Sarcophagus of Nectanebo II

Sarcophagus of Nectanebo II
Sarcophagus of Nectanebo II

The conglomerate sarcophagus of Nectanebo II was discovered after being used as a bath in the Attarin Mosque, the former Church of St Athanasius, in Alexandria, Egypt.

Drawing of the Attarin Mosque by French archaeologist, artist and diplomat, Vivant Baron Denon (January 4th, 1747 – April, 27th 1825).

Drill holes at the bottom of the coffin, used for drainage, had been installed and are still very noticeable. Unfortunately, due to it being used as a bath, this led to water erosion which rid the sarcophagus of the funerary deities, which included depictions of Isis and Nephthys, Anubis and the Four Sons of Horus. The outside of the coffin, however, still has readable hieroglyphs, presenting to the reader the texts of the Amduat, 1-9. Depictions of Ra and Osiris are also still visible.

Drainage holes visible along the bottom of the coffin of Nectanebo II.
Drainage holes visible along the bottom of the coffin of Nectanebo II.

Nectanebo II, was the last pharaoh of the 30th Dynasty, and the last true Native Egyptian ruler of Ancient Egypt. Depictions of Nectanebo II, do have quite a similarity to the later Ptolematic King portraits, and it is believed the art style of Nectanebo II’s era somewhat inspired the later Ptolemaic Kingdom depiction of themselves as Pharaonic rulers.

Head of Nectanebo II, Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon
Head of Nectanebo II, Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon.
Photograph by Rama, Wikimedia Commons.

The sarcophagus was believed not to have actually been used by the king, as the Egyptian king had fled south after losing his reins on the Egyptian kingdom.

However, Nectanebo II, despite losing the Egyptian empire, did fight a good fight against the Achaemenid Empire who were hoping to regain their Egyptian territory multiple times throughout his reign.

Nectanebo II was successful throwing the Achaemenid Empire off of Egypt’s neck early in his reign, with Egypt’s allies, Diophantus of Athens and Lamius of Sparta by his side.

Nectanebo later supported the Phoenician rebellion against the Achaemenid Empire. Which unfortunately would lead to Egypt never being ruled by ethnic Egyptians ever again. 60,000 Egyptians, 20,000 Libu (Libyan) and Greek mercenaries helped Egypt try to keep a hold of itself, but Artaxerxes and the Persians entered Memphis in the summer of 362 B.C.

Nectanebo II, surviving, fled south and into Nubia where he was given citizenship and maintained his status as an elite ruler in society. It is believed by some that Nectanebo II helped Khabbash of Sais lead a rather unsuccessful revolt against the Persian rule, 338 to 335 B.C.

The sarcophagus now resides in the British Museum. EA10