Powerful Queens of Kemet (Ancient Egypt) Lessons and Legacies What Can We Learn from Their Roles as Leaders? Part 11
This article continues my look at the Goddesses and Queens of Kemet, focusing on the impact of their leadership on the people and the world.
- Is there something that we in the West can learn from them?
- How might their leadership skills be utilized by women, especially Black Women at this time?
- Given their legacy as significant queens of Kemet, what is the legacy that you’re creating now?
The Goddesses and Queens were the spiritual foundation of Kemet. Queens were considered a personification of Goddesses. Kemet was also a matrilineal society. Women owned land and property. In addition to being mothers, some were priestesses, doctors, musicians. Finally, the Kings of Kemet understood that there could be no man without the woman. Therefore, there was a sense of equality, mutual respect and mutual reliance. A wife could be a co-regent and ruler with the King, or ruler upon his demise.
Queen Ahmose-Nefertari, wife of Ahmose, the founder of the 18th Dynastic Period, was one of the most respected and celebrated Kemetic Queens. She was the first to bear the title of “hemet netjer”, God’s First Wife. She was also known as “The Divine Wife”, “Great Royal Wife”, “Divine Mother.” She ruled with her husband for 25 years, influenced political and religious practices and played an important role in Kemet’s reorganization. Upon the death of King Ahmose, she ruled as Regent for their son Amenhotep I. Once the young King ascended the throne, he included Queen Ahmose-Nefertari in many governmental activities.
Queen Ahmose-Nefertari was one of the most influential New Kingdom royal women. She was deified as the Goddess of Resurrection and worshipped after her death. Five shrines at Deir el-Medina were dedicated to this great Afrikan Queen. Portraits of her were found at Abdu, Deir el-Medina and Waset showing her with black skin, as do most images of her.
- In what ways have wives of Presidents or Prime Ministers played influential roles during their husband’s terms of office?
Pharaoh Hatshepsut, whose name meant “Foremost of Noblewomen” married Thutmose II and they reigned jointly. When Thutmose II died after a 15-year reign, their male heir Thutmose III was too young to assume the throne, therefore Hatshepsut served as Queen Regent. She eventually declared herself King, often dressed in male attire and wore the postiche or divine beard. She reigned as the fifth pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty between 1478 BC and 1425 BC and was the longest reigning female pharaoh in Egypt, ruling for 22 years. Pharaoh Hatshepsut is considered one of Egypt’s most successful pharaohs. Her reign was one of peace and prosperity. She re-vitalized industry and expanded trade routes, ultimately making the Land of Punt a major trading partner; and thus importing gold, ivory resin, wood and other goods.
Pharoah Hatshepsut restored many monuments damaged by the invading Hyksos. In addition, she built several monuments and temples, including her funerary temple, calling it Zosret Zosru “The Most Select and Holy of Places.”, located in the Valley of the Kings. She also erected a pair of obelisks at the Temple of Amon, located at Karnak. She is remembered in the prayers of the people for her brilliant deeds and amazing ingenuity.
- Given that there are women candidates running for President of the US, what leadership qualities do you believe are necessary?
- How would you describe your own leadership qualities?
Queen Tiye married King Amenhotep III who made her his “Great Royal Wife” during the 2nd year of his reign. She was 13 years old, became his constant companion and counsel. She was also called “Lady of the Two Lands” and “Great of Praises.” Queen Tiye played a powerful and respected role in diplomatic relations. Foreign officials corresponded with her because of her influential role in political affairs and she gained the reputation as the true power behind the throne.
Queen Tiye participated in the government of Kemet for over 40 years, both with her spouse Amenhotep III and with her son, Amenhotep IV. During her son’s reign, she corresponded with foreign diplomats and functioned as the world’s first Secretary of State.
King Amenhotep III erected numerous monuments for Queen Tiye. She appeared on more edifices than any other Queen of Kemet before her, and on colossal statues, she was depicted on equal status with the King. He also built an ornamental lake, known as “Lake of Tiye”, and erected a temple for her in Nubia, the first time a Queen had been so honored. She was worshipped by the Nubian people as a divine goddess at that temple. Finally, he decreed her burial next to him in the Valley of the Kings, so that she was his beloved wife in life and death.
- First Lady Michelle Obama, who some believe resembles Queen Tiye, also played a key role in The White House, establishing initiatives and programs that complimented those of The President.
- Who do you believe was/is an important woman diplomat in the US or Africa?
Other Queens of Ancient Egypt include Queen Nefertiti, the Beautiful One; Queen Nefertari, the Beloved One; and Cleopatra VII, the Last Queen.
As you reflect on the lives and legacies of these significant Queens of Kemet, what’s possible for you? The overall value and treatment of women in the West leaves MUCH to be desired. Nonetheless, it’s truly “Our Time” to flourish!
- In what ways and in what arenas are you exercising leadership?
- How do you want to be more influential or empowered as a leader?
- Do you believe that it is “Our Time” as women, and if so, how can we lead?
- Describe your ideal women leader.
“Women of every color, ethnicity, cultural, spiritual, social and educational background around the world are evolving as leaders, visionaries and agents of change to restore balance, peace and justice to evolve humanity and the world.” – Harriet Tubman Wright
Queens of Egypt, Exhibition Guidebook, National Geographic Museum, Washington, DC
Hatshepsut Biography (1508BCE – 1458 BCE), Updated September 10, 2019
Afrikan Builders of Civilization, A Pictorial History of Famous Personalities from Ancient Egypt, Ashra and Merira Kwesi, 1995 Kemet Nu Productions
Lectures before, during and after daily tours to pyramids, temples and tombs during my 2019 educational tour in Egypt.
I look forward to exploring women’s leadership in governance, business and commerce, arts, community enhancement and more…Please tell me what most interests you!