Today a dear friend of mine will be guest blogging with us, Victoria of Victoria Anne Photography! She is a talented photographer and writer and I'm happy to share my blog space with her for the day. Be sure to check her out on Facebook and leave her a lovely comment below. Thanks again, Victoria!
My favorite stories growing up involved the adventures of great queens, such as Guinevere and Nefertiti. I loved these powerful women and dreamt of becoming a queen myself, ready to face the trials it would bring and always eager to prove my worth. My favorites, though, have always been the warrior queens. Even today, their perilous and thrilling lifestyle draws me in anytime I read about them.
Not as much is known about queens and queenship before the common era. The most heavily recorded queens are those of Ancient Egypt. Among the most popular of the ancient Queens is Cleopatra, a member of the great Ptolemy family and queen of Ancient Egypt. Even though her family rejected Egyptian ways, even refusing to learn the language, Cleopatra embraced it and claimed she was the reincarnation of the Egyptian goddess Isis. She was mistress to both Julius Caeser and Marc Antony. She was an incredibly influential figure in their lives, going so far as to replace Caeser’s heir with her own child by Caeser, Caeserion, who was killed on Octavion’s orders (Octavion was Caeser’s rightful heir). Cleopatra is best known, however, for her dramatic suicide after the loss at the Battle of Action and Marc Antony’s own suicide.
Another notable ancient queen is Gorgo, wife of King Leonidas I and Queen of Sparta. She was known for her immense wisdom. She was the sole heiress to her father’s kingdom and inherited it after his death in 490. In Herodotus’ Histories, he names Gorgo’s most significant achievement as a codebreaker, a cryptanalyst. A warning was sent to Sparta about King Xerxes of Persia impending invasion. The warning was written on a wooden tablet and then covered in wax so no one else could intercept the message. Once received, the great kings could not puzzle out the meaning of the blank wax tablet until Gorgo told them to clear the wax off of the wood. One of Gorgo’s most famous quotes is one that was heard in the graphic movie 300 and was recorded by Herodotus, and that was in response to a woman’s question about why Spartan women seem to be the only ones to rule their men. Her answer was that it was because only Spartan women gave birth to men.
Ancient queens held more power than most of their modern counterparts. Most ruled beside their husbands and kings as equals, such as Gorgo, while others were queen in name only. The most notable queens were those from Egypt, although, thanks to written histories such as Herodotus’, other queens have come to light as well. These queens faced incredible hardships yet were granted the power to overcome them. They were wise, cunning, and powerful. They truly must have been a sight to behold.