Ancient Egypt was, for the most part, dictated and run by a wide variety of men. Some exemplary - others not so much.
But how did women fair when it came to ruling the most important ancient civilisation that ever existed?
Let’s list some female pharaohs, shall we?
Merneith. She was a queen regent around 2950 BC. This was hundreds of years before the Pyramids were built. Her reign is still somewhat contested but scholars believe she ruled Egypt for a short time,
Nefertiti. The beautiful Queen. She was the wife of Akhenaten. They were so closely associated that some scholars believe they actually ruled together in a co-regency. At Karnak temple, Nefertiti is depicted nearly twice as much as Akhenaten. Indeed, when her husband died some historians think she ruled alone under the name Neferneferuaten before Tutankhamun took the throne.
Hatshepsut. One of the most famous female rulers of Ancient Egypt. She ruled between 1478-1458 BC. She became queen at the age of 12 after marrying her half-brother Thutmose II. 7 years into her reign as queen she assumed full power and took the title of Pharaoh. She is said to have dressed herself in men’s clothing and depicted herself wearing the traditional false beard in her artwork. When she died, Thutmose III took control of Egypt. In a bitter act of damnation, he destroyed most of her statues and tried to erase her from history. But her memory survived.
Cleopatra VII Philapator. The most famous Egyptian queen of them all. She came to the throne around 51 BC and was Macedonian - not Egyptian. She could speak six different languages. Egypt went into a bitter war with Rome after Julius Caesar’s assassination. Octavian - who was Caesar’s rightful heir laid siege to Egypt while Cleopatra and Mark Anthony killed themselves.
Her legend had just begun.