Have you heard about the Candaces of Meroe?

imageimageimageimageI found out about these outstanding women while researching the Queen of Sheba.  The Candace is also quite ancient although definitely historical and referred to in a variety of antiquated texts. 

"The title of the queen was Kentake, commonly rendered as ‘Candace’ (which most likely meant ‘Queen Regent’or ‘Queen Mother’) and there were at least seven Candaces between 284 BCE and 115 CE."

"Meroe was a wealthy kingdom in southern Egypt, bordered on three sides by the waters of the Blue and White Nile, which flourished from between 800 BCE to 350 CE.”


"In the kingdom of Kush (called Ethiopia by classical authors), particularly during the Meroitic period, women played prominent roles in affairs of the state, occupying positions of power and prestige, the natural outgrowth of which was the development of a line of queens. Unlike the queens of Egypt who derived power from their husbands, the Queens of Kush were independent rulers, to the extent that it was often thought that Meroe never had a king. Four of these queens—Amanerinas, Amanishakhete, Nawidemak and Maleqereabar—became distinctively known as Candaces, a corruption of the word Kentake.”

"We know that, for a period of 1250 years (ending in 350 CE), the kingdom of Kush flourished as a unique civilization which, beneath an Egyptian façade, remained profoundly African; and that the title of Candace existed for 500 years. However, without a concerted effort in archaeology and a breakthrough in deciphering the Meroitic script, the world will never know the true glory of the kingdom of Kush and the magnificence of the Candaces.” (MY NOTES- ok, this sounds like a call for Indiana Jones played by Terrence Howard, Denzel Washington or Idris Elba maybe?  LOL, no seriously!!!!!!!!)


Most scholars would dismiss the accounts of Herodotus, Strabo, and Diodorous as compelling evidence to support the existence of women warriors in Africa, although all three ancient writers have proved accurate in the great majority of their testable observations about life in the centuries before Christ. As time progresses, the evidence supporting the presence of a tradition of African women warriors grows in its persuasiveness.

An impressive series of Nubian warrior queens, queen regents, and queen mothers, known as kentakes (Greek: Candace “Candake”), are only appearing to the light of history through the ongoing deciphering of the Merotic script. They controlled what is now Ethiopia, Sudan, and parts of Egypt. One of the earliest references to the kentakes comes from 332 B.C. when Alexander the Great set his sights on the rich kingdom of Nubia.

The presiding kentakes, known in history as “Black Queen Candace of Nubia,” designed a battle plan to counter Alexander’s advance. She placed her armies and waited on a war elephant for the Macedonian conqueror to appear for battle. Alexander approached the field from a low ridge, but when he saw the Black Queen’s army displayed in a brilliant military formation before him, he stopped. After studying the array of warriors waiting with such deadly precision and realizing that to challenge the kentakes could quite possibly be fatal, he turned his armies away from Nubia toward a successful campaign in Egypt.

Bas-reliefs dated to about 170 B.C. reveal kentakes Shanakdakheto, dressed in armor and wielding a spear in battle. She did not rule as queen regent or queen mother but as a fully independent ruler. Her husband was her consort. In bas-reliefs found in the ruines of building projects she commissioned, Shanakdakheto is portrayed both alone as well as with her husband and son, who would inherit the throne by her passing. The following African queens were known to the Greco-Roman world as the “Candaces”: Amanishakhete, Amanitore, Amanirenas, Nawidemak, and Malegereabar.


There are different accounts of what actually occurred when Candace confronted Alexander. According to Chancellor Williams, after seeing Candace’s formidable defense of well-trained soldiers armed with iron weapons, Alexander reconsidered his decision to go into battle because his opponent’s air of confidence forced him to think about his winning streak. He also weighed the possibility of losing to a woman general against his reputation. After thoroughly examining the situation, Alexander retreated north. In contrast, William Leo Hansberry says that Alexander met semi-privately with Candace. Legend has it that Candace advised Alexander to leave the region immediately and if he refused, after defeating his army, she would cut off his head and roll it down a hill.”



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