There is no known native Persian form of the name Artaphrenes/Artaphernes, the name used by Cyrus the Great at Sardis. Although Arta- was commonly used in Persian royal names (such as Arta-Xerxes), the Persian equivalent of -phrenes/phernes has not been identified. There is also an equivalent of Arta in Egyptian. Arta is synonymous with Ma’at, signifying “truth, balance, justice”. And there is an Egyptian source for the Greek –phrenes/phernes, as well. It patently derived from the main Egyptian name of Cyrus, that being Pasher-en-Mut. The first part of the name, Pasher-en, was transliterated into Phernes, and created a meaningful connotation in Greek, “spirit”. Arta-phrenes then signified something to the effect of, “spirit of truth” or “righteous spirit”, which is practically a definition of Ptah/Joseph.
There are other contemporary Egyptian variants of the name Pasher-en-Mut, such as Paser, Pasenhor, Pish-anhuru, and Ankh-Hor. These names are in turn quite similar to that of Ush-anukhuru, one of the nominal sons of Taharqa. A second son of Taharqa was the 2nd Prophet of Amun, Nes-ishu-tefnut. Traditionally the office of 2nd Priest/Prophet of Amun was controlled by the God’s Wife of Amun, at least since the days of Queen Ahmose-Nefertari of the early 18th Dynasty. Because there were two God’s Wives at the time, Nes-ishu-tefnut could have been a son or brother of either of these leading women.
There is good reason to believe that Taharqa had no biological sons, therefore it must be suspected that Nes-ishu-tefnut, like Ush-anukhuru, was leading a double life. The Bible confirms it. Jeremiah 52:24 makes Zephaniah both the son of Ma’aseiah (Masaharta/Mentuemhet) and the second priest of the temple at the Fall of Jerusalem. The Egyptian -Tefnut was evidently transliterated into the Hebrew Zephan-iah (tsephan-yah). Zephaniah is also a Joseph-style name, and very similar to Zaphenath-Paneah (Gen 41:45) and Osar-seph (from the writings of Manetho). Additionally, the name Nes-ishu-tefnut is like unto Nes-Ptah (son of Mentuemhet). Ptah was the leading man (Hebrew iysh) of the goddess Tefnut/Ninhursag/Ninti.
Zephaniah is said to have been taken to Nebuchadrezzar and executed. The Egyptian office of 2nd Prophet of Amun was in fact vacated at this very time and back-filled by Mentuemhet himself. This then was the moment in which the title of Nes-Ptah also passed over to Pasher-en-Mut, the other, younger son of Mentuemhet and Nitocris.
The name Ma-ase-iah is one that has been associated with Mentuemhet as the “Isaiah/Jeshua” (Sheshonq) of the Ma (a major tribal group among the Libyans). Another Libyan name of Mentuemhet was Masaharta/Maasaharta (Ma-Asah-Arta). This name suggests that Mentuemhet had been appointed a leader of Persian peoples in Egypt that were being used as fighting men and/or farmers by the royal family. At least one component of the Libyan peoples in Egypt has previously been associated with the Mitanni of Mesopotamia, a Hurrian group that originally came from the East. The name Ma-Asah-Arta can further be seen as a variant of the Libyan name Sheshonq, that is, a Libyan form of Sheshi/Joshua/Isaiah.
© Charles N. Pope, US Library of Congress. All rights reserved.