The Candaces of Meroe were the queens of the Kingdom of Kush who ruled from the city of Meroe c. 284 BCE-c. 314 CE in what is now Sudan. The renowned Kingdom of Kush, also known as the Kingdom of Napata, the Kingdom of Kerma, the Meroitic Kingdom or sometimes called Nubia by some people, is one of the ancient civilizations that were advanced in terms of organization, culture and politics. Its capital, Meroe, located on the Nile in the region of modern-day Sudan, flourished from trade in goods many didn’t have. But what also made it stronger was the monarchy, largely controlled by women.
The title Candace means “Queen Mother” or “Queen Regent” and could also mean “Royal Woman”, sources say. Amanishakheto, who was one of the queens making up the Candaces of Meroe, is believed to have reigned from 10 BC to 1 AD. Though not much is known of her rule, her big collection of jewels and ornaments and other royal belongings all of which were looted by treasure hunter Giuseppe Ferlini show that Amanishakheto was a powerful queen who ruled independently. Here are other things you need to know about the Nubian queen.
She was a warrior queen who fought off the Romans
One of her major tasks was fighting off the invading Roman forces who were sent by Emperor Augustus to conquer her kingdom. Remaining one of the outstanding monarchs of modern-day Sudan, Queen Amanishakheto would later compel the invading Roman army to sign a fair peace deal.
She had a lot of gold
Amanishaketo was extremely wealthy. During her reign, the kingdom of Kush produced the majority of the gold in ancient Egypt. Gold rings, necklaces and other royal belongings found in her tomb were testaments to her wealth.
She built pyramids
The treasure of Amanishakheto was discovered in her pyramid at Meroe. The powerful queen built many pyramids, particularly at the Wad ban Naqa site that served as the seat of the Kushite/Nubian Kingdom, it is believed. Her ancient 60 room palace, which is at the same site, and one of the largest palaces ever found, was adorned with gold, tall pillars and other treasures until Pyramid No 6 in the Royal City, where she was buried, was destroyed by Ferlini and his men in 1834. After looting the queen’s jewels and ornaments, Ferlini later sold them to a Prussian king in Germany. Today, the queen’s treasures are located in various museums, including the Staatliche Museum Agyptischer Kunst in Munich.
Her religion was similar to ancient Egyptians
The Kingdom of Kush was very similar to Ancient Egypt in many areas including culture, government and religion. The Kushites, like the Egyptians, built pyramids at burial sites, mummified the dead, and worshiped Egyptian gods. Historians say Amanishakheto practiced a religion that was very similar to her neighbors to the north in Egypt. Her rings, it is believed, represented the gods Amun and Anubis. Some also recognize Amanishakheto from several monuments. “She is mentioned in the Amun-temple of Kawa, on a stela from Meroe, in inscriptions of a palace building found at Wad Bannaqa, from a stela found at Qasr Ibrim, another stela from Naqa and in her pyramid at Meroe,” a report noted.