This must have added greatly to Amasis' problems, but it also gave him the same excuse that later history gave to Octavian in his war against Antony and the Egyptian queen Cleopatra: he could pretend that the struggle was not against his fellow countrymen, but against a hated foreigner.
One factor which must have weighed on Amasis' mind was the need to placate the mercenary elements within the army, and this would have induced him to play down his links with the native military caste.
Archaeology, however, shows that the site, which was more like a trade emporium than a city in the normal sense, existed well before Amasis' day, and the most likely explanation is that the whole affair was an exquisite sleight of hand by a wily monarch: the Greeks were given to believe that they were being allowed a monopoly of a very rich market, importing oil, wine and ceramics and exporting grain, textiles and metals, while in reality further Greek settlement in Egypt was effectively banned.
Egypt at all times was vulnerable to a full-scale attack from the north east; in the first half of Amasis' reign the threat came from Babylonians, and in the second half from the growing power of Persia.
One of Amasis' most outrageous achievements was his invasion of Cyprus, which he managed to do without abandoning the claim that he was a philhellene, since he was able to represent his conquest of the island as a liberation from Asiatic rule.
A similar background may explain Amasis' alliance with the tyrant Polycrates of Samos, which figures prominently in Herodotus, and which probably took place towards the end of the reign, early in the 520s.
Amasis' honeymoon with a lady from Cyrene, Ladike, is spoiled by a defect which may or not have been the result of too much alcohol; but the story has a happy ending, which was certainly a good thing for Ladike.
Heraclitus's only criticism of Amasis's
self-defense, when he likened his alternation between seriousness and play to the two states of the bow, and argued that if he were always serious he would unawares go mad or suffer a stroke,(46) would be that he does not explain what would happen to the bow if it were never used or to himself if he were always idle.