This fascinating saga spans 3,000 years of Egyptian queenship from Early Dynastic times until the suicide of Cleopatra in 30 BC. Starting with the unique role enjoyed by Egypt’s women in the ancient world, the book goes on to present a biographical portrait of every queen, supplemented by a wealth of pictorial detail, datafiles, genealogical trees, timelines, and special features—from Childbirth to Wigs—highlighting different aspects of Egyptian culture.
The queen of Egypt was, first and foremost, a supportive wife and mother, but in times of dynastic crisis she was expected to act as her husband’s deputy. The queen might be required to marshal troops, or to rule on behalf of an infant son. She might even be called upon to rule in her own right in the absence of a suitable king. The female pharaohs Hatshepsut and Tawosret, the sun queens Tiy and Nefertiti, the seductive Nefertari and Cleopatra: many of Egypt’s queens have left an indelible mark on their country’s history.
And what of Egypt’s lesser queens, the numerous wives and daughters maintained in pampered seclusion in the harem palaces? These women are generally forgotten, their graves lost in the desert sands. But the anonymous ladies occasionally stepped from the security of the harem to influence the royal succession, and their stories too are told.
Joyce Tyldesley’s books include Chronicle of the Queens of Egypt, Tales from Ancient Egypt and biographies of Hatshepsut and Nefertiti. She lives in England.