Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Psammetichus, or Psamtik I, was the first of three kings of the Saite, or Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt (664 - 610 BC). The name is frankly written so as to mean the man of methek, or mixed drink, whether as a tippler or as a vendor of strong drink. The Egyptian scribes do not conceal the opprobrious elements, but it has been suggested that the name may be due to false etymology of a foreign name (though all the names throughout the dynasty appear to be Egyptian), or that Methek may have been an unknown deity.
The story in Herodotus of the Dodecarchy and the rise of Psammetichus is fanciful. It is known from cuneiform texts that twenty local princelings were appointed by Esarhaddon and confirmed by Assurbanipal to govern Egypt. Necho I, father of Psammetichus, was the chief of these kinglets, but they seem to have been quite unable to hold the Egyptians to the hated Assyrians against the more sympathetic Nubians. The labyrinth built by a king of the Twelfth Dynasty is ascribed by Herodotus to the Dodecarchy, or rule of 12, which must represent this combination of rulers. If the dynasties were numbered thus before Manetho, the numeral may be the cause of Herodotus's confusion. After his father's death, Pasammetichus I was able to defy the Assyrians and the Nubians, and during a long reign marked by intimate relations with the Greeks restored the prosperity of Egypt.
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