Queens of Kush

drawing of candace from wall

…the Mighty Queens of Kush…

A long, long time ago, in the land of Kush (which includes present day Sudan, Ethiopia and even some bits of Egypt) there was an impressive series of “Nubian/Meroite” women rulers, who were brave, brilliant and influential.

The dates and names seem to blend into a sometimes uncertain mixture, but it appears that for around 500 years there were 8 of these Rulers. They seemed to set a standard of excellence and stability.

WHO WERE THESE WOMEN?

They were called the Kandake: meaning Queen / Queen mother / Great Woman / sister

•Shanakdakhete (c. 177–155 BC) Earliest known ruling queen.

• Amanirenas (c. 40–10 BC) Signed a peace treaty with the emperor Augustus (she had lost an eye in battle, and was apparently a fearsome woman)

•Amanishakheto (c. 10 BC–1 AD)

•Amanitore (c. 1–20 AD) possibly the queen mentioned in Acts 8:27

•Amantitere (c. 20–49 AD)

•Amanikhatashan (c. 62–85 AD)

•Maleqorobar (c. 266–283 AD)

•Lahideamani (306–314 AD)

However, the most interesting Candace (as we know refer to them in English), was

CANDACE AMANISHAKHETO:

She is known as the “Warrior queen of Nubia”. There seems to be more information about her for many reasons

  • A leader:

It seems that she was not married to a King, nor mother to a future King, but that she was in fact a fully independent ruler in her own right, with her husband being her consort! Her daughter followed her as the next “Candace”.

* A builder:

She had many pyramids built, in fact one of the largest ever built, was her own in Meroe, standing at 100 feet high. She also had a very grand temple in Wad ban Naqa: 3 700 sq.m.

  • Pictures:

Portrayals of her are found on several walls tombs/temples: she is depicted as a “large” , powerful woman, usually holding a bow / arrows, and sometimes alongside conquered slaves. She is usually dressed in glorious robes and covered in jewelry, shown as a strong woman towering above her small, defenseless enemies.

  • Her jewelry:

In 1834 an Italian by the name of GUISEPPE FERLINI, an “explorer” came to seek fame, fortune and gold. His team dismantled Amanishakheto’s tomb in Meroe (and thus destroyed most of this glorious pyramid) and discovered a dazzling hoard of jewelry:

10 bracelets

9 shield rings

67 signet rings

2 arm bands

Ferlini then took this incredible treasure and sold the antiquities in Europe, and today you can find many items in museums in Germany (Munich and Berlin).

WOMEN IN CHARGE!

So even if the names become blended, stories become embellished, dates are confusing, it remains that there were several formidable Women Leaders in Kush/Nubia/Meroe/Ethiopia: they are seldom mentioned, but leave behind a hint of a grand legacy of strength and power, beauty and wealth.