Amanishakheto, Warrior Queen of Nubia

Candace Amanishakheto on a mural
Candace Amanishakheto on a mural

Great women are often left out of history.  Rarely do we hear or read about African queens.  It is already hard enough to read about great African men and leaders in history books, but as for African women… it is more like impossible.  How many have heard of the great warrior queen of Nubia, Amanishakheto, who defeated a Roman army?  Who has heard of this great queen whose pyramid/tomb was leveled to the ground by an Italian treasure hunter, Giuseppe Ferlini, in 1832? Who has heard of this woman who led her people with a strong arm, and built pyramids in Meroë?  Who has heard of this great candace, whose daughter Amanitore, also queen of Nubia, is mentioned in the Bible (Acts 8:27) … yeah the Queen of Sheba is not the only African queen mentioned in the Bible!

Pyramid N6 of Amanishakheto in Meroe, before its destruction
Pyramid N6 of Amanishakheto in Meroe, before its destruction

Well, let me tell you about the great Candace (Kandake or queen) of Nubia (present day Sudan), Amanishaketo (also written Amanishaket, or Amanikasheto or Mniskhte in meroitic hieroglyphs) who reigned from around 10 BC to 1 ADCandace Amanishaket was an extremely wealthy and powerful queen.  She succeeded to Candace Amanirenas who was also a great warrior queen (and will be the subject of another post).  She built considerable pyramids and temples at Wad Ban Naqa, where she was buried with great treasures.  Her residence and several temples were based there.  Her palace is one of the largest treasures identified at Wad ban Naqa.  It was 61 m long, and covered an area of  3700 m2 with the ground floor made up of over 60 rooms.  The palace originally had a second floor as indicated by the remains of columns found on the ground floor, and may have contained an atrium or other structure.  Inside Amanishakheto’s grave, the Italian treasure hunter Ferlini discovered an amazing quantity of golden artifacts such as armlets, necklaces.  The treasure found (or what has been recovered) contained ten bracelets, nine shield rings, sixty seven signet rings, two armbands, and an extraordinary number of loose amulets and necklaces, especially made for queen Amanishakheto created by Nubian artists from her kingdom.  Some of her treasures (stolen by Ferlini) are now on display at the Egyptian Museum of Berlin, and at the Egyptian Museum of Munich.

Bracelet of Amanishakheto from the Egyptian Museum of Berlin
Bracelet of Amanishakheto from the Egyptian Museum of Berlin

Amanishakheto defeated a Roman Army sent by the first emperor of the Roman empire, Augustus, (who broke a peace treaty) to conquer Nubia.  She was a strong, and powerful woman, and a great pyramid builder.  Her tomb at Meroë was one of the largest ever built.  She is often depicted on pyramid murals as a massive, powerful woman, covered with jewels, elaborate fringed, tasseled robes, and carrying weapons in one hand, preparing to lead her army against others. Enjoy the video below on Amanishakheto, the great warrior queen of Nubia, and do not forget to check out The Treasures of Queen Amanishakheto.

27 thoughts on “Amanishakheto, Warrior Queen of Nubia

  1. Kleopatra Yemanje

    Amazing information: this type of incredible herstory has been intentionally overshadowed by both biblical and roman stories. A feeling of empowerment has surfaced in my veins – a legacy of powerful women of African Heritage


    1. Absolutely true… and it is so important to know that history, to know that: African women were and are powerful, and that some even led very powerful kingdoms who defeated the Europeans, is quite empowering. Thanks for reading.


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  14. Reblogged this on African Heritage and commented:

    Queen Amanishakheto of Nubia defeated the Roman army sent Emperor Augustus. Today, vestiges of her palace can still be seen at Wad ban Naqa, and her jewelry which had been plundered by the Italian explorer Ferlini, are now displayed at ththe Egyptian Museum of Berlin, and at the Egyptian Museum of Munich.


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