Sola Rey

Warrior Queens of Nubia/Kush/Meroe

Amanirenas (also spelled Amanirena) was a queen of the Meroitic Kingdom of Kush.

The Romans themselves were intrigued by Aminarenas, whom one source described as “a masculine sort of woman, blind in one eye.” Too Much like the Amazons of myth, she was a warrior queen who commanded her own soldiers in battle, something which many of them might never have seen before. She was covered in gold bracelets, rings and more.

While such a thing may have been commonplace in other kingdoms, to the Romans, it was something new. And a request to treat with Augustus himself no doubt earned Candace Aminarenas respect from the Romans; instead of engaging them in battle like other barbarians might have done, they commanded respect and gave it in return.

As the Romans may not have expected this, so they might not have expected a queen outside of Egypt who ruled over such a wealthy and powerful kingdom.

According to a legend recorded by a writer called Pseudo-Callisthenes, in 332 BC, Alexander the Great headed south of Egypt planning to conquer the kingdoms in the region of Nubia, or Kush.

Nubian bracelet that belonged to Queen Amani-Schaheto

Nubian Hathor-Headed Magic Crystal Amulet

743-712 BC From the Napatan Period, reign of Piye (Piankhy), found at el-Kurru, Sudan. The crystal ball amulet is surmounted by a gold head of Hathor crowned with disc and horns. The ball is bored vertically and has a gold disc at the base on which it stands. This probably used to contain substances believed to have magical properties. Piye was a Kushite king and founder of the 25th Dynasty who ruled Egypt from 753/752 BC to c. 722 BC -Egyptian Pharaoh

His plans were thwarted, however, by the warrior queen Candace of Meroe. She would not let him enter Ethiopia and warned him not to despise them because they were black for, “We are whiter and brighter in our souls than the rest of you.”

Alexander heeded her advice and headed for Egypt. But this is only a tale? Alexander never ventured into Nubia.

Queenship in Kush

Nubia: Ancient Kingdoms of Africa (2011) | Geoff Emberling

Basics about Nubia:

Where is Nubia?
Nubia is located in Northeast Africa within the political boundaries of modern Sudan.

Alternative Names for Nubia:
Three terms were used in ancient sources to refer to Nubia; these are Ethiopia, Kush, Nubia, and recently Sudan. Nubia is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea and the Ethiopian Highlands to the east, the Sahara and Chad to the west, and South Sudan to the south.

Who are the Nubians?
Nubians are the ancestors of modern Northern Sudanese people. According to the Biblical Table of Nations, the Nubians/ Kushites are the descendants of Ham, the son of Noah, and according to the system of linguistic classification (which is increasingly less used by modern historians) the modern Nubian language is classified to be within the Afro-Asiatic languages of North Africa. Recently, Nubain has been commonly identified with the Eastern-Sudanic language family.


Her full name and title was Amnirense qore li kdwe li (“Ameniras, Qore and Kandake”)

She reigned from about 40 BCE to 10 BCE. She is one of the most famous kandakes, because of her role leading Kushite armies against the Romans from in a war that lasted five years, from 27 BCE to 22 BCE. After an initial victory when the Kushites attacked Roman Egypt, they were driven out of Egypt by Gaius Petronius and the Romans established a new frontier at Hiere Sycaminos (Maharraqa). Amanirenas was described as brave, and blind in one eye.

Meroitic inscriptions give Amanirenas the title of qore as well as kandake suggesting that she was a ruling queen. She is usually considered to be the queen referred to as “Candace” in Strabo’s account of the Meroitic war against the Roman Empire. Her name is associated with those of Teriteqas and Akinidad. The scheme first proposed by Hintze suggests that King Teriteqas died shortly after the beginning of the war. She was succeeded by Akinidad (possibly the son of Teriteqas) who continued the campaign with his mother Amanirenas. Akinidad died at Dakka c.24BC.

When Aelius Gallus, the Prefect, or chief magistrate, of Egypt, was absent on a campaign in Arabia in 24 BC, the Kushites launched an attack on Egypt. Amanirenas and Akinidad defeated Roman forces at Syene and Philae, and drove the Jews from Elephantine Island.They returned to Kush with prisoners and loot, including several statues of Emperor Augustus.

Dates are definite and accurate for the Kushite rulers of the twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt, when Egypt was invaded and absorbed by the Kushite Empire. The dates also are certain for kings & Queens Aspelta, Arakamani, Nastasen, and for the Kandakes Shanakdakhete, Amanirenas, Amanishakheto, Amanitore, and Amanikhatashan.


The early part of the chronology is incomplete. The graves and pyramid burials in Sudan consist of remains of at least fourteen monarchs of the Kushite Empire preceding Piankhi, the earliest tomb of which dates from about 1020 BCE. Two of these are known: Alara and Kashta, who immediately preceded Piankhi. It also is possible that another of the burials may have been of Aserkamani, who was living in 950 BCE and who carried out expeditions in Egypt and along the Mediterranean coast of North Africa.


Tomb of a Nubian Queen, subterranean chamber under pyramidal superstructure.

Meroe, beginning of the 4th century BC. archaeology Sudan pyramid.

-Archaeology & Arts

Amanirenas (c. 55 BC to c. 10 BC) was a queen of the Meroitic Kingdom of Kush. She was a ruling queen, not the spouse of a ruler, and was a fierce military leader. The Kushites attacked Roman occupied Egypt and conquered- the spoils brought back from war included prisoners, loot, and several statues of Emperor Augustus. Amanirenas was brave, fierce, and blind in one eye.

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