Psamtik III was the last Pharaoh of the 26th Dynasty, which is sometimes marked as the end of the Late Period, though other chronologies include the subsequent, First Persian Period, Late Dynastic Period and Second Persian Period as part of this era.
His rule was very brief, lasting approximately six months from the death of his father, Ahmose II (sometimes spelt Amasis II or Amosis II) in 526BC, to the invasion of Persian forces under Cambyses in 525BC, giving the inexperienced Psamtik little time to prepare his armies.
He attempted to fend off the Persian advance at the fortress city of Pelusium, but his forces were badly defeated and the enemy advanced to Memphis. Herodotus states that Psamtik was captured by enemy forces, and was taken to Persia in chains, and that the Persians attempted to break his will by showing the fate of his companions, before later being forced to drink bulls blood, after attempting to incite a rebellion, thereby causing his death.
His death marked the end of the Saite Dynasty. Archaeologically, despite his very brief reign, he was active at Karnak, where an inscription contains his name and image, and a few fragmentary items.
- Dodson, A and Hilton, D (2004), The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt, Thames & Hudson, London
- Shaw, I et al. (2000), Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, Oxford University Press, Oxford