Oct 10, 2007

Alexander reached Kemet (Ancient Egypt) in 332 B.C., on his world conquering rampage. But one of the greatest generals of the ancient world was also the Empress of Ethiopia. This formidable black Queen Candace, was world famous as a military tactician and field commander. Legend has it that Alexander could not entertain even the possibilty of having his world fame and unbroken chain of victories marred by risking a defeat, at last, by a woman. He halted his armies at the borders of Ethiopia and did not invade to meet the waiting black armies with their Queen in personal command.

The Romans met several queens of Meroƫ whom they thought were named "Kandake" (KAN-DA-key). They did not realize that "Kandake" was simply the Meroitic title meaning "Queen" or "Mother of the crown prince". Our modern female name Candace (now pronounced Kan-das) comes from this ancient Nubian royal title.

The Kushites gave special honor to their queens because they believed that the kings, who were sons of these women, were also sons of the great god Amun. In other words, they imagined that these ladies were actually wives of the god and mothers of the living gods (the kings). If a king died, his wife might rule alone while her son was growing up. The people would worship her like a goddess.

When the Romans went to war against Kush in 24 BCE, they reported that the Kushite army was led by a "Candace" who was "a very masculine sort of woman and blind in one eye." We can understand this strange description when we see how the artists represented the queens. They were massive, powerful women, covered with jewels and elaborate fringed and tasseled robes. They often appear carrying weapons in one hand, preparing to kill bunches of small enemy figures which they hold in the other.

- Test Your Knowledge of the Great African Queens


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