The heirs of Psamtek I
Nekau II and Psamtek II
in Egypt of the Saite pharaohs, 664–525 BC
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Nekau II, Psamtek I’s son, inherited the throne in 610 BC and continued the Egyptian policy of campaigning against the Babylonians in the Near East. After initial victories, Nekau was defeated at Carchemish in 605 BC and the Egyptians withdrew back to Egypt, losing all their possessions in the Levant. Nekau then concentrated on building up a navy, and Herodotus records that he built a canal to the Red Sea and sent a naval expedition around Africa. Nekau was succeeded by his son, Psamtek II, who sent an army to Nubia to crush the Kushites and undertook a seemingly peaceful expedition to Syria–Palestine, possibly in an attempt to reassert Egyptian claims to Syria–Palestine. Early suggestions that Psamtek directed a damnatio memoriae against his father, Nekau, for surrendering Egyptian territorial possessions in the Levant appear unsubstantiated and probably more a policy of usurpation of some of Nekau’s monuments to promote his own rule.

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