Psamtik I (also spelled Psammeticus or Psammetichus), was the first of three kings of the Saite, or Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt. His prenomen, Wahibre, means "Constant is the Heart of Re. The story in Herodotus of the Dodecarchy and the rise of Psamtik is fanciful. It is known from cuneiform texts that twenty local princelings were appointed by Esarhaddon and confirmed by Assurbanipal to govern Egypt. Necho I, the father of Psammetichus by his Queen Istemabet, was the chief of these kinglets, but they seem to have been quite unable to hold the Egyptians to the hated Assyrians against the more sympathetic Nubians. The labyrinth built by Amenemhat III of the Twelfth dynasty of Egypt is ascribed by Herodotus to the Dodecarchy, or rule of 12, which must represent this combination of rulers. Psamtik was the son of Necho I who died in 664 BC when the Kushite king Tantamani tried unsuccesfully to seize control of lower Egypt from the Assyrian Empire. After his father's death, Psamtik managed to both unite all of Egypt and free her from Assyrian control within the first ten years of his reign.
The Greek historian Herodotus conveyed an anecdote about Psamtik in the second volume of his Histories. During his travel to Egypt, Herodotus heard that Psammetichus ("Psamtik") sought to discover the origin of language by conducting an experiment with two children. Allegedly he gave two newborn babies to a shepherd, with the instructions that no one should speak to them, but that the shepherd should feed and care for them while listening to determine their first words. The hypothesis was that the first word would be uttered in the root language of all people. When one of the children cried "bekos" with outstretched arms the shepherd concluded that the word was Phrygian because that was the sound of Phrygian word for "bread." Thus, they concluded that the Phrygians were an older people than the Egyptians, and that Phrygian was the original language of men. There are no other extant sources to verify this story.
Psamtik's father-in-law--the aforementioned Harsiese--was married three times: to Sheta, with whom he had a daughter named Naneferheres, to Tanini and, finally, to an unknown lady, by whom he had both Djedkare, the Vizier of the South and Mehtenweskhet. Harsiese was the son of Vizier Harkhebi, and was related to two other Harsieses, both Viziers, who were a part of the family of the famous Mayor of Thebes Montuemhat.
Singing in the brain: how do we learn to talk? No one really knows, but some of the best clues are being whispered by a tiny bird with a cheery song.
Nov 01, 2003; Back in the 7th century B.C., Egypt's King Psamtik I is credited with performing one of the first science experiments in history,...
Shedding light on the after life; New Orleans hosts important exhibition of Egyptian antiquities - the largest on display ever in North America
Oct 29, 2003; Butler, Tim Tri-State Defender 10-29-2003 The first exhibition of ancient art from the Egyptian national collectionto tour the...