May 15, 2019
In ancient Egyptian, the word "pharaoh" doesn’t mean king; it means “great house”. They had no word for queen at all. All royal women were defined by their relationship to that house: with titles like Great Royal Wife, Great Royal Daughter, Great Royal Mother. They were there to support, not to rule. And yet, in an ancient world where men ruled the day, Egypt saw a slew of influential females stalking the gilded royal halls. Some were royal wives and mothers, whispering in their pharaoh brother-husband’s ear, and some stepped in to rule for him when he was too young to do it himself. But then, others were pharaohs in their own right, beating the odds to rule alone. Who were these women? How and why did they get to be pharaohs, when so many of the ancient world’s major empires never suffered a woman to rule? What was life for a woman on top? And what did they have to do to stay there? Let's start with three amazing ladies: Merneith, Neferusobek (Sobekneferu), and Hatshepsut.