Neitetis the Egyptian Bride

Neitetis the Egyptian Bride

Neitetis was a daughter of the Egyptian Pharaoh Wahibre Haaibre (589-570 BC) who married the Persian Shah Cambyses II after her father had died in a coup.

According to a (probably fictitious) account by the Greek historian Athenaios of Naucratis, Cambyses had apparently bought into a stereotype that Egyptian women were better sexual performers than others and so requested that the Pharaoh Ahmose II send him one of his daughters as a bride. However, Egyptian Pharaohs normally did not give away their own daughters as wives for foreign kings, so Ahmose sent his predecessor’s daughter instead. At first, Cambyses seems to have been a satisfied customer, but once Neitetis disclosed to him that she was the daughter of Wahibre rather than Ahmose, he invaded and conquered Egypt out of fury at being cheated.

I doubt that’s how the Persian invasion of Egypt actually got started, but I think it is an amusing bit of fiction nonetheless, and it gave me the opportunity to mix ancient Persian and Egyptian influences in a portrait.


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