The many queens of Ancient Egypt

Historian article

By Joyce Tyldesley, published 19th August 2020

The many queens of Ancient Egypt

Joyce Tyldesley explains the significant but often hidden roles played by queens in Ancient Egypt.  

For almost 3,000 years – from the unification of the land in 3100 BC to the arrival of Alexander the Great in 332 BC – the king (or pharaoh) of Egypt served as an essential link between the worlds of the mortal and the divine. It was his responsibility to provide the pantheon of gods with the regular offerings that they craved. In response, the grateful deities defended Egypt against the chaos that constantly threatened to engulf the land. Early Egyptologists understood the political and religious importance attached to the king’s position, but were less aware of the complex role played by the queen who stood by his side. Increasingly, it is being realised that the consort, as the feminine element of the semi-divine monarchy, was also vital to the survival of Egypt. Together, king and queen formed a partnership – a perfect balance of male and female – that pleased the gods and allowed Egypt to flourish... 

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