Thursday 28 December 2023

The Black Nubian Queens (“Kandakas”) of Kush

Kandake was the title for queens and queen mothers (and often means the first royal wife) of the ancient African Kingdom of Kush, which was an ancient Nubian state in what is now the Republic of Sudan.

The Kingdom was a prosperous land ruled from the capital, Meroe. They were known as Nubian warrior queens, queen regents, and ruling queen mothers. They controlled what are now Ethiopia, Sudan, and parts of Egypt.

Kandake means “great woman”, and was used as a royal title or dynastic name. It is sometimes translated into English as “Candace”.

Some of the queens ruled in their own right; others ruled with their husbands, but these queens were not merely consorts, they usually had equal power with the king. At least one kandake was the ruler while her husband was consort.

The kandakes farmed, traded with Greeks and built the Pyramids, and some were warrior queens who led their armies into battle.

The word “Candace” itself is not a personal name in this context. Rather, it is a title used by the female monarchs “of the ancient Kingdom of Kush in the Nile Valley.”

Alternatively, it is transcribed as “Kandake” or “Kentake.” “Candace” itself is a Meroitic “term for ‘queen’ or ‘queen-mother.’”

It is most likely that the “Candace” in question, then, was a woman called Amanitore, whose reign began around the year 1 BCE and ended in an unknown year. She is buried in a pyramid at Meroรซ.

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