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- There’s a ton of different spellings of her name – Amanirenat, Imminerant, etc – but this seems to be the most common one. The Roman historian Strabo referred to her merely by her title as Candace (kandake), but there’s a general consensus that Amanirenas was the one that he was talking about. ↩
- No, Marc Antony and Cleopatra weren’t together when they died. Visual shorthand! Trying to cover a fair bit of history here. ↩
- This expansion was initiated by Augustus’s henchman, Cornelius Gallus, who established Ethiopia as a protectorate. While Cornelius overplayed his hand and was soon thereafter demoted, Augustus nevertheless seemed to approve of the southern expansion, and they continued under Cornelius’s successor, Petronius. ↩
- It’s unclear as to whether Kush knew of Rome’s plans for expansion, but it seems likely, given that Ethiopia had been looped in as early as 29 BCE. Estimates I’ve read indicated Kush began early skirmishes around 27, with its major invasion occurring in 24. Rome was dealing with wars in Arabia at the time, hence the distraction. ↩
- Kush does not get NEARLY enough play in the history books. A lot of historians have treated it as a satellite state to Egypt, but it actually conquered Egypt in the 25th Dynasty, and had a fairly distinct culture. It repelled a ton of outside invasions, and had an army of archers so fierce that Egypt referred to it as the Land of the Bow. They also had metalworking, thanks to the Assyrians. ↩
- Kush is also sometimes conflated with Meroe — Meroe was its capitol city (after it was moved from Napata). You’ll sometimes see references to Candace of Meroe, whom Alexander the Great reportedly met (a myth; more on that later). ↩
- It’s a little unclear to me when her son, Akinidad, died. He was alive for the invasion of Napata in 24 BCE. Teritegas, Amanirenas’ husband, died in 27 BCE, I believe. ↩
- The Roman historian Strabo — who was a personal friend of Augustus — describes the Kushites flailing about ineffectively, with poor leadership (almost certainly under Amanirenas’ son, Akinidad. she was elsewhere during the sack of Napata). However, given that Rome later agreed to peace terms that were incredibly favorable to Kush, I view the finer details of his account with mild suspicion. ↩
- Other carvings depict Kushite leaders feeding people to dogs. The war elephant thing is true, although they were probably used more by Carthage than Kush. The biggest direct tie of elephants to kandakes is a mythic telling of Alexander the Great being greeted by an elephant-riding kandake. Nobody seems to believe that really happened, but hey. ↩
- Here’s where you get a thousand armchair historians saying “they could have taken Kush if they wanted to, this is feminist bullshit!” (seriously, Rome “experts” are only marginally less annoying than WW2 “experts”). I am not arguing Rome couldn’t have taken Kush – it was a combination of harsh environment, armed resistance, and logistical difficulty that sank the expansion. Kush was too far-flung to allow for easy import of reinforcements or mass export of goods. From the viewpoint of the Kushites, this was a David and Goliath story. Other cultures are allowed their heroes. ↩
- Here’s the “misunderstanding” theory, which is just my reading of events: Strabo described the Kushites suing for peace, citing grievances with previous administrators. They displayed surprisingly little awareness of Rome, not knowing who its leader was or where to find him. This indicates to me that the aforementioned administrator, Cornelius Gallus, was provoking Kush in ways that didn’t make it into the histories, and that when they started fighting, it was against him – they didn’t really know who they were fighting. It’s possible it was all a misunderstanding, one that Amanirenas ironed out. Doesn’t square with their continued disrespect for Augustus’s head, but hey. Egypt had swapped hands a lot in the years leading up to the war, confusion is understandable. ↩
- There’s other Augustus statues out there, other bronze ones even – but none had the original eyes. Hence “best preserved.” ↩
- I just wanted to share that old-school diss. The rest of the wall had crumbled so who knows which ruler it was. I’m rooting for Amanirenas. ↩
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- The art notes are pretty much all inline! Amanirenas’s outfit is a stripped-down version of her carving. It is more likely she would have worn something like a leopard pelt, but I liked the design so much I ran with it.
- Kush had cool little pyramids that survive to present day, so I sprinkled them throughout.
- That blue-eyed elephant is named Jumbo. Totally legally distinct.
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Next Time on Rejected Princesses
This Afghan queen refused to make veiled comments about women’s education.
Independent, bold wife of the Prophet Muhammad, she led armies in the Battle of the Camel and was one of the central figures of the Shia/Sunni civil war that continues to this day. (Note: this entry's image follows Islamic artistic conventions to depict its figures respectfully)