ANCIENT EGYPT SURVIVES UNTIL THE PRESENT DAY
An Alternate History Timeline
by Robert Perkins
PART TWO--500 BC TO 300 BC
500 BC--Death of Pharaoh Rameses XIII. He is succeeded by Necho III.
499 B.C.--Ionian Greek cities (on Aegean coast of Anatolia) rebel against the Persians. The Ionians call on their cousins on the Greek mainland for aid. Miletus also calls on Pharaoh Necho III, who sends money and troops.
498 B.C.--Athens at war with Aegina. Also in this year, Hippocrates and Theron seize control in Syracuse and attempt to throw the Phoenicians off the western part of the island. They are unsuccessful, once again.
497 B.C.--Athenians respond
to the Ionian request for help and attacks Sardis (former capital of Lydia, now the headquarters of the Persian Satrap who rules over Ionia). In cooperation with Ionian and Egyptian forces, Sardis is captured and burned. King Darius I of Persia gathers a large army to crush the revolt, which is clearly beyond the capability of the local satrap.
495 B.C.--Persians capture the Ionian city of Miletus, despite Athenian and Egyptian aid to that city. King Darius burns the city to the ground. Most of the population escapes and settles in Egypt. With the fall of Miletus, the Ionian revolt falls apart, and the remaining Greek cities in the region surrender to the Persians by the end of the year.
494 B.C.--The Spartans under Cleomenes, who are in favor of resistance against the Persians, defeat the Argives, who were in favor of submitting to the Persians. Also in this year, the First Secession of the Plebeians in Rome takes place. Creation of the tribunes of the plebs, two of whom are elected annually. Creation of the office of aedile for the plebeians of Rome, held by two men.
490-485 BC--Vowing revenge on those who aided the Ionian revolt, King Darius I of Persia declares war on Egypt and Athens. He sends two armies of invasion, both of which are defeated (by the Athenians at Marathon and by Egypt at Pelusium). Throughout the rest of Darius's reign, there will be continuing, low-intensity warfare between Persia on the one hand and Egypt and Athens on the other. The war is fought mainly at sea, with neither side gaining a clear advantage.
B.C.: Expedition of Miltiades of Athens to Paros. Death of Cleomenes of Sparta.
485 BC--Death of King Darius I of Persia. He is succeeded by his son, Xerxes I. Xerxes vows to continue the war against Egypt and Athens.
481 BC--Athens, Sparta, and other Greek cities form the Hellenic League against Persia. Egypt provides some financial support, which allows the Greeks to build their military somewhat more rapidly, but not dramatically more so.
480 BC--A Carthaginian force under Hamilcar the Magonid is defeated by Sicilian Greeks at Himera cutting off Carthaginian access to the East. Hamilcar commits suicide on the battlefield. In the wake of this defeat a revolution overthrows the Magonid dynasty and establishes the Court of 104 Magistrates. Beginning of the Carthaginian Republic.
480-479 BC--King Xerxes of Persia invades Greece, and the invasion proceeds pretty much as in OTL. The Greeks fail to hold the Persian army at the Pass of Thermopylae. Athens is captured and burned, but the Persian navy is defeated at Salamis, and the Persian army at Plataea. Xerxes retreats back to Asia, but Macedonia and Thrace remain under Persian control.
479-450 BC--Re-buffed in Sicily, Carthage focuses on Africa, conquering most of what is now Tunisia. Colonies in North Africa founded or strengthened. Mago's expedition crosses the Sahara.
478 BC--King Xerxes of Persia concludes a peace treaty with Pharaoh Necho III of Egypt, ending the war between them. An uneasy peace will reign between the two empires...with a few small exceptions...for the next century. Egypt will once again focus it's attention to the south, while Persia wars with the Greeks.
477 BC--Representatives from the Greek city-states of Asia Minor and the islands scattered throughout the Aegean Sea, meet on the island of Delos—a sacred island associated with the cult of Apollo—to discuss an alliance with the Athenians. They swear oaths of alliance to each other and to Athens; thus is born the Delian League. This new league has several purposes besides defense; one of these is to wage a military campaign against the Persians to free those Greek cities that are still under the control of the Persians. Although Athens is the leader of the League, each city-state has one vote—the League is essentially a democratic alliance between equals.
477-449 BC--Wars of the Delian League against Persia. After the decisive naval battle at Eurymedon in 467 BC, where the Persian fleet is destroyed, the League frees the Ionian Greek cities from Persian rule and these cities join the League (sometimes forcibly).
472 BC--Carystus, a town on the island of Euboea, is forced into the Delian League. This is the first time a Greek state has been forced into the League against it's will, establishing a dangerous precedent.
BC--The island of Naxos tries to secede from the Delian League. It is
invaded and captured by League forces, who force it back into the
alliance. Thus another dangerous precedent is established which will lead,
eventually, to the transformation of the League into the Athenian Empire.
465 BC--Death of King Xerxes I of Persia. He is succeeded by Artaxerxes I.
461-451 BC--First Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. The war is indecisive, and a peace is agreed to in 451 BC.
461 BC--Pericles comes to power in Athens. His rule will become know as Athens' Golden Age.
455 BC--Death of Pharaoh Necho III. He is succeeded by Psamtik IV. However, Psamtik IV also dies later this year, and is succeeded by Ahmosi III.
454 BC--The Treasury of the Delian League, which had, up to this time, been kept on the holy island of Delos, is moved to Athens, signifying the transition of the League from a voluntary association of Greek States lead by Athens, to an empire ruled by Athens.
450 BC--Pharaoh Ahmosi III dies, and is succeeded by Psamtik V. Also in this year, the Law of the Twelve Tables is established in Rome.
c. 450 BC--At around this time, Herodotus writes the first-ever non-theological history, and Hippocrates establishes the foundations of modern medicine.
449 BC--Peace of Callias. King Artaxerxes I of Persia signs a treaty of peace with the Delian League, recognizes the freedom of the Greek cities in Asia Minor. End of the Persian Wars.
438 BC--With funds taken from the treasury of the Delian League, Pericles begins construction of the Parthenon in Athens.
437-426 BC--The Fidenaean War between Rome and the city of Fidenae. Rome is victorious. This marks the beginning of Roman expansion in Italy.
431-404 BC--Second Peloponnesian War between the Peloponnesian League (Sparta and allies) and the Delian League (Athens and subject states). Sparta is heavily financed by Persia, and Athens is defeated. The democracy is replaced by an Oligarchy called The Thirty Tyrants.
430-429 BC--A great plague devastates Athens. Among the dead is Pericles, who dies in 429 BC. No leader of his caliber will arise to replace him, and this is a major factor in the final defeat of Athens in the war with Sparta.
425 BC--Pharaoh Psamtik V dies, and is succeeded by Psamtik VI.
424 BC--Death of King Artaxerxes I. He is succeeded by Xerxes II.
415 BC--Pharaoh Psamtik VI dies, and is succeeded by Necho IV. Also in this year, Athens attempts to capture Syracuse in Sicily, but fails. This is the beginning of the long road to final defeat in the Peloponnesian Wars.
413 BC--Pharaoh Necho IV dies, and is succeeded by Psamtik VII.
410 BC--Phoenicians in Hispania join with Celtiberians to secede from Carthage, denying the state important silver and copper revenues. Overland tin trade is cut off. Also at this time, Himilco's expeditions in the Atlantic and Hanno's expeditions to Morocco and Senegal take place.
409 BC--Carthage initiates attempts to conquer Sicily. Hannibal, grandson of Hamilcar, takes the fortified towns of Selinus and Himera by use of siege towers.
406-396 BC--Rome conquers the Etruscan city of Veii.
405 BC--Hannibal Mago and hundreds of troops die in epidemic outside the fortified town of Acragas. Himilco, his relative, takes over command, but is defeated by a force out of Syracuse, and has his route of supply disrupted in naval action. Syracusan forces strengthen the garrison. A Carthaginian squadron breaks through Greek blockade—the besieged escape under cover of night, Punic forces collect spoils. Later that year, Himilco takes town of Gela, defeating a Syracusan force, and then takes town of Camarina. Finally, Himilco marches on Syracuse itself, but his army is laid low by epidemic, and Himilco seeks peace. By the terms of the treaty, Syracuse grants control of most of Sicily and must pay tribute to Carthage. The treaty confirms Dionysius I as dictator (tyrannos) of Syracuse. First Sicilian War concluded.
404 BC--Death of King Xerxes II of Persia. He is succeeded by Darius II. His brother, Artaxerxes, revolts against him, however, and Darius is overthrown later that same year. His brother takes the throne as Artaxerxes II.
403 BC--The Thirty Tyrants are overthrown in Athens. Restoration of the democracy.
401 BC--Cyrus, younger brother of King Artaxerxes II of Persia, revolts and attempts to usurp the throne. Among his army is a force of 10,000 Greek mercenaries lead by Xenophon. The Persian forces under Cyrus is defeated, and the Greek mercenaries are left stranded deep inside Persia, surrounded by enemies. They make an epic march to the sea, from Babylon to the Hellespont, defeating several Persian forces along the way. They demonstrate that the Persian Empire is weak and ready to be plucked, like a ripe fruit, by any reasonably competent conqueror who comes along. Fortunately for Persia, there are none to be found at this time.
c. 400 BC--Aristophanes is writing the world's first comedic plays.
399 BC--Trial of Socrates, who is sentenced to death by taking poison. Also in this year, the catapault is invented in Syracuse by Dionysius I.
398 BC--Dionysius I of Syracuse sacks Motya (Carthaginian town in Sicily), and the Carthaginians permanently relocate their main Sicilian base to the fortified town of Lilybaeum.
397 BC--Himilco drives Dionysius back to Syracuse and resumes siege. In naval action, the Carthaginians sink or board 100 Syracusan naval vessels and take 20,000 prisoners.
396 BC--Yet another epidemic lays Punic forces low for a third time in Sicily. Dionysius capitalizes on this and defeats Himilco in pitched battle. Himilco survives, but upon returning to Carthage, starves himself to death. Fighting continues. Also in this year, Sparta becomes involved in a war against Persia in Asia Minor.
BC: Corinthian War. Angered by Sparta's tyrannical overlordship in Greece
after the Peloponnesian War, several Greek states take advantage of Sparta's
involvement in war with Persia to challenge Spartan supremacy. Unable to fight a
war on two fronts, the Spartans negotiate a peace with King Artaxerxes of
Persia. This treaty, known as the King's Peace, or Peace of Antalcidas, is
very favorable to Persia. Cyprus and the Greek city-states in Asia Minor are
returned to Persia; the Athenians are forced to give up their conquests except
Lemnos, Imbros, and Scyros; and the Greek city-states (except those in Asia
Minor) are to be independent, thus eliminating combinations such as the
Theban-dominated Boeotian League, which had fought against Sparta. Sparta
interprets the terms of peace to justify interference in the Greek states.
393 BC--Carthaginian force under Mago, nephew of Himilco, defeated trying to re-take Messana.
392 BC--Mago of Carthage is defeated a second time. Truce signed with Syracuse.
390 BC--The Gauls (Celtic tribes) under Brennus sack Rome. Also in this year, Pharaoh Psamtik VII dies, and is succeeded by Ahmosi IV.
388-375 BC--As a defensive measure, Pharaoh Ahmosi IV orders the construction of a canal linking the Mediterranean with the Red Sea, with the Egyptian side to be fortified, thus severing the direct route of invasion from Asia. This is completed in 375 BC. In so doing he also opens up a new trade route, and Egypt profits mightily by charging tolls on foreign ships which wish to use the new canal. Ahmosi will gain the sobriquet "Canal Builder" as a result of this tremendous feat of engineering.
388 BC--Plato, a pupil of Socrates, founds his philosophical Academy, the first university in the world.
384 BC--Carthage renews it's war with Syracuse.
375 BC--Carthage is defeated at Cabala—Mago and 10,000 soldiers killed. Mago's son Himilco defeats Dionysius near Himera—truce favorable to Carthage concluded. Also in this year, Plato writes the "Republic."
373 BC--The Temple of Apollo at Delphi is destroyed by an earthquake. It will be rebuilt.
BC--Athens, Thebes, Chios, Mytilene, Byzantium, Rhodes and others revolt
against Sparta which loses its supremacy. Especially critical is the
defeat of the Spartan army at Leuctra by Epaminondas of Thebes.
BC--Dionysius of Syracuse attacks the Carthaginian base at Lilybaeum but is
stopped when his fleet defeated by Carthaginian warships under Hanno the Great.
Also in this year, Aristotle enters the Academia of Plato.
366 BC--Dionysius I of Syracuse dies, still at war with Carthage.
365 BC--Pharaoh Ahmosi IV dies, and is succeeded by Psamtik VIII.
360 BC--Hanno the Great tries to usurp power in Carthage. He is captured and crucified.
359 BC--Death of Artaxerxes II. He is succeeded by Artaxerxes III. Also in this year, Phillip II comes to the throne of Macedonia. Phillip had spent much of his youth as a hostage in Thebes, where he studied under the great general, Epaminondas. With what he learned there, he will reform the Macedonian army. He replaces the old Greek-style hoplite phalanx with a new formation, the Macedonian Phalanx. Phillip's Macedonian Phalangites are professional soldiers, and are among the first troops ever to be drilled, thereby allowing them to execute complex maneuvers well beyond the reach of most other armies. They fight packed in a close rectangular formation, typically eight men deep, with a leader at the head of each column and a secondary leader in the middle, so that the back rows can move off to the sides if more frontage is needed. Unlike earlier hoplites, phalangites are mostly unarmored except possibly those of the first row, and carried only small shields. No enemies are expected to get close enough for them to need any armor, however, since each phalangite carries as his primary weapon a sarissa, a double-pointed pike over four metres in length. At close range such large weapons are useless, but an intact phalanx can easily keep its enemies at a distance; the weapons of the first five rows of men all project beyond the front of the formation, so that there are more spearpoints than available targets at any given time. Phillip doesn't use the Phalanx as his primary striking force. Instead, the Phalanx is used to hold the enemy in place for a decisive charge by the cavalry. With this new army, Phillip will conquer Greece.
BC--The temple of Artemis at Ephesus is rebuilt. The new temple will be
considered one of the seven wonders of the world.
354 BC--A tomb for King Mausolus...the Mausoleum...is built at Halicarnassus in Asia Minor. This, too, will be accounted one of the seven wonders of the world.
c. 350 BC--By this date, Carthage has established itself as the leading power in the West.
348 BC--Second treaty between Carthage and Rome.
BC--Philip II of Macedonia conquers Thessaly, Illyria, Epirus.
343 BC--Mago sails to Syracuse to drive out the usurper, but fails and commits suicide in order to avoid court martial upon his return. Hasdrubal and Hamilcar make a second attempt, losing a battle at Segesta. Hasdrubal executed. Gisco, son of Hanno the Great, is authorized to make peace. Sicily is divided along the Halycus River. 2nd Sicilian War ends.
343-341 BC--First Samnite War between Rome and the Samnites, a hill tribe from the central Apennines. War inconclusive.
342 BC--Aristotle tutors Alexander, son of Phillip II of Macedonia.
341-338 BC--Revolt of the Latin League against Rome. Rome is victorious. The Latin League is dissolved. Some communities closest to Rome are fully absorbed into the Roman state. Some Latin communities continue as technically independent states with Latin rights, but they sign treaties that subordinate their foreign policy to that of Rome. These states provide contingents for the Roman army. The least Romanized communities receive a special form of second-rate citizenship. Citizens of these communities have the obligations of Roman citizens (in particular military service) but are not allowed to vote at Rome.
340 BC--Pharaoh Psamtik VIII dies, and is succeeded by Psamtik IX. Pharaoh Psamtik, in response to reports from military observers which have spent time with Phillip II's Macedonian army, reorganizes and re-equips the Egyptian army based on the Macedonian model, but with some differences. Psamtik keeps a large force of Egyptian and Nubian foot archers, the armored cavalry armed with lance and bow, and the light horse archers, all of which have been such a successful part of the Egyptian military for so long. The army thus created is truly formidable. Also in this year, a power struggle in Syracuse ends with Timoleon of Corinth victorious.
338 BC--Death of King Artaxerxes III of Persia. He is succeeded by Arses. Also in this year, Philip II of Macedonia defeats Athens and Thebes at the battle of Chaeronea and unites most of the Greek cities under his control (League of Corinth).
336 BC--Death of King Arses of Persia. He is succeeded by Darius III. Also in this year, Phillip II of Macedonia is assassinated and is succeeded by his son Alexander. Pharaoh Psamtik IX of Egypt concludes a treaty of alliance with Alexander against Persia.
334-331 BC--The combined armies of Alexander of Macedon and Psamtik IX of Egypt invade and conquer the Persian Empire. Alexander advances across the Hellespont and overland through Asia Minor, while Psamtik sweeps north through Palestine and Syria. The two armies link up on the Euphrates, near the city of Carchemish. The combined armies destroy the Persian army at Arbela in 331 BC, and then move on to take Persepolis (capital of the empire). Despite protests by Psamtik, Alexander orders the Persian capital burned in retaliation for the burning of Athens in 480 BC. King Darius III of Persia is murdered by his own men later that year, and the Achaemenid Dynasty comes to an end.
330 BC--Pharaoh Psamtik IX founds the Great Library at Sais. The Pharaoh intends that the library will hold the collected learning of Greek, Egyptian, Persian and Babylonian scientists, mathematicians, doctors, etc. in one central repository. This collection will grow significantly over the years, and will attract scholars and researchers from around the world.
329 BC--Pharaoh Psamtik IX "the Great," dies, and is succeeded by Necho V. The Egyptian army returns to it's own territory. Necho, who will go down in history as "The Scholar," continues his father's work with the Great Library, collecting knowledge from whereever it may be found. Alexander of Macedonia continues the process of subduing the eastern provinces of the Persian Empire.
326-304 BC--The Great Samnite War. The Romans suffer a major and humiliating defeat at the Battle of the Caudine Forks in 321 BC, and another at Lautulae in 315 BC, but they persevere and finally emerge victorious. The Samnites and many other tribes allied to them are subdued and forced into alliance with Rome.
324 BC--Alexander of Macedonia invades the Punjab region of India. He defeats the Indian king Porus, but a mutiny by his army forces him to abandon the campaign without advancing further into India. Alexander returns to Babylon.
323 BC--Alexander of Macedonia dies in Babylon.
323-300 BC--Wars of the Diadochi. After Alexander's death, a civil war broke out as his generals squabbled over the division of the Empire between them. Four of Alexander's generals emerge victorious, with their own realms. Antipater and his son Cassander end up in control of Macedonia and it's European possessions. Ptolemy (who in OTL held Egypt) ends up with Asia Minor. Lysimachus ends up as King of Armenia. Seleucus ends up in control of everything from the Euphrates eastward. Egypt maintains control over Palestine and Syria up to the Euphrates (it's ancient sphere of influence in Asia, which it has reclaimed).
320 BC--Pharaoh Necho V dies, and is succeeded by Rameses XIV.
315 BC--Agathocles of Syracuse takes Messana from Carthage.
311 BC--Agathocles of Syracuse lays siege to Acragas and crosses the Halcyus, violating the peace treaty with Carthage.
311-302 BC--Roman wars against the Etruscans, who had joined Samnites in their war on Rome. By 302 BC, all Etruscan cities and towns are forced into alliance with Rome.
310 BC--Carthaginian force under Hamilcar, grandson of Hanno the Great, defeats a
Greek force at Himera. Siege of Syracuse begins.
309 BC--Agathocles sails with a force of 14,000 to Africa. Carthage meets him in battle with 40,000 foot, 1000 cavalry and 2000 chariots under Bomilcar and Hanno. The Greeks are victorious, Carthage losing 3000 on the battlefield, but the city itself is impregnable. The Siege of Syracuse continues.
308 BC--Bomilcar tries to make himself dictator in Carthage, but is defeated and tortured to death. Continued fighting between Greek and Carthaginian forces in Tunisia.
307 BC--Greek victory outside Syracuse. Hamilcar is captured and killed. While Agathocles oversees events in Syracuse, however, Carthage defeats the Greek and allied forces in Africa. Despite Syracusan reinforcement, the Greek cause in Africa is doomed. Greeks desert to Carthaginian commanders Hanno and Himilco in vast numbers. A treaty favorable to Carthage is concluded.
306 BC--Third treaty between Carthage and Rome.
305 BC--Pharaoh Rameses XIV dies, and is succeeded by Necho VI. However, Necho VI dies later that same year, and is succeeded by Thutmoses V.
303 BC--Pharaoh Thutmoses V dies and is succeeded by Necho VII.
300 BC--The Olgunian Law in Rome ends the monopoly of the patrician class on constructing law and procedure, greatly increasing the rights of the plebeian class.
300 BC onward--Religious developments in the Egyptian Empire. The conquest of Palestine by the Egyptians will have significant effects on the future development of world religion. The Saite Pharaohs are, of course, believers in the old gods of Egypt, especially promoting the cults of Osiris and Isis. However, they are very lenient with the peoples in the lands they rule, they are sensitive to the religious feelings of their subject peoples, and they do not attempt to enforce any sort of religious conformity. One place where this has significant effects is in the tiny province of Yehud, where the Jews have rebuilt their temple. The lenient Egyptian administration allows the Jews complete freedom of worship, and the Jews are loyal subjects of their Egyptian overlords. Thus, there is no Maccabean revolt in this timeline and no independent Jewish state. However, as in OTL, the main religious life in the province is dominated by the Sadducees (the Temple Priests) and Pharisees (the rabbis). The Sadducees, as in OTL, are involved in politics, and are allowing commercial business to take place in the Temple (i.e. the moneychangers), which offends many of the more pious people. The Pharisees, who might have served as an alternative, however, are obsessed with petty dietary laws and other minutia, and are seen as hypocrites, observing the form, but not the spirit, of the Law. As a result, by the end of the 1st Century BC, many Jews have become dissatisfied with their religion and start to follow various cults which look to the arrival of a promised "Messiah" who will restore the Jewish faith to purity.
300 BC onward--Wars of the Successors. The various kingdoms which had arisen from the ruins of the empire of Alexander the Great struggle for supremacy, with none achieving it. Egypt fights several wars with the Ptolemies and the Seleucids for control of Syria and Palestine, but manages to hold onto it's Asian possessions, largely because, unlike the Hellenistic successor kingdoms, Egypt maintains a large cavalry force of armored lancers, armored horse archers, and light horse archers to go along with it's phalanx.
Egyptian clipart on this page is courtesy of
Copyright 2004 by Robert Perkins. All rights reserved. Last updated on June 16, 2004.