Relief from the Palace of Apries in Memphis

Period: Late Period, Saite

Dynasty: Dynasty 26

Reign: reign of Apries

Date: 589–570 B.C.

Geography: From Egypt, Memphite Region, Memphis (Mit Rahina), Palace of Apries

Medium: Limestone

Dimensions: 222 × 208 × 11.5 cm (87 3/8 × 81 7/8 × 4 1/2 in.)

Credit Line: Gift of The Egyptian Research Account and British School of Archaeology in Egypt, 1909

Accession Number: 09.183.1a1–23


Apries, sixth king of the Saite Dynasty 26, spent much of his reign at war with the Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar II. Much of this struggle was fought first in the Levant but also at Cyrene in Libya. After suffering huge losses at the Battle of Cyrene, the Egyptian army under Amasis revolted and Apries was forced to flee. With Nebuchadnezzar, he attempted to retake Egypt, but the combined force was defeated and Apries drowned.

Though based at Sais in the Delta, Apries built a huge palace at Memphis from which these reliefs come. Part of a monumental gateway, they depict Apries in the regalia of the sed festival or jubilee, one of the oldest Egyptian rituals, and the costumes and poses are clearly taken from Old Kingdom examples. The king's pure profile typifies the elegant style that emerges with Apries and Amasis.