Piye (Piankhi)

Written by Felgr Pavel on .

"The black Pharaoh" Piye was the ruler of Nubia and he considered himself as an inheritor of big Kings of golden age. Piye (Piankhi) extended his kingdom gradually and he almost managed to take control over the whole Egypt. He was a generous Pharaoh and valiant warrior, a new unifier of both Landes and an almighty "son of Amun".

Piye replaced his father Kashta on the throne in 745 BC and he was extending his territory toward the north for the first ten years and controlled the whole Upper Egypt soon.

Perfidious Tefnakht

Tefnakht ruled in then capital Sais in the north of the land and he tried to unify the nomes in Delta under his rule. So he invated all the representatives of the Upper Egypt and persuaded them to unite with him. Also the cities Herakleopolis and Hermopolis joined this coalition. Tefnakht tried to gain allies in the Middle Egypt as well with the aim of seizing the control of the whole land.

When Piye (Piankhi) realized that norhtern armies were getting ready against him, he proved to be a great strategist. He watched the coalition soldieries from a distance, let them to get up to Herakleopolis and then he ordered his army to block the enemy inside the city. Piye (Piankhi) recommended the soldiers not to attack at night, fight only from a distance and wait for infantry reinforcements and carriage troops. The soldiers fulfilled his instructions and Tefnakht and his allies were defeated. Although they successfully fled to Hermopolis, they were encircled there and suffered another defeat.

March to the north

The Pharaoh's army fought bravely and the ruler desided that it was time to go to the north. Piye (Piankhi) left the capital Napata in the lead of large army with no rush, because he knew that the longer the siege would last, the more exhausted the enemy would be. He stopped in Karnak during the journey, where he celebrated the New Year and the Opet festival. When he got to Hermopolis, the Libyan King Nimlot gave him the city without a fight and the ruler of Herakleopolis Pefcavejbastet gave up to him as well.

Piye (Piankhi) continued and conquered the fortress, which guarded the entry into Faiyum oasis and he got up to former capital of Memphis (Mennefer). Tefnakht and his allies entrenched there, but Piye's army was decided to besiege the city persistently and thanks to more advanced warrior arms, they conquered the city in the end. Then Piye set out in Heliopolis, where he paid tribute to the God Ra and repeated his crowning ceremony.

When the allies of Tefnakht realized, how quickly Memphis (Mennefer) was captured, they hurried to swear obedience to their new master. But the rebellious Tefnakht didn't come. He fled from the siege and hid in the marshes of the delta. Then he sent out a messenger to the Pharaoh and promised via him that he would act in accord with the King's orders. Piye (Piankhi) was satisfied with this assurance.

Piye (Piankhi) came back to Napata then and counted on the fact that the political disunity will be enough to control potential throne candidates. He let build prestigious buildings in Karnak and Abydos and let widen the temple in Gebel Barkal at the same time. The local temple was dedicated to Amun since Pharaoh Thutmose III time and last time it was aggrandized by Ramesses II.

Tefnakht - the King of delta

In the meantime Tefnakht permanently longed for power in the delta and furtively extended his influence up to Memphis (Mennefer). He declared himself the first King of the 24th dynasty in 724 BC and consolidated his position during his reign. After his death his son Bakenranef came to the throne, who confirmed the domination over the northern Egypt.

Piye (Piankhi) died in 716 BC after 31 years of successful reign. According to his wish he was buried in el-Kurru necropolis close to Napata in a pyramid, which he let build according to the ancient Pharaonic tradition.

Message from the Nile

  • History of Czech institution of egyptology

    The Czech egyptology founder is Frantisek Lexa, the author of up to now evaluated work about ancient Egypt magic and Demotic grammar. Seminar for egyptology started thanks to him in Faculty of Philosophy and Arts of Charles University in Prague in 1925. Two years later Lexa became the first regular professor of egyptology in then Czechoslovakia.

  • Abusir - outstation of Czech egyptology expedition

    Abusir is an archaeological locality in Egypt named after nearby recent village Abusir. It is situated on western Nile bank on the edge of Libyan tableland approximately 20 kilometers to the south-west of Cairo. The name of this locality is derived from ancient Egypt god Osiris, from Per Usir (Busiris), "(cult) place of Osiris" (Busiris in Greek).

  • Researches in Western desert

    Czech egyptology is successful in researching not only on pyramidal fields in Abusir recently, but also in supporting and organizing smaller expeditions into egyptian Western desert. Czech expedition has been working even in slowly evanescent oasis El-Hajez since 2003, which is situated about 400 km to the south-west from Cairo.

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