Kambudzhia Kambis

Kambudzhia Kambis

Eldest son of Cyrus the Great, Persian king (529-522 BC).
Country: Iran

  1. Biography of Cambyses II
  2. Early Reign
  3. The Egyptian Campaign
  4. Rule in Egypt
  5. Later Reign and Death

Biography of Cambyses II

Cambyses II, also known as Cambyses the Great, was the eldest son of Cyrus the Great and the Persian king from 529 to 522 BCE.

Early Reign

At the beginning of his reign, Cambyses faced anti-Persian uprisings from various nations within the Persian Empire. He had to invest a significant amount of time and effort to suppress these rebellions. Once firmly established on the throne, Cambyses embarked on a campaign to conquer Egypt, a plan initiated by his father, Cyrus the Great.

The Egyptian Campaign

In late 527 BCE, Cambyses began assembling his troops in Palestine and ordered the Phoenicians to prepare a fleet. The islands of Cyprus and Samos offered their support to Cambyses by providing ships for the Egyptian campaign. In 525 BCE, the Persian army set out, with most of the infantry being transported to Egypt by ships. Cambyses personally led the cavalry through the deserts of southern Palestine and the Sinai Peninsula. He formed an alliance with Arab nomads who controlled the route to Egypt, ensuring a steady supply of drinking water for his army.

Upon learning of the Persian advance, the Egyptian pharaoh Psamtik III made efforts to organize the defense of his country. The first battle between the Persians and the Egyptians took place near the city of Pelusium, resulting in a decisive Persian victory. The remnants of the Egyptian army retreated to Memphis and eventually surrendered to Cambyses. The entire Nile Valley, including the island of Elephantine, acknowledged the rule of the Persian king. Frightened by the Persian triumph, the Libyans living west of Egypt and the Greek cities of Cyrene and Barca willingly submitted to Cambyses and sent him gifts.

Rule in Egypt

Initially, Cambyses showed leniency toward the conquered Egyptian population. He was crowned according to Egyptian customs, wore Egyptian clothing, participated in religious ceremonies, and made sacrifices to Egyptian gods. He allowed many Egyptian dignitaries to retain their former positions. The former pharaoh Psamtik III was spared and kept by his side more as an advisor than as a captive. However, a few months later, Cambyses attempted to conquer Carthage, but the Phoenicians, under his control, refused to participate in this endeavor as the Carthaginians were their fellow countrymen. Determined to reach Carthage by land, Cambyses's attempt ended in failure when his fifty-thousand-strong army, sent to the oasis of Ammon, perished in a sandstorm.

A similar fate awaited Cambyses's Ethiopian campaign. His Persian army suffered significant losses while crossing the waterless desert and was forced to retreat back to Egypt.

Later Reign and Death

Upon his return to Memphis, Cambyses brutally suppressed the Egyptian unrest that had started during his absence. Under his orders, Pharaoh Psamtik III was killed, and the names and titles of the pharaohs of the 26th dynasty were erased from sarcophagi. Cambyses ordered the destruction of temples whose priests were suspected of plotting rebellion. He personally killed the sacred bull Apis with his sword. Cambyses's madness even led him to murder his own brother Smerdis and his wife Roxana. He ordered several prominent Persians to be buried alive.

In March 522 BCE, Cambyses received news that his brother Smerdis was alive and had seized the throne. Despite knowing that Smerdis was actually dead, Cambyses was surprised by this information. Nevertheless, he set out for Persia to personally address the turmoil there. However, he fell seriously ill during the journey and died.