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confidence, Cambyses was ready to undertake what his father had contemplated- the conquest

of Egypt. It was now a quarter of a century since Pharaoh Amasis, by his alliance with

Croesus, had given mortal offense to Cyrus. But the Lydian king was now resident at the

capital of the Empire, and was held in favor with Cambyses himself; so it seemed

malapropos to dig up a difficulty on the score-of an extinct quarrel between Persia and


The king, therefore, sought some new occasion. He sent an embassy to Egypt and made

demands that Amasis should give him his daughter for a wife. The demand was complied with,

and for while Cambyses thought himself in possession of an Egyptian princess; but he soon

learned that he had been made the victim of a vile fraud, for the girl, after the manner

of human nature, told him that she was only a princess by proxy, not being the daughter of

Amasis at all. That crafty ruler had sent an Egyptian damsel named Nitetis to personate

his daughter in the Persian palace.

Cambyses, however, was not displeased at the "outrage," for the transaction gave him the

very opportunity which he sought to settle old scores and new grievances together. He

accordingly began elaborate preparations for the invasion of Egypt. In order to secure a

safe passage through the Syrian deserts he made treaties with the Arab chiefs and secured

their friend- ship. He saw that in a war with the Egyptians a naval armament would be

indispensable, and to secure this in the distant Mediterranean was a work of the greatest

difficulty. The king, however, opened negotiations with the Phoenicians, whom by alternate

threats and bribes he induced to furnish fleets for the desired purpose. The island of

Cyprus was also seduced from her loyalty to Egypt, and led into a contribution of ships

and sailors. The Greek cities of Asia Minor, both Ionian and Aeolian, entered the league,

and placed a large naval force at the disposal of the Persian king. So, after four years

of preparation, in B. C. 525, Cambyses began his invasion. Advancing by way of the

Mediterranean coast, he came to PELUSIUM, where the Egyptians had come out to confront

him. Here a decisive battle, in which fifty thousand are said to have fallen, was fought,

and the Persians were completely victorious. The Egyptians beat a hurried retreat to

Memphis, and shut themselves within the fortifications.

Meanwhile, the combined fleets of Phoenicia, Cyprus, and the Greek cities had dispersed

the Egyptian armament, so that by the time Cambyses appeared before Memphis the allied

fleet had taken possession of the Nile, and Psametik, who at this juncture succeeded his

father, Amasis, on the throne, was rigorously blockaded both by land and water.

Nevertheless the resistance was stubborn. The Greek mercenaries in the pay of the

Egyptians long and stoutly defended the city; but Persian persistence triumphed in the

end, and the capital of the Pharaohs fell into the hands of Cambyses. The captive

Psametik was treated with the usual consideration shown to princely prisoners, and was

not, for the time, wholly deprived of power.1

As soon as the downfall of Egypt was known, the petty states bordering on the Nile valley

at once sent in their submission. Thus did the tribes inhabiting the Libyan desert and the

more distant colonies of Barca and Cyrenaica. In all the regions immediately adjoining the

scene of his recent conquests there was none to furnish Cambyses with occasion for further

war. But the passion which he had inherited from his father could not be satiated, and he

began to scan the horizon for new fields in which to display his powers. There were in

Africa at this time three countries besides those already subjugated, which appeared to

the Persian worthy of his arms. These were Carthage in the west, the Oasis Of Amun in the

distant desert, and Ethiopia in the south. If these were reduced to submission, then all

Africa would be under the sway of Persia, as much as Western and Central Asia. What his

father had done with the w3d tribes between the Jaxartes

1 For a further account of the capture of Memphis by the Persians and the conversion of

Egypt into a province of the Empire, see Book First, p. 71.