Jaap Titulaer
Taharqa, age 20, co-reign with Shabataka
Fri Aug 9, 2019 18:17

Hi Toby,

>> What does Herodotus mean by this?
>> Were there 2 invasions?
>> or Was there 1 invasion?


Herodotus mixes it all up. He calls all Kushite kings Sabacon and had him reign for 50 years...

1st is Sabacon (Piye) invading. Between 725 BC and 721 BC.
And then the blind man who was king hid in the swamp (Tefnakht did do that in fact. He negotiated a deal but didn't really go to Piye to submit, like all the others, his representatives did and he hid on an island in the Delta).
But Piye left the very next day (OK, about a year or so later).

Then we have the priest of Hephaestus who was king. Before and after the 1st invasion.
That may relate to the former HPA & now king Osorkon III (Priest of Amun, not Path, but who cares about such details).

And then there was the second invasion by Sabacon (Shabataka). In 714 BC. But this time they stayed.

And Sennacherib came against Egypt, so Sabacon (still Shabataka) decided to get some more help and called up the home guard of Kush. He already had his hands full with the Delta kinglets (he hadn't even killed Bochoris/Bakenranef yet, that was 1 year later).
That army was being run by his younger brother, who was just 20 years old (Taharqa). And he came up to the northland with (most of) the remaining army of Kush.

After 50 years of rule over Egypt Sabacon (Taharqa) decided he had enough and just left (actually that goes back to Piye who just left).
In 644 BC Taharqa 'left', it just wasn't exactly voluntarily.
50 years before in 714 BC they had invaded and taken over. Now they were gone.

And now it was time for the blind man to come back from the swamp and rule Egypt once again.
Of course, in reality, that guy had already died and instead, his descendants ruled Egypt as dynasty 26.

I do not know whether Taharqa really co-reigned. But I don't think that he was just paying a social visit when Shabataka asked his younger brother to come north.

And by the way: Shabaka is probably a brother of Piye and the uncle of Shabataka and Taharqa; Shabaka is certainly also the son-in-law of Taharqa (I kid you not) and father of Tantamani).
Why he (Shabaka) became king is a question, assuming that Taharqa was already an adult that early. Apparently, Shabaka had an equal claim or was voted in. The theory is that in the end, Taharqa made sure that the falcon (Shabaka) went to heaven...

That was the summary, below the detail that I posted elsewhere a while back :)


Herodotus tells us (in “The Histories”) about the invasion of Egypt by the Ethiopians, and their subsequent rule over Egypt. The reference to a next king called Sethos follows after this.
But which invasion is he describing? And which king invaded?

Hdt. 2.137.1 After him reigned a blind man called Anysis, of the town of that name. In his reign Egypt was invaded by Sabacos king of Ethiopia and a great army of Ethiopians.
Hdt. 2.137.2 [2] The blind man fled to the marshes, and the Ethiopian ruled Egypt for fifty years, during which he distinguished himself for the following:

Hdt. 2.139.1 Now the departure of the Ethiopian (they said) came about in this way. After seeing in a dream one who stood over him and urged him to gather together all the Priests in Egypt and cut them in half, he fled from the country.
Hdt. 2.139.2 [2] Seeing this vision, he said, he supposed it to be a manifestation sent to him by the gods, so that he might commit sacrilege and so be punished by gods or men; he would not (he said) do so, but otherwise, for the time foretold for his rule over Egypt was now fulfilled, after which he was to depart:
Hdt. 2.139.3 [3] for when he was still in Ethiopia, the oracles that are consulted by the people of that country told him that he was fated to reign fifty years over Egypt. Seeing that this time was now completed and that he was troubled by what he saw in his dream, Sabacos departed from Egypt of his own volition.

The invader is named here as ‘Sabacos”, which could refer to Shabaka or even to Shebitku. Yet neither Shabaka nor Shebitku reigned for 50 years over Egypt, and neither Shabaka nor Shebitku ever left. The Kushites as a group could be said to have ruled over Egypt for 50 years (714 – 664 BC), even though the last decade of Taharqa’s reign overlaps with the beginning of the 26th dynasty (probably Tefnakht ‘II’ and then Necho I, the latter ca. 672–664 BC). But of course, Taharqa did not leave voluntary.

The only Kushite king who invaded and then left voluntary was Piye. He was the one who invaded Egypt during the first Kushite invasion, and then left after a while. He did not just leave the north, after some time he even left Thebes in the south and simply went back home to Kush.
The Kushites only stayed after their second invasion of Egypt, under Shebitku (or Shabaka). Thereafter they can be said to have ruled over Egypt for 50 years.
So clearly the story told by Herodotus is a conflation of events.

The subsequent kings can have come after the end of the 1st invasion & period of domination or after the 2nd invasion & period of domination.

Hdt. 2.140.1 When the Ethiopian left Egypt, the blind man (it is said) was king once more, returning from the marshes where he had lived for fifty years on an island that he built of ashes and earth; for the Egyptians who were to bring him food without the Ethiopian's knowledge were instructed by the king to bring ashes whenever they came, to add to their gift.

This king ‘the blind man’ is named Anysis, which is not a name of any known king. It is clearly a Delta king and a person who was (de facto) deposed during the 1st or 2nd invasion, and who then managed to return when the king of Egypt had left (after the 1st of 2nd period of domination). After the 1st invasion Tefnakht was deposed, as was his son, but this son Bakenranef returned as king (of the 24th dynasty), shortly before the 2nd invasion. One could say that a Tefnakht returned at the end of the 2nd period of domination, namely Stephinates (a.k.a. Tefnakht II), but that can hardly be the same person after almost 60 years. Because Bakenranef was not only deposed, but also killed during the 2nd invasion, he can’t be the one who returned as king after the 2nd period of domination.
This is another conflation of people and events. Note also how Herodotus says: “it is said” so as to indicate that he doubts the truthfulness of this story.
Almost all (?) of the other dynasts (of D22/D23 or related) were allowed to stay on a ruler, if only as vassals to the Kushite kings of the Assyrians and later as vassals of D26.
The most likely candidate is Bakenranef, because he really did manage to ‘return’ to become king of Egypt (to some extent). The other candidate is Osorkon III because he is king before and after the 1st invasion by Piye but it does not seem to be that he was ever really deposed and he ruled (parts of) Middle & Upper Egypt, not in the marshy Delta.
Whatever the answer is, the story about the blind man’ who was king and who returns as king seems to happen prior to the 2nd invasion of Egypt by the Kushites.

Hdt. 2.141.1 The next king was the priest of Hephaestus whose name was Sethos. He despised and had no regard for the warrior Egyptians, thinking he would never need them; besides otherwise dishonoring them, he took away the chosen lands which had been given to them, twelve fields to each man, in the reign of former kings.
Hdt. 2.141.2 [2] So when presently king Sanacharib1 came against Egypt, with a great force of Arabians and Assyrians, the warrior Egyptians would not march against him.

This king ‘Sethos’ ruled after these events. It is again unclear who he is. But he can’t come after the 2nd period of domination by the ‘Ethiopians’, so the must come after the 1st period and before or as a result of the 2nd invasion.
The 1st invasion must be between c. 725 BC (Osorkon III maybe "Pharaoh ‘So’ to whom Hoshea of Israel sent envoys c. 725 BC) and 716 BC (Osorkon III is the Shilkanni of Assyrian records, who sent a gift of horses to Sargon II in 716 BC), I think circa 721 BC.
The 2nd invasion must be after ‘Shilkanni’ (Osorkon III) gave horses to Sargon in 716 BC. I think this was in circa 714 BC (and by Shebitku) and the initial reason may have been an Assyrian threat or attempted invasion of the delta. Yet oddly enough every source, including as we can see here above Herodotus, seems to claim that Sennacherib was leading the Assyrian army that attempted to invade Egypt, and not Sargon II.
Instead of changing both the reign length of the Hebrew kings as well as their internal synchronisms (…) I think it is more prudent to not do so and date Hezekiah within a few years of Hoshea (Hezekiah starts in year 3 of Hoshea). When Hoshea is 731–722 BC then Hezekiah should be 728/727-700/699. Hoshea’s 9th and Hezekiah’s 6th year then fall in 722 BC (Fall of Samaria) and the 14th year of Hezekiah is then in 714 BC.
Which implies that Sennacherib’s attempted invasion of Egypt was him as crown-prince in circa 714 BC.


  • Taharqa, age 20, co-reign with ShabatakaToby Charles Anderson, Fri Aug 9 11:46
    Greetings, One argument supporting the Shebitku-Shabaka succession order regards an inscription on a statue labelled 'CG 42204'. The statue is of Haremakhet 'the High Priest of Amun' who calls... more
    • Taharqa, age 20, co-reign with Shabataka — Jaap Titulaer, Fri Aug 9 18:17
      • Herodotus' Sabacon and SethonToby Charles Anderson, Sat Aug 10 10:58
        Hello Jaap, Me thinks Herodotus is not so mixed up as you espouse. I'll address your 2 main arguments that Herodotus is mixed up, to wit: 1. YOUR CLAIM HERODOTUS' GENERIC USE OF SABACON 2. THE... more
        • Herodotus aJaap Titulaer, Sat Aug 10 12:25
          Hi Toby, Yes Khan came to essentially the same conclusion. (This was before the reversal of the order of Shabaka & Shabataka.)... more
          • re: herodotusToby Charles Anderson, Mon Aug 12 12:46
            Hi Jaap, Thanks for the lead to Khan regarding Sabacon standing for all Kushite kings. IMHO, I reject this, 1. firstly as there seems to be too much correlation between the names of Shabako/Shabaqo... more
      • Taharqa, age 20, co-reign with ShabatakaJaap Titulaer, Fri Aug 9 18:21
        >> Shabaka is certainly also the son-in-law of Taharqa Ahum, Shabaka was brother-in-law of Taharqa, not son-in-law. Harran Tablets Vs. 70-71 [Onasch, Die Assyrischen Eroberungen Ägyptens, I, 108.]:... more
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