King Aspelta

(600 BCE - 580 BCE)

Sphinx of Aspelta

Aspelta was Anlamaniís brother. He became king after Anlamani died. According to things written during his reign, not everyone was happy about his becoming king. In his second year, he had trouble with some priests and ordered them executed. Soon after, perhaps to make up for executing the priests, he made some large gifts to the temple and built tombs for some long dead officials, who had no tombs.

Early in his reign Aspelta seems to have thought about a re-invasion of Egypt. The Egyptian king, Psammeticus II, attacked him first. According to Egyptian inscriptions, Psammeticus invaded Kush with an army of Egyptians and Greek mercenaries. He defeated a Nubian force and went on to attack the "town called the Cliff," which was probably Napata and Jebel Barkal. After this event, in 593 BCE, Aspelta moved his court further south to MeroŽ. You can see a giant statue of the king in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and his sphinx in the Sudan National Museum, Khartoum. His pyramid tomb at Nuri was one of the finest, most highly finished of all the Kushite royal pyramids. It was also one of the least plundered. Archaeologists found many beautiful jewels and vessels of gold and alabaster there. These are shared between the Boston and Khartoum Museums.