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Nitocris: Important But Little Known Egyptian Queen

by Alfred Jones

Egyptian history is replete with a vast amount of information pertaining to Queen Hatshepsut and the even more famous Queen Cleopatra, but who has ever heard of Queen Nitocris who was the last ruler of Egypt at the end of the VI th dynasty around the year 3133 BC?

Her deeds and exploits saved Egypt from what might have been its own destruction. Her brother, the pharaoh Nefer-ka-ra was murdered in a conspiracy of those wanting to gain power. The land was then split up in petty kingdoms with constant wars, more royal murders, and general chaos. At no time in the entire history of Egypt do we find a lower ebb. The people looked for and hoped for a deliverer, but no one was forth coming. No one was prepared to address the volatile issues that would have placed in jeopardy the life of anyone who tried.


Psammetichus I and his daughter Nitocris I adoring Ra-Harakhte – Pabasa’s tomb in the Theban Necropolis

The dead king’s sister Nitocris assumed the role of leader, of queen and began to systematically bring unification to Egypt. By organizing work forces to build and to rebuild throughout Egypt, she established a unifying concept. During this time it was necessary to purge the land of the forces responsible for the death of her brother.

Queen Nitocris reigned for twelve years and at the end of her life had reestablished order and stability in Egypt.

There are two things we can learn from a review of her life and that is that regardless how chaotic things might be, they can be corrected. Secondly, it does not always require a strong powerful military leader, but can be done by a woman of intelligence and courage.

She did not go to war in a traditional sense, but used other avenues. It was as if she introduced methods of a non military nature to unify and restore order.

Remember, these were people who lived five thousand years ago. Their problems appeared to be identical to those which have been seen many times in our history and continued to appear in the 21st century AD. Power struggles, greed, corruption, violence, and often chaos are as much in evidence today as they were in the time of Queen Nitocris.

We have a tendency to see our ancient ancestors as primitive, barbaric and inept. This is an example to the contrary. There have been women in history who picked up the sword to deal with what must have been seen as madness on the part of their advosaries. The Celtic Queen Boudica, Joan of Arc and perhaps in a sense Elizabeth the First had no hesitation of bringing force into play. It seems that Queen Nitocris used other method.

From the study of her life and the times in which she lived, it may be possible to see that she could have utilized logic, reason, and often common sense. We don’t know this, but it was reported that she was highly intelligent and from what we know today about intelligence, its utilization can often preclude actions of an emotional and non logical nature.

The Greek philosopher Plato asked us to read history and learn from it. The life of Queen Nitocris can be a good example of this. Not only through the history of Egypt which followed and during the entire history of the western world have we resorted to force as opposed to reason to solve our often very thorny problems.

It is suggested that we once more visit the role of Queen Nitocris in history.

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