Amanirenas: The Nubian Queen Who Defeated Rome

Amanirenas: The Nubian Queen Who Defeated Rome

Queen Amanirenas is the Queen of Kush who defeated Rome.

Queen Amanirenas defeated the Roman Empire from the Second Kushite Capital at Meroe located in modern day Sudan.

Historians estimate that Queen Amanirenas was born between 60 and 50 B.C. and was one of the “Kandakes” (“Great Woman” or ‘Queen Mothers”) of Kush.

Queen Amanirenas ascended the Throne of Kush around 20 BC and led a 5 year long Kushite war that resulted in the defeat of Rome.

After the Roman Empire conquered Egypt in 30 BC, Rome attempted to Tax the Nubians in Egypt and to invade Kush under Queen Amanirenas in order to make it a vassal State paying Tribute to the Roman Empire. 

In response, the Kushites led by Queen Amanirenas defeated Rome in the Cities of Southern Egypt, taking the head of the Statue of Augustus Caesar to be buried underneath the Palace Entrance at Kush as a symbol of the Roman defeat by the Queen Amanirenas and the Kushites.

After the initial Roman defeat by the Kushites, the new Roman Governor, Petronius mastered a force of 10, 000 Troops and began a campaign into the Nubian hinterland driving the Kushites Southwards and further inland for a period of about two years. 

This Roman expedition achieved some successes for the Roman Empire as 10 000 Roman Soldiers on a punitive expedition looted and enslaved the inhabitants of Kush and claimed more territory for Rome.

However, Queen Amanirenas decided to counter this further incursion into Kushite lands by dispatching a force to meet and fight the Roman Empire’s Army.

By the end of 24 B.C. however,  Queen Amanirenas had lost both her Husband, the King and Her Son in the ongoing War against the Roman Empire.

Eventually, the Roman force succeeded in conquering the important Kushite Capital at Napata but faced with difficult desert conditions of the Nubian Terrain, the Roman Army could not advance any further.

Faced with the risk of a dwindling and weakened Army in the harsh desert terrain, the Roman Empire decided it was better to make a strategic withdrawal to avoid a risky climatic defeat in a final battle with Queen Amanirenas’ forces.

The Romans accepted defeated by Queen Amanirenas by signing a Peace Treaty with Kush which secured Kushite borders and revoked Roman Taxation.   

Queen Amanirenas thus successfully resisted complete conquest by the Roman Empire.

Furthermore, Queen Amanirenas did not give up lands, pay tribute or contribute material resources to Rome like most other Kingdoms that had fallen to the Roman Empire in Europe, Africa and Asia.

Although Queen Amanirenas was blind in one eye, she personally participated in the Battles that defeated the Roman Army.

The Kushites commemorated Queen Amanirenas’ defeat of the Romans with a wall painting in a Pyramid Chapel at Meroe which portrays Queen Amanirenas holding bows, arrows and spears in one hand and seven Roman Captives with the other.

As far as we know, Queen Amanirenas is the only African Monarch who was able to defeat the Roman Empire and maintain the independence of their State and she represents one of the best examples of Pre-Colonial African resistance.

Queen Amanirenas: The Nubian Queen Who Defeated The Roman Empire

 

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