The Shrouded History of Nitocris: Was the Last Pharaoh of the Sixth Dynasty a Woman?
Herodotus on Nitocris
By far, the most colorful account of Nitocris comes from the Greek historian Herodotus. Like many of the other fanciful stories found in Herodotus’ work, this one too ought to be taken with a pinch of salt, despite the historian’s claim that this tale was related to him by Egyptian priests. The story of Nitocris in Herodotus’ The Histories goes like this:
The name of the queen was Nitocris – the same as that of the Babylonian queen. They said that she avenged her brother. Despite the fact that he was their king, the Egyptians killed him and then handed the kingdom over to her, but in order to avenge him she killed a lot of them by a trick. What she did was construct a massive underground chamber, and although in reality she had other plans, she claimed to want to hold an inauguration ceremony for it. She invited the Egyptians she knew to have been the ringleaders in her brother’s murder – and there were quite a few of them – to the reception; while they were in the middle of the meal she had the river flood in on them through a large secret passage. That is all the information I was given about Nitocris, except that afterwards she threw herself into a chamber full of ashes, to avoid retribution.
Thus the story of Nitocris remains wrapped in myths and legends, did she really have the role of a 6th dynasty pharaoh? If so, under what praenomen? And, why was she erased?
Featured image: Female Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. Photo source: QuotesGram
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Available at: http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/herodotus/nitocris.htm
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[Waterfield, R. (trans.), 1998. Herodotus’ The Histories . Oxford: Oxford University Press.]
Jones, A., 2010. Nitocris: Important but Little Known Egyptian Queen. [Online]
Available at: http://www.historicmysteries.com/queen-nitocris/
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Available at: http://womenshistory.about.com/od/ancientqueens/ss/Female-Pharaohs.htm#showall
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Available at: https://pharaoh.se/abydos-king-list
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Available at: https://pharaoh.se/turin-papyrus-king-list
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[Waddell, W. G., (trans.), 1940. Manetho’s History of Egypt , in The Fragments of Manetho ]