Apries, the 4th Ruler of Egypt's 26th Dynasty

Apries, the 4th Ruler of Egypt's 26th Dynasty

by Jimmy Dunn

Apries' Cartouche

The King commonly referred to as Apries (his Greek name), who's birth name was Wah-ib-re, meaning "Constant is the Heart of Re" and who's Throne name was Haa-ib-re, meaning "Jubilant is the Heart of Re Forever", succeeded his father, Psamtik II in February of 589 BC., of Egypt's 26th Dynasty. We believe he ruled Egypt until his defeat at the hands of Amasis in 570 BC. Some sources provide that Apries was the Biblical Hophra.

Herodutus claimed that the wife of Apries was called Nitetis, but there appears to be no contemporary souses evidencing her name. We are also told that in the fourth year of his reign, he managed to have Ankhnesneferibre, apparently the daughter of Psammetichus II, adopted as the successor of Nitigret for the title, God's Wife of Amun.

He did build, as all Egyptian kings felt was their duty, in locations such as the temples at Athribis (Tell Atrib), in the Bahariya Oasis, at Memphis and Sais.

The only attested statue of Apries

He continued a foreign policy of his father of intervention in Palestinian affairs, but was plagued with a number of military problems at home and abroad. He addressed himself vigorously to a Chaldaean problem that had plagued his predecessors, initially operating on a large scale basis against them in conjunction with the Phoenician cities and Zedekiah of Judah. However, this ended up being a disaster and possibly caused an invasion of Egypt in the late 580s BC. However, he also conducted some well conceived campaigns against Cyprus and Phonenicia between 574 and 570 BC.

However, during his reign, a strategically important military garrison of native Egyptian troops at Elephantine (modern Aswan) mutinied, though that was contained.

His worse nightmare transpired after he sent his Egyptian native army to help Libya against the Dorian Greek invaders (against the Greek city of Cyrene), they were badly beaten, and upon the survivor's return, civil war broke out. Apris was blamed for this disaster, resulting in a confrontation between the regular Egyptian army (the machimoi) and foreign mercenaries (Greek) under his command.

Actually, the defeat at Cyrene probably only provided an excuse for the revolt. For sometime, the mercenaries under his command had been treated considerably better than the native Egyptian army. When Apris sent his general, Amasis (Ahmose II) to put down the revolt, instead he was implored by the Egyptians instead to be their leader, a plead which he accepted.

The Location of Apries' Fortress palace where he may have returned after the initial battle between him and Amasis

The history of what followed this is somewhat difficult. Various sources actually give considerably different accounts. However, it appears that a messenger arrived to tell Apries of Amasis' treason, and was abruptly killed for his bad news. Now according to almost all accounts, the Greek mercenary troops of Apries under his command advanced on the native Egyptian army. They may have met in the northwest Egyptian Delta in around January or February of 570 BC at a location called Momemphis. Afterwards, many sources provide conflictive information, but it appears Apries probably survived this first battle, though his army was defeated and he was forced to retreat. He may have fled the country, but most sources indicate that he returned to his palace at Memphis, where he may have continued to control a part of Egypt. However, for a somewhat different account of these events, see our section on Amasis (Ahmose II).

Regardless, most sources provide that his body was treated with respect by Amasis. The new king allowed the remains of Apries to be transported to Sais, where he was buried with full royal honors.

Only one definite statue of the king survives, though there are several others, including one that might also be attributable to Amasis, that may be of that of Apries.

See Also:






Reference Number

Atlas of Ancient Egypt

Baines, John; Malek, Jaromir


Les Livres De France

None Stated

Chronicle of the Pharaohs (The Reign-By-Reign Record of the Rulers and Dynasties of Ancient Egypt)

Clayton, Peter A.


Thames and Hudson Ltd

ISBN 0-500-05074-0

History of Ancient Egypt, A

Grimal, Nicolas



None Stated

Monarchs of the Nile

Dodson, Aidan


Rubicon Press

ISBN 0-948695-20-x

Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, The

Shaw, Ian


Oxford University Press

ISBN 0-19-815034-2

Who Were the Phraohs? (A history of their names with a list of cartouches)

Quirke, Stephen


Dover Publications

ISBN 0-486-26586-2