Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership

  WOMEN IN POWER 
BCE 500- CE 1

Female leaders
and women in other positions of political authority
of independent states and
self-governing understate entities


Artemisa I

Circa 480 Queen and Admiral Artemisia I of Caria-Harlikarnassos and Kos (Turkey)

As a vassal of Persia, Artemisia was obliged to recruit her own small force when Xerxes invaded Greece  - in fact, Artemisia commanded five ships in her own right. Artemisia alone of his commanders advised Xerxes against a naval battle with the Greeks but Xerxes, however, chose to follow the advice of his male advisors, and met the Greeks on the sea in the channel of Salamis on 20th September 480 BCE. Artemisia was aboard one of her ships, commanding their movements. After the initial confusion, the Persians took the offensive. Though she only had one ship left, Artemisia herself disabled the ship of King Damasithymus of Calynda. At a council, Artmesia spoke her mind - she had opposed the war from the beginning and opposed its continuation. She advised Xerxes to leave his trusted commander Mardonus to pursue the Greeks whilst Xerxes himself return home, and would still maintained his dignity whether in victory or defeat. For her wisdom, Xerxes entrusted Artemisia with the care on his sons, and returned home to a kingdom racked by rebellion and conspiracy, to which he ultimately became a victim. Her kingdom prospering from her good relations with Persia. 


 

465-circa 440 Politically Influential Queen Amestris of Persia (Iran)

The Greek historian, Therodotus, describes her as a cruel despot. Herodotus reported that she sacrificed children of Persians to the Gods. After the death of her husband, Xerxes I, she was politically influential during reign her son, Artaxerxes I Makrocheir. During the reign of her son Artaxerxes I (465-424), another son, Achaemenes, was killed by Egyptian rebels. The general Megabyzus, who offered terms to the rebels to shorten the war, defeated them and their Athenian allies. According to the historian Ctesias, Amestris was enraged because Megabyzus had not punished the murderers of her son. Initially, Artaxerxes did not allow her revenge, but after five years (around 449), he permitted her to crucify the Egyptian leader, Inarus, and kill several captives. She lived (before 486-circa 440).


Aspasia of Milos

Before 440-429 Politically Influential Aspasia of Milos in Athens (Greece)

Born in the Ionian Greek colony of Miletus (in what is now Turkey), but at some point travelled to Athens, where she became a hetaira - a high-class entertainer (or courtesan), which meant that she was highly educated, independent and paid paying taxes. As a foreigner she was legally forbidden to marry her lover Pericles, but after his divorce they lived together. After his two sons from his first marriage died, their common son obtained Athenian citizenship. Their house became an intellectual centre in Athens, attracting the most prominent writers and thinkers, including the philosopher Socrates. She was known not only to beautiful, but intelligent and skilled in writing and speech; moreover, she was believed to have great political influence. She was openly credited by writers such as Plato with making a significant contribution to Pericles' oratory, especially his famous funeral oration. Her political influence also brought her unpopularity; she was said, for example, to be responsible for the Samian revolt of 440, and for the Peloponnesian War with Sparta (431-404). She was not only attacked by the comic playwrights, but was actually accused of impiety by Hermippus, a comic poet, though Pericles was able successfully to defend her. Plato was so impressed by her intelligence and wit that he is thought to have based his character Diotima on her. After Pericles' death in 429 BCE, Aspasia married the democrat Lysides, with whom she had another son. She lived (circa 469–circa 406).


Unnamed Persian Lady

424-405 Joint-Ruler Queen Parysatis of Persia (Iran)

Daughter of Xerxes I (486-66), who was murdered by his chamberlain and succeeded by her brother, Xerxes II, who was assassinated after only 45 days by his half brother, Secydianus, but Parysatis and her husband and brother Darius II conspired against him and had him deposed after only 6 months. She was co-ruler during her husband’s reign, and among other things secured the appointment of her son, Cyrus as Satrap of Lydia, Cappadocia and Phrygia (all in western Turkey) in 408 or 408. At the same time, he was appointed as commander in chief of Asia Minor, when he was only 15-17 years old. He succeeded to the throne in 404.


 

Around 401 Joint Ruler Queen Epyaxa of Cilicia (Turkey)

Known from references to her in Xenophon's Persian Expedition, where she gives considerable aid to the rebel Cyrus. The comments about her do not explicitly state that she was a co-ruler with Syennesis III, simply that she was "Queen" - but she acted in a very independent fashion.


 

Years 400 Military Leader Telessilla, of Argos (Greece)

A warrior poet, she rallied the women of the besieged city of Argos with war hymns and chants and led them in defending the city against the invading forces.


 

Around 400 Queen Batnoam of Byblos (Lebanon)  

Succeeded king Paltibaal as ruler of the ancient port today known as Jubayl.


 

 300s Queen Regnant Tania of Dardania (Macedonia/Greece)

According to Polyaenus, she was a queen of ancient Dardania. She took the throne after her husband's death, and she personally went into battle, riding on a chariot. She was an excellent general who was never was defeated. She had one daughter who married one of her trusted soldiers. A year after the wedding had taken place her son-in-law assassinated her as she slept.


 

Before the 300s Legendary Queen Opoin of the Scytians (Ukraine)

A wide-ranging group of horse nomads who emerged out of central Asia to displace the Cimmerians in the Ukraine during the 8th and 7th centuries BCE. They were among the first people to completely master the art of horsemanship, and their ferocity and mobility became legendary because of it. Superb mounted archers, they also maintained a brilliant and artistically gifted culture whose artefacts can be appreciated in museums around the world. Information about them is fragmentary; much of it derives from the Greek historian Herodotus, who is said to have visited them.


 

390-80 Queen Hadina Za Hadena of Ethiopia

Her successor, Bayo reigned for 7 years and was succeed by Queen Akawa Candace, who reigned for 10 years.


 

360-50 Queen/King Nikaula Candace of Ethiopia

The gender of this ruler is not known, but is believed to have been a woman.


Unnamed Greek Lady

Circa 353-50 Queen Artemisia II of Caria, Rodhos and Harlikarnassos (Turkey)

Also Satrap of Asia Minor or Vice-Reine of the Persian King. Circa 377-53 she had been co-ruler with her husband and brother, King Mausolos of Caria and Rodhos, who died 353. After Mausolos' death in 353, she became ruler in her own right, and constructed the 49 meters high monumental tomb "Mausoleum" at the centre of the city which is a magnificent piece of art in the Hellenistic world and one of the Seven Wonders of the antique era.


 

345-332 Queen Candace of Meroe (Sudan)

One of the earliest references to the kentakes (Candacs) comes from 332 when Alexander the Great set his sights on the rich kingdom of Nubia. The presiding kentakes, known in history as "Black Queen Candace of Nubia", designed a battle plan to counter Alexander's advance. She placed her armies and waited on a war elephant for the Macedonian conqueror to appear for battle. Alexander approached the field from a low ridge, but when he saw the Black Queen's army displayed in a brilliant military formation before him, he stopped. After studying the array of warriors waiting with such deadly precision and realizing that to challenge the kentakes could quite possibly be fatal, he turned his armies away from Nubia toward a successful campaign in Egypt.


 

344-30 Regent Queen Cleopatra of Macedonia of Epirus (Greece)

Sister of Alexander the Great, Married to Alexander of Epirus. In 309 she was murdered. 


 

343-33 Queen Akawkis Candace of Ethiopia

Ascended the throne after the death of king Basyo.


Queen Ada II of Caria

340-35 and 334-20 Queen Ada I of Caria (Turkey)

Co-ruler with her brother and husband Idrieus in succession to their sister, Artemissa II. After his death she ruled alone for three years until her younger brother, Pixadarus (341-335) deposed her. She moved to her fortress Alinda, where she held out for several years. His daughter, Ada II, married a persian nobleman, Orontobates, who became satrap of Caria. Even after the death of Pixodarus, her son-in-law kept her a prisoner in Alinda. Seizing the opportunity afforded by Alexander’s invasion, Ada I opened negotiations with him offering the surrender of all of Caria if she were placed upon her rightful throne. She further offered to adopt him as her son making him at once the legal heir to the throne of Caria by Carian law. Alexander turned inland to face the armies of Orontobates and Memnon who stood ready to defend Halicarnassus. The siege was a short one as Alexander’s army was joined by the Carian forces loyal to their Queen and with Ada at the head of her armies given the honour of taking the acropolis. Though Orontobates and Memnon escaped by sea, Ada sat again on the throne of Halicarnassus and stayed there until her death sometime after the death of Alexander.


 

334-circa 323 Regent Princess Barsine of Persia of Pergamon  (Turkey)

Ruled in the name of her and Alexander the Great's son Herakles. She was the daughter of king Artabazos IV of Syria. Barsine was married to Mentor, her second husband was her brother Dariusz Memnon, and since 333 she was the wife of Alexander the Great.


Queen Olympias

334-330 Co-Regent Queen Olympias of Epiros (Greece)
330-323 Regent of Epiros
323-16 Regent Dowager Queen of Macedonia (Greece)

Since around 357 she was married to king Philip II of Macedonia, and she later acted as regent for him during his military campaigns. Since 331 she was in exile in Epiros. After her brother's death in 330, with her daughter Cleopatra, she was regent of Epirus for her grandson Neoptolemos. Since 323 she was regent of Macedonia for her second grandson Alexander IV. Murdered during a rebellion and lived (375-316).


 

Until early the 300's Queen Regnant Tirghetau of Circassia (Russia)

Head of the region in the foothills north of the Caucasus. Its inhabitants, a sturdy, handsome folk with many often rapacious neighbours, have developed a warrior culture as a response to repeated invasions and slaving raids.


 

322-317 Politically influential Queen Eurydice II of Macedonia 
319-317 Co-Ruler of Macedonia (Greece)

Daughter of Kynane and Amyntas IV of Macedonia, and influential during the reign of her husband, king Philippos III Arrhidaeus of Macedonia. 319-317 de facto co-ruler of Macedonia with Nicanor. She fought for the power with Olympias. Killed in 317. She lived (337-317).


 

322-287 Politically influential Queen Phila of Macedonia
294-287 Co-Ruler of Macedonia (Greece)

The daughter of Antipater I, regent of Macedonia. She was influential during the reigns of her husbands Crateros (322-319) and Demetrius I (319-287), and was active in diplomacy until she killed herself in 287.


 

322 Military Leader Kynane in Macedonia (Greece)

Sister of Alexander the Great, married to king Amyntas of Macedonia, she supported the marriage of her daughter Euridike to Filip Arridajos, who became king of Macedonia. Kynane was murdered, and lived (circa 357-322).


 

320-335 Joint Ruler Queen Kumaradevi Licchavi of the Gupta Empire (India)

Always mentioned jointly with her husband Maharajadhiraj Chandragupta I in seals and proclamations. The Guptas were an obscure clan and it is their alliance with the Licchavi Federation that enabled them to rise to power swiftly. Naturally, the stronger partner in the alliance would insist that their representative hold equal power. It is also emphasized by the fact that their son, Samrat (emperor) Samadragupta is always described in the family list as 'son of Licchavi daughter'.


 

314-13 Ruler Kratesipolis of Korinthos and Siyon (Greece)

In 308 she handed over Korinthos to Ptolemy I of Egypt.


 

306-285 Regent Dowager Queen Amastris of Herakleia, Pontica and Pontos (Turkey)

Pontos is also known as or Pontoiraklaia. She was a niece of Dariusz III Kodoman, she was married to tyrant Dionizos, Krateros and since 300 to Lysimachus, king of Thrace and Macedonia, whom she divorced in 298 and returned Herakleia. After her death Lysimachus gave Herakleia to Arsinoe II. Amastris lived (?)-285). 


 

Around 306 Politically Influential Dowager Queen Xuantaihou of the Qin Dynasty in China

After the death of her husband, King Wuwang she had a relationship with a King of the Yiqu statelet in today's northwestern Shenxi Province. She had two sons with him, but had the king killed and incorporated the lands of Longxi (Gansu), Beidi (Yinchuan of Ningxia) and Shangjun (Yulin, Shenxi Province) in the Kingdom her son, King Zhaoxiangwang of Qin, who ruled 306-251.


 

Around 300 Queen Kuwerami of the Waytharly Kingdom (Myanmar-Burma)

Succeeded king Rembotepa and was succeeded by Urmasiye. Some historians believe that records about Waytharly kingdom were legendary.


 

Around 300 Celtic Chiefess in Reinheim (Germany)

Known from her very elaborate grave. 


 

298/97-95 Regent Dowager Queen Thessalonica of Macedonia (Greece)

In charge of the government for her son Philippos IV.


Arsinoe II

285-281 Ruler Arsinoe II Piladelphos of Herakleia, Pontica, Kassandria and Ephesos (Turkey)
281-279 Resided in Kassandreia
277-70 Co-Regent Queen of Egypt

The daughter of Ptolemy I Soter, she was married to King Lisymachus of Tracia 299-281. He gave her Herakleia, Pontica, Kassandria and Ephesos. After his death in 281 she resided in Kassandreia. She had been married to her half brother Ptolemy Kearns of Macedonia, but after he murdered one of her sons in 279 she escaped to Egypt. Before 274 she was wife of and co-ruler of her, brother Ptolemy II Philadelphia. She lived (around 316-270).


Arsinoe of Egypt

284/281-around 274 Queen Arsine I of Egypt

Ruled with her husband Ptolemy II Philadelphia, but was found guilty of plotting against him and exiled to Copts in the 270s, possibly in 274/3. She was daughter of Lysimachus, king of Thrace and Macedonia. Mother of Ptolemy III, Lysimachus and Berenice Phernophorus, and lived (305/295 -?).


 

Circa 262-35 Regent Dowager Queen Olympiada of Epiros (Greece)

After the death of Pyrrhus II, she was reigned in the name of Ptolemy (circa 262-235).


 

Circa 260-50 Queen Nikoses Candace of Ethiopia  

It is possible that she reigned 240-30.


 

260-50 Queen Bartare of Meroe (Sudan)  

A large number of reigning Queens, known as Kandakes (or Candaces), is recorded in the history of Meroe. This forms a link with the matriarchal traditions of Africa and the high status accorded to women in Nubian culture. Already in the period of the Kushite Dynasty in Egypt, leading social positions, among them that of king, were passed down through the female line. Kings traced their lineage back through their mothers. The successor to a dead king would generally be the son of his sister.


Queen Berenike II

253-246 Queen Regnant Berenike of Pentapolis (Cyrene) (Libya)
246-21 Co-Regent Queen (Berenike II Euergetis) of Egypt

Also known as Berenice, she was daughter of King Magas of Cyrene (BCE 308-253) and Apame. Since 246 she was married to Ptolemy III Euergetes I. Mother of 4 children: Ptolemy IV Filopator, Magas, Arsinoe and Berenike. Her son Ptolemy IV killed her in 220. She lived (258-220).


 

253 Sovereign Lady Laodike III of Egypt of Propontis (Turkey)
247-246 Regent of Syria 

Politically active during the reign of her husband-brother (or cousin, King Antiochiaos II of Syria (267/66), and after their divorce, she became Lady of Propontis. Later regent for Seleukos II Kallinikos and after he came of age she remained politically active until she was murdered. She lived (287/84-237/36).


 

253 Regent Dowager Queen Apama of Cyrene (Libya)

Daughter of king Antiochia I Soter of Syria and Statonike. In 274 she married King Magas of Cyrene. Daughter, Berenike, married to Ptolemy III of Egypt, deposed her and the two countries were united. 


 

250 Regent Dowager Queen Etazeta of Bithynia (Tyrkey)

After the death of her husband, king Nicomedes I, she continued to rule on behalf of their infant sons. Zialas, a grown-up son by an earlier wife, Ditizele, had previously fled to Armenia. Now Ziaelas returned, at the head of some Galatians. Although neighbouring cities and Antigonus supported her, Ziaelas conquered first part, then all of Bithynia. Etazeta and her sons, including another Ziboetes, fled to Antigonus’ court in Macedonia.


 

250-241 Politically Influential Queen Agezystrata of Sparta (Greece)

Married to king Eudamidas II of Sparta and was the mother of king Agis IV (ruled 244-241). She was very rich and helped her son by country reforms. Agis IV had to convince his mother about his plans because of her authority in the city. She was murdered with son and mother in 241.


 

248- circa 233 Queen Deidamia II of Epiros (Greece)

Deidamia or Laodamia was daughter of Pyrrhus II of Epirus, king of Epirus. She had a sister, Nereis, who married Gelo of Syracuse. During a rebellion in Epirus her sister sent her 800 mercenaries from Gaul. Part of the Molossianssupported her, and with the aid of the mercenaries she briefly took Ambracia. After the death of her father and that of her uncle Ptolemy, she was the last surviving representative of the royal Aeacid dynasty. She threw herself into Ambracia, but was induced by the offer of an honourable capitulation to surrender. The Epirotes, however, determining to secure their liberty by extirpating the whole royal family, resolved to put her to death; she fled for refuge to the temple of Artemis, but was murdered. The date of this event cannot be accurately fixed, but it occurred during the reign of Demetrius II in Macedonia (239–229 BC), and probably in the early part of it.


 

Before 246 Regent Dowager Empress Xuan of the Qin Dynasty in China

Reigned the state as regent for 41 years even after her son had become an adult. After she became old, it still took him three years’ work to curb her power. She was seen as an astute politician and had laid the base for Qin Shihuangdi to unite China.



 

246 Regent Dowager Queen Berenice Syria of Syria

Daughter of Ptolemy II of Egypt, and her marriage in 252 to Antiochus II marked a temporary cessation in the wars between the Egyptian monarchs and the Seleucids. After the death of her husband she took over the regency and her army conquered Soloia in Cilicia, but Laodice, the king's divorced first wife, had Berenice and her infant son killed before her brother, Ptolemy III, could arrive. New war resulted.



 

245 Dowager Tyrant Nikaia of Korinthos and Euboia (Greece)

Married to the uncle of Alexander the Great, Antigonos Gonatas, Governor of Macedonia etc., and was his co-ruler until he was deposed in 250. She then married his son Demetrios II. 


 

244-224 Politically Influential Queen Agiatis of Sparta (Greece)

Heiress to the substantial property of her father Gylippus. Until 241 she was married to king Agis IV and supported his reforms in country. Her second husband was king Cleomenes III (235-222), was heavily influenced by her. He sympathized with his wife's devotion to Agis and her remembrance of him. Consequently he often asked about what had happened, and paid careful attention when she explained Agis' purpose and policy. She died in 224.


 

244-241 Politically Influential Queen Archidamia of Sparta (Greece)

Very rich and helped her grandson by country reforms. Murdered in 241. She was one of a number of Spartan Princesses who led female troops. She fought against Pyrrhus during the siege of Lacedemon in the 3rd century BCE. The Princess Chelidonis captained women warriors atop the city wall during a siege of Sparta in 280 BCE.  Murdered in 241.


 

 240/230 Queen Nikoses Candace of Ethiopia

Succeeded king Basyo.


 

233-32 Rani Padmavati of the Maurya Empire (India)

After the death of her husband Ashoka Vardhana or Govindchand she ruled the empire, which was the first really large and powerful centralised state in India. It was very well governed, with tempered autocracy at the top and democracy at the city and village levels. Megasthenes, the Greek ambassador at the court of Chandragupta Maurya in Pataliputra, had expressed his admiration for the efficient administration of the empire. His book 'Indica' is a collection of comments of other Roman and Greek travellers, and Megasthenes wrote about the prosperity of the Mauryan cities. Since she had no children her advisors appointed Hariprem Vairagi as king.


231-28 Regent Dowager Queen Teuta of Arcliano (Illyrian State) (Albania)

Had practically been co-ruler with her husband Agron, and after his death in 230 BCE, she was regent for son Pinnes. The state covered Northern Albania and part of Montenegro.


Arsinoe III

217-205 Co-Regent Queen Arsinoe III of Egypt

Co-ruler with son Ptolemy IV Philopator. In 217 she participated in the battle by Rapheia, killed after her husband's death. Their son Ptolemy was born earlier the same year. 


 

213/212-203 Politically Influential Agathoclea in Egypt

She and her mother had great influence over her lover, king Ptolemy IV, and they were very influential in the royal court together with her brother, Agathocles. They  were all killed during an uprising against her brother.


 

213/212-203 Politically Influential Oenanthe in Egypt

Together with her daughter and son, they were very influential during the reign of king Ptolemy IV.


Unnamed Celtic Lady

200's Queen Martia Proba of a Celtic Tribe (United Kingdom)

Her seat of power was in London, and she was holding the reins of government so wisely as to receive the surname of Proba, the Just. She especially devoted herself to the enactment of just laws for her subjects, the first principles of the common law tracing back to her; the celebrated laws of Alfred, and of Edward the Confessor, being in great degree restorations and compilations from the laws of Martia, which were known as the "Martian Statutes".


 

Late 200s-early 100s Legendary Queen Amage of the Roxolanoia (Russia)

The Roxolanoia tribe was probably deriving their name from the proto-Iranian Raokhshna, or "shining". The name may also derive from a term meaning, essentially, "The Western Alans". They were among the most powerful of the Sarmatian tribes, inhabiting much of the region north of the Black Sea. The ruling dynasty of the Bosporan Kingdom (see Crimea) from the end of the 1st century BCE on was Sarmatian in origin, and probably belonged to the Roxolanoi originally.


 

195-80 Dowager Empress Lü Hou of China

Married to a former peasant named Gao Zu, whom she had goaded into power and who ruled as the first emperor of the Han Dynasty. She had her son named heir, and acted as regent after the death of her husband. When her son died, she designated another child to succeeded him. When the young emperor began to question her authority, she had him imprisoned and designated a third child-emperor. In 180 one of her late husband's relatives had her put to death, and placed her stepson, Wen-Ti Han (180-157), on the throne.


 

194 Co-Reigning Queen Stratonike of Assyria (Syria)

Her former husband Seleuklos left the throne and her to his son, Antiochiaos I, her stepson. 


Cleopatra I

194-176 Joint Reigning Queen Cleopatra I of Egypt
187 Vizier

Had been appointed to the office of Vizier in 187. Daughter of king Antiochiaos III of Syria, and joint regent with husband, Ptolemy V Epifanes. She lived (204-176).


 

188-180 Empress Oxu of China  

De-facto ruler with a number of nominal emperors from the Han Dynasty.


 

Circa 180-circa 160 Regent Dowager Queen Kamasarye Philoteknos of the Bosporan Realm

Ruled jointly with her husband Pairisades II, King of the Bosporus in Asia Minor, and after his death she ruled alone until her own death two decades later - in the later years together with the kings Pairisades III and IV. She was her husband’s first cousin, being the daughter of his uncle Gorgippus, Her name was found inscribed on a sandstone base found on the hill above the shore of Lake Temryuk, near Phanagoria, which is preserved in The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersborg.


Shanakdakheto of Meroe

170-150 Queen Shanakdakheto of Meroe (Nubia)

Her name is carved in a ruined temple where the earliest inscriptions in Meroitic hieroglyphic writing are found. Her pyramid at Meroë is one of the largest ever built for a Kushite ruler. It has a unique chapel with two rooms and two pylons. The chapel is among the most elaborately carved of any known. The scenes in the chapel show military campaigns to the south and the capture of numerous cattle and prisoners.


Cleopatra II

173-64 and 164-115 Co-Regent Queen Cleopatra II Filometor of Egypt
127 Sole Ruler of Egypt

Daughter of Cleopatra I and Ptolemy V Epifanes and married to her brother, Ptolemy VI, 145 regent for son Neos Philator VII, 144 married to brother Ptolemy VIII, assassinated son and became co-regent again. In 142 her husband married her daughter, Cleopatra and made her co-regent. War between Cleopatra II, her brother-husband and her daughter, 131-27, she was sole ruler in Egypt, 127 exile by daughter Cleopatra Thea of Syria, 124 reconciled with husband and daughter and ruled jointly with them. After Ptolomy's death in 116 she reigned together with daughter and grandson. Cleopatra II was killed 115. She lived (184-115).


Laodike IV

153 Queen-Candidate Laodike IV of Syria

Presented in the Roman Senate as rival to the throne against Demetrios I. She was daughter of Antiochiaes IV.


Cleopatra Thea

150-125 De-facto Ruler Cleopatra Thea of Syria
125-121 Queen Regnant of Syria
129-21 Joint Reigning Queen of Egypt

Married to Alexander Balas, 150, Demetrios II 146 and Antiochiaus VII 138-29, Co-ruler with son Antiochiaus VIII. Her husband Demetrius was weak and she was the de-facto ruler. After his death she ruled in her own right, having her other claimants to the throne killed. Her son, Antiochiaus VIII Grypus (121-96) was co-ruler only in name. But in 121 Cleopatra offers a cup of wine to Antiochiaus when he has returned from the hunt. He insisted that she drank the wine herself, which she did - and died.  

 

141-135 Regent Dowager Empress Dou of China

Reigned in the name of her grandson, Emperor Wu Di, who struggled to build a coalition of support to challenge her influence.  Imperial patronage swung back and forth like a pendulum depending on who momentarily enjoyed the upper hand. She wielded her influence by supporting scholars associated with "Daoist" thinking, and when the Confucians tried to bypass consulting with her, the Daoists became enraged and had several Confucians secretly investigated. After her death, the Confucians gained the upper hand. She (d. 135).


 

138-before 127 Regent Dowager Queen Ri-'nu of Parthia (Turkey)

Other versions of her name are Riinu or Rihinu, and she was regent for son Phraates II.


Cleopatra III

136-131 Joint Reigning Queen Cleopatra III of Egypt
131-129 Co-ruler in Kyros
116-101 Co-ruler of Egypt

Daughter of Cleopatra II and Ptolomy VI. Married to her uncle, Ptolomy (Ptolemy) VIII Euergetes II, while her mother was still his official wife. She had two sons - Ptolemy IX Philometor Soter II (Lathyros) and Ptolemy X Alexander I as well as three daughters, Cleopatra IV, Cleopatra Tryphaena, and Cleopatra Selene. Her husband left the succession to Cleopatra and to whichever son she preferred. The Alexandrians wanted Lathyros, governor of Cyprus to be co-regent. He was brought back to Alexandria to co-rule and Cleopatra's favourite, Alexander was sent to Cyprus. Lathyros was married to his sister, Cleopatra IV but their mother repudiated the marriage and replaced her with another sister, Cleopatra Selene. Cleopatra IV went to Cyprus where she tried to raise an army and to marry Ptolemy Alexander. She failed and moved on to Syria where she used her army as a dowry and married Antiochiaus IX Cyzicenus who was son of Antiochiaus Sidetes and Cleopatra Thea. Cleopatra III finally succeeded in driving out Lathyros in 107 BCE when she accused him of trying to murder her. He left behind his wife and his two sons. His brother returned from Cyprus and assumed the throne. After the death of Alexander in a naval battle, Lathyros, who was now in his mid-fifties, was brought back to Alexandria to try to put back together the Ptolemaic empire. He died at the age of 62 and left no legitimate heir to the throne, as both of his sons by Cleopatra Selene appear to have died at a young age. His daughter Cleopatra Berenice ruled alone for a while after his death. She lived (161-101).


Indian Queen

135-23 Regent Dowager Queen Agathokleia of Gandhara (India, Pakistan and Afghanistan)

Took over the regency for her son, Strato I after the death of her husband, Menander (155-135), a Greek general born in India and successor to the Indo-Bactrian Empire. His capital Sagala became very important centre of learning and art. He possibly expanded the Empire into the Ganges river plain with help of Panchala king. Menander was well known to Indians as the great King Milinda, who debated Buddhist doctrine with the philosopher Nagasena in a question and answer format. Very little is known about the successors of Menander. There was a mention of Antialcidas and his emissary Heliodorus in the form of an inscription on a pillar Sanchi in India. Agathokleia was born as a Bactian Princess.


 

135-105 Queen Regnant […]khale of Meroe (Sudan)

The first part of her name has been lost in the inscription of her name in the list of Meroean rulers.


Laodike of Cappadocia

130 De Facto Ruler Queen Laodike of Cappadocia (Greece)

After the death of her husband, Ararathes V of Cappadocia, she poisoned 5 (step)sons and ruled in the name of the 6th.


Unnamed Greek Lady

130-126 Regent Dowager Queen Nysa of Cappadocia (Turkey)

Widow of Ariarathes V Epiphanes Philipator and regent for their son Ariarathes V (130-116). In 190 her husband had secured that the state became an independent kingdom. Formerly it was a satrapy under the Persian Achaemenid Empire. It was incorporated by Alexander the Great into the Macedonian Empire, and on Alexander's death became a client state of the Selecucid Empire.


 

125/24 Regent Dowager Queen Ghadani of Iberia (Georgia)  

After the death of her son Rhadamiste I (or Ghadam), she assumed the regency for her grandson Pharasmenes III (135-185) in the ancient country in Transcaucasia, roughly the eastern part of present-day Georgia. It was inhabited in earliest times by various tribes, collectively called Iberians by ancient historians, although Herodotus called them Saspirams. The kingdom was allied to the Romans, ruled by the Sassanids of Persia, and became a Byzantine province in the 6th century. She was widow of King Pharasmenes II Kveli (circa 116-32), and daughter of King Sanatroukes a Parthian King of Armenia. She was (b. circa 100).


 

123-111 Politically Influential Queen  Cleopatra Tryphæna of Syria

During the reign of her husband, king Antiochiaus VIII Grypos of Syria. She was daughter of Cleopatra III and Ptolemy VIII of Egypt, and was killed in 111.


 

120-115 Regent Dowager Queen Laodice of Pontus (Turkey)

Following the death of her husband, king Mithradates V, she ruled in the place of her 11 years old son, Mithradates VI. Eupator Dionysos. About 115 BCE, she was deposed and thrown into prison by her son. She was daughter of king Antiochus IV Epiphanes of Syria and Queen Laodice.


Cleopatra IV

116-115 Joint Reigning Queen Cleopatra IV of Egypt 

First married to brother Ptolemy IX who divorced her, and then to Antiochiaus IX of Syria, who was murdered in 112 after his fall from power. 


115-110 and 109-07 Joint Reigning Queen Cleopatra V Selene of Egypt
115-69
Politically Influential in Syria

Daughter of Cleopatra III and Ptolomy VIII. She was married to brother Ptolomy IX, to king Antiochiaus VIII Grypos of Syria, to Antiochiaus IX of Syria, and since 95 to king Antiochiaus X Eusebes Filopator of Syria. Mother of two sons. 93-69 she fought for the throne of Egypt for her sons. With Ptolomy IX she had Ptolomy X and Ptolomy XI. She was killed and lived (circa 135-69).


 

113-112 Regent Dowager Queen Cu-Thi of Nam Viêt (Vietnam)
After one year in office she was murdered together with son, Trieu Ap Vu'o'ng. Duong Vuong reigned for one year until the Han Emperor Wudi invaded the country and renamed it as Giao Chi prefecture. The Chinese ruled Vietnam until 544 CE.

Around 107-57 Envoy Feng Liao in Western China

During the reign of Emperor Wu Di (BCE 140-86) she companied Princess Xieyou as her lady-in-waiting on her bridal journey to marry the chieftain of the Wusun tribe in the Western Regions. Feng Liao was to remain in the western regions for over 50 years. Acting as the Princess's envoy, she did much to promote unity and friendship between the Hans and the various minority nationalities in the Western Regions. Touring the tribes south of the Tianshan Mountains in the Western Regions, she succeeded in establishing friendly relations with them all. Feng Liao was a student of history, and she avidly studied the policies of the Han court, as well as the customs of people living in the Western Regions. Her political insight, manners and generosity won her the honorable title, "Madame Feng". Another outstanding contribution, that Feng Liao made, was to settle a struggle over power among the Wusun tribal chiefs. Those in power in the Wusun tribe were then splitting into two fiercely contending factions: one being pro-Xiongnu, and the other pro-Han. When the old chieftain died, the Han Princess married his successor Wongguimi, who also had a Xiongnu wife. Wongguimi also died not long after, leaving his son Nimi, born of his Xiongnu wife, in power.


 

Circa 102-ca.90 Joint Queen Regnant Anzaza of Elymias (Iraq)

Ruled together with Kamnaskares III (circa 120-circa 77) of the Helleno-Iranian kingdom located in what are now southeastern Iraq and the Zagros Mountains of Iran. Its name is a Hellenization of "Elam", an ancient state in roughly the same region. Its capital was Susa, the center of the Achaemenid Persian kings.


Berenike III

101-88 Co-Regent Queen Berenike III of Egypt
81-80 Reigning Queen (6 months)

Married to Oheimis Ptolemy X, 88-81 she reigned joinly with father Ptolemy IX, 81 sole ruler, 80 married and co-ruler with stepson Ptolemy XI who had her murdered after 19 days. He was later murdered him self. She lived (120-80).


 

Years 100 Queen of Pandyan (India)

Head of the Tamil dynasty in the extreme south of India, and first mentioned by Greek authors in the fourth century BCE Megasthenes mentioned that the Pandyan kingdom was ruled by a daughter of Herakles, and credited her with having an army of 4.00 cavalry, 13.000 infantry and 500 elephants. The poetry and heroic ballads that survive from this period indicates that the Cheras, the Cholas and the Pndyas were in constant conflict with each other.


 

100s Queen Larthia Seianti of the City State of Caere in Etruria (Italy)

Her splendid sarcophauge has lead historians to speculate that she might have been Queen of the City State of Chiuisi or Caere. Even if Caere did not have kings and Queens at this time (as did Rome, or as Caere certainly did in the 5th century), it is clear that society had become sharply differentiated, not only in regard to wealth but also in division of labour. Many scholars hypothesize the existence of a powerful aristocratic class, and craftsmen, merchants, and seamen would have formed a middle class; it was probably at this time that the Etruscans began to maintain the elegant slaves for which they were famous. 


 

Around 100 Ruler Aba of Olbe (Turkey)

The daughter of Zenofantes, tyrant of Cilicia, and Olbe was a city in this principality.


Queen Anzaze

Circa 82-65 Joint Ruler Queen Anzaze of the Arskadies and Sasanides (or Elymasis) (Persia)

Reigned together with King Kamnaskires II.


A later picture of Queen Cleopatra

80-57 Co-Regent Queen Cleopatra VI Tryphæna of Egypt
57-56 Reigning Queen

Daughter of Cleopatra V and sister of Cleopatra VII and Berenike IV. She was joint ruler with some members of her family and sole ruler after the death of her father.


 

 76-67 Queen Salome Alexandra (Shlomtzion) of Judeah

Queen Consort during the reign of her husbands, Arisobulus I, and later his brother, Alexander Jannaeus. Ascended to the throne after Alexander and was succeeded at her death by her son. During her reign she led a siege against Damascus.


 

74-67 Joint Regent Dowager Empress Shangguan of China

When her husband, Emperor Zhaodi died at the age of 22, she became regent for her son Emperor Xuan Di, who ruled 74-49. Her maternal grandfather, Huo Guang, was in control. He had her tutored in the Confucian classics.


 

71-6? Regent Dowager Queen Sayiadat of Molokram (Arabia)

In charge of the government in the name of for Rabb'il from the Nabatean Dynasty.


 

62-47 Princess Musa Orsobaris of Prusias (Tyrkey)

A small city principality in the Kingdom of Bythania in Asior Minor.


 

58-33 Queen Nikotnis Candace of Ethiopia

One of the many female rulers of the kingdom.


Berenike IV

57-55 Reigning Queen Berenike IV of Egypt

Also known as Bernice, she was the oldest daughter of Auletes (Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos) and ruled for three years during his exile. At the beginning of his exile, she co-ruled with her mother Cleopatra V Tryphaena until the mother's death about a year later. She married Seleucus Kybiosaktes but had him strangled. She then married Archelaus. Her father finally paid out enough money and was brought back to Egypt. Archelaus' army was defeated and Pompey suggested that Auletes be returned to the throne. One of his first acts was to have his daughter executed. She lived (78-55).


Cleopatra VII

51-30 Queen (Joint Ruler) Cleopatra VII of Egypt
37 Princess of Kalkis, Lebanon, Phoenician and Kilika
34 Queen of Kings

Married to brother Ptolemy XIII, he had her exiled in 48, but from the following year, she was co-ruler with second brother Ptolemy XIV and from 44 co-ruler with her and Cæsar's son Ptolemy XV Cesarion after Cæsar deposed Ptolemy XIII. 41 civil war, in 34 she was given title of Queen of Kings and her husband title King of Kings in the World Realm of her other husband Antonius, 33-31 at war with Octavian, deposed and committed suicide in 30.


 

48-13 CE De facto ruler Queen Chen-chuan of China

First she reigned together with husband, Yuan Ti and afterwards with a succession of heirs; first with son Cheng Ti and then with nephew Wang Mang. She (d. 13 CE). 


 

48 Co-Ruler Arsinoe IV of Kypros 
48-47 Anti-Queen of Egypt

Daughter of Ptolemy XII, after fights with Cæcar in 48 she was sent to Rome but released in 41 on her sister, Cleopatra VIIs request, and was co-ruler with her husband-brother Ptolemy XIV, who divorced her in 47 when he married their sister Cleopatra.  Since 47 she was in exile in Rome and then in Efez. Murdered on the request of Antonius, and lived (63-41).


 

47-42 Reigning Queen Anula of Sri Lanka

First married to King Chora Naga (Mahanaga), whom she poisoned and then married his successor, Kida Tissa. After three years she developed a passion for Siva, the senior gate porter at the King’s Palace, poisoned the king and ascended the throne as the first Queen of Sri Lanka. Subsequently she poisoned also poisoned her third husband and lived with an Indian carpenter, Vatuka, a firewood carrier Dharubatissa, and a palace priest named Neeliya, all of whom she poisoned, till she finally ruled the country alone and continued tolive an infamous life four months. She was burnt alive by Kuttakanna Tissa, the second son of Cula Maha Tissa, who found that he had the backing of all of the people of Lanka to puit an end to such an ignominous sovereign.


 

44-41 Politically Influential Fulvia in Rome (Italy)

Daughter of Markus Fulvius Bamboni and Sempronia. In succession she was married to Clodius Pulcher (murdered in 52), Curio (died 49), Mark Antonio. In 52 she testified against Clodius' murderer (Milo), and may have organized support for him. In 44 Cicero attacked her in speeches against Antonio, and after he was defeated in 43, she canvassed for him among senators, blocks attempt to declare him a public enemy (against Cicero), lawsuits to strip her property failed. After the forming of the Second Triumvirate Fulvia was accused of profiting from confiscations. In 41 she supposedly controlled affairs at Rome, opposed Octavian, raised troops with L. Antonius, but he was defeated by Octavian by the siege in Perugia in 40. She died of illness in 40.


 

43-28 Regent Dowager Queen Polemakratia of Asten and Odryseem (Thrakia)(Albania)

Ruled in the name of her son, King Kotys.


41-12 Queen Amanishabheto of Meroe (Nubia)

Also known as Amanishakhete, she repulsed the Roman Army in three battles that Octavius had sent to conquer Nubia 24-21BCE. When the Roman emperor Augustus levied a tax on the Cushites, she and her son, Akinidad, led a fierce attack on a Roman fort at the Egyptian city Aswan. Under orders from Augustus, the Roman general Petronius retaliated but met strong resistance from her and her troops. The two parties agreed to negotiate a settlement. Ambassadors from both sides met at the Greek Island Samos, where the Romans agreed to rescind the tax and return land to the Cushites. She possessed vast wealth and power, considering the pyramid where she lay buried and the treasures that surrounded her in her death. Her mud brick palace is one of the largest identified to date. It measures some 61 meters in length and covers an area of some 3,700 squares meters. The ground floor contained over 60 rooms for various purposes. This palace originally had a second story as the remains of columns found on the ground floor indicate, and this may have contained an atrium, a design feature paralleled elsewhere. Her daughter, Amanitore, succeeded her.


Cleopatra Selene

34 Queen Regnant Cleopatra Selene of Cyrene and Libya (Libya)

Daughter of Cleopatra VII and Antonius, who appointed her as Queen. In 20 married to King Luba II of Mauritania.  


 

30-20 Regent The Dowager Queen of Molokram (Arabia)

Reigned in the name of Obodas III from the Nabatean Dynasty.


 

Around 15 Queen Amanisahte of Meroe (Nubia)

Succeeded by husband Queen Amaitere and King Natakamani.  


 

Until BCE 13 and BCE 8-7/8 CE Reigning Queen Dynamis of the Bosporanian Realm  (Georgia)

Grandchild of King Mithridatis of Persia, she inherited the country from her father. In 17/16 her first husband, Asander, died. Her second husband was deposed by the third, the king of Pontus. They divorced and she was in exile until his death. Died circa 70 years old and was succeeded by fourth husband, Spurges, who had not previously been co-ruler.


 

BCE12-CE 12 Queen Amanitore of Meroe (Sudan)

Succeeded her mother, Amanishaketo, jointly with her husband King Natakamani. She is mentioned in the Bible in the story about the Conversion of the Ethiopian in Acts 8:26-40: "And the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, Get up, and go toward the south unto the way that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, which is desert. And he got up and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Isaiah the prophet.....". She was succeeded by Queen Nawidemak.


BCE 10-5, 4-2 and BCE 6-12 CE Queen Regnant Erato of Greater Armenia  

Her father, Tigran III had been force to accept the supremacy of Rome, but the dynasty still used the title of "King of Kings." She first married her half-brother Tigran IV, who was deposed by Augustus because of suspected treachery, and Tiberius came again to Armenia to replace him with their cousin Artavazd. This led to discontent and finally to civil war, partly instigated by Tigran, whom Phraates, King of Parthia, was secretly backing. Augustus sent his godson, Caius Caesar, to bring about an appeasement, but before his arrival, Tigran IV was killed in a riot, while she took to flight. The revolt was suppressed, and in the year 1 CE, the Armenian throne was bestowed upon Ariobarzan, a Mede by origin, who was accepted because of his eminent qualities. But he very shortly was killed by accident, and Augustus nominated Artavazd, his son, as his successor. But the opposition to foreign rule soon found expression in the assassination of the King. Augustus thereupon abandoned his ill-conceived policy and sent Tigran V, a descendant of the national dynasty, to occupy the throne. But the nation's tranquillity, apparently restored by this concession, was soon disturbed. The nobles recalled her, but also her second reign was short, and her overthrow marked the end of the dynasty of Artashes and Tigran.


 

BCE 8-23 CE Queen Regnant Pythodorida of Pontus (Turkey)

Successor of King Polemon I. In 23 the kingdom was reincorporated into the Roman Empire.


Queen Musa of Parthia

BCE 3- 6 CE Regent Dowager Grand Queen Thea Ourania of Parthia (Turkey)

Also known as Musa of Parthia or Thermusa, she was an Italian slave given as a concubine by the Roman emperor Augustus (27 BCE – 14 CE) to king Phraates IV of Parthia (37–2 CE) as part payment for the return of the eagles lost by Marcus Licinius Crassus in the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BCE. He made her his legitimate wife and appointed her son, Phraates V (2 BCE-4 CE), as his successor. She persuaded her husband to send his other sons to Rome as hostages. With all rivals out of the way, she and her son poisoned the king and assumed the throne in 2 BC. They appear together on their coins, and were apparently co-rulers. The author Josephus alleges that Musa then married Phraates V, and, this being unacceptable to the Parthians, they rose up and overthrew them, offering the crown to Orodes III (who ruled briefly in the year 6).


Last update 24.02.14

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