


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