Egypt in the first Persian Period

Objects directly reflecting Achaemenid domination over Egypt are scarce.

There are not many Egyptian style monuments securely dated to the period and there are also not many objects in Achaemenid style found in Egypt. The first Achaemenid kings ruling over Egypt presented themselves as Egyptian kings with an Egyptian titulary. These kings built Egyptian style temples and had objects and inscriptions produced with their names in hieroglyphs (Darius). However, no such Egyptianisation is known from the reigns of later Achaemenid kings (Xerxes II onwards). The capital of the province was Memphis, where the palace of Apries in particular has yielded material of the period. The main writing system in the Achaemenid empire was Aramaic, which was also used in the Egyptian administration of the period. Demotic and hieroglyphic inscriptions are still used by Egyptians.

The history of Persian Egypt is divided into three eras: an initial period of Achaemenid Persian occupation when Egypt became a satrapy, followed by an interval of independence; a second period of occupation, again under the Achaemenids; and a final occupation by the Sassanid Empire, immediately before the Arab invasion of AD 639.

The Persian conquest of Egypt, beginning in 619 or 618, was one of the last Sassanid achievements in the Roman-Persian Wars against Byzantium. Khosrow II Parvêz had begun this war in retaliation for the assassination of Emperor Maurice (582-602) and had achieved a series of early successes, culminating in the conquests of Jerusalem (614) and Alexandria (619). A Byzantine counter-offensive launched by Emperor Heraclius in the spring of 622 shifted the advantage, however, and the war was brought to an end by the fall of Khosrow on 25 February 628. Khosrow's son and successor, Kavadh II Šêrôe (Šêrôy), who reigned until September, concluded a peace treaty officially returning territories conquered by the Sassanids to the Byzantine Empire.