History July 15, 2018 at 04:45 pm

Meet Sobekneferu, the Egyptian woman who became the first known female head of state in 1785BC

Mildred Europa Taylor | Head of Content

Mildred Europa Taylor July 15, 2018 at 04:45 pm

July 15, 2018 at 04:45 pm | History

An illustration of Queen Sobekneferu from ancient Egypt --- DeviantArt

Ancient Egyptian queen, Sobekneferu, reigned for just under four years from 1785 – 1782 BC during the 12th dynasty of the Middle Kingdom.

Described as the world’s first known female head of state in history, Sobekneferu assumed the throne herself when her brother who also doubled as her husband, Amenemhet IV died without an heir.

Incest was an acceptable practice amongst the rulers of Egypt, in order to retain the sacred and divine bloodline, according to history.

Illustration of Sobekneferu — Alchetron

Sobekneferu’s name meant the “Beauty of Sobek” and she was said to have assumed the throne through the support of the priests of Sobek (the crocodile god).

Unlike Queen Hatshepsut of the 18th dynasty (1539–1292 BCE), Sobekneferu never attempted to depict herself as a man, as she reigned as a full pharaoh with king’s regalia and in traditional royal poses.

Ruling from It-tawy, the dynastic capital, Queen Sobekneferu also spent time in Crocodilopolis which was also in the central Faiyum region of Egypt.

Few monuments have been discovered for her. She is said to have created a religious centre in Faiyum called Shedet, which was in praise of the crocodile god Sobek and probably for its gratitude in assisting her to ascend the throne.

Head of pharaoh Sobekneferu — Wikipedia

She is also believed to have completed her father, Amenemhet III’s mortuary temple (known as labyrinth by Herodotus) at Hawara, making it the largest of all the temples of Egypt.

The Labyrinth consisted of two storeys with three thousand rooms. Lower rooms contained royal tombs and also the tombs of the sacred crocodiles.

Sobekneferu is also believed to have built a pyramid at Mazghuna, near Dashur, but could not complete it as she died less than four years from assuming the throne.

Her early death brought an end to Egypt’s 12th Dynasty and the Golden Age of the Middle Kingdom as it inaugurated the 13th Dynasty.

Sobekneferu’s tomb is yet to be found, even though many say that she was buried in Mazguna in a partially built pyramid near that of her husband, Amenemhet IV.

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