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Abar  

A. K. Vinogradov

queen of Kush, was the mother of Taharqa (ruled c. 690–664 BCE), the most remarkable king of the period of the Kushite domination in Egypt (the Twenty-Fifth, “Ethiopian,” Dynasty). Her name is also interpreted in specialist literature as Abala, Abale, Abalo, Abiru, and Ibart.

The information about Abar is extremely scanty The main sources are several stelae of her son Taharqa found during excavations at Gematen near the modern village of Kawa south of the Third Cataract of the Nile one of the major sanctuaries of Kush The relief at the top of one of the stelae represents Abar in two symmetrical scenes playing sistrum behind Taharqa as he presents bread and wine to the god Amun Similar representations of her were found in a wall relief in the so called Temple B 300 at Jebel Barkal the main temple complex of ancient Sudan situated between the Third and Fourth ...

Article

Ahhotep  

Hannington Ochwada

queen of Egypt, is one of the most prominent women leaders in ancient Egyptian history. She possessed numerous titles that provide us with invaluable insights into her role and stature in the New Kingdom. She was referred to as “Peace of the Moon.” Her father was King Tao I and her mother Queen Tetisheri. She was the sister and wife of her brother, Seqenenre Tao II, one of the pharaohs of ancient Egypt who died on the battlefield in a campaign that was aimed at expelling the Hyksos from Egypt. Ahhotep was the mother of Kamose and Ahmose, the subsequent kings of Egypt after the death of Tao II, and also the mother of Ahmose-Nefertari, wife of king Ahmose.

Some historians and Egyptologists considered Ahhotep the first of several of the most notable powerful and remarkable women of influence in the New Kingdom While some consider her to be the ...

Article

Eugenio Fantusati

queen of Meroe, reigned during the second half of the first century BCE. She is shown dressed in ceremonial clothes on the pylon of her pyramid, Beg. n. 6, spearing bound prisoners: this action illustrates clearly the queen’s status as fully equal to the king in Meroitic ideology. Another form of her name is Amanishakheto.

In a second portrait found on the same monument (the original block is actually kept in Berlin) it is possible to observe the presence of three scars under her left eye. Considering that the practice of scarring was also employed for medical purposes, it has been hypothesized that Amanishaketo could have been the one-eyed kandake who fought the Romans during the 20s bce, especially since Amanishaketo’s presence inside the Dodekascoenus in that period is confirmed by a long inscription left by the same Kushite queen in Qasr Ibrim.

As the successor of Amanirenas and the ...

Article

Eugenio Fantusati

queen of Meroe, was crowned under the name of Merkare and reigned over the Meroitic empire in coregency with her husband, Natakamani, between the end of the first century BCE and the first decade of the first century CE.

As with the other Kushite queens, her title was kdke (kandake, or candace, probably translating as “regal sister”), an attribution common in Egypt among the royal brides during the Eighteenth dynasty and adopted later in Nubia by the brides of the Twenty-Fifth dynasty’s black pharaohs and subsequently by the wives of the Napatan and Meroitic sovereigns.

The complete lack of written sources relating to her kingdom forces us to make exclusive reference to the archaeological remains and above all to the reliefs in which Amanitore was represented The images at our disposal first of all show her in the prominent role of invincible warrior On the northern pylon of temple N ...

Article

Salim Faraji

was a Meroitic queen of the ancient empire of Kush. Her name is a Meroitic rendition of the supreme royal deity Amen-Ra. It is because of her exploits in defending Kushite sovereignty against Roman advances that the Meroitic title for queen mother kandake, translated as “candace,” became popular during the Roman era and is alluded to in the New Testament Book of Acts.

Ameniras’s existence is documented in four epigraphic sources. The most well known of these inscriptions is the famous Hamadab stela, discovered by the archaeologist John Garstang in 1910 in the vicinity of the ancient capital of the Kushite Empire Meroe City The stela written in the ancient Meroitic language has been interpreted by scholars as an account of Kush s military encounter with Rome The text provides a Kushite perspective on the Roman Kushite war that was waged between 25 and 21 BCE and celebrates ...

Article

Duane W. Roller

one of the early and significant Ptolemaic queens of Egypt, was the daughter of Magas, king of Kyrene (the Greek settlement west of Egypt in modern Libya, also known as Cyrene) and his wife, Apama. Magas was a son of Berenice I, the grandmother of Berenice II, and thus the second Berenice was related to the Ptolemaic family even before she married into it. Magas was a military commander for the Egyptian king Ptolemaios II (Ptolemy II Philadelphus), who conquered Kyrene for the king but then declared himself an independent ruler. He married the Seleukid princess Apama, and Berenice II was born around 270 BCE. Before Magas's death (around 250 BCE), he and Ptolemaios II reconciled and concluded a marriage alliance between their children Berenice and the future Ptolemaios III But when Magas died his widow Apama nullified this arrangement opposing any agreement with Egypt and married Berenice ...

Article

Robert Fay

Cleopatra VII was the second daughter of Ptolemy XII Auletes, the king of Egypt. Although born in Alexandria, Egypt, she was a member of the dynasty of the Ptolemies. Ptolemy Soter, the dynasty’s founder, had come from the Greek-speaking region of Macedonia with Alexander the Great and established a kingdom in Egypt after Alexander’s death in 323 b.c.e. Upon her father’s death, Cleopatra became queen in 51 b.c.e., at the age of eighteen, ruling with her fifteen-year-old brother Ptolemy XIII. Fluent in Egyptian, unlike previous Ptolemies, Cleopatra sought to strengthen her support among Egyptians by claiming she was the daughter of Ra, the Egyptian sun god.

Encouraged by his advisers Ptolemy XIII exiled Cleopatra and claimed the throne as his own Cleopatra assembled an army from Syria but could not assert her claim to the throne until the Roman ruler Julius Caesar arrived Cleopatra aimed to restore ...

Article

Duane W. Roller

was queen of Mauretania (25–5 BCE). She was the daughter of the Roman triumvir Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII, the last Greek queen of Egypt. Her surname (“the Moon”)—and that of her twin brother Alexander Helios (“the Sun”)—represents prophetic and allegorical concepts of the era in which she was born as well as her parents’ ambitious plans to create a new world order (Plutarch, Antonius 36).

Little is known about the first decade of her life. She participated, along with her parents and siblings, in the elaborate ceremony known as the Donations of Alexandria of 34 BCE, when she was made queen of the Cyrenaeca (Dio 49.32.4–5), a title more symbolic than real, although supported by coinage and one that she would retain throughout her life.

With the collapse of her mother s kingdom in the summer of 30 BCE and the provincialization of Egypt by the Romans Cleopatra Selene ...

Article

Prudence Jones

queen of Egypt, was the last ruler in the Ptolemaic dynasty, which held power in Egypt from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE until the death of Cleopatra in 30 BCE. The Egyptian ruler referred to as Cleopatra was Cleopatra VII, daughter of Ptolemy XII, one of Alexander the Great’s Macedonian generals.

The identity of Cleopatra s mother is not known for certain She may have been the daughter of Ptolemy XII and his first wife Cleopatra V Cleopatra V disappears from the historical record sometime before 68 BCE however and it is unclear whether this disappearance occurred before or after Cleopatra s birth in 69 BCE It is possible that Cleopatra s mother may have been a concubine of Ptolemy XII who himself was the son of Ptolemy IX and a concubine The third option is that Cleopatra was the daughter of Ptolemy XII s second ...

Article

“Cleopatra was an Egyptian woman who made herself into an object of gossip for the whole world,” or so Boccaccio, the Renaissance humanist, wanted his readers to believe. But Boccaccio formed his opinion of her from classical Roman writers, and Cleopatra was the enemy of Rome. She was the last pharaoh of Egypt, but when Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 b.c.e. she was living in great state in Rome. Cleopatra was Caesar’s lover and she had a son by him. Twenty years later she would join Mark Antony in his opposition to Octavian (later known as Caesar Augustus). Together they would make a bid to establish an eastern empire to rival Rome.

Issues of politics and desire are at stake in representing Cleopatra In her image they are fascinatingly entwined and collapsed into each other which is one reason why the figure of Cleopatra has survived so strongly ...

Article

Elissa  

Duane W. Roller

legendary founder and queen of Carthage, also called Dido, Deido, and Theiosso. Although certainly a mythological figure, her treatment especially by Vergil in the Aeneid ensured her continuing popularity into modern times as one of the great figures of antiquity.

The earliest extant literary account of her is by Timaios in the fourth century BCE, and the most detailed historical version is that of Pompeius Trogus, from the end of the first century BCE, which, although probably somewhat later than the Aeneid, shows no knowledge of it and reflects earlier historical material. Timaios, a Sicilian, may have had access to Carthaginian information, but as presented Elissa’s tale is purely Greek.

Upon the death of her father Mutto king of Tyre Elissa became joint ruler of the city with her brother Pygmalion who promptly killed her husband Acherbas allegedly for his wealth Elissa eventually gathered supporters and left Tyre going ...

Article

Gudit  

Zuzanna Augustyniak

also known as Yodit or Judith, or under her Ethiopian nickname “Esato” (“Fire”), was a legendary Ethiopian queen, who in the tenth century is claimed to have invaded Aksum with her army, burned and plundered the city, and overthrown the Aksumite king, thus causing the downfall of the Aksumite Empire. She is also said to be the founder of the Zagwe dynasty.

Much of the legend of Gudit is derived from the Chronicle of Ethiopia, Tekle Haymanot’s thirteenth-century compilation of various chronicles from different churches and monasteries. Portions of these manuscripts are cited in the scholar Sergew Hable Selassie’s 1972 study Gudit was in this account a princess from a royal house Her grandfather was the emperor Wedem Asfere and her mother was from the Hahayle district in Tigray The chronicle suggests that due to an intrigue Gudit was banished from the court and became a prostitute in ...

Article

Kathleen Sheldon

ruler of the Itsekiri kingdom of Warri in the western Niger delta, an area in the center of trade in slaves, palm oil, rubber, and other items. Also called “Queen Dola,” she was the daughter of King Erejuwa and his wife Emaye. Emaye had two daughters with Erejuwa, Uwala and Idolorusan, who was known as “Iye.” After Erejuwa’s death, Emaye remarried his son (from a prior marriage) and successor, Akengbuwa, and had three more children, including her sons Omateye and Ejo. Omateye was the recognized heir, though he was in a rivalry with an older half-brother, Agbagba. Fearing that her brother might need a refuge, Iye and her sister Uwala founded the town of Batere. Difficulties arose following the death of Akengbuwa in 1848 as it was closely followed by the deaths of Omateye and Ejo in what some considered suspicious circumstances For three years there is no record ...

Article

Makedda  

Steven Kaplan

is one of the Ethiopic (Geez) names of the ruler most commonly known as the Queen of Sheba (in Hebrew, Malkat Shva). She is also identified in various Arabic sources as Bilqis (Arabic), as Nicaule by Josephus Flavius, and as the Queen of the South in the New Testament (Matthew 12:42 and Luke 11:31). Although its origins are not certain, some scholars believe that the name Makedda derives from the term “Macedonian,” while other connect it to the Meroetic term candace (queen mother) which in Ethiopic is rendered as Hendake or Qendaqe.

Ultimately, all the stories about Makedda, under all her different names, can be traced to the Hebrew Bible, in almost identical passages in 1 Kings 10:1–13 and 2 Chron 9 1 12 where the visit of the Queen of Sheba to the court of King Solomon of Israel is described The Queen having heard of ...

Article

Nasalsa  

Jean Revez

queen of Kush, was a major royal figure of the Napatan Period that ranged from about the seventh until the third century BCE, when ancient Kush (a region covering more or less the actual Sudan) became independent from pharaonic Egypt, which it had previously ruled for more than a century during the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty (c. 760–656 BCE). Nasalsa lived probably at some point near the end of the seventh century BCE, when Napata, a city located just south of the fourth cataract of the Nile River, was the capital of the state.

Nasalsa is known mostly through four major royal stelae that were originally erected in temples of the Nubian god Amun of Napata between the third and fourth cataracts in Upper Nubia These inscriptions are the Enthronement Stela of Anlamani from Kawa known as Kawa VIII and registered in Copenhagen under catalogue number Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek AE I N ...

Article

Joyce Tyldesley

queen consort of the pharaoh Ramesses II, third king of Egypt’s Nineteenth Dynasty (r. c. 1279–1213 BCE). The date of their marriage is unrecorded, but indirect evidence—scenes and writings preserved on temple walls decorated early in Ramesses’s reign—suggests that Ramesses and Nefertari had married and produced their first son before Ramesses acceded to the throne.

Although Nefertari s parents are unnamed the fact that she never uses the title King s Daughter princess indicates that she was not a member of the immediate royal family Her epithet Beloved of Mut links Nefertari with the goddess wife of the deity Amen of Thebes and so suggests that she may have been a southerner although this is far from conclusive Nefertari was associated with several goddesses At Abu Simbel in Nubia she was celebrated as the personification of the goddess Sothis and was also associated with the cow headed goddess Hathor Her ...

Article

Joyce Tyldesley

consort of Akhenaten (formerly known as Amenhotep IV; r. c. 1352–1336 BCE), the tenth pharaoh of Egypt’s Eighteenth Dynasty. She lived with her husband and six daughters at Amarna, where she played an important role in the worship of the solar deity known as the Aten.

Nefertiti s origins are obscure We know that she had a younger sister Mutnodjmet who appears in contemporary scenes depicting the Amarna court but she had no other known relatives Her name which translates as the Beautiful Woman Has Come hints that she may have been a foreigner maybe a foreign princess who literally arrived in Egypt to marry the king But Nefertiti s name was not extraordinary and as the lady Tiy wife of the courtier Ay claims to have been Nefertiti s nurse it is now generally accepted that Nefertiti was born a member of Egypt s wealthy elite Circumstantial evidence suggests ...

Article

Robert Fay

Nefertiti was one of the most powerful women in the history of Egypt. Scholars generally believe that she exercised priestly powers previously reserved for the pharaoh alone. However, our knowledge of Nefertiti comes almost exclusively from the archaeological record, which allows few firm conclusions and leaves much room for speculation. Nefertiti’s origins are uncertain, although many believe she was a princess from the Middle East. She was the chief wife of the pharaoh Akhenaton, who reigned 1353–1335b.c.e Akhenaton s rule is famous because of the religious reforms that he and Nefertiti instituted Some scholars believe that Nefertiti was primarily responsible for these reforms The royal couple established monotheism in Egypt by abandoning the Egyptian pantheon and instituting the worship of the sun god Aton and requiring all Egyptian people to do the same By all accounts Nefertiti believed devoutly in Aton and some scholars believe that her devotion ...

Article

Duane W. Roller

queen of the Greek city of Cyrene (Kyrene) in North Africa and an important political leader of the era, is known through Herodotus’s detailed account of the early history of the city (4.162-7, pp. 200–205). Her origin and background are unknown, and she appears in the historical record for only a few years in the 520s BCE, when she was already of mature age. Yet her prominence suggests that she was a blood member of the Battiad dynasty that had ruled Cyrene for generations, and into which she married, as Herodotos described her both as the daughter and the wife of Battos. Her father may have been Battos II (d. c. 570 BCE)—marriages within the family were practiced at Cyrene—and her husband without doubt was Battos III.

Battos III came to the throne around the middle of the sixth century BCE Two of his children are known Arkesilaos III who ...

Article

Qasa  

Kathleen Sheldon

an empress of the ancient kingdom of Mali is known from an anecdote of the traveler Ibn Battutah who visited Mali in 1352 1353 Qasa also called Kassi was a cousin and senior wife to Mansa Sulayman For unknown reasons he became angry with her placed her under house arrest and elevated another of his wives who was not part of the royal family to the senior position Some sources suggest that he divorced Qasa to marry a commoner In either case Qasa emerged at the center of a political dispute Noblewomen of the court who were her cousins supported her and did not recognize the rule of her successor as indicated by a refusal to ritually place dust on their heads in her presence Sulayman then released Qasa and the royal cousins showed their respect for her by dusting their heads The cousins also showed obeisance to Sulayman and ...