Amasis II

d. 525 BC

Amasis II was the last king of Egypt before the Persian conquest. He enjoyed an exceptionally long and prosperous reign of nearly 45 years, and died only six months before the invasion of Egypt by Cambyses. Amasis was not born of royal stock, but seized the thrown when the army rebelled against Apries, the incompetent previous king. Amasis, on the other hand, was a very astute leader who cultivated good relationships with both the native classes, and sophisticated and wealthy foreigners. During his long reign he made commercial and strategic alliances with various Greek leaders including Croesus of Lydia, and Polycrates of Samos. He allowed Greeks traders to develop colonies on the Nile, and did much to adorn and beautify his major cities. He even married a Greek princes from Cyrene. By the end of his reign, hostilities had already commenced with the Persians, and his alliance with Polycrates had ended. He died while making preparations for the invasion, leaving his son Psammetichus III, a reign of only a few months before he was overthrown.

Key events during the life of Amasis II:

570 BC
Egyptian troops revolt against King Apries, and declare Amasis II king.
568 BC
Amasis II repels an attack against Egypt by Nebuchadrezzar of Bablyon.
566 BC
Apries, the former king, finally put to death three years after capture.
  Developed successful commercial and strategic alliances with Greek rulers.
  Married Ladice, daughter of the king of Cyrene.
546 BC
Croesus of Lydia, an ally of Amasis II, is overthrown by Cyrus.
535 BC
Alliance with Polycrates of Samos is made.
  Sent Cyrus an imposter instead of his own daughter in marriage, thereby incurring the wrath of the Persians.
  Built many shrines and temples in Egypt. Also contributeed to the rebuilding of the temple of Delphi.
529 BC
Cambyses ascends to the throne of Persia, and threatens to invade Persia.
527 BC
Alliance with Polycrates collapses after incident involving the famous Ring of Polycrates.
526 BC
Amasis II dies, and Cambyses soon thereafter invades and conquers Egypt.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Cambyses  in  Darius the Great  by  Jacob Abbott
The Provinces  in  Darius the Great  by  Jacob Abbott
Of the Manners of the Egyptians  in  Stories of the East From Herodotus  by  Alfred J. Church
Of Certain Other Kings of Egypt  in  Stories of the East From Herodotus  by  Alfred J. Church

Short Biography
Cyrus the Great Prince of Persia who overran Medes, Lydia and Assyria to create the Persian Empire.
Cambyses Eldest son of Cyrus. Invaded Egypt, killed brother, then died.
Polycrates Prosperous king of Samos who was overthrown by Oretes, his enemy from Asia Minor.
Croesus Wealthy monarch of Lydia who lost his kingdom to Cyrus the Great.
Apries Former King of Egypt; overthrown by Amasis II.
Battus of Cyrene King of Cyrene; offered daughters hand in marriage to Amasis II.
Psammetichus III Son of Amasis II. Ascended to throne immediately before Persian invasion.