Since the dawn of time, marvelous women like Egyptian queens have shown their influence in the birth and development of our civilization in the midst of mystery and intrigue.
You may have known women with their wondrous power in many ways, such as writers, scientists, and leaders, but some take the role of queens and lead their kingdom resembling the ways of men.
It is amazing to know that women have been given the authority to rule, fulfilling their duties with pride and honor. Over the years, you can find famous female rulers worldwide in ancient and modern times with power and charisma in leading their people.
Egypt, known as the cradle of civilization, takes pride in its male rulers called pharaohs. Still, today, we shall unveil the legacy of Egyptian queens who bravely took over the throne of Egypt and created an invincible landmark in history.
How did these ancient Egypt queens carry the torch of power, wisdom, and leadership in this world dominated by valiant men? How did they conquer the hearts of the Egyptian people despite the challenges of those times? You can figure out the scenario and probably judge for yourself how these brave women stood up for what they thought was right.
Egyptians Queen Ruled With Wisdom
You have learned much about the glorious civilization that originated in Egypt. Nobody could fathom the authenticity of their legacy, and a notable hallmark of this immense glory was the leadership of Egyptian queens.
It has been said that the world was careful about having women in power because, more likely, they cause downfall and chaos, but the Egyptians turned to women for wisdom and competence.
Let us unveil the power of the queens of Egypt and their legacy in shaping the throne of this marvelous country. These six famous Egyptian queens deserve recognition for their contributions to the redemption of Egyptian culture and history.
1. Hatshepsut 1478–1458 B.C.
You have to know this majestic queen who ruled the country with incomparable wisdom throughout the entire history of Egypt. Queen Hatshepsut, or Hatchepsut, reigned as the fifth pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty in Egypt.
She was actually the second confirmed lady pharaoh in history. There were some women who borrowed the stage for a while, but legitimate heirs like Hatshepsut are priceless.
Born as the elder daughter of King Thutmose I and his wife Ahmose, of the 18th Dynasty, Hatshepsut was destined for power the moment she married her half-brother Thutmose II at the age of twelve. He was the son of King Thutmose with Lady Mutnofret.
There were actually three older sons in the king’s union with Lady Mutnofret, but they had all died, making Thutmose II the only heir to the throne. He took Hatshepsut as his wife and inherited his father’s throne sometime in 1492 B.C.
Hatshepsut bore King Thutmose II a daughter named Neferure. The union did not produce a son, but the king had a son named Thutmose III with Isis, a harem queen at that time.
Unfortunately, King Thutmose II passed away in 1479 B.C., leaving the kingship to his son, Thutmose III, who was just an infant when he died. It was the grand entrance of Hatshepsut to the throne when she acted as regent for the little king. In Egypt, regents were given equal power to the throne in recognition of their support for an infant royal.
The Greatest Female Pharaoh
Many queens of Egypt have left their legacy, but Hatshepsut is generally considered by historians as the greatest female pharaoh in the ancient Egyptian era. She ruled for about 20 years, and it paved the way for her to unveil a time of grandeur in Egypt in terms of infrastructure projects.
You should probably know how she spearheaded innovations and ambitious constructions in the cities of Egypt. Many scholars have attested to Hatshepsut’s unprecedented power as pharaoh because she was endowed with wisdom and skills, which she used with accuracy and majesty.
Her legacy pushed Egypt into the limelight once again as she took care of the young king, Thutmose III. Later on, historians considered King Thutmose III as the Napoleon of Egypt because of his exceptional effort to expand the empire beyond anyone’s expectations.
Queen Hatshepsut was described as astute in her dealings. You could have noticed her quest for perfection, which historians believe was the very reason for her success. For almost seven years as a regent queen, Hatshepsut took over the title, as well as the absolute power of the monarchy.
Needless to say, Thutmose III was the king, although Hatshepsut was technically running the whole empire, such that they eventually became co-rulers of Egypt.
As a legitimate regent queen who turned king, she took over the title and ordered her official image to appear with the symbols of a pharaoh. Her portraits revealed her image with a masculine body wearing the regalia of a kilt, a crown, and a false beard. You could have passed her for a traditional king, which was the image that she wanted to project.
In retrospect, Hatshepsut was a formidable female pharaoh nobody opposed because she controlled the government using a group of loyalists whom she handpicked. One of the most important officers was Senenmut, who was the overseer of the royal works and also tutor to Neferure.
It was rumored that Senenmut and Neferure had formed a relationship later on, but this was not confirmed. Overall, the kingdom of Hatshepsut was prosperous and peaceful. You could have guessed the elegies written when she died. The whole of Egypt lamented, and many wailed when she was laid to rest in the Valley of the Kings.
2. Nefertiti c 1370–1330 B.C. (18th Dynasty)
You are now perhaps in awe of the splendor of female pharaohs during ancient times. Here’s Nefertiti, another mysterious lady who made history as the queen of the 18th Dynasty in ancient Egypt.
Nefertiti was the wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten, who probably led the most affluent time in Egypt’s history. How she influenced the people with her infinite charm is well documented.
Nefertiti and her husband Pharaoh Akhenaten made names for their religious inclinations, wherein they led the people to worship only Aten, the sun disc. Her name Nefertiti meant “the beautiful one has come,” and it was given greater honor through her bust made by the sculptor Thutmose. People have testified about this god and the couple’s adoration of him.
Nefertiti and Her Titles
Historians believe that Nefertiti reigned as Neferneferuaten after her husband’s demise and Tutankhamun’s ascension to the throne. She used many titles, such as the Hereditary Princess, Great of Praises, Lady of All Women, Lady of Grace, and a lot more. Nothing much has been written about her family, though. Some historians said that Nefertiti was the daughter of Ay and Luy, but this remains subject to clarification.
Likewise, in the fourth year of Amenhotep IV’s reign, he changed his name to Akhenaten. Nefertiti was also called her new name, Neferneferuaten-Nefertiti, as a sign of their support for the cult of Aten and their god.
Many scholars believe Nefertiti was promoted by her husband as co-regent of Egypt before his death. She took over the kingship under the name Pharaoh Neferneferuaten after her husband’s death.
Nefertiti had 6 daughters in her 10 years of marriage with Amenhotep IV. Two of her daughters served as queens of Egypt, and her legacy’s highlight was her rule over an economically opulent Egypt. It is safe to assume that there was economic stability during her reign.
3. Cleopatra 51–30 B.C.
Cleopatra is one of the most celebrated queens of Egypt, and her rival to the throne was no other than her brother, who became her husband, Pharaoh Ptolemy XVIII. She and her husband were designated as co-rulers of Egypt as their father decreed, but it was later on tainted by a long-lasting family feud.
Don’t be surprised, but Cleopatra was not an Egyptian. You can trace her genealogy to Macedonian Greece to Ptolemy I Soter, who was one of the generals during the time of Alexander the Great.
Known for the splendor of her lifestyle and beauty, Cleopatra used her luxurious indulgence for her political gain. Have you also heard that Cleopatra was born out of incest, which was a common practice at that time to preserve one’s power?
In the same manner, she married two of her younger brothers, Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV. For many years, Egypt was known for its wealth during the days of Cleopatra.
She always portrayed herself as divine in a very mystical way. Hence, Julius Caesar was also enticed by her beauty and intelligence. She made infamous decisions in her life, like the killing of her second husband and dispatching and eventually executing her sister Arsinoe to secure the throne. You notice that even family members were possible threats to the throne.
Removing all threats to her kingdom was paramount to her plans to rule ancient Egypt, the richest country in the Mediterranean region at that time. She married Julius Caesar with whom she had a son, but Caesar was assassinated in Rome. Later on, Mark Antony married Cleopatra to further his political ambitions in Rome, not to mention money, whereas Cleopatra wanted him to strengthen her rule in Egypt.
Cleopatra was not only famous for her eternal beauty but more importantly for her wisdom. She ruled Egypt with her intelligence in language, math, philosophy, and history. For her legacy, she instituted amazing reforms in the country and saved her people from severe famine and war.
Unfortunately, she was believed to have committed suicide with Mark Antony to avoid being arrested by the Greek army.
4. Sobekneferu 806–1802 B.C. (12th Dynasty)
Sobekneferu ruled Egypt after the death of her brother Amenemhat IV as the last ruler of the 12th Dynasty of Egypt. Although her reign was short, some people called her Sobekneferu while others called her Neferusobek or “the beauty of Sobek.”
Her father, Pharaoh Amenemhat III, appointed her as queen when her older sister Neferuptah died at an early age. With her father lacking a male heir, she was confirmed as a Pharaoh of Egypt. She ruled for 3 years and 10 months in the late 19th century B.C., which ended the Golden Age of the Middle Kingdom.
What are her contributions to Egyptian history? You have to know that Sobeneferu made additional structures in the funerary complex of Amenemhat III, as well as at Heracleopolis Magna.
Her legacy was associated with her father Amenemhat III, who sealed her position as a royal daughter. Little has been mentioned about her contribution to her husband’s work.
Interestingly, Sobekneferu got the title “The Crocodile Queen,” and consequently, she was called Egypt’s first female pharaoh. She is honored as the crocodile god representing power.
Ancient Egyptians have captivated the minds of our generation because of the wonders of their contribution to our history. It is interesting to know that even women showed power and authority. Merneith may have been the first female pharaoh and probably the first queen in Egypt history who may have ruled around 2950 B.C. for an unspecified period.
Scholars disclosed that her name means “Beloved by Neith,” which is perfect for her image as a symbol of Egyptian deity. She may have been Djer’s daughter or his royal wife, but there is no sure evidence of that claim. Whatever her origin was, one thing that is certain is her legacy as a female pharaoh.
Consequently, Merneith is regarded as a wise ruler of Egypt, a position she may have inherited upon the death of her husband. Some speculations state that her son Den was still young when her husband Djet died, and it made her a regent until her son was mature enough to run the nation. You may assume that this paved the way to her reign as a female Egyptian pharaoh.
Another proof that she was royalty was written on a Naqada seal. It was the way royal members signed their names at that time. It could possibly mean that Merneith was meant to be a ruler of Egypt, and it’s something interesting to trace.
To prove her reign as a pharaoh, scholars have found her name in her son’s tomb. Based on reports, her name appeared along with the names of kings, and she was mentioned as “King’s Mother.” Aside from this, her name has been inked in stone vessels, jars, and artifacts pertaining to kings. Being the wife and sister of King Djet was a way for her to gain the throne. King Djet was the fourth king of the dynasty and a legitimate heir to the throne.
6. Twosret 1191–1189 B.C. (19th Dynasty)
Twosret, also spelled Tawosret, was the final female pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty of Egypt who ruled for only seven years following the reign of Siptah, her predecessor. Her royal name is Sire Meryamun, which means “Daughter of Re, beloved of Amun.”
Twosret’s family background is not clear, just like her birthday or her parents. Some claimed that she was a sister to Amenmesse, but this was never proven. She married Seti II as his second wife, but they didn’t have children.
Sadly, her husband died, which led to her being named as regent to Siptah, Seti’s son from a certain Sutailja. The kingdom lost its young King Siptah, which made her an official queen with a claim to the throne. She called herself “Twosret of Mut” and became Egypt’s pharaoh.
Historians were disheartened by her short stay on the throne, but they also agreed that it was her fate. Her limited reign was not fruitful, as it ended in a civil war, and it remains unknown whether she was deposed or she died naturally. Twosret’s rule was not stable and tainted with a complicated history.
Even her death was not clearly explained, but some historians contended that she was defeated by a warlord who ruthlessly seized the crown with envy. You can now tell who really made an impact on the lives of the ancient Egyptians.
Women’s power has been celebrated in history with all of its majesty and boldness. Female pharaohs in Egypt have established their formidable names in the midst of their rivals, political turmoil, and even threats from their very own families.
Interestingly, lady pharaohs have shown strong command and leadership. You can tell how the people respected their wisdom and honored their decisions. Such an amiable fact is strong proof that women can lead. History unveils a number of women with fierce dispositions to stand up for their countrymen. You will be inspired to know that those
Egyptian queens and princesses who have bravely reigned in their nation have set a good example of leadership in history.
Famous Egyptian queens like Cleopatra, Merneith, Hatshepsut, and a lot more all displayed fortitude, wisdom, and confidence. Some of them ruled for decades, but some only stayed in power for few years. However, they all set a courageous example that every woman should emulate.