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stories and histories THE QUEENS OF KUSH

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Adeyemi Olajide » The Queens of Kush

One among many curiosities about the Meroitic state is the fact that it was ruled by as many as 8 queens, bearing the title "Kandake" ("Queen Mother" or "Queen Regent"), from c. 170 BC to the 4th century AD. These were powerful monarchs with a fierce reputation, ruling independently and sometimes taking male titulary, like "Qore" ("King") or "Son of Re, Lord of the Two Lands". They are often depicted as strong, heavy set women, seen in reliefs, smiting the rebel nations in execution scenes (sometimes alongside a lion, mauling the captives). In chronological order, they are:
.
Shanakdakhete (r. c 170BC - 160/150 BC)
Nawidemak (r. c. early 1st century BC, or 1st century AD)
Amanirenas (r. c. 40 BC - 10 BC)
Amanishakheto (r. c. 10 BC - 1 AD)
Amanitore (r. c. 1 BC - 20 AD)
Amanikhatashan (r. c. 62 AD - 85 AD)
Maleqorobar (r. c. 3d century AD)
Lakh idea man I (r. c. 4th century AD)
.
Shanakdakhete is the earliest known of these ruling queens, but women have always played an influential role in the history of Kush, at least since the time of Kashta, the first pharaoh of the 25th Dynasty, and probably earlier. Kashta had his daughter, Amenirdis I, installed as God's Wife of Amun in Thebes and this helped him legitimise his later occupation of the region. Amanirenas is legendary for her resistance to the Romans. Amanishakheto is known for the large hoard of gold and other jewellery found in a hidden compartment near the top of her pyramd (originally one of the largest in the royal necropolis of Meroƫ). Amanitore is remembered as a great builder, restored the temples at Napata a generation after the Roman sack of the city, and built other temples in Amara and Naqa. She ruled over one of the most prosperous periods in Meroitic history, after warming relations with Rome and the profitable trade that accompanied it. Amanikhatashan apparently even sent her Kushite cavalry in aid of the Roman Emperor to be, Titus of the Flavian Dynasty, during the Great Jewish Revolt in 70 AD. One of these queens is also mentioned in the New Testament story of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-40), but is only generically referred to as "Candace, queen of the Ethiopians".
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