Amanishakheto: Leader, Builder, Warrior

Amanishakheto was the Ruler and Queen of the Kingdom of Kush (in present-day Sudan) from around 10 BC to 1 AD. She created much wealth for her Kingdom, built many pyramids and temples and defeated an invading Roman army.

At the time, the majority of the gold in the Nile region, including the gold upstream in Egypt, was produced in the Kingdom of Kush. Gold production, iron working, agriculture and commerce made the Kingdom wealthy and powerful. Amanishakheto channeled some of this wealth into building several pyramids and temples at Wad ban Naqa and Meroë, two major cities in the Kingdom of Kush. Her own pyramid palace — and tomb — at Wad ban Naqa was 61 m long and covered an area of 3700 m2 (just under an acre), making it one of the largest tombs ever built, and nearby were 11 other pyramids. Inside Amanishakheto’s palace were over 60 rooms, tall pillars, gold treasures and hieroglyphs.

Amanirenas, the Queen prior to Amanishakheto, had negotiated a peace treaty with the Roman Empire. During the reign of Amanishaketo, however, the Roman army decided to disregard the peace treaty and invade the Kingdom of Kush. Amanishaketo retaliated and rallied Kush’s troops, leading them on the battlefield and defeating the Roman army. In some pyramid murals, Amanishakheto is depicted carrying weapons, preparing to lead her army in battle.

Amanishakheto’s daughter and also Queen of Kush, Amanitore, is mentioned in the Bible (Acts 8:27). In the 19th century, Amanishakheto’s palace was destroyed by Italian treasure hunters and the treasures stolen, some of which are now on display at the Egyptian Museum of Berlin.

By Rahim Mawji

(Image: Wikimedia)

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