Who is Queen Shanakhdakheto?
she ruled from 170 b.c. to 150 b.c.
(170 BCE - 150 BCE)
Statue from Meroë believed to represent Shanakdakheto and a male
member of her family giving her royal power.
Shanakhdakheto (Sha-nakh-da-ke-to) was probably the first ruling
queen of Kush. Although her family connections are not known, she
is sometimes shown in art next to a smaller man. This man raises
his arm behind her to touch her crown or the streamers of her
crown. Since we sometimes see the god Amun making this same gesture
when he gives royal authority to a king, some scholars think that
the man behind the queen was a crown prince. They think he may have
been either her father or her husband, who died before achieving
the throne. The queen might then have taken the throne in his
Her name is carved in a ruined temple where the earliest
inscriptions in Meroitic hieroglyphic writing are found. Her
pyramid at Meroë is one of the largest ever built for a Kushite
ruler. It has a unique chapel with two rooms and two pylons. The
chapel is among the most elaborately carved of any known. The
scenes in the chapel show military campaigns to the south and the
capture of numerous cattle and prisoners. Images of the queen show
her as very heavy. All Meroitic queens after Shanakdakheto had very
large figures, which was not only considered beautiful but also a
sign of great wealth and power. Historians think she probably
gained power after her father or husband died.