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Necta'nabis, Necta'nebus

2. Appears to have been the nephew of Tachos, who, in his expedition to Phoenicia, in B. C. 361, left his brother behind as governor of Egypt, and placed Nectanabis, who accompanied him, in the command of his Egyptian forces, and sent him to lay siege to the cities in Syria. Taking advantage of the power thus entrusted to him, and aided by his father, who had raised a rebellion at home, Nectanabis persuaded his troops to renounce their allegiance to Tachos, and revolted. Being acknowlodged by the Egyptian people also as king, he made overtures and large promises to Agesilaus and Chabrias, both of whom were engaged with Greek mercenaries in the service of Tachos. Chabrias refused to transfer his assistance to him, but he was more fortunate with Agesilaus, and Tachos, finding himself thus deserted, fled for refuge to Artaxerxes II., and, notwithstanding the confused statement of Diodorus to the contrary, seems to have made no further attempt to recover the crown. It was, however, disputed with Nectanabis by a certain Mendesian, who for some time met with considerable success, but was ultimately defeated by the skill of Agesilaus, and the Spartan king left Egypt with rich presents from Nectanabis, whom he had thus firmly established on the throne. (Xen. Ages.; Plut. Ages. 37-40, Apoph. Lac. Ages. 76-78; Diod. 15.92, 93; Wess. ad loc.; Nep. Chabr. 2, 3, Ages. 8; Ath. xiv. p. 616d, e; Paus. 3.10; Polyaen. 2.1; Aelian, V.H. 5.1; Perizon. ad loc.; Clinton, F.H. vol. ii. App. pp. 213, 316; Rchdantz, Vit. Iph. Chabr. Tim. 5.11.) Artaxerxes III. (Ochus), soon after his accession in B. C. 359, made several attempts to recover Egypt; but the generals, whom he sent thither, were utterly defeated by Nectanabis, through the skill mainly of two experienced commanders in his service, Diophantus, of Athens, and Lamius, of Sparta. The failure of the Persian attacks on Egypt encouraged Phoenicia also and Cyprus to revolt, and Artaxerxes accordingly (leaving the reduction of Cyprus to IDRIEUS) resolved to put himself at the head of an expedition which should crush the Phoenician rebellion, and should then proceed to take vengeance on Nectanabis. It therefore became necessary for his own defence that the Egyptian king should succour the Phoenicians, and we find hin accordingly despatching MENTOR, the Rhodian, to their aid with 4000 mercenaries. But Mentor went over to Artaxerxes, and, after the subjugation of Phoenicia, accompanied him in his invasion of Egypt. Nectanabis had made large and active preparations for defence; but, according to Diodorus, his presumptuous confidence made him think that he could conduct the campaign alone, while his utter unfitness for the command of an army (obvious enough indeed in his former war with the Mendesian pretender) caused his ruin. Some of his troops having sustainted a defeat from Nicostratus and Aristazanes, he adopted in alarm the fatal step of shutting himself up in Memphis. Here he remained without a struggle, while town after town submitted to the enemy, and at length, despairing of his cause, he fled with the greater part of his treasures into Aethiopia. Another account, viz. that of Lynceus (Ap. Ath. iv. p. 150b), represents him as having been taken prisoner by Artaxerxes, and kindly treated, while a third story brings him to Macedonia, and makes him become the father of Alexander the Great, having won the favours of Olympias by magic arts. But this deserves mention only as a specimen of those wild legends, by which Oriental vanity strove to reconcile itself to a foreign yoke by identifying the blood of its conqueror with its own (Diod. 16.40, 41, 42, 44, 46-51; comp. Isaiah 19.11, &c.; Vitringa, ad loc.; Thirlwall's Greece, vol. vi. p. 142; Wess. ad Diod. 16.51). The date usually assigned to the conquest of Egypt by Ochus is B. C. 350; but see Thirlwall's Greece, vol. vi. p. 142, note 2. Nectanabis was the third king of the Sebennite dynasty, and the last native sovereign who ever ruled in Egypt (comp. Ezek. 29.14, 15, 30.13). We read in Diogenes Laertius (8.87; comp. Menag. ad loc.) that he received at his court, and recommended to the priests the astronomer Eudoxus, who came to him with a recommendation from Agesilaus. Pliny (Plin. Nat. 36.9.) speaks of an obelisk which had been made by order of Nectanabis, and was set up at Alexandria by Ptolemy Philadelphus; but it does not appear to which of the two persons above-mentioned he is alluding.


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361 BC (1)
359 BC (1)
350 BC (1)
hide References (12 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (12):
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 15.92
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 15.93
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 16.41
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 16.46
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 16.40
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 16.42
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 16.44
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 16.51
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 3.10
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 36.9
    • Plutarch, Agesilaus, 37
    • Plutarch, Agesilaus, 40
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