Piye was a Kushite (Nubian) king who conquered Upper Egypt and then took control of Lower Egypt. Piankhi was his birth name, but in various references, his birth name was referred to as Piankhy, Piye, Piy and Piyi. However, some references point out that his true name was Piye, and that it was pronounced wrongly as Piankhi. Piye was the first of the so-called black pharaohs—a series of Nubian kings who ruled over all of Egypt for three-quarters of a century as that country’s 25th dynasty.
As ruler of Nubia and Upper Egypt, Piye took advantage of the squabbling of Egypt’s rulers by expanding Nubia’s power beyond Thebes into Lower Egypt. He viewed his campaign as a Holy War, commanding his soldiers to cleanse themselves ritually before beginning battle.
Piye ruled Egypt from 747 BCE to c. 722 BCE, and ruled from the city of Napata, located deep in Nubia, modern-day Sudan. Piye was the son of Kashta and Pebatjma. He is known to have had three or four wives. Abar was the mother of his successor Taharqa. Further wives are Tabiry, Peksater and probably Khensa.
When Piye died at the end of his 35-year reign in 715 B.C., his subjects honored his wishes by burying him in an Egyptian-style pyramid, with four of his beloved horses nearby. He was the first pharaoh to receive such entombment in more than 500 years.