The Pedubaset Cycle

A reader (Pablo from Argentina) wrote in to ask about the identity of pharaoh Pedubastet II, who is not discussed in my book. Although this second Pedubastet did not leave much of an archaeological trace and is often not even mentioned in general histories on Egypt, he was an important figure in legend. The so-called Pedubastet Cycle is a set of stories centered around Pedubastet II. Nicolas Grimal writes in A History of Ancient Egypt (p 353):

"This collection of tales is couched in a curious mixture of genres, all hinging on a theme similar to that of the Iliad; it also recounts the struggle for the possession of heroic spoils. The tales describe historical events of the period (including the phases of Libyan anarchy and the Persian domination, in which the main protagonists are clearly recongnizable) but transpose them into the mythical sphere, adding traditional themes from Greek writings."

Grimal continues, "The third tale recounts a political conflict that took place soon after the end of the Kushite period ... A variety of other tales bring the cycle to a close. The most famous of these is the conflict that pits Pedikhons, another son of Inaros [son of a pharaoh Psammetichus], against the Queen of the Amazons in Assyria. Pedikhons is eventually supposed to have allied himself with the Queen in order to conquer India before returning to Egypt."

This melding of Egyptian, Libyan, Nubian, Assyrian, Greek, and Persian history relegates the Pedubastet Cycle to the realm of Apocrypha, at least within the standard ancient model. However, we have at least shown here that the overlap of these dynasties is not in itself a fantasy.

My guess is that (Sehetep-ib-en-re) Pedubastet II was a Libyan identity of Psammetichus I (a.k.a. Taharqa). It has already been concluded that Psamtik/Taharqa, as a very young prince, was called by the Libyan name Pediese, a name that is synonymous with Pedubastet (Isis ~ Bastet). The component of ib-re in the throne name of Pedubastet also connects to Wah-ib-re Psammetichus I.

Nevertheless, without a proper study of the Pedubastet Cycle (which I haven't done!), we probably cannot rule out other candidates, e.g., Nefer-ib-re Psamtik II, or Amenemope.