Even as the spouses of the Pharaohs, the ancient Queens of Egypt were formidable figures in their own right, leaving behind long legacies; some of them even ruled alone.
Here is a look at some of these influential ladies from the past:
Also Read: Queen Cleopatra’s Family Tree – Ancestry
Ancient Queens of Egypt: Merneith (2920 BCE)
Researchers are skeptical if Queen Merneith genuinely ruled during Egypt’s First Dynasty because they know so little about her (2920 BCE).
Despite the fact that there are few references to her name in any tombs, she is nevertheless said to have been a powerful person in life and the first woman to rule Egypt because she was interred with 50 servants.
It is thought that Merneith presided over Egypt in place of her son, “Den,” who was deemed too young to hold the throne.
Sobekneferu II (1806-1802 BCE)
Queen Sobekneferu one of the ancient Queens of Egypt, also known as Neferusobek, ascended to power upon the passing of her brother (and husband), Amenemhat IV, leaving a vacancy in the throne that she filled successfully.
She was the 8th Ruler of Egypt’s 12th Dynasty for about four years. Despite lacking her head, the Queen’s statues revealed that she looked to merge masculine and feminine characteristics.
It is thought that she wore female clothes with a male kilt while using male names and wearing male headdresses.
Queen Hatshepsut (1479-1458 BCE)
In her 21-year reign as Egypt’s longest-reigning female monarch, Queen Hatshepsut exercised all the power and authority of a male pharaoh.
In the seventh year of her rule, Hatshepsut went a step further and requested to be represented as a male, complete with a fake beard and the designation “king” rather than “queen.”
The erasure of all records of Hatshepsut after her death by her successor, possibly even her own stepson Thutmose III, was an attempt that ultimately failed because she defied the custom that Egypt would never have a female pharaoh and is still remembered today.
Her reign was peaceful, during which many monuments were built.
Nefertiti (1370 – 1330 BCE)
Queen Nefertiti was regarded as one of Egypt’s most attractive monarchs, and her beauty continues to be an inspiration for cosmetics today.
No one is even sure of her ancestry. She was an important figure in Pharaoh Akhenaten’s cult of Aten, which revered the sun as a heavenly deity while rejecting all other deities.
She was his wife and gave birth to six daughters for him. According to some researchers, Nefertiti may have been venerated as a fertility goddess in addition to being praised for her beauty.
Queen Cleopatra No. 5 (69 – 30 BCE)
Cleopatra, one of the most well-known and, in fact, one of the most famous historical figures ever, has already been the subject of a great deal of writing.
Her reign as a monarch and her tragic love affair with Roman statesman Mark Antony has been the subject of countless literature, paintings, plays (including one by Shakespeare), and motion pictures.
Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator, born in 69 BCE, came from a long line of royalty and was raised to be a monarch.
Cleopatra, who succeeded her father as ruler of the Egyptian Ptolemaic Empire by outliving both of her older sisters, had a turbulent reign that culminated in her famous suicide at the age of 39.