Table of contents:
- 1. Cleopatra
- 2. Sebekneferu
- 3. Nefertiti
- 4. Theodora
- 5. Hatshepsut
- 6. Merneut
- 7. Empress Wu Zetian
- 8. Olga Kievskaya
- 9. Eleanor of Aquitaine
As a rule, from time immemorial, the rulers were men who stood in power, making important decisions in order to influence their people and the well-being of their own country. But history is replete with the names of women rulers, such as Cleopatra and Nefrusebek, who made a significant impact on the world during their reign.
Cleopatra was the only ruler of the last kingdom of Ptolemaic Egypt and for a long time was a symbol of female power. According to Plutarch, the Egyptian queen was cunning, intelligent, literate and spoke nine languages. But this is only a little compared to how deftly she manipulated men, making an indelible impression on them and literally forcing them to fall at her feet. As a rule, all her lovers were public and prominent people. Despite the fact that the classic royal romance in Egypt was arranged between brothers and sisters in order to preserve the purity of the bloodline, Cleopatra gave birth to heirs only from the Romans who served her political interests. She has been ruthless in her quest for power, inspiring scientists and creative people for millennia, and even now she is the focus of modern filmmakers.
As a rule, Cleopatra was portrayed as a rich femme fatale, around whom rumors constantly circulated about her licentiousness and cruelty towards enemies, including her own brothers in an attempt to gain power and the throne. But as regrettable as it may sound, like any other woman, she was subject to feelings that later ruined her.
Sebekneferu (aka Nefrusebek) was the first witnessed female pharaoh of Egypt. She was the last ruler of the twelfth dynasty, near the end of the Middle Kingdom. Nefrusebek was the youngest daughter of Amenemhat III. Her older sister, Neferuptah (or Ptahneferu), appears to have been trained to rule even before her. Unfortunately, she died and the throne of her father passed to her half-brother Amenemhat IV, who married Sebeknefer. And only after the death of her husband, Sebekneferu ascended the throne as pharaoh. Needless to say, passions did not subside around this woman for a long time, more and more enveloping her name with various theories, gossip and intrigues. She was accused of killing her own husband on the basis of constant enmity between them, and it was also suggested that she was the daughter of the Pharaoh who raised Moses. However, this imaginative theory was too often supported by hypotheses masquerading as facts, and did not receive much support among Egyptologists.
As for her reign, according to the Turin canon, she ruled for three years and ten months. During this time, Sebekneferu expanded the burial complex of Amenemkhet III in Hawara (named by Herodotus the Labyrinth) and began construction work in Heracleopolis Magna. As a rule, she was portrayed as dressed in men's clothing, but usually she used female suffixes in her titles, so there is no reason to assume that Nefrusebek was trying to pretend to be a man. Over the years of her reign, like other pharaohs, she faced those who were dissatisfied with her power and the decisions she made. And yet, despite this, she managed to become a part of history, leaving her mark on it.
Unfortunately, the place of her burial has not been confirmed. It has often been suggested that the badly damaged pyramid complex near the Amemenhat IV complex in Mazgun may belong to her, but most scientists say there is no evidence to support this. Perhaps her tomb will still be discovered.
Nefertiti was born in Thebes in 1370 BC. She was attractive and powerful, and was the wife of the powerful Pharaoh Akhenaten, who was famous for his sun worship. It was Nefertiti who influenced her husband's ideology and changed his religious beliefs, while continuing to influence him.
Theodora was the queen of the Roman Empire. Her performance during the Nika riots demonstrated her great leadership prowess as she was able to resolve the political divisions between the blues and greens, rioters who were destroying public property at the time. She convinced both sides to reconcile, and after her impressive speech, the violence stopped. After the uprising in Nike, Theodora ordered the restoration of Constantinople.
Theodora championed the rights of women and made changes to increase the recognition of women in society. She had conflicting religious beliefs with her husband Justinian. Justinian promoted Chalcedonian Christianity, while Theodora supported the Miaphisite monastery. Theodora died of an ulcer or tumor in Constantinople in 548. Justinian was very devoted to her even after her death and worked hard to unite the Monophysites and Chalcedonian subjects of his kingdom.
Hatshepsut was an Egyptian pharaoh and daughter of Thutmose I. She ruled with her adopted son Thutmose III. Hatshepsut held the throne for about two decades, which is the longest reign of an Egyptian ruler. Egypt witnessed a major upheaval in the Second Intermediate Period, and Hatshepsut rebuilt major trade routes that had been destroyed during that time span. Egypt again began trading and exchanging ivory, gold, resin and other materials with its trading partner, the country of Punt.
She initiated the construction of various projects throughout Ancient Egypt and improved the country's infrastructure. Many artifacts, monuments, shrines and monoliths were erected during her reign. Hatshepsut was a beautiful woman and an ambitious, talented and intelligent ruler. She died at the age of fifty in 1458 BC.
Merneit (Meretneit) was an Egyptian empress. Her tomb is in Abydos, the old city of Egypt. She is buried next to her predecessor Seth (also known as Wedge, Ouadji or Jet). The name Merneut is the only female name in the list of kings of the first dynasty and was engraved on objects found in the tomb of her father, Pharaoh Jer. During her reign, Egypt has undergone significant political, social and religious transformations. Human sacrifice was common at the time, and servants often sacrificed their lives to serve their rulers in the afterlife. About one hundred and twenty servants performed this human sacrifice to render services to the queen after her death.
7. Empress Wu Zetian
Empress Wu Zetian was a powerful and influential person and is considered the first true ruler of China. She has been awarded several honorary titles such as Lady, Empress Consort, Empress Dowager, and Empress Regent among others. She was born in Wenshui in 624 and pioneered many religious and educational reforms in China. Wu Zetian introduced an examination system for the distribution of state titles, read sermons on Buddhism, and advocated the spread of Buddhist ideology among the people.
8. Olga Kievskaya
Olga Kievskaya, born in Pskov, was the most ferocious and courageous woman - the Russian ruler. She was the embodiment of power in the country and was revered throughout the country. Olga married Igor Kievsky, and after he was killed in Iskorosten, Ukraine, she took the throne as the guardian of their son, who was a minor at the time. She was one of the first women leaders in Russia to adopt and support Christianity. Olga opened and erected many churches and religious monuments, and was also an evangelist who preached to people and tried to convince them to accept Christianity as their faith.
9. Eleanor of Aquitaine
Eleanor was the eldest daughter of Guillaume X Saint aka William, Duke of Aquitaine. She married the French emperor Louis VII in 1137 and Henry II of England in 1152. Eleanor was the dominant figure and held the throne for nearly seven decades. She did not shy away from participating in military campaigns, which was unusual for female rulers of the time. She provided a platform for the artists, poets and musicians who flourished during her reign. Eleanor was a wonderful, sincere and great leader, serving as an inspiration for women of her era.
Typically, women have fought for equality and self-respect for centuries. They were not an exception and five talented modern women, who helped to erase the fine line between the fair and the stronger sex, becoming the main representatives of the Bauhaus movement.