Apries temple at memphisApries was the Pharaoh of Egypt who thought he would rule magnificently just like his predecessor. Soon after initial successes, he got into deep waters with the Persians who not only defeated his army at Jerusalem but also served as a stimulus for the internal rift between him and his army.

This rift took away his kingdom and his legendary place in history.

In this article, we will discuss the entire life of Apries and learn more about his time as a Pharaoh, so keep on reading to get further information on this.

Who Was Apries?

Apries, originally known as Wahibre Haaibre, was a Pharaoh of Egypt who belonged to the twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt. Experts believe that he ruled for a total of nineteen years.

Moreover, he was the son of Psamtik II who ruled immediately before him. Being one of the most influential kings of his time, he faced disastrous internal challenges which eventually cost him his throne.

– His Building Ambition

Being a Pharaoh, he continued the legacy of building temples and eventually built several temples on locations such as Memphis, Bahariya Oasis and Sias. Athribis, known as Tell Artib, was one of his constructions.

Meaning of Apries Name and Mention in Old Testament

His birth name was Wah-ib-re which meant “Constant is the heart of Re” whereas his throne name was Haa-ib-re which meant “Jubilant is the heart of Re forever”. He is also widely believed to be the Hophra in the Old Testament.

– Apries’ Sister: Meaning Behind Her Name

Pharaoh Apries’s sister Ankhnesneferibre was named as God’s wife and therefore became God’s Wife of Amun.

Apries Military Intervention Policy & Jerusalem

Following the footsteps of his father, Apries continued to intermingle in Palestinian affairs. He was faced with innumerable domestic and foreign military conflicts. The predecessors of Apries had been trying to subdue the Nebuchadnezzar II of the Chaldaean dynasty’s invasion of Jerusalem. He aligned with the Phoenician cities and Zedekiah of Judah to overcome the Chaldeans from Babylonia.

– Zedekiah of Judah and Pharaoh Apries

Zedekiah of Judah aligned himself with Apries as he thought this would be a potential partnership to overcome the Chaldeans. This soon became a terminal error as Jeremiah had long before forbidden him to build such a partnership. Nebuchadnezzar II saw this alliance as disloyal and started to move to Jerusalem. This is where the forces of Nebuchadnezzar II and Apries clashed.

– Failure To Overcome Chaldeans

Apries was not successful in subduing the Chaldeans and it eventually resulted in the invasion of Egypt in 580 BC. As terms with Phoenicians deteriorated over time, he conducted an assault on Phoenicia and Cyprus between 574 and 570 BC. These resulted to be fruitful as he was able to capture the port of Sidon which was previously under Phoenician control.

– Immigration of Jewish Captives

After the victory of Nebuchadnezzar II at Jerusalem against Apries, a lot of jews were taken captive; however, the Gedalilah, Chaldean Governor, was assassinated resulting in the fleeing of jews. A number of them fled into Egypt and settled at Tahpanhes, Tell Defenneh, which is today associated with a monument known as Qatsr Bint el Yahudi, or “the Jew’s Daughter Palace.

– Jeremiah’s Account

Jeremiah had prophesied that Nebuchadnezzar II would soon take control of Egypt. When the fortress at Tahpanhes was found in 1886, it had an inscription dictating that this was where Nebuchadnezzar II took control and spread his royal pavilion. Hence, experts mention that in 568 BC, the prophecy became reality with the Persian conquest of Egypt.

The Onslaught of Mutinies

Apries was struck with tragedy during his reign as he started to face army backlash from his troops. A chain of mutinies weakened the empire to the point that Apries found himself in trouble. Then, this served as an opportunity for invaders, who started to carry onslaught from outside.

– The Mutiny At Elephantine

The first attempt to mutiny was by one of the most important groups of the army, Aswan Garrison at Elephantine which is modern-day’s Assam. These troops were of significant value to Apries who was devastated by their betrayal, which he soon overcame but left a stain on his rule which would result in dire consequences.

– Civil War Due to Cyrene Defeat

The worst began when he sent troops to assist Libyans against the Greek invaders of Cyrene. The Egyptian army was crushed which resulted in distress among the troops. This distress resulted in the civil war upon their arrival back to Egypt. Historians believe that another reason for the mutiny is that Apries had a softer corner for foreign mercenaries which had attracted opposition from the native army as well.

– General Amasis II Betrays Apries

Upon the initiation of revolt, Apries had to dispatch his most trusted general Amasis II to handle the situation. The rebels asked him to lead them not as a general but as a king. He, upon backing from the rebels, claimed himself the king in 570 BC which finally put the nail in the coffin of Pharaoh Apres rule. He had nothing else to do but to flee in the end.

How Did Palace of Apries Died

There are several views on King Apries’ death. However, two of them are widely accepted by various historians. Both these views agree that Apries, along with his foreign mercenaries, confronted Amasis II and the Egyptian army at Memphis, where they fought for the legitimacy of the Egyptian throne. Unfortunately, Apries lost to Amasis II resulting in the retreat of his army.

– First View: Apries Continues To Run Egyptian Lands Till Death

The first view claims that Apries returned to his palace at Memphis where he continued to rule some lands of Egypt until his death. He might have tried to rescue his kingdom and win his glory back but that would have failed. This might seem valid from some angle, but Apries was not truly the king since his defeat to Amasis II resulted in him becoming official king in 570 BC.

– Second View: Apries’ Murder

The second view is that Apries fled the country after the defeat and he was eventually found by the Egyptians who murdered him and brought his body back to Amasis II. However, it is widely believed that in all the scenarios, Amasis II did treat Apries’ body with respect. His body was moved to Sais where he was buried in an official funeral.

– The Events After Apries’ Death

Amasis II was a great leader and military strategist but his rule following Apries’ death saw the downfall of the 26th dynasty. The Persians invaded Egypt and unleashed destruction upon them because of Apries’ treatment of them in Jerusalem.

What’s more, the army was not enough to counter them and Amasis II had lost the trust of foreign mercenaries which had played a crucial role in Egyptian victories prior to him. As a result to which, Amasis II was not able to unite a nation.

Amasis II’s Marriage to Apries’ Daughter

Amasis II wanted to consolidate his leadership and become the legitimized successor to Apries. Therefore, soon after Apries’ death, he married Khedebneithirbinet II who experts believe was the daughter of Apries. Then, Amasis II became the last great Pharaoh of Egypt before the Persian conquest.

Amasis II might have thought that ruling Egypt was enough, but the kingdom was divided when he ascended the throne. This disunity was a Persian opportunity to take over Egypt.

Monuments

Historians claim that there is one accurate head of the statue of Apries which survives to this day. Also, there is a Sphinx of Count Caylus which is located now in the famous Louvre Museum. An obelisk erected by the 26th Pharaoh also exists and was moved by Diocletian in 3 AD. Currently, in Rome, the obelisk is in Santa Maria Sopra Minerva basilica church.

FAQ:

When Was the Palace of Memphis Discovered?

In the course of excavations in 1909, the palace of Apries at Memphis was discovered where the Pharaoh Apries had resided as mentioned above. It was a magnificent palace that had great hallways and immensely huge courts.

A fitting for a solid silver palanquin, ornamented with a bust of Hathor with a gold face, was discovered among many other valuable items.

Conclusion

Apries at memphisYou have learned everything you need to know about Apries, his personal and political actions which cost him his kingdom. Here is a summary of what you’ve learned:

  • Apries was the 4th Pharaoh of the 26th Dynasty of Egypt
  • His father was Psamtik II and his sister was the second wife of God
  • He tried to overcome the Nebuchadnezzar II of Chaldean Dynasty by teaming up with Zedekiah of Judah
  • He failed in his battle with Nebuchadnezzar II at Jerusalem and lost to Chaldeans, falling a victim to his wrongfully-made decisions
  • His army turned against him which culminated in a civil war, resulting in losing his kingdom to Amasis II
  • However, he was a great builder and was also a good ruler for quite some time

Apries was a great leader but his decisions cost him a lot. His death took the Egyptian kingdom to a weak point from which it did not survive upon Persian conquest in 568 BC.

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