Presentation Recap

Queens of Ancient Egypt

Women on the Throne of the Pharaohs

Zoom Presentation — Friday, October 2, 2020


Over 160 AAFSW members and guests attended the fascinating online presentation via Zoom on the “Queens of Ancient Egypt: Women on the Throne of the Pharaohs” presented by Dr. Mamdouth Eldamaty, in collaboration with the Egyptian Embassy and Welcome to Washington.  Dr. Mamdouh Eldamaty is the former Minister of Antiquities of Egypt and the Professor of Egyptology at the Department of Archaeology at the Ain Shams University.

The ancient Egyptian civilization was distinguished from the rest of the world’s civilizations by its diverse scientific, artistic, literary, social, and political manifestations.  Egyptian women enjoyed a distinguished position that was not enjoyed by women in other societies and human civilizations in the ancient world.  Almost, all the rulers of ancient Egypt were men. However, 22 women throughout the history of Egypt held sway over Egypt, including Hatshepsut, Nefertiti, Cleopatra VII and Shajr al-Dur, who are still remembered today.  Other females ruled as well, although the historical record for some of them is scant at best.  Some went to great lengths to strengthen their claim to the throne, and they all played significant parts in ancient Egyptian history.

Hatshepsut was a wise and just queen.  Akhenaten recognized Nefertiti as his equal; she was actually revered as a Pharaoh herself as evident in archaeological finds.  Further, there were seven Cleopatras; the better known being the last one who had partnered both with Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony.  While her mother was Egyptian, Cleopatra VII, was Hellenic, descending from the Macedonian Ptolemy whom Alexander the Great awarded rule out of Alexandria.

 Dr. Eldamaty wrote a book in Arabic that deals with some of the biographies of Egyptian women and their status in ancient Egypt from the Pharaonic period through the Ptolemaic time until the reign of the great Sultana Shajr al-Dur at the end of the Ayyubid era and the beginning of the Mamluk era.

AAFSW is grateful to his Excellency, the Ambassador of Egypt to the USA, to the Cultural Attache of the Egyptian Embassy, and to Prof. Mamdouth Eldamaty for this extremely educating presentation.


Sheila Switzer

AAFSW Program Chair