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     Cats were so revered in ancient Egyptian society that it was a sentence of death for killing a cat. The reverence came at a cost during the reign of Pharaoh Psametik III. In the year 525 BC the young pharaoh became involved in a war that started with his father Amasis. Amasis had sent the Persian leader Cambyses II a "fake" daughter and the Persian leader took it as an insult and decided to invade Egypt. By the time the invasion of Pelusium took place, the ruler at the time Amasis had died. The young Pharaoh who had ruled now for only 6 months took a defensive position at Pelusium and waited for the Persian attack. 


       Cambyses the Persian leader, however, was cunning. Knowing of the regard and worship of cats and other animals in Egyptian society, he had his soldiers carry shields with images of Bastet and other animals that the Egyptians held sacred. They also herded these animals before the advancing troops. Upon seeing these images on the approaching army and fearing the reprisal of striking the images or hurting the animals, the Egyptians fled and many were slaughtered as they tried to escape. It was shortly after that Egypt lost its sovereignty to the Persians and after a few generations ended up in the hands of Rome. 

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