Taharka


Taharka
King 690-664 BC.
    The brother of Shebitku, *Nubian ruler of Egypt in the Twenty-fifth Dynasty, Taharka was summoned with his other brothers from Napata to join Shebitku at Thebes. They came with an army and accompanied Shebitku to Lower Egypt.
    Taharka and his brothers may have been present when *Sennacherib defeated Egyptian and Ethiopian forces at El-tekeh in 701 BC, after Egypt had interfered in the policies of Ekron (a Philistine town) and Judah. There is another reference to a possible conflict between *Sennacherib and Egypt in the Bible (II Kings, 19:8-35), when King Tirhakah of Egypt came out to fight *Assyria, but the *Assyrian forces were slain by the angel of God in the night and *Sennacherib returned to Nineveh. In *Herodotus (ii, 141), a slightly different version relates that the *Assyrians were forced to retreat because their bows and quivers were eaten by mice.
    Taharka succeeded Shebitku as king of Egypt and Nubia, and was crowned at Memphis. Five great stelae that were excavated at Kawa recount the events of his early reign as well as the donations he made to the local temple. There were momentous events in Year 6 (c.685 BC): a very high Nile inundation and rainfall in
    Nubia was followed by a rich harvest; the king began an extensive building programme at the Kawa temple; and his mother, Abar, came to Memphis, providing the first opportunity for them to meet since Taharka had left *Nubia to join Shebitku.
    The earlier years of the reign were peaceful and great building programmes were initiated throughout the country: a colonnade was added in the Bubastite forecourt of the Temple of Karnak and other additions were made at Buhen, Kasr Ibrim, Napata and Sanam. Taharka's daughter, Amenardis II, was adopted at Thebes as the God's Wife of Amun by the incumbent, Shepenopet II. The new *Assyrian ruler, *Esarhaddon, regarded Egypt's interference in the affairs of his vassal states in Palestine and Syria as intolerable, and this brought *Assyria to Egypt. In 674 BC, *Esarhaddon tried to invade Egypt and was repulsed by Taharka, but a second attack in 671 BC drove Taharka out from Memphis. In 669 BC, there was danger of further trouble in Egypt, and *Esarhaddon set out again to deal with this, but fell ill and died at Haran on the way.
    Taharka re-established himself at Memphis and occupied it until the next *Assyrian ruler, *Ashurbanipal, drove him out in 667/666 BC. He fled to Thebes and when the *Assyrians reached there, he escaped further south to Napata. *Ashurbanipal returned to Nineveh, having first obtained the allegiance of the Delta princes. They soon decided that they preferred *Nubian rule and began to intrigue with Taharka at Napata. This conspiracy was discovered and the Delta princes were dispatched to Nineveh; two of them—*Necho of Sais and his son *Psammetichus— were sent back to Egypt and reinstated by *Ashurbanipal as the local rulers.
    In the meantime, Taharka died at Napata and was buried in a pyramid at Nuri; he had chosen his nephew, Tanuatamun, as his successor.
BIBL. Laming Macadam, M.F. The Temples of Kawa. (four vols) Oxford: 1949, 1955; Dunham, D. The Royal Cemeteries of Kush. Vol. 2: Nuri. Boston, Mass.: 1955, pp. 6 ff.; Kitchen, K.A. 3rd Int.
Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by Rosalie and Antony E. David

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.

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