Amanishakheto, Warrior Queen of Nubia: Forgotten Nubian Ruler

Very little is known about the remarkable Queen (Kandake) Amanishaketo of Meroë, Nubia or modern day Sudan. Details about her date of birth, who she may have married and the state of Nubia during her reign are facts that have fallen into obscurity. However, there are artifacts left behind that give us some idea of who she is. Her remaining hieroglyphs state that her name is Amanishaket, or Amanikasheto or Mniskhte in Meroitic hieroglyphs.

   She Was a Warrior Queen

  It is believed that Amanishaketo ruled Nubia from 10 BCE to 1 CE. During her reign, she followed in the footsteps of a former warrior Queen Amanirenas, leading troops with her bow in hand. She was said to be blind in one eye and a reasonably sized woman. When the Romans broke a peace treaty ensuring that they would not try to invade Nubia, Amanishaketo led the nation’s defenses and warded off the Roman army sent by Augustus.

  She Obtained Wealth and Gold 

   Amanishaketo was the ruler of a wealthy kingdom that produced the majority of the gold in ancient Egypt (Kemet). Inside of her tomb, the warrior queen had a variety of gold bracelets, rings, necklaces and crowns that were stolen by treasure hunters, some of which was recovered and later preserved in museums 

“Kush was one of the first civilizations to take hold in the Nile River Valley,” wrote Dan Morrison inNational Geographic. In fact, Salah Mohammed Ahmed, the head of Sudan’s antiquities agency, suggests that the presence of gold in the African region may have been one of the main reasons for the colonization of Sudan by the ancient Egyptians.

She Practiced a Religion Similar to Ancient Egyptians

Amanishaketo and many Nubians practiced a spiritual system similar to the ancient Egyptians. Her rings would depict the gods Amun and Anubis. The close proximity of the Egyptians and Nubians, the constant on and off again relationship, and their economic dependence on one another may be some reasons they shared the same gods.

She Was a Pyramid Builder 

During her reign, Amanishaketo is believed to have overseen the building of many of the pyramids of the Wad ban Naqa site that served as the seat of the Kushite/Nubian Kingdom. Remains of her palace still exist in this site as well. Her palace was adorned with gold, tall pillars, hieroglyphs, and had about 40 rooms. There are an estimated 12 pyramids on the site. In recent decades, the site has become a new place of exploration for western archeologists.

Her Pyramid Was Pillaged and Destroyed by Europeans

In 1834, Italian treasure hunter Giuseppe Ferlini came upon Meroë in search of rare riches. In his time as a treasure hunter, he destroyed an estimated 40 pyramids and thousands of years of valuable African history. Unfortunately, he destroyed the top of pyramid N6 that served as the tomb of Amanishaketo. What makes the situation even more awful, is that the pyramid was perfectly intact before it was tampered with. The treasures he found are now located in various museums, including the Egyptian Museum of Berlin.