APRIES, THE 4TH RULER OF EGYPT'S 26TH DYNASTY
BY JIMMY DUNN --
The King commonly referred to as Apries (his Greek name), who's birth name was Wah-ib-re, meaning "Constant is the
Heart of Re" and who's Throne name was Haa-ib-re, meaning "Jubilant is the Heart of Re Forever", succeeded his father,
Psamtik II in February of 589 BC., of Egypt's 26th Dynasty. We believe he ruled Egypt until his defeat at the hands of
Amasis in 570 BC. Some sources provide that Apries was the Biblical Hophra.
Herodutus claimed that the wife of Apries was called Nitetis, but there appears to be no contemporary souses evidencing
her name. We are also told that in the fourth year of his reign, he managed to have Ankhnesneferibre, apparently the
daughter of Psammetichus II, adopted as the successor of Nitigret for the title, God's Wife of Amun.
He did build, as all Egyptian kings felt was their duty, in locations such as the temples at Athribis (Tell Atrib), in
the Bahariya Oasis, at Memphis and Sais.
He continued a foreign policy of his father of intervention in Palestinian affairs, but was plagued with a number of
military problems at home and abroad. He addressed himself vigorously to a Chaldaean problem that had plagued his
predecessors, initially operating on a large scale basis against them in conjunction with the Phoenician cities and
Zedekiah of Judah. However, this ended up being a disaster and possibly caused an invasion of Egypt in the late 580s
BC. However, he also conducted some well conceived campaigns against Cyprus and Phonenicia between 574 and 570 BC.
However, during his reign, a strategically important military garrison of native Egyptian troops at Elephantine (modern
Aswan) mutinied, though that was contained.
His worse nightmare transpired after he sent his Egyptian native army to help Libya against the Dorian Greek invaders
(against the Greek city of Cyrene), they were badly beaten, and upon the survivor's return, civil war broke out. Apris
was blamed for this disaster, resulting in a confrontation between the regular Egyptian army (the machimoi) and foreign
mercenaries (Greek) under his command.
Actually, the defeat at Cyrene probably only provided an excuse for the revolt. For sometime, the mercenaries under his
command had been treated considerably better than the native Egyptian army. When Apris sent his general, Amasis (Ahmose
II) to put down the revolt, instead he was implored by the Egyptians instead to be their leader, a plead which he
The history of what followed this is somewhat difficult. Various sources actually give considerably different accounts.
However, it appears that a messenger arrived to tell Apries of Amasis' treason, and was abruptly killed for his bad
news. Now according to almost all accounts, the Greek mercenary troops of Apries under his command advanced on the
native Egyptian army. They may have met in the northwest Egyptian Delta in around January or February of 570 BC at a
location called Momemphis. Afterwards, many sources provide conflictive information, but it appears Apries probably
survived this first battle, though his army was defeated and he was forced to retreat. He may have fled the country,
but most sources indicate that he returned to his palace at Memphis, where he may have continued to control a part of
Egypt. However, for a somewhat different account of these events, see our section on Amasis (Ahmose II).
Regardless, most sources provide that his body was treated with respect by Amasis. The new king allowed the remains of
Apries to be transported to Sais, where he was buried with full royal honors.
Only one definite statue of the king survives, though there are several others, including one that might also be
attributable to Amasis, that may be of that of Apries.
Apries (Απριης) is the name by which Herodotus (ii. 161) and Diodorus (i. 68) designate Wahibre Haaibre, Ουαφρης
(Pharaoh-Hophra), a pharaoh of Egypt (589 BC - 570 BC), the fourth king (counting from Psamtik I) of the Twenty-
sixth dynasty of Egypt. He was equated with the Waphres of Manetho, who correctly records that he reigned for 19
years. Apries is also called Hophra in Jeremiah 44:30.
Apries inherited the throne from his father, pharaoh Psamtik II, in February 589 BC and his reign continued his
father's history of foreign intrigue in Palestinian affairs. Apries was an active builder who constructed
"additions to the temples at Athribis (Tell Atrib), Bahariya Oasis, Memphis and Sais." In Year 4 of his reign,
Apries' sister Ankhnesneferibre was adopted as the new God's Wife of Amun at Thebes. However, Apries' reign
was also fraught with internal problems. In 588 BC, Apries dispatched a force to Jerusalem to protect it from
Babylonian forces sent by Nebuchadrezzar II. His forces were quickly crushed and Jerusalem was destroyed by the
Babylonians. His unsuccessful attempt to intervene in the politics of the Kingdom of Judah was followed by a
mutiny of soldiers from the strategically important Aswan garrison.
While the mutiny was contained, Apries later attempted to protect Libya from incursions by Dorian Greek invaders
but his efforts here backfired spectacularly as his forces were mauled by the Greek invaders. When the
defeated army returned home, a civil war broke out between the indigenous Egyptian army troops and foreign
mercenaries in the Egyptian army. At this time of crisis, the Egyptians turned in support towards a victorious
general, Amasis II who had led Egyptian forces in a highly successful invasion of Nubia in 592 BC under pharaoh
Psamtik II, Apries' father. Amasis quickly declared himself pharaoh in 570 BC and Apries fled Egypt and sought
refuge in another foreign country. When Apries marched back to Egypt in 567 BC with the aid of a Babylonian army
to reclaim the throne of Egypt, he was likely killed in battle with Amasis' forces. Amasis thus secured his
kingship over Egypt and was now the unchallenged ruler of Egypt.
Amasis, however, reportedly treated Apries' mortal remains with respect and observed the proper funerary rituals
by having Apries' body carried to Sais and buried there with "full military honours." Amasis, the former
general who had declared himself pharaoh also married Apries' daughter Chedebnitjerbone II to legitimise his
accession to power. While Herodotus claimed that the wife of Apries was called Nitetis in (Greek), "there are no
contemporary references naming her" in Egyptian records.
Eusebius placed the eclipse of Thales in 585 BC in the eighth or twelfth year of Apries' reign.
An obelisk which Apries erected at Sais was moved by the 3rd century AD Roman Emperor Diocletian and originally
placed at the Temple of Isis in Rome. It is today located in front of the Santa Maria sopra Minerva basilica
church in Rome.