Amanirenas, the brave one-eyed Nubian queen who led an army against the Romans in 24 BC
Amanirenas was the second Queen of the Kush Kingdom, which existed in what is now Sudan. Between 40BC and 10BC, she ruled over the Meroitic Kingdom of Kush in Nubia.
She was popularly known as Queen Mother or Kandake, the Nubian people’s title for a ruling queen. She is one of the most well-known Meroitic Kush Queens.
The Kingdom of Kush was a prosperous kingdom whose only rival was Egypt before it was conquered by the Romans. After her husband, Emperor Teriqetas, died in battle, Queen Aminarenas took over and faithfully ruled her people.
The Meroitic Kingdom of Kush in Nubia was ruled by a female dynasty, rendering her ascension to sole ruler a simple and natural occurrence.
During her reign, the Roman Empire’s Emperor Caesar Augustus defeated the Egyptians and declared Egypt one of the Roman Empire’s provinces. He defeated Egypt’s rulers, Cleopatra and Marc Anthony.
Following Egypt’s defeat, Emperor Augusts sought to extend his province and thus planned to push further south, making Sudan the next objective.
Queen Amanirenas led an army of 30,000 soldiers to battle the Romans in Egypt in 24BC, along with her son Prince Akinidad. The assault was intended to keep them out of her realm and to sack the Romans from the Egyptian city of Aswan. Knowing how small her army was in comparison to the Roman army, Queen Amanirenas and her army launched an unannounced attack on the Romans.
Queen Amanirenas led the front of her troops, fighting side by side with her men, with her son close by her side. Her assault was a resounding success, and Queen Amanirenas seized three major Roman cities, took prisoners, and destroyed or defaced numerous statues of Emperor Augustus.
The Roman Empire easily regained its cities, invaded Kush, and sold many into slavery, but this did not deter Queen Amanirenas; in reality, it only strengthened her.
For three long years, the Kushite and Roman armies clashed tirelessly with the queen, who was a formidable opponent.
During one of the battles, the queen was injured and blinded in one eye by a Roman soldier. Following her recovery, the queen led her army in several more battles against the Romans.
After three years of fighting, the two sides agreed to conclude a peace treaty that favored the Kushites.
Emporer Ceaser Augustus negotiated with the queen to withdraw his army from Egypt, return the Kushites’ territory, withdraw their fortifications, and cancel the taxes.
The Kingdom of Kush fall a little more than 400 years later, but Queen Amanirenas is said to be the bravest and most faithful ruler of the kingdom to this day.