|Queen of Kush|
|Reign||c. 40–10 BC|
|Died||c. 10 BC|
Jebel Barkal (Bar. 4?)
Amanirenas is one of the most famous kandakes, because of her role leading Kushite armies against the Romans in a war that lasted five years, from 27 BC to 22 BC. After an initial victory when the Kushites attacked Roman Egypt, they were driven out of Egypt by Gaius Petronius and the Romans established a new frontier at Hiere Sycaminos (Maharraqa). Amanirenas was described as brave, and blind in one eye.
Meroitic inscriptions give Amanirenas the title of qore as well as kandake suggesting that she was a ruling queen. She is usually considered to be the queen referred to as "Candace" in Strabo's account of the Meroitic war against the Roman Empire. Her name is associated with those of Teriteqas and Akinidad, but the precise relationship between these three is not clear in the historical record.
When Aelius Gallus, the Prefect, or chief magistrate, of Egypt, was absent on a campaign in Arabia in 24 BC, the Kushites launched an attack on Lower Nubia. Amanirenas and Akinidad defeated Roman forces at Syene and Philae.
Neil MacGregor refers to Strabo's account of a "fierce one-eyed queen Candace" capturing a series of Roman forts in southern 25 BC Egypt. Her army returned with a bronze depiction of Augustus' head, taken from a statue of the Roman emperor. She then "buried the severed head of the glorious Augustus beneath the steps of a temple dedicated to victory." The head, found in Meroë in 1912, now resides in the British Museum after a British archaeological team excavated it.
Petronius' Nubian campaign
The Kushites were driven out of Syene later in the year by Gaius Petronius, who now held the office of Roman Prefect in Egypt. According to a detailed report made by Strabo (17: 53–54), the Roman troops advanced far into Kush, and finally reached Napata. Although they withdrew again to the north they left behind a garrison in Qasr Ibrim (Primis), which now became the border of the Roman Empire. The Kushites made a renewed attempt to seize Primis but Petronius forestalled this attempt.
Following this event, negotiations began. The Meroites sent mediators to Augustus, who was then in Samos, and in the year 21/20 BC a peace treaty was concluded. It was strikingly favorable to the Meroites in that the southern part of the Thirty-Mile Strip, including Primis, was evacuated by the Romans, and the Meroites were exempted from having to pay tribute to the Emperor. On the other hand, the Romans continued to occupy the Dodekashoinos ("Twelve-Mile Lands") as a military border zone, so the frontier now lay near Hiere Sycaminos (Maharraqa).
This arrangement continued until the end of the third century AD, with relations between Meroe and Roman Egypt remaining generally peaceful during this time (F. Hintze 1978:100). However, the kingdom of Kush had begun to fade as a power by the first or second century AD.
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- Snowden, Frank M. (1970). Blacks in Antiquity: Ethiopians in the Greco-Roman Experience. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-07626-6.
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