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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

Mary Krane Derr

slave and later servant, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to Perry Blake, a free African American, and his wife Charlotte, a slave in the household of a prominent merchant, Jesse Levering. The couple had several other children. In 1897 Jesse's daughter Sarah R. Levering published a booklet about Margaret Jane Blake's life through the Press of Innes & Son in Philadelphia. As of 2011 other sources concerning Blake s life were unknown Thus we should read this account with care recognizing that it provides only one perspective on Blake s life and that it comes from a member of the family who once owned her It nonetheless offers several insights on the life of an urban African American woman in slavery and freedom Levering designated the proceeds from the booklet s sale to a Presbyterian affiliated manual labor school for the benefit of the ...

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

Frank McGlynn

The examination of concubinage the ownership of females by males for sexual and reproductive purposes calls forth a radical contexualization of slavery particularly domestic slavery with kinship and gender In much of sub Saharan Africa the traditional productive systems were marked by extensive hoe cultivation of slash and burn fields while the political landscape was often characterized by a checker board pattern of states with economies based on booty and trade rather than on internally generated surplus agricultural products The remaining sociopolitical blocks were kinship domains where one s opportunities and access to resources were embedded in the corporate kin group these polities external relations were grounded in the politics of ratios of persons to land The accumulation of marital ties and dependents were the capital of this kinship domain Therefore existing inequalities such as those of age and gender were reinforced by the concentration of reproductive power in the ...

Article

Fannu  

Osire Glacier

a princess of the Almoravid dynasty who dressed as a man and fought the Almohads during the conquest of Marrakech in 1147, was the daughter of Umar Ben Yintan. Very little is known about the life of Princess Fannu. What little information there is deals primarily with the nature of her death. An examination of the culture and politics of the region during this time provides further information and clarification on the nature of her life and death.

Fannu lived in the Almoravid palace during the first half of the twelfth century a period when the Almoravid Empire was in decline Considering that women played an important role in Almoravid society in general and within the royal palace in particular it is entirely possible that Fannu was visible and influential in the royal court The Almoravid dynasty s founder Yusuf ibn Tashfin and his wife Zaynab Nafzawiyya governed alongside ...

Article

Ruth Mazo Karras

Although there were many commonalities in the experiences of all slaves, there were also important lines of division among slaves. One of these divisions was gender. In any given society men and women, both enslaved and enslaving, experienced slavery differently. The experience of men and women slaves differed both for biological reasons related to their sexual and reproductive use, and for sociocultural reasons related to gender divisions of labor.

In many societies slaves have been predominantly or stereotypically female In part this is because war was an important source of slaves and men were often killed rather than captured Women captives of various social groups were part of the booty of war Elite women for example might become wives or concubines the distinction was not made in many legal kinship and linguistic systems although they never gained the status of a wife married by agreement with her male relatives In ...

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

Joyce Tyldesley

Egyptian ruler (c. 1473–1458 BCE), was the eldest daughter of Thutmose I, the third king of the New Kingdom Eighteenth Dynasty, and the consort of her half-brother Thutmose II. Following her husband’s untimely death, she acted as guardian for her stepson Thutmose III, before claiming the throne as a female pharaoh, ruling alongside and completely dominating the young Thutmose. Her reign saw more than twenty years of internal peace, foreign exploration, and monument building. But after her death, her monuments were destroyed and usurped and her rule was omitted from Egypt’s official King Lists.

After a long and successful career as a general Thutmose I was adopted by the heirless king Amenhotep I He may have been a descendant of a collateral branch of the royal family but Thutmose never names his birth father It has been suggested that his consort Queen Ahmose may have been either a daughter or ...

Article

Donovan S. Weight

slave owner, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, to a freed slave and a white man (their names are unknown). Hinard never experienced slavery herself, and her life as a slave-owning black female was far removed from the common experience of most blacks in North America. This anomaly can be explained in part by the political and social turbulence of early New Orleans. By the time Hinard was forty-two, she had lived under French, Spanish, and American rule. In 1791 at the age of fourteen, Hinard was placéed (committed) to the white Spaniard Don Nicolás Vidal, the auditor de guerra the Spanish colonial governor In this lofty position Vidal provided military and legal counsel for both Louisiana and West Florida Both the Spanish and the French legislated against racial intermarriage as a way of maintaining pure white blood but this legislation did not stop white men from ...

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

Kahina  

Allen J. Fromherz

semi legendary queen of the Aures Mountain Berbers who resisted the Arab Muslim conquest of North Africa Her name the Kahina meaning the sorceress in Arabic was ascribed to her by Arab chronicles Indeed the main sources describing the Arab conquest of the Berbers are all in Arabic and are written from the perspective of the conqueror Legends ascribed to Kahina therefore must be seen as part of a conquest narrative even as they often portray her as a noble adversary of the spread of Islam Nevertheless it is almost certain that Kahina represented a historic person a woman or perhaps even a group of different queens or chieftesses who resisted the Arab conquest in the late seventh century Her memory is preserved and celebrated even by the most strident Berber converts to Islam In recent years she has become a powerful symbol of Berber nationalism both within and beyond ...

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

Allen J. Fromherz

was a North African female saint from the Shadhili Sufi order. Her exact birth and death dates are difficult to decipher. The tomb of the saint, or Sayyida, ʿAʾisha al-Manubiyya in Manuba outside of Tunis, the capital city of Tunisia, has long been a focus of devotion, especially for Sufi women.

According to the scholar Scott Kugle, the most important source for the life of Sayyida ʿAʾisha is a hagiography written about her entitled The Heroic Virtue of the Righteous Woman Saint, the Spiritual Master, Sayyida ʿAʾisha al Manubiyya. The hagiography was not intended as an accurate depiction of her life, but rather as a guide for spiritual living aimed especially at female devotees. Kugle and other scholars have recently deciphered the text and have provided a useful summary of how she performed miraculous acts from a very early age.

The miracles began while ʿAʾisha was still in ...

Article

Monnica  

James J. O'Donnell

Christian saint, mother of Augustine of Hippo, is the most famous African woman of at least her century. Born c. 331–332 CE, most likely in Tagaste (modern Souk Ahras, Algeria), she died at Ostia, the port of Rome (near modern Fiumicino airport) in 387 CE. Her name suggests her family had been native to the region and spoke and worshipped in the Punic tradition left by the Carthaginians, but her immediate family was Christian and belonged to the upper classes of provincial Roman society.

When Monnica was young however the traditional Christianity of her native city was becoming controversial Two factions vied for control of the African church one embodying local traditions going back 150 years and more the other representing the interests of classes more closely aligned with the new Christian aristocracy of empire in the wake of the emperor Constantine s astonishing conversion Tagaste was an old fashioned ...

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 ...