Amanishakheto – reigned 10 BCE – 1 CE – Meroe, Kingdom of Kush

Kingdom of Kush

Amanishakheto

Like her predecessors, Amanirenas and Shanakdakhete, Amanishakheto was a Kandake (or Candace) of the Kingdom of Kush, Nubia (modern Sudan).

Thought to be a direct successor of Amanirenas, the queen who won peace with Rome, Amanishakheto had the same title of Qore and Kandake (King/ruler and Queen). She was a prolific builder, and had a very prosperous reign.

There is a portrait of this queen in the Amun Temple in Kawa and a palace in Wad ban Naqa, showing her taking enemy prisoners, however she is best known for the treasure found in her pyramid complex. Amanishakheto was buried with a vast amount of great jewelry, befitting a great queen.

More: This post on the Kandakes of Kush was written for Black History Month 2015


References:

Nubian Pharaohs and Meroitic Kings: The Kingdom of Kush – Necia Desiree Harkless

Roman Military Equipment: The Accoutrements of War: Proceedings of the Third Roman Military Equipment Research Seminar, British Archaeological Reports, 1987 Issues 336-338 – M. Dawson

On Wikipedia:


Image credits:

Relief Amanishakheto Munich” by Khruner – Own work.

Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Commons

Aegyptisches Museum Berlin InvNr22877 20080313 Schulterkragen Amanishakheto” by Sven-Steffen Arndt – Own work.

Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons

Amanishakheto pyrmaid Wad Naqa” by Unknown – http://wysinger.homestead.com/amanishakhetotemple.html.

Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

 

 

Amanirenas – c.40 BCE – 10 BCE – Meroe, Kingdom of Kush

Kingdom of Kush

Amanirenas

Amanirenas (sometimes Amanirena) was a ruling queen of the Kingdom of Kush (now Sudan). She became famous for leading her armies against the Romans in a five year war which resulted in a very favorable treaty for her people.

Historians believe that Amanirenas is the Candace described by Strabo as leading the Meroitic wars against Rome. Strabo described the queen as masculine, brave, and blind in one eye.

Amanirenas’ ruled from the city of Meroë, as Shanakdakhete had before her, and her full title was Amanirenas, Qore and Kandake. Quore was the Meroite word for king, and Kandake meant queen (the Greco-Romans spelled this Candace).

Sources suggest that she was consort to her husband, King Teriteqas until he died, and then regent for her son Akinidad, who she also outlived.

Amanirenas  queen of Kush following the death of Egyptian ruler Cleopatra which had resulted in Roman occupation of Egypt. As Kush bordered Egypt and shared the Nile, the two great nations had a long history of warfare and invasion.

In 24 BCE, Aelius Gallus, the Roman Prefect in charge of Egypt left for a military campaign in Arabia. Amanirenas clearly saw an opportunity and went for it, launching an attack and defeating Roman forces in the Egyptian cities of Syene (now Aswan) and Philae.

Nile_N517266177_30554_627

The Nile at Aswan

It was a profitable venture; Amanirenas’ forces returned to Kush with prisoners and treasure, including several statues of the Emperor Augustus.

Later that year, Gallus was replaced as Prefect by Publius Petronius, who succeeded in driving the Kushites out of Syrene, establishing a Roman boarder at Primis (Qasr Ibrim).

At this point, Amanirenas chose diplomacy. She sent negotiators to visit Augustus in Samos and managed to strike a peace treaty with Rome. It was surprisingly favourable to Kush, who would keep Primis and who would be exempt from paying tribute to Augustus.

This mutually beneficial arrangement continued for three hundred years, and relations between Meroë and Roman Egypt were generally peaceful during this time.

More: This post on the Kandakes of Kush was written for Black History Month 2015


In Fiction:

1999 short animation: Candace of Meroe


References:

The Image of the Ordered World in Ancient Nubian Art: The Construction of the Kushite Mind (800 BCE – 300 AD) – László Török

Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography – Aetheopia

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology – William Smith, Ed.

Candace of Meroe on the Black History Pages


Image credits:

Nile N517266177 30554 627” by Citadelite at en.wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia.

Licensed under GFDL via Commons

Shanakdakhete – Reigned c.177 – 155 BCE – Meroë, Kingdom of Kush

Kingdom of Kush

Earliest known ruling queen of ancient Nubia

20150510_230049

Queen-of-MeroeShanakdakhete (or Shanakdakheto) was a ruling queen of the Kingdom of Kush (also known as Nubia – modern day Sudan).

The term ‘Kush’ or ‘Kushite’ is particularly used to describe the Nubian cultures that had major contact with ancient Egypt. Kush survived longer than Egypt, and invaded Egypt under King Piye in the 8th Century BCE, with Kushite kings ruling as Pharaoh’s for almost a century.

Kush shared many cultural practices with Egypt, including religion – we know that Shanakdakhete called herself ‘Son of Re, Lord of the Two Lands’. Bas-reliefs dated to about 170 BCE depict Shanakdakhete dressed in armor and wielding a spear in battle.

Unusually for a female ruler of this time, Shanakdakhete did not rule as queen regent or queen mother, but as a fully independent ruler. Equally unusually, she did have a husband, who acted as her consort.

Sudan_Meroe_Pyramids_2001_N11

In carvings found in the ruins of building projects she commissioned, Shanakdakhete is portrayed alone as well as with her husband and son, who would inherit the throne upon her death.


References:

The Black Pharaoh’s – Robert Draper for the National Geographic

Nubian Pharaohs and Meroitic Kings: The Kingdom of Kush Necia Desiree Harkles

On Wikipedia:


Image credits:

Sudan Meroe Pyramids 2001 N11“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 1.0 via Commons

Queen-of-Meroe” by Udimuderivative work: AnnekeBart (talk) – Nubia_Queen_of_Meroe_in_Cairo_Museum_1989.jpg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons –

The Kandakes of Kush – Black History Month

Black History Month

The culture, art and religion of ancient Egypt is recognised the world over. With dynasties stretching back thousands of years into pre-history and gigantic monuments left behind in the deserts, it is easy to understand why this civilisation has so captured our imaginations.

Africa_in_400_BCHowever, the Egyptians had close neighbours whose culture and people both mirrored and rivalled them – the Kushites.

The kingdom of Kush (also known as Nubia) covered parts of modern day Ethiopia and Sudan. It sprang from an Egyptian colony during the New Kingdom period (16st Century BCE), gaining independence in 1070 BCE.

The Kushites buried their dead in pyramids and shared many of the same gods as their northern neighbours, particularly Amun and Isis. Positioned on the intersection of the blue and white Nile, the kingdom grew wealthy and powerful, often clashing with Egypt and eventually – during the 8th Century BCE – conquering it.

Meroe pyramids in Sudan

Meroë pyramids in Sudan

The Nubian pharaohs (sometimes known as the black pharaohs) ruled Egypt and Kush for 200 years.

After being pushed out by the Neo-Assyrians, the Kushite dynasty returned to Sundan, using Meroë as the capital. There, this under-acknowledged society continued to flourish.

It was the largest producer of gold in the ancient world, making its’ rulers incredibly rich. When Egypt fell to Rome, Kush stood firm and remained independent.

NubianPharoahs

Much like Egypt, it appears that the Kushite dynasties were matrilineal (power was transferred from the mother rather than the father). The women of Meroë had a number of rights and freedoms that Roman or Greek women could only dream of. As a result, there are several known women rulers of Kush.

Known as Kandakes (or Kentake or Candace) these women often ruled in their own right, built monuments, commanded armies and led their nation both politically and spiritually.


ShanakdheketeShanakadakhete

Bas-reliefs dated to about 170 BCE reveal Kandake Shanakdakhete dressed in armor and wielding a spear in battle. Shanakdakhete did not rule as queen regent or queen mother, but as a fully independent ruler. She did have a husband, who acted as her consort.


20151001_202736Amanirenas

Amanirenas was ruling queen following the death of Egyptian ruler Cleopatra which had resulted in Roman occupation of Egypt.  Amanirenas, seeing her boarders threatened by the Romans launched an attack and defeated their forces in the Egyptian cities of Syene (now Aswan) and Philae. It was a profitable venture; Amanirenas’ army returned to Kush with prisoners and treasure, including several statues of the Emperor Augustus.

Rome later took Syene back, and at this point, Amanirenas chose diplomacy. She sent negotiators to visit Augustus in Samos and managed to strike a peace treaty with Rome.  This mutually beneficial arrangement continued for three hundred years, and relations between Meroe and Roman Egypt were generally peaceful during this time.


AmaniskhekatoAmanishakheto

This Kandake was a prolific builder who had a very prosperous reign.

There is a portrait of Amanishakheto in the Amun Temple in Kawa and a palace in Wad ban Naqa, showing her taking enemy prisoners, however she is best known for the treasure found in her pyramid complex. Amanishakheto was buried with a vast amount of great jewelry, befitting a great queen.


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Amanitore

Amanitore was a prolific builder, one of the last Kushite rulers to focus on construction. She restored the temples of Amun at Meroë and Napata following its destruction by the Romans and built two further temples at Naqa and Amara. As well as taking care of the spiritual health of her people, the queen also built reservoirs to retain water for her kingdom during drought.

Amanitore was buried in her own pyramid (rather than sharing with her husband or son) in Meroë.


Note: There were of course other notable Kandakes of Kush who will be included in this project. As I am creating embroideries chronologically, I simply haven’t reached them yet! At the time of writing (October 2015) I have reached 60 CE.


References:

The Story of Africa: Nubia BBC

Meroitic Palaeography as a tool for Chronology: Prospects and LimitsDr Claude Rilly

The Black Pharaohs – Robert Draper for the National Geographic

The Image of the Ordered World in Ancient Nubian Art: The Construction of the Kushite Mind (800 BCE – 300 AD) – László Török

Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography: Aetheopia – William Smith

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology – William Smith, Ed.

http://www.blackhistorypages.net/pages/candace.php

Nubian Pharaohs and Meroitic Kings: The Kingdom of Kush – Necia Desiree Harkless

Roman Military Equipment: The Accoutrements of War: Proceedings of the Third Roman Military Equipment Research Seminar, British Archaeological Reports, 1987 Issues 336-338 – M. Dawson

Dictionary of African Biography, Volumes 1-6 – Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Professor Emmanuel Akyeampong, Mr. Steven J. Niven

On Wikipedia:


Images:

Africa in 400 BC” by Kubek15 – Own work.

Licensed under GFDL via Commons

Sudan Meroe Pyramids 30sep2005 2” by Fabrizio Demartis.

Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons

NubianPharoahs” by Wufei07 – Own work.

Licensed under Public Domain via Commons