African Queen Series: Queen Amanirenas of The Meroitic Kingdom Of Kush Led Kushite Armies Against Romans

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Amanirenas (also spelt Amanirena) was the queen of the Meroitic Kingdom of Kush in northeast Africa. Her full name and title was Amnirense qore li kdwe li (“Ameniras, Qore and Kandake”). She reigned from about 40 BCE to 10 BCE. She is one of the most famous kandakes, or queen mothers, because of her role leading Kushite armies against the Romans in a war that lasted five years, from 27 BCE to 22 BCE.

When Roman emperor Augustus levied a tax on the Kushites in 24 B.C., Amanirenas and her son, Akinidad, led an army of 30,000 men to sack the Roman fort in the Egyptian city of Aswan.They also destroyed the statues of Caesar in Elephantine.

Under orders from Augustus, the Roman general Petronius retaliated, but met strong resistance from Amanirenas and her troops. After over three years of harsh fighting, the two parties agreed to negotiate a peace treaty. The Romans agreed to return their army to Egypt, withdraw their fort, give the land back to the Kushites and rescind the tax.

The brave warrior queen, Amanirenas is remembered for her loyal combat, side-by-side, with her own soldiers. She was blinded in one eye after she was wounded by a Roman. However, the full extent of the Roman humiliation has yet to be disclosed since the Kushite account of the war, written in the Meroïtic script, has not been fully decoded.

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