Modern artwork of Amanirenas. Image Credit: @aminabey_art Instagram Account, via

By Holly Marsden

Amanirenas was an ancient Nubian Candace, or royal woman, of the Kingdom of Kush. Born around 57BC, she ruled from 40BC to 10BC and was the second queen to rule the kingdom. Nubia was located in north-eastern Africa, in what is now Sudan, and was known for its rich gold deposits.

Candace Amanirenas was married to King Teriteqas. Her title is derived from Meroitic ‘Ktke’ or ‘Kdke,’ meaning queen mother. Their son Akinidad firstly held the title Paqar, or royal prince, and later ruled Kush. Teriteqas sadly died in battle early in their marriage.

Amanirenas ruled Kush when Roman forces invaded the area. They had followed the

Nile south after the death of Cleopatra in Egypt. The Candace led her troops, which included her son, to defeat the Romans at Aswan where they also destroyed statues of Emperor Augustus.

A taken bronze head of Augustus was later exhumed by archaeologists from a palace at Philae. The Romans also failed in their counter battle, and troops were sent back to Egypt. After the Emperor gave up his taking of Kush, he settled on an agreement of peace with Amanirenas.

A contemporary historian called Strabo noted how the Candace was a ‘masculine woman who had lost an eye in battle.’ Like other warriors of the region, she is thought to have been skilled with a bow and arrow. After Amanirenas’ death, Candace Amanishakheto ruled from 10BC to 1BC.

Recommended Reading

Andre Schwarz-Bart, and Simone Swarz-Bart, In Praise of Black Women: Ancient African Queens (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2001)

National Museums of Kenya. “Queen Amanirenas: The Story of the White Nile Nubi Archeress.” Google Arts and Culture. Accessed 24th Novemeber 2022.

László Török, The Kingdom of Kush: Handbook of the Napatan-Meriotic Civilization (Leiden: Brill, 1997).

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