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The Phoenician Contingent in the Campaign of Psammetichus II Against Kush

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image of Journal of Egyptian History

Graffiti inscribed on seated figures of Rameses II at Abu Simbel concern participation by Greek, Carian, and Phoenician forces in the Nubian campaign of Psammetichus II in 593 B.C.E. This study considers the major Phoenician graffiti as primary sources. The Phoenician texts do not mention Psammetichus, but do place Amasis in a commanding role. The Phoenician claim to victory comports with the Egyptian claim. The Greek inscriptions illuminate the Phoenician narratives. Unsolved historical problems include: (1) the command structure; (2) whether Amasis in these texts is the later Pharaoh; and (3) the relationship between this campaign and a later expedition against Kush by Ahmose II in 529 B.C.E. Herodotus’ account of Phoenician settlement in Memphis gains clarity from Greek papyri, and Phoenician finds at two Egyptian sites are contemporary with the 593 B.C.E. campaign. The Phoenician contingent possibly fulfilled covenant obligations to Egypt, and Phoenician settlement in Memphis perhaps involved a compensatory land grant.

Affiliations: 1: Eastern Michigan University


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