Necho II

Died 594 BC

Necho II of Egypt was a king of the 26th Dynasty, which ruled out of Sais. Necho undertook a number of construction projects across his kingdom. In his reign, according to the Greek historian Herodotus, Necho II sent out an expedition of Phoenicians, which in three years sailed from the Red Sea around Africa to the Strait of Gibraltar and back to Egypt. His son, Psammetichus II, upon succession may have removed Necho's name from monuments.
Necho played a significant role in the histories of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, the Neo-Babylonian Empire and the Kingdom of Judah. Necho II is most likely the pharaoh mentioned in several books of the Bible. The aim of the second of Necho's campaigns was Asiatic conquest, to contain the westward advance of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, and cut off its trade route across the Euphrates. However, the Egyptians were defeated by the unexpected attack of the Babylonians and were eventually expelled from Syria.
The egyptologist Donald B. Redford observed that although Necho II was "a man of action from the start, and endowed with an imagination perhaps beyond that of his contemporaries, [who] had the misfortune to foster the impression of being a failure."
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