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Women in Ancient Nubia (WIAW)

‘Women in Ancient Nubia,’ in S.L. Budin and J.M. Turfa, eds. Women in Antiquity: Real Women from Across the Ancient World. London: Routledge, 280-298., 2016
Jacke Phillips
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Women in Ancient Nubia (WIAW)

Women in Ancient Nubia (WIAW)

    Jacke Phillips
in balancing 'history' with 'herstory', primarily in the 'First World' and particularly in the West from the 1960s onwards. Focused research on women and gender in the ancient world is no exception, developing from 'the "obligatory" last chapter on hairstyles and dress' (Setälä 1989: 61, commenting on ancient Roman studies) to a recognised research discipline in its Lesko 1978;Fischer 1989;Robins 1993;Graves-Brown 2008, and even major exhibitions (e.g. Schoske and Wildung 1984;Arnold 1996;Capel and Markoe 1997;Wilfong 1997;Teeter and Johnson 2009) exploring the subject of women, gender, and the female perspective have appeared, while the subject has also become increasingly prominent in more general Egyptological publications.Research into Nubia and its successive civilisations has also expanded enormously since the 1980s, from similar 'obligatory last chapters' by Egyptologists in Egyptological literature to a specialist discipline in its own right increasingly divorced from Egyptology. Unfortunately, a parallel focus on women has been almost entirely neglected in Nubian research, with extremely little investigation and even commentary of their gender, status or activities. There is no detailed study of ancient Nubian women, who are mentioned (if at all) only in general, limited and passing terms in academic literature other than an 'obligatory' dress and jewellery discussion. The very prominent exception, and almost the only topic discussed in any detail, is the status and roles of royal women and, especially, queens (e.g. Török 1995;Lohwasser 2001aLohwasser , 2001bHaynes and Santini-Ritt 2012). The lives and achievements of certain royal women in particular are known, mainly through contemporary records, but we know virtually nothing of the anonymous 'ordinary' women in Nubian societies. What little we do know is discerned mainly from their physical remains, their graves and grave goods, and their occasional generalised depictions in art over the centuries. Ostaeological literature rarely extends beyond basic recording, limited statistical comparison, trauma description and individual case studies, with little encompassing discussion in specialist terms. Social information extends little beyond what can be extracted from these data and comparison with other cultures, so again can only be generally summarised. This chapter therefore can say little about the lives of 'ordinary' women, but attempts to emphasise this aspect as much as possible.Contemporary or near-contemporary written sources are largely limited to historical and bio-meration as slaves or captives. Records are both indigenous (in Egyptian and Meroitic scripts) nium are from an Egyptian perspective. The Meroitic script can be transliterated but as yet not translated beyond individual names, titles and a few words, such as 'son/daughter of', although progress is ongoing. Therefore, the only indigenous records available to scholars are essentially limited to the Napatan and early Meroitic periods, as Meroitic replaced Egyptian scripts and language in the second century ical statements, of which the latter can be quite lengthy (see Eide et al. 1994Eide et al. -2000. many ancient Egyptian images of slaves, soldiers and vanquished foes that are most often stereotyped and exaggerated to emphasise differences. Very few of these are women, but occasionally women married to Egyptians are represented on private tombs and stelae, presented in Egyptian style with some visual and textual indicators of their Nubian origin.Archaeological evidence is our most direct source, especially graves and tombs and their contents. While organic preservation is remarkably good in Lower Nubia, it deteriorates southwards as the desert becomes the moister sahel, so many grave goods in Upper Nubia are not (or not well) preserved. Thus our available evidence is both skewed and limited, favouring certain periods and regions which are often transposed into less well-documented regions and periods. The value of transposed evidence varies considerably in Nubia, but sometimes can be remarkably apt and emphasises the great continuity inherent in Nubian cultures over time and space.The vast majority of evidence for Nubian women themselves derives from osteological study of their bodies with subsequent comparisons between individuals, sexes, sites, regions, and cultural periods. These rather dryly tell us that women have consistently fewer serious physical injuries than men, usually attributed to their 'dramatically different occupations' (Kendall 1997: 58-59;Judd 2004), as 'ordinary' men would have been mostly recorded in some quantity, mostly interpreted as accidental, but in some cases possibly also due to domestic violence (Alvrus 1999: 427). Although chronologically beyond the scope of this volume, an extreme exception is the Early Christian woman stoned to death in what then became her grave (Vila 1976: 110-111). Female mortality rates seem to have remained generally uniform, at least in the Neolithic through Kerma periods, and in Christian times life expectancy seems to have been approximately equal to men (Adams 2004: 118). The noticeably higher mortality rate amongst adult women aged 20-30/35 is logically attributed nonetheless, women could reach advanced age in some number. Reavis (2014) describes several instances of middle/upper-class women in the Tombos cemetery (New Kingdom and age-related disorders. Many problems are chronic or degenerative, yet these individuals survived with their conditions for years, suggesting the existence of a 'caring social network' within their communities or at least amongst their families that enabled them to do so. That such a network extended far beyond family and community is illustrated by the (c. 620-600 ; Eide et al. 1994Eide et al. -2000. Whether this was normal royal protocol or an individual royal command is not known, but it does suggest a social imperative and consideration at the highest level. Tattooing, documented from the C-Group to Meroitic periods, is almost entirely limited to women (an exception is Armelagos 1969: fig. 5) and likely relates to religious beliefs or practice, some at least protective in intent. No earlier physical evidence for other body adornment has been recovered, but the lines and dots on Neolithic through C-Group figurines likely represent tattooing or scarification (e.g. Wildung 1997: Cats. 1-3, 31, 41, 45). The earliest direct evidence is the mummified tattooed women found in C-Group cemeteries just south of the First Cataract, these locations suggesting the tattoos were intended to distinguish the wearers from both the Egyptian and Kerma peoples to their north and south (Tassie 2003: 88-89, 93, 99). Tattooing, often quite elaborate, continued in the Meroitic period (Vila 1967: 370-377 Pls. XII-XIX). Scarification is also known in the Meroitic period from the mid-first century , when both royal and non-royal women (as well as men) displayed deliberate vertical cheek and horizontal forehead scars, apparently indicative of social status (e.g. Welsby and Anderson 2004: Cat 163;see generally, Lobban 2004: 77-80;see Figure 20.2). This practice still serves to distinguish members of tribal groups within the Sudan today.Excess female weight is considered a beauty feature in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa. The most famous ancient representation is the 18th-Dynasty relief depicting Atiya, the 'Queen of Punt', and her daughter at Deir el-Bahri in Egypt. Steatopygy is a genetic condition best described as having an accumulation of excess fat in and around the buttocks, sometimes extending into the hips and upper thighs. Mummified bodies do not have folds of excess skin suggestive of steatopygia or other excess body fat, but women represented throughout Nubian art characteristically are at least 'broad-hipped' if not overweight. Neolithic female figurines are already portrayed as steatopygous, and later art continues this tradition (e.g. Dunham 1963: fig. 168.9). The early Napatan queens and goddesses are often, but not always, depicted as 'broad-hipped' with heavy thighs and disproportionately narrow waists, as also seen in Egyptian art from the reign of Akhenaten through the Ptolemaic period. Egyptian representations of Nubian (and Egyptian) women continue to depict them in this same manner, but contemporary Nubian representations are less consistent. Napatan figures can be more or less exaggerated, but the 'broad-hipped' profiles continue well into Meroitic times in Nubian art. Winged female ba-statues representing the deceased and women depicted on related relief stelae are also 'broad-hipped' with a disproportionately narrow waist. Some Meroitic, although not Napatan, queens and other royal women are famously depicted as considerably but proportionately overweight, in sharp contrast to the much thinner kings and deities, including female deities. Such images can only have been created with their consent or under their direction, and therefore reflect either reality or their own preferred representation.All social levels are represented in female graves, from very rich to very poor, judging by their grave goods and, in some periods, their grave size. Women were buried in the same cemeteries and with the same grave types as men (Adams 2004: 118), suggesting (at a minimum) that consistently include more 'important' (i.e. excessively large) graves inhabited by an individual woman, but double graves presumably of husband and wife are also not uncommon. Individual, and presumably individually commissioned, relief 'portrait' stelae and Meroitic ba-statues best illustrate the presence of independent, non-royal women. The mostly late second-to third-century ba-statues, representing the deceased either as a human-headed bird or 89-99; see also Török 2009: 422-423) and exclusively from Lower Nubia. A fourth-century Napatan woman named Pasalta and a Meroitic woman named Lapakhidaye in the second to third centuries commanded their own funerary stelae at Meroë and Aksha, respectively likely were noblewomen. Napatan and Meroitic queens and lesser royal women were also buried within their own dedicated pyramidal tombs in the royal cemeteries in the Napatan period, usually positioned relative to that of the kings and in accordance with their own royal status (Lohwasser 2001b: 66-67;Haynes and Santini-Ritt 2012: 179). The only males buried in these cemeteries were the kings themselves. During the Meroitic period, the pyramids of kings and queens were not even segregated within the cemetery. The proximity and integration of kings and royal women in death is in complete contrast to the conscious separation inherent in the 'Valley of the Kings' and 'Valley of the Queens' at Thebes in New Kingdom Egypt. This difference underlines the importance of female members in the royal hierarchy during their lifetimes. Nonetheless, five Dynasty 25 royal women were apparently buried at Abydos in Egypt, including a wife of Pi(ankh)y, although he and all the later Dynasty 25 kings chose to be buried at Napata.The 'self-sacrificed' retainers found in the royal tumuli at Kerma were mostly women and young girls, although also men and children, who presumably belonged to the royal household. Many individual non-royal Kerma and later graves also have one or more 'self-sacrificed' individuals of lower status, almost always women, within the primary burial (Kendall 1997: 60). References to military enslavement of men, women and children are abundant, while female intermarriage with Egyptian men in both Egypt and Nubia is well-documented at all levels of society up to and including queens (e.g. Wildung 1997: Cat 84; Vittmann 2007: 155). Nubian women are recognisable by their physiognomy, dress and name in Egyptian texts and art, and are archaeologically distinguished from their Egyptian counterparts through their grave types, positions, orientation and contents, both in Nubia and in Egypt. In the Napatan cemetery at Sanam at the Fourth Cataract, most women are in buried in flexed position with head east facing north in time-honoured Nubian fashion and many men in the Egyptian-influenced extended position often with head west, sometimes sharing the same grave. The same combination is recognised in the New Kingdom cemetery at Tombos and elsewhere along the Nile, the women especially following traditional Kerma practices. At the Second Intermediate Period-New Kingdom fortress town of Askut in Lower Nubia, Smith (2003: 113-124) has clearly demonstrated the distinct Nubian character of the women inhabitants, who continued to use their familiar indigenous vessel types and cooking methodologies, as well as religious beliefs, in the face of Egyptian colonisation and Nubian male egyptianisation. In other words, they consciously chose to maintain their traditional cultural identity.Occupation, labour, and other activities associated with the vast majority of 'ordinary' women tribution in housing and anthropological analogy. Such evidence centres on the 'domestic' sphere: wife and mother, household management, cooking, baking and food processing, weaving and pot-making, presumably milking, leather processing and water collection, and possibly tion that women made handmade vessels for home use and professional male potters the wheelmade vessels is "too simplistic" (Welsby 1996: 163), not least because pottery was made on the wheel only during certain periods and the technical quality in the Nubian handmade tradition at all periods is highly accomplished. Household textile production likely was a common female occupation as in many pre-industrial societies: numerous loomweights and bone needles have been recovered in houses, as well as in poor and rich female graves at Karanòg (Jacquet 1971: 127;O'Connor 1993: 102;Harkless 2006: 178). This does not preclude the probability of such processing and production at industrial levels by women -not necessarily Nubian womenelsewhere, such as in temple estates (Robins 1993: 122;Harkless 2006: 137) as well as royal Excess home production by particularly accomplished women potters (and weavers?) may well have been traded within the community or beyond.Other occupations were open to 'common' women, undoubtedly some unrecorded in art and literature although generically comparable with other societies. References to singers, dancers and musicians in religious contexts clearly indicate women performed these roles, but they also appear to perform similar functions in secular contexts, presumably as slaves.The most famous and arguably most important Nubian priestesses are the celibate 'God's Wives of Amun' ( t ), certain daughters of the 25th-Dynasty pharaohs who ruled Egypt. Each was appointed by her father, the king, and adopted by her predecessor, usually also her aunt. 'God's Wives of Amun' resided at Karnak as the supreme authority over the powerful Amun priesthood, and therefore effectively ruled the Theban area both politically and economically on behalf of their royal father and were his direct intermediary with appeared in Egypt during the Middle Kingdom and continued at Karnak until the end of the 26th Dynasty nearly three centuries after the Nubian retreat from Egypt (e.g. Lobban 2004: 171-172). It must therefore be seen in part as an existing Egyptian institution very astutely and successfully co-opted by the 25th-Dynasty kings for political purposes (see also, Onstine and Tyldesley, this volume).Other royal women held the titles of 'Divine Adoratrix' ( ) or 'High Priestess' ( ntr -'god's wife'), rather than the singular appointment of 'God's Wife of Amun' at Karnak. King Aspelta (early sixth century ) informs us, in support of his claim to the throne on his 'Election Stela', that his grandmother was a 'Divine Adoratrix' (Eide et al. 1994(Eide et al. -2000Vittmann 2007: 143), the 'God's Wife of Amun'-elect. Although generally seen as modeled on the 'God's Wife of Amun' at Karnak, the Nubian practice of bestowing priestly titles on royal women itself existed at least a century before the 25th Dynasty when Alara, the 'founder' king of the Napatan Dynasty, dedicated his sister as 'Sistrum-Player' of Amun. To judge from the surviving texts, only royal women would be appointed to other senior religious positions in 25th-Dynasty Egypt, but these were limited to the temples and cults of certain female deities also worshipped in Nubia such as Isis, Nut, Mut, Hathor and Neith (see the appendix to this chapter on Nubian deities). Usually, they held the title of '(High) Priestess' (e.g. Vittmann 2007: 155), but at least one granddaughter of King Piye was a 'Sistrum-Player' at Karnak at the end of the 25th Dynasty.Most royal women having priestly appointments from the reign of Alara's successor, Kashta, onwards held the title of 'Sistrum-Player' ('of Amun-Re, King of the Gods') in temples of Amani and Amun-Re in Nubia (Eide et al. 1994(Eide et al. -2000. This seems to be the only ritual position held by Nubian royal women in Nubia itself, but was far from insignificant. Three specific 'Sistrum-Player' titles ( , and ) are referenced in the texts, but their distinction is difficult to ascertain. Half a century after the last 25th-Dynasty king had retreated from Egypt, the 'Queen Mother' and other royal women prominently act as 'Sistrum-Players' on the 'Coronation' stelae of Anlamani and Aspelta (c. 620-580 ) that both illustrate and describe the events in detail, together with names and titles of the participants (Eide et al. 1994(Eide et al. -2000. Anlamani appointed four of his sisters as 'Sistrum-Players' at the temples of Amani at Napata, Kawa and Pnubs (Kerma? Tabo?) and to Amun-Re. Ritual titles could be transferred as, in Year 3 of Aspelta, his wife Kheb ( Henuttahbit) was elected to the position of 'Sistrum-Player' in the temple of 'Amani, Bull of Nubia' at Sanam, succeeding his brother Anlamani's widow and Kheb's mother, Madiken (Eide et al. 1994-2000. Madiken in turn had succeeded her mother Nasalsa, a familial succession reminiscent of the 'God's Wife of Amun'. Many but not all aspects of female royalty have a strong echo, if not origin, in the roles also performed by the Kushite 'God's Wife of Amun' at Karnak (Eide et al. 1994(Eide et al. -2000), but others already existed earlier.Although textual references to female religious titles in Nubia disappear soon after the reign of Aspelta, numerous reliefs on stelae and in royal tomb chapels throughout the later Napatan and Meroitic periods continue to depict queens as 'Sistrum-Players' and libation-pourers, and princesses carrying palm-fronds in association with a king or deity (e.g. Chapman and Dunham 1952: passim;Wildung 1997: Cat. 265). Yet, as Kahn (2013: 66-67) has noted, depictions of royal sistrum-playing are limited only to coronation scenes, while other female royal religious activities are restricted to offering sacrifices and pouring libations, participating in the king's mortuary cult and interceding between the king and the deities. Török (1997: 235) notes royal women 'could be installed as priestesses in order to distinguish them as predestined king's mothers, [but] also in priestly offices associated with the legitimacy and power of the ruler'.Little is known of non-royal priestesses. The women depicted on two mid-third-century bronze bowls from Karanòg in Lower Nubia (Woolley and Randall-MacIver 1910: Pls. 27-29;O'Connor 1993: 104-105) have been seen both as ordinary women and as 'priestesses', depending on interpretation of the scene as ritual or 'daily life' and their role within it. Close analysis of costumes worn by some non-royal women in 25th-Dynasty Egypt holding religious titles identify them as Nubians, presumably married to Egyptians. One or two women were 'Singer(s) in the Interior of Amun' according to their stelae (Vittmann 2007: 157), and at least two others were 'Followers of Mut ' (Ibid.: 146-147, 153;Haynes and Santini-Ritt 2012: 171). There seems to be no indication of non-royal women holding religious titles in Nubia itself amongst the scanty surviving evidence, but some, perhaps within the higher nobility, also must have fulfilled ritual roles. Certainly, non-royal women did 'belong' to temple estates as untitled 'musicians to shake the sistrum' and other unspecified 'workers' (Robins 1993: 122;Eide et al. 1994Eide et al. -2000. Captured women too were brought to Nubia and given over by the king to be 'maidservants' (Eide et al. 1994(Eide et al. -2000, presumably performing menial tasks in the temple estates. Despite the very few references, this must have been common practice.Much of our evidence for women in ancient Nubia focuses on the queens and other royal women, simply because they are the best documented in ancient sources. Most of this evidence dates to the Napatan and Meroitic periods, with their abundant inscriptions and detailed artistic representations. Earlier evidence is scanty, but the importance and authority of the Queen -'King's Mother', 'King's Sister' and 'King's Wife' -in the royal hierarchy throughout Napatan and Meroitic his-; 'hekat') 1 known to us is Satjyt, of the 'country' of Yamenes, sometime during the Middle Kingdom when she is named in an Egyptian Execration Text (Posener 1987). Other Nubian women of lesser rank are also mentioned in Old Kingdom Execration Texts Kebity, wife of another ruler, together with her husband (Posener 1987: 29 These texts are isolated glimpses into periods of Nubian history obscure to us, underlying not only the existence of distinct, independent, indigenous polities, but also the high status and power of royal (and non-royal) women in both periods and presumably throughout ancient Nubian history. Satjyt appears as a reigning monarch who was perceived as prominent and dangerous enough to warrant a retaliatory Egyptian spell designed to eradicate her power, and it is Kadimalo -not her unnamed and undepicted husband, the king -who dominates both image and text at Semna, and is the recipient of his appeal in perpetuity (Török 1995: 46, fig. 2). Her name itself is a combination of later recognisably Meroitic words ('good lady'), indicating the indigenous language was already spoken at this early date long before it appeared in written form (Török 2009: 294-298;Doll 2012: 158).Other than the one reference to Satjyt and the 'Nubian' facial features of certain women in Egyptian art including some queens and nobility (e.g. Wildung 1997: Cat. 84), our most important visual source for early Nubian royal women is a 'tribute' scene in the late Dynasty 18 tomb of Huy, 'King's Son of Kush' (TT 40) at Thebes (Davies and Gardiner 1926: Pl. XXVIII;Wilkinson 1983: Col. Pl. 42). Here an anonymous Lower Nubian woman usually called a 'princess' is escorted with 'chiefs of Wawat' and their entourage into the presence of Huy and, in a related scene, Tutankhamun with gifts ('tribute'), including two Nubian 'slavewomen' and three children (Figure 20.4). Another unnamed but equally well-dressed woman behind her riding in an ox-drawn cart under a protective sunshade is generally described as a 'noblewoman' rather than 'princess'. These identifications are modern interpretations although clearly both women are high-ranking. They are richly dressed in Egyptian-style clothing with added Nubian elements, most notably the excessive number of armlets and symbolic accoutrements that have suggested a mixed identity (Van Pelt 2013: 534-535). We do not know if these women (and indeed the entire delegation) in fact wore the clothing and accoutrements the Egyptian artist has depicted in order to visually identify their Nubian origin. Both women clearly are important personages in this politically charged scene, but, archaeologically, the excessively large scale of some female tombs and the quantity and quality of their grave goods allow us only to speculate as to whether some of these deceased indi-It is not until the early Napatan period that queens reappear in the record, visible largely due to their named tombs and to texts. Queen Kadimalo, apparently deceased when her inscription was carved, was already an important and powerful individual in the royal hierarchy of her day, and the importance of her position continued throughout the Napatan and Meroitic periods. Not long afterwards, Queen Qasaka, wife of Alara (first half of the eighth century ), possessed her own dedicated tomb next to his at El-Kurru. Queens and other royal women continued to be buried in their own dedicated pyramids in the royal cemeteries at El-Kurru, Nuri, Jebel Barkal and Meroë, where tomb inscriptions and grave goods provide us with their names, titles, lineage and familial relationships. Queens also possessed their own stelae, being depicted worshipping -or otherwise associated with -a deity without the king present (e.g. Wildung 1997: Cats. 173, 268). The decorative programmes in the tombs of King Tanwetamani (Ku. 16) and his mother Queen Qalhata (Ku. 5) (Dunham 1950: Pls IX-X, XVII-XX) are similar and equally richly painted, while traces of paint surviving on other queens' tombs suggest hers was not unique. Many tombs were heavily plundered, but the quality and scale of the surviving furniture and grave goods interred with them rival those of the kings themselves at El-Kurru (decoration: Dunham 1950: 38, 42, 98 (queens); 55, 60 (kings), passim (grave goods)) and other, later royal cemeteries.The concept of matrilineal succession has long been associated with Nubian kingship during, especially, the Napatan period due to its surviving relevant and translatable documents. The most common matrilineal concept is of male kings whose right to rule is legitimised through their mother's rather than their father's ancestry, although other variations are known. Considerable scholarly discussion has focused on the nature and religious/political concepts underlying royal succession, opinions being quite varied, and this naturally presupposes different social, political and cultural roles for the royal women themselves. Several inscriptions offer direct evidence for matrilineal succession in the Napatan (and possibly also Meroitic) period, where the female ancestry is emphasised and enumerated up to seven generations back in time in order to legitimise the newly crowned king (see Lohwasser 2001b: fig. 3). A corresponding statement of male ancestry is entirely absent, other than the 'original' ancestral king through these women, as the king's father was considered to be the supreme god, Amani. Morkot (1999: passim;summarised ibid. 2012: 122-123) has pointed out, the 'emphasis on female ancestors does not necessarily indicate that the royal succession passed through the female line', but the importance of the queen -mother, sister, wife -remains unambiguous in the inscriptions that have come down to us. Nonetheless, many kings are in fact the sons (and, in one case, brother) of a king, strongly suggesting their mothers can only have been the wives of kings, which does not preclude them from also being the sisters of kings. At least four royal texts emphasise the presence of the mother of the new king at his investiture and, in the case of Anlamani (late seventh century ), the ceremony itself seems to have been delayed until she could be present.Earlier Egyptian records continually name different political entities within Nubia. The question of whether one or many 'royal' families co-existed at different times within the Napatan and Meroitic periods is partly inferred by their burial choices. Six cemeteries, three near the 4th Cataract and three at Meroë farther south, are royal pyramid fields (one only partially royal), but there are some interesting overlaps although no clear chronological division between them. Do these choices represent different and possibly competing royal families or family factions having different preferred or ancestral burial grounds? If so, was the emphasis on matrilineal ancestry a means of clearly re-establishing royal legitimacy through family descent, especially after one or more generations had not been on the throne?The importance of Napatan royal women is underlined by their prerogatives when compared to their Egyptian counterparts and to the Egyptian king himself. Like the latter but not the former, Napatan royal women were portrayed suckling the deity, pouring libations before the deity including Amani, and accompanying their husband when he officiated at rituals and themselves officiating at these rites. As Lohwasser (2001b: passim) emphasises, they complemented the actions and functions of the king in his many guises. As 'King's Mothers', 'King's Sisters' and 'King's Daughters', they represented and acted as means of transmission between the king and the gods, the king and his ancestors, and the king and his successors. Queen Kadimalo had already fulfilled this role as direct intermediary between king and god. Such roles continued in the Meroitic period, but the importance and power of royal women also increased dramatically.Sakhmakh, wife of the last Napatan king, Nastasen, debatably reigned as nsw (Egyptian: 'king') in the late fourth century (Wildung 1997: Cats. 265, 268;Kahn 2013: 64, but see Lohwasser 2001aHaynes and Santini-Ritt 2012: 173), as a stela from Jebel Barkal not only twice calls her nsw but also provides her with a now damaged 'Horus' name, previously the prerogative only of kings. Little else is known of her. Queen Shanakdakhete (late second century ; Rilly 2004: 4.1) certainly did sit on the throne. Her name is the earliest known Meroitic text, on a temple inscription at Naga otherwise written entirely in Egyptian hieroglyphs, including the standard pharaonic title 'Son of Re, Lord of the Two Lands'. A funerary relief statue from Meroë pyramid Beg. N 11 also depicts her as the central figure flanked by goddesses, a position similar to the god, Osiris, whom she emulates here in a characteristic pharaonic arrangement (Wildung 1997: Cat. 305;compare Chapman and Dunham 1952: Pl. 22.B). Queen Bartare may have been the first queen to hold the title of kn-ti-ky/ktke (Meroitic: 'queen', hellenised to kandake), if she lived in the mid-second century , but this date remains very uncertain. She was also a 'Son of Re, Lord of the Two Lands' (Eide et al. 1994-2000 with her name in a pharaonic cartouche; little else is known of her, but no suggestion that she actually ruled seems to have been made in print. The title kandake is recorded for at least seven queens only within the late second century and first century , but is not generally considered to signify a ruling queen, although some did in fact rule. Four queens, Amanirenas and Amanishakheto (both late first century ), Nawidemak (late first century or early first century ) 3 and Amanitore (mid-to late-first century ) are stated to be qore (Meroitic: 'king') and so unquestionably sat on the throne, with all but Nawidemak also holding the title of kandake. Amanitore is always depicted equal to her husband and coregent, Natakamani (Figure 20.5), and also held several pharaonic titles including 'Son of Re' and 'Great One of the Two Lands'. Other queens may also have ruled, either solely or as co-regent, but none possesses the title qore in surviving titularies. All titles cited above in this paragraph, except kandake, are written in the masculine rather than feminine form -the feminine form of qore is not even attested 4 -but are all depicted as female. Non-reigning queens and other royal women held a wide variety of other titles and epithets (Lohwasser 2001b: 61-62;Gozzoli 2010: table 2). Some, such as 'Daughter of Re' and 'Mistress of the Two Lands', parallel in feminine form those of the king.The title kandake is thought to translate more specifically as 'King's Mother' or 'King's Sister', although other interpretations have also been suggested (Eide et al. 1994-2000. Kandake is the origin of the modern name, Candace, derived from a Classical misconception that it was the name of the queen rather than her title. A Greek text relates the entirely fictitious tale of Alexander the Great in correspondence with an extraordinarily beautiful Nubian queen named Kandake, Queen of Meroë, and himself travelling to Meroë to meet her (Eide et al. 1994-2000. Strabo's detailed account of the Meroitic-Roman conflict for Lower Nubia in 25/24-21/20 between forces of Augustus Caesar and 'Queen Kandake', on the other hand, is substantially accurate. This queen is described as 'a manly woman who had lost one of her eyes' (Strabo 17: 1: 53-54; Eide et al. 1994-2000 and, historically, can only have been the qore and kandake Amanirenas. While no other document mentions her eye(s), the bronze Primaporta head of Augustus recovered in front of Chapel 292 at Meroë and now in the British Museum is generally seen as part of her booty. These queens perform even more roles formerly restricted to kings, such as smiting enemies, holding prisoners and presenting gifts to Amani and other deities (Figure 20.5).No female qore held the throne after Amanitore, whose reign with Natakamani is seen as the 'Golden Age' of the Meroitic period. Although Queen Amaninkatashan (later first century ) is not attested as qore or kandake, she also may have sat on the throne as 'Son of Re' and 'King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Lord of the Two Lands', still in masculine form (Eide et al. 1994-2000. No clear evidence for later ruling queens seems to exist, although several have been proposed.'Ordinary' women's clothing in the early periods seems almost entirely limited to cured leather garments, including long wraparound skirts and loincloths, girdles, sandals, skullcaps and other headdresses, all often decorated. Archaeological evidence suggests sandals were made of goat or sheepskin, and cowhide for other clothing. Some leather was rather colourfully dyed with red ochre, as is illustrated in the tomb of Huy (TT 40) at Thebes. Two 'slavewomen' shown amongst the 'tribute' brought by the delegation wear only a multi-coloured skirt and the distinctively Nubian 'animal tails' tied onto their arms above their elbows, as well as large loop earrings. The earliest direct evidence for women's clothing, found in C-Group graves, is comparable. The nudity of the three children with them (Davies and Gardiner 1926: Pl. XXX;Wilkinson 1983: Col. Pl. 42), at least two of whom seem to be girls, was common practice in both Ancient Egypt and in Nubia (Woolley and Randall-MacIver 1910, 1: 49, 2: Pl. 13.7079).Neolithic and A-Group women are not portrayed as clothed although they have tattooed or scarred body decoration, but one woman in a well-preserved Predynastic/A-Group grave just north of the First Cataract was covered with matting and linen. Gatto (2009: 130) notes the linen most likely covered only her lower limbs, so presumably the upper body was bare. Women did have tattoos and scars on their upper body and torso that otherwise would not be visible. Hafsaas (2006: 107;see Säve-Söderbergh 1989, 1: 186-187, 2: Pl. 96.97/23) describes a particularly well-preserved C-Group grave where the woman had decorated her leather skirt, headdress and girdle with cut-out and beaded decoration on the leather (unfortunately not illustrated). Kerma women sewed mica cut-outs in different shapes onto their caps and tailored their skirts by sewing individually cut leather elements together. These they then decorated with coloured dyes, stamped designs and beaded patterns. An anonymous Nubian goddess visually similar to the Egyptian deity, Taweret, is recognisable by her apparently tailored flaring skirt (Bonnet 1990: Cats. 113, 276) that is never worn by Taweret herself. This same skirt, with the bare torso indicated by pendant breasts, continued to be worn not period (Chapman and Dunham 1952: passim;Wenig 1978: Cat. 127;O'Connor 1993: Col. Pl. 14;Wildung 1997: Cats. 309, 453;Haynes and Santini-Ritt 2012: 184). Two of the three women depicted on two mid-third-century bronze bowls from Karanòg wear variations of this skirt; the third is nude (Woolley and Randall-MacIver 1910 Pls. 27-29;O'Connor 1993: 104-105). Women, like men, wore considerable quantities of jewellery whatever their status, in both white and bright colours, which would have been highly visible on their dark skin and leather clothing.At least from the time of Kadimalo in the eleventh/tenth century and onwards, costumes New Kingdom occupation. The 25th-Dynasty royal daughters appointed as 'God's Wives of Amun' at Karnak continued the costume of their Egyptian predecessors, wearing a typical sheath-like dress likely much looser than presented (following Egyptian convention) in order to depict the body beneath, together with an elaborate long wig worn under a vulture headdress supplemented by a modius and the tall double-plume and sun-disc of Amun. Little can be said of the recognisably non-royal priestess costume. Not only do representations seem limited to Egyptian images (e.g. Vittmann 2007: 146-147, figs. 3, 9), but the costumes themselves have no priestly details. Royal women in Nubia itself also had specifically Nubian costumes, their details and accoutrements reflecting the wearer's role, titles and position. Napatan royal dress consisted of a plain sheath-like transparent dress under a wide cape knotted at both shoulders, sometimes together with a draped cloth falling from the shoulder down the back. The dress, presumably of linen but possibly cotton, again was looser in reality than depiction. The cape trim is either striped or fringed, and a 'little tail' hung below the dress at the back. Very short hair or a 'Kushite' skullcap crown and sometimes also sandals completed the ensemble, together with jewellery elements on arms, hands, neck, ears, legs and ankles. The 'little tail' is one identifier in Egyptian images of Nubian women. Queens wore a variety of crowns, including a headband with the uraeus on the forehead (for the 'Queen Mother') and, amongst others, a double-plumed crown with or without a sun-disc and horns, or a vulture headdress, all strongly reminiscent of the 'God's Wife of Amun' ensemble. Princesses ('King's Daughters') are identified by up to four long streamers rising from the top to the back of the head (Lohwasser 2001b: fig. 2; Vittmann 2007: fig. 11).These costumes and accoutrements became more varied and elaborate over time. Meroitic royal costume is even more elaborate, especially as queens became more powerful as kandake and even qore, and included additional details previously restricted to the king. Some even duplicated his entire costume. New pharonic Kushite elements include ram-headed images of Amani, a variety of crowns including the Kushite double uraeus, a diagonal sash across the chest and tasseled shoulder band, sceptres, staff and flail, once even a panther skin (worn by Queen Shanakdakhete), as well as a wider range of jewellery. The quantities of exquisite jewellery recovered in certain queens' tombs confirms this was not artistic exaggeration (Dunham 1955(Dunham , 1957(Dunham , 1963Chapman and Dunham 1952;see also Wildung 1997: 302-340). 5 Other royal women were less elaborately dressed with fewer accoutrements and jewellery. Royal women performing ritual actions (shaking the sistrum, libating, etc.) generally retained their royal profiles and costume, but the Egyptian goddesses retained their Egyptian profiles, dress and accoutrements. Goddesses of Nubian origin, on the other hand, wore 'nubianised' dress and followed the Napatan 'broad-hipped' profile even into the Meroitic period when queens often were shown proportionately overweight. 6 evidence has given rise to many different interpretations and so much debate and speculation only through further ongoing research and excavation. Nonetheless, it is clear that ancient of sustained political power and personal independence rarely seen elsewhere in the ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern civilisations encompassed in this volume. Small hints in earlier periods, such as in the Execration Texts, suggest this importance was of very long duration and presumably a cultural norm. Cultic roles held by royal women also wielded considerable real power in their own right. As 'Kings' Mothers', 'Kings' Sisters' and 'Kings' Daughters' they encapsulated the past, present and future of Nubian kingship and its relationship with the the record, the even more limited evidence, especially through the eyes of foreigners, suggests they too had at least some greater independence than elsewhere. Nubia is generally ignored or only footnoted in research conducted on civilisations with whom it interacted, usually in pejorative or combative terms. That Nubia was at the forefront of female independence remains largely unappreciated beyond its borders.The development of Nubian theology is little understood before the mid-second millennium , when the Egyptian pantheon was introduced into Nubia by Egyptian soldiers, colonists and overseers in the New Kingdom occupation. Many deities were then absorbed into Nubian religion, at least amongst those who became 'egyptianised'. Amun soon became the supreme deity of Nubia, in a distinctive Nubian form called Amani probably derived from (or subsuming) an anonymous indigenous ram deity (Kendall 1997: 76). Both male and female indigenous Nubian deities were worshipped even before the New Kingdom, but Nubian religion are Isis, Hathor and Mut, for whom major temples were erected at Jebel Barkal and elsewhere. Mut was the consort of Amani, as at Karnak. Bastet, Ma'at, Nepthys, Nut, Sekhmet, Taweret and Tefnut also were worshipped by their same names in Nubia as in Egypt. All generally continued their Egyptian roles, hierarchy and attributes, although often exhibiting additional Nubian features likely derived from an anonymous indigenous counterpart. The features of Taweret, for example, are recognisable in the indigenous goddess wearing a skirt commonly found in the Kerma culture as ivory inlays, sew-on mica cut-outs, and in other materials.The First Cataract was both the Egyptian-Nubian border and a major transition zone that especially affected Lower Nubia immediately upriver. Isis herself may originally have been a Nubian goddess adopted into the Egyptian pantheon, as her cult centre is located on Philae Island, but Yellin (2012: 138) suggests her popularity in Nubia may reflect the existence of earlier or even contemporary indigenous mother-goddesses, of whom we know nothing. The god Khnum, his wife Satet and their daughter Anuket, the Elephantine triad who protected the First Cataract region, were also originally Nubian deities whose authority was still recognised by the Meroites centuries later. An early 6th-Dynasty inscription naming Satet was recovered in the shrine below her 18th-Dynasty temple at Elephantine (Kemp 2006: 117, 120), emphasising the continuity of her worship. Another goddess associated with this region was Mekhet, wife of the Egyptian god Anhur of the Thinite region of Middle Egypt. She also originated in Lower Nubia and was worshipped there only until the end of the New Kingdom occupation, while Anhur is associated with the indigenous Nubian god Dedwen whom the Egyptians also recognised. Egyptian theology also records a Nubian origin for the dwarf-god Bes, as well as his female counterpart Beset who first appears in Egypt in the Middle Kingdom. All these deities are associated primarily with Lower Nubia (Lobban 2004: passim).Amesemi is the only indigenous goddess whom we know by name that is associated solely with Upper Nubia. Worship of both her and her husband, the supreme Nubian lion-god Apedemak, is limited almost entirely to the Butana region that includes Meroë. Known at least from the Meroitic period if not earlier, she wears a falcon-shaped crown surmounted by a crescent moon suggestive of a protective role. Undoubtedly, others also remain unknown to us, such as the anonymous nude winged goddess with sun, crescent moon and feathered headdress (Wenig 1978: Cat. 103;Wildung 1997: Cat. 178;Sackho-Autissier 2004: 390-391) usually seen depicted on amulets.Most if not all known Nubian goddesses were imbued with some protective quality or fulfilled some protective role, many interceding especially on behalf of women during childbirth and their young children. The mortality rate of both mothers and children was always high, judging from skeletal analyses. Representations of these goddesses or their attributes on amulets, texts, jewellery, temple walls and other venues all helped ensure beneficence or protection for the wearer or owner. Such representations have been found in domestic housing as well as in temples, and were worn by the deceased in their graves. In this respect, Nubian women did not differ from their Egyptian counterparts and, indeed, women everywhere.Figure 20 . 1201Map of Ancient Nubia. (Map by Paul C. Butler.) Figure 20 . 2202Ba long wraparound skirt, here painted white so perhaps of linen rather than leather, with a bare torso. She typically also wore a solar disc separately inserted atop her head (now missing), while the folded wings behind identify her as a ba-figure. A horizontal scar crosses her forehead. Sandstone, Meroitic, late second-third century , from the Aniba cemetery at Karanog, University Museum, Philadelphia UM E 7003, Height 59.0 cm; O'Connor 1993, Col. Pl. 14. no. A9; Espinel 2013: 27-29). 2 time in the eleventh/tenth century names and depicts the 'Great King's Wife' [and] 'King's important royal woman (Figure 20.3). Figure 20 . 3203Queen Kadimalo and less important woman worshipping the goddess Isis, and accompanying text, relief superimposed in the eleventh-tenth century on the original Dynasty 18 façade of the Thutmoside temple of Dedwen and Senwosret III at Semna West. (Detail of a drawing by W. Weudenbach (1844), reproduced in Grapow 1940, Pl. III.) Figure 20 . 4204Procession of Nubians before the 'King's Son of Kush' Huy, Dynasty 18, reign of Tutankhamun. Detail of the facsimile of a wall painting in the Tomb of Huy (TT 40) at Qurna (Thebes). The 'princess' is the first standing person from the right, the 'noblewoman' is in the chariot, and the two 'slave women' and three children at the end of the procession on the far left.(Lepsius 1849-1859 Table 20 .120Outline of periods, locations and dates in Nubian chronologyPeriod Location Date Various Neolithic cultures Throughout Nubia to c.4000/3700 'Pre-Kerma'/'A-Group' Upper/Lower Nubia 4000/3700-2600/2500 Kerma/'C-Group' Upper/Lower Nubia 2600/2500-c.1500 'New Kingdom' Much of Nubia c.1500-c.1050 (Unnamed transitional) All Nubia c.1050-c.900 Napatan or First Kushite (Incorporating Dynasty 25) All Nubia (All Nubia and Egypt) c.900-c.400/300 (747-656 ) Meroitic or Second Kushite All Nubia c.400/300 -c. 350/400 Post-Meroitic/'X-Group' Upper/Lower Nubia c. 350/400-c. 550 Christian ('Mediaeval') All Nubia c. 550-c. 1500 Islamic All Nubia c. 1500-present