The rulers of the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty, with the help of Assyria, drove the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty out of Egypt and reunited the country. Egypt maintained good connections with Assyria and also established trade contacts with the Levant. Egypt also opened up international trade with the Mediterranean world and with such positive economic prospects, many foreigners made their way to Egypt. King Amosis (570-526 BC) established flourishing contacts with Greek cities such as Delphi, Corinth, and Samos. In 560 BC Egypt even occupied Cyprus, and Amosis made alliances with Babylon and Croesus of Lydia against the Persian Empire. Many Greek mercenaries were employed by the Egyptian pharaoh and were stationed throughout the country. The kings of the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty made their capital at Sais in the western Nile Delta. Due to the utilization of ancient mud-bricks as fertilizer on fields today and the proximity of the modern village of Sa el-Hagar, few remains of this capital have survived. Nonetheless, recent archaeological work has traced the beginning of the settlement as far back as the fourth millennium BC.
In 525 BC Egypt became a satrapy of the Persian Empire. The Persian king Cambyses was crowned as Pharaoh in Memphis and became first king of the Twenty-Seventh Dynasty. Although Persian troops were garrisoned throughout Egypt, the administration remained in the hands of the Egyptians and in general, Egyptian culture and religion remained intact. King Darius even erected a temple in the el-Kharga Oasis in honor of Egyptian deities. Nevertheless, antiPersian sentiments were growing in Egypt and by 405 BC the Persians were driven out of Egypt. Significant building programs stretching from the Delta to the southern border at Elephantine were not resumed until the reign of the founder of the Thirtieth Dynasty, Nectanebo I (380-362 BC), determined to bring back Egypt’s old glory. Between 360 and 342 BC several attempts by the Persians to re-conquer Egypt failed. In 343 BC, however, the Persians were ultimately successful and they ended the rule of Egyptian pharaohs once and for all. In 332 BC Egypt fell prey to Alexander the Great and between 30 BC and 395 AD Egypt was part of the Roman Empire.
See also: Africa, North: Egypt, Pre-Pharaonic; Nubia; Sahara, Eastern; Sahara, West and Central.