Egypt in Late Period
With the 26th Dynasty a strong line of kings ruled again over the whole of Egypt, and this is generally considered the start of the Late Period.
The new stability had a very positive effect on the prosperity of the country. There is almost no other period with such a great amount of high quality large scale royal and private monuments, though the bulk were in Lower Egypt, where most have disappeared. In many parts of the country vast private tombs were built, but most of the finest sculptures and reliefs come from the North. The capital of the 26th Dynasty was Sais in the Delta. The city and its cemeteries had been entirely quarried away already by the medieval period. Other major cities include Memphis and Heliopolis. Thebes lost its influential position, although there are also some important monuments there.
The Late Period of Egypt refers to the last flowering of native Egyptian rulers after the Third Intermediate Period from the 26th Saite Dynasty into Persian conquests and ended with the death of Alexander the Great. It ran from 664 BC until 323 BC.
It is often regarded as the last gasp of a once great culture, where the power of Egypt had diminished.
The 26th Dynasty (664-525 BC) ruled from Sais. The country was united for over 100 years, before the armies of Achaemenid Iran conquered Egypt. The political history is relatively well-known: there are many Egyptian texts from the period, and the description of the fifth century BC Greek historian Herodotus gives much important information. There are also other foreign sources reporting about this time, notably the Bible and, for the first part of the 26th Dynsaty, Assyrian sources. It is the first period of Egyptian history with a secure absolute chronology.
The Late Period is in many ways a period of revivals. Especially in art Old, Middle and New Kingdom prototypes were copied. There are numerous monuments of the Late Period preserved throughout the country, such as impressive tombs of officials at Thebes and Saqqara. However, most of the important buildings of the period are lost, because the focus of the country was in the Delta and the monumental aspects and even archaeological remains of cities there are today very much destroyed. In addition, archaeology in Egypt has been very intensely focussed on the earlier, more 'classical' periods. Therefore the Late Period has never won the attention it deserves. In the burials of the period there were often only placed objects especially produced for tombs. As a result, in comparison to other periods, only relatively few daily life objects have survived.