Herodotus (himself a notable traveller in the 5th century B.C.) relates that the Egyptian king Necho of the XXVIth Dynasty (c. 600 B.C.) built a fleet on the Red Sea, and confided it to Phoenician sailors with the orders to sail southward and return to Egypt by the Pillars of Hercules and the Mediterranean sea.
His son Psammetichus was the founder of the XXVIth Dynasty.
Psammetichus did not neglect it, and during the XXVIth Dynasty Petemenopi, a wealthy priest and official, excavated for himself the greatest private tomb that ever was made.
Our knowledge of the history of Alexanders conquest, of the Ptolemies and of the Roman occupation is almost entirely derived from Greek sources, and in fact almost the same might be said of the history of Egypt as far back as the beginning of the XXVIth Dynasty.
Egypt to the south of the Heptanomis war the Thebais, called P-tesh-en-Ne, the province of Thebes, as early as the XXVIth Dynasty.
During the XXVth and XXVIth Dynasties silver of the treasury of Harshafe (at Heracleopolis Magna) was commonly prescribed in contracts, and in the reign of Darius we hear of silver of the treasury of Ptah (at Memphis).
It is thought that the camel is shown in rude figures of the earliest age, but it is scarcely traceable again before the XXVIth Dynasty.
Marriage contracts are not found earlier than the XXVIth Dynasty.
Sales of slaves occur in the XXVth Dynasty, and contracts of servitude are found in the XXVIth Dynasty and in the reign of Darius, appearing as if the consent of the slave was then required.
The demotic character, which may be traced back to the XXVIth Dynasty, if not to a still earlier time.
The wide and complex subject of Egyptian art will be treated here in six periods: Prehistoric, Early Kings, Pyramid Kings, XIIth Dynasty, XVIIIth-XXth Dynasties, XXVIth Dynasty and later.
The XXVIth Dynasty is often looked on as a renaissance; but when we compare similar work we see that it was poorer than the XXIInd, as that was poorer than the XIXth.
Long iron picks (16), like those of moderp navvies, were made by Greeks in the XXVIth Dynasty.
Such work was kept up in the XVIIIth and XXVIth Dynasties.
The XXVIth Dynasty was largely influenced by Greek amphorae imported with wine and oil.
Records of the time that has elapsed between two regnal dates in the reigns of different kings are very helpful; thus stelae from the Serapeum recording the ages of the Apis bulls with the dates of their birth and death have fixed the chronology of the XXVIth Dynasty.
(3) Synchronisms in the histories of other countries furnish reliable datesGreek, Persian, Babylonian and Biblical dates for the XXVIth Dynasty, Assyrian for the XXVth; less precise are the Biblical date of Rehoboam, contemporary with the invasion of Shishak (Sheshonk) in the XXIInd Dynasty, and the date of the Babylonian.
The XXVIth Dynasty, which lasted 139 years, is particularly clear, and synchronisms fix, its regnal dates to the years B.C. within an error of one or two years at most.
For the chronology before the time of the XXVIth Dynasty Herodotuss history is quite worthless.
In the case of the six kings of the XXVIth Dynasty, Africanus, the best of his excerptors, gives correct figures for five reigns, but attributes six instead of sixteen years to Necho; the other excerptors have wrong numbers throughout.
History, cannot be employed as a serious guide to the early chronology, since they are faulty wherever we can check them, even in the XXVIth Dynasty whose kings were so celebrated among the Greeks.
At the head of these was Necho (Niku), king of Sais and Memphis, father of Psammetichus, the founder of the XXVIth Dynasty.
The temples successively built here on one site were nine or ten in number, from the Ist dynasty, 5500 B.C. to the XXVIth dynasty, Soo B.C. The first was an enclosure, about 30 X 50 ft., surrounded by a thin wall of unbaked bricks.
In the XXVIth dynasty rebuilt the temple again, and placed in it a large monolith shrine of red granite, finely wrought.
For the failure of Assyria in Egypt in 668-664, and the revival of Egypt as a phil-Hellene state under the XXVIth Dynasty, admitted strong GraecoEgyptian influences in industry and art, and led about 560 B.C. to the political conquest of Cyprus by Amasis (Ahmosi) II.; once again Cypriote timber maintained a foreign sea-power in the Levant.