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History & Culture
Egypt: Pre-Dynastic and Early Dynastic Periods
Egypt: Old Kingdom & First Intermediate Period
Egypt: Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period
Egypt: New Kingdom & 3rd Intermediate Period
Egypt: Late Period
Egypt: Ptolemaic and Roman Rule to the Arab Conquest
Egypt: Caliphate and Ottomon Rule
Egyptian Law on the Protection of Antiquities (1983)

The Late Period of ancient Egypt refers to the last flowering of native Egyptian rulers after the Third Intermediate Period from the 26th Saite Dynasty in 664 BC through a series of Persian and Macedonian-Greek conquests that ended with the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC.

The Late Period was the final phase of a vast unbroken, and inherently Egyptian, artistic and cultural tradition that dated back to the beginnings of human habitation in the region.

By this time, ancient Egyptian culture had diminished, offering little more than a reflection of a once great culture. Even so, truly splendid works on a smaller, more personal, scale, and larger works echoing a nearly-dead tradition, abound during this period.

The Twenty-Sixth Dynasty (c. 685-525 BC) was the last native dynasty to rule Egypt before the Persian conquest in 525 BC (although Egyptian rulers were re-installed at a later time). The Twenty-Sixth Dynasty is also called the Saite Period after the city of Sais, where its pharaohs had their capital, and marks the beginning of the Late Period of ancient Egypt.

The Twenty-Seventh Dynasty coincides with the First Persian Period (525-404 BC), which saw Egypt conquered by the Persian Empire under Cambyses
, who placed Egypt under occupating and made it a satrapy of the Achaemenid Persian Empire.

The Twenty-Eighth Dynasty consisted of a single king, Amyrtaeus, prince of Sais, who rebelled against the Persians. He left no monuments with his name. This dynasty lasted 6 years, from 404 BC to 398 BC. The Twenty-Ninth Dynasty ruled from Mendes, for the period from 398 BC to 380 BC.


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The Thirtieth Dynasty took its artistic style from the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty. A series of three pharaohs ruled from 380 BC until their final defeat in 343 BC, which culminated in the re-occupation of Egypt by the Persians.

The 31st Dynasty. A second period of Persian domination under the Achaemenid Dynasty occurred during the Thirty-First Dynasty (343 - 332 BC).


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Ptolemaic Egypt
began when Ptolemy I Soter declared himself Pharaoh of Egypt in 305 BC and ended with the death of Queen Cleopatra (Cleopatra VII) and the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30 BC.

The Ptolemaic Kingdom was a powerful Hellenistic state, extending from southern Syria in the east, to Cyrene to the west, and south to the frontier with Nubia. Alexandria became the capital city and a center of Greek culture and trade. To gain recognition by the native Egyptian populace, they named themselves as the successors to the Pharaohs.

The later Ptolemies took on Egyptian traditions, had themselves portrayed on public monuments in Egyptian style and dress, and participated in Egyptian religious life. Hellenistic culture continued to thrive in Egypt well after the Muslim conquest.

The Ptolemies faced rebellions of native Egyptians often caused by an unwanted regime and were involved in foreign and civil wars that led to the decline of the kingdom and its annexation by Rome.