Taharqa was perhaps the brother of King Shabataka and, after his death, succeeded him on the throne of Egypt. His reign was the most successful of all the Kushite kings. He was an enthusiast for the old ways and sought always to emulate the greatness of Egypt's past. He encouraged artists and craftsmen to bring their skills to the service of the court and the temples. In his concern for past glories he anticipated the archaicising tendencies which were to become so significant an influence in the art and architecture of the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty.
However, Taharqa's pursuit of peaceful enterprises was threatened by the ambitions of the Assyrian kings. Assurbanipal invaded Egypt and drove Taharqa from Memphis. He pursued him to Thebes, where he had retreated. Taharqa was again defeated and withdrew from Egypt to his Nubian kingdom. He died in 664 BC, leaving his kingdom to his cousin or nephew, Tanutamani. Like many Nubian kings he was buried in a pyramid; in it, 1,070 shabti figurines were found.
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Last Updated: June 20th, 2011
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