FAMOUS WOMEN OF THE ANCIENT WORLD
By Tim Lambert
Kubaba is the first recorded female ruler in history. She was queen of Sumer, in what is now Iraq about 2,400 BC.
Merit Ptah was a famous woman doctor. She lived in Egypt around 2,700 BC.
Enheduanna lived from 2285 to 2250 BC in what is now Iraq. She was a priestess and writer.
Sobekneferu was ruler of Egypt around 1800 BC
Hatshepsut was ruler of Egypt. She was born about 1508 BC and she ruled Egypt from 1479 BC. Under her rule Egypt was prosperous and it traded with north west Africa. Hatshepsut also built many great buildings in Egypt. She died in 1458 BC.
Twosret was female ruler of Egypt. She reigned around 1191-1189 BC
TIYETiye was an influential queen of Egypt. She lived about 1398-1338 BC.
Nefertiti was a famous queen of Egypt who lived about 1370-1331 BC. She was married to Pharaoh Akhenaten and she was a powerful and influential woman.
In the Old Testament Deborah was a judge, that is a leader, of Israel.
Sappho was a famous woman poet who was born about 615 BC on the Greek island of Lesbos. Sappho had a daughter. She died about 570 BC.
THEANO OF CROTONA
Theano of Crotona was a great woman mathematician. She was born in 546 BC.
TELESILLA OF ARGOS
Telesilla was a famous poet. She lived around 500 BC.
ARTEMISIA OF CARIA
Artemisia was a queen who fought at the battle of Salamis (a naval battle between the Greeks and the Persians) in 480 BC.
ASPASIA c 470 - c 400 BC
She was a famous intellectual in Athens. She was also the partner of the statesman Pericles
TIMYCHA OF SPARTA
She was a philosopher around 375 BC
ARETE OF CYRENE
Arete was a famous philosopher who lived around 375 BC
HIPPARCHIA OF MARONEIA 350-280 BC
She was a philosopher
ANYTE OF TEGEA
Anyte was a famous poet who lived around 250 BC
Aglaonike was a famous Greek woman astronomer. She lived in the 2nd century BC but the exact dates of her birth and death are not known.
Teuta was queen regent of the Ardiaean kingdom in the west of the Balkan Peninsula from 231 to 227 BC. She fought the Romans.
Hortensia was a famous Roman woman orator. She lived in the 1st century BC.
Cleopatra was ruler of Egypt. She was born about 69 BC. From 51 BC she ruled Egypt with her brother but from 48 BC she ruled alone. Then in 41 BC she became allied to a Roman, Mark Anthony who was involved in a long struggle with another Roman called Octavian. Finally Cleopatra and Mark Anthony were defeated at the naval battle of Actium in 31 BC. Afterwards, in 30 BC Cleopatra committed suicide.
In 61 AD she led the Iceni tribe of East Anglia in a rebellion against the Romans. The Romans invaded Britain in 43 AD they soon conquered the southern part. At first the Romans allowed the Iceni to keep their kings and have some autonomy. However in c. 50 AD the Romans were fighting in Wales and they were afraid the Iceni might stab them in the back. They ordered the Iceni to disarm, which provoked a rebellion. However the Romans easily crushed it. In the ensuing years the Romans alienated the Iceni by imposing heavy taxes. Then, when the king of the Iceni died he left his kingdom partly to his wife, Boudicca and partly to Emperor Nero Soon, however Nero wanted the kingdom all for himself. His men treated the Iceni very high-handedly and they provoked rebellion. This time a large part of the Roman army was fighting in Wales and the rebellion was, at first, successful. Led by Boudicca the Celts burned Colchester, St Albans and London. However the Romans rushed forces to deal with the rebellion. Although the Romans were outnumbered their discipline and tactics gave them victory. Boudicca committed suicide.
THE TRUNG SISTERS
In 39 AD two Vietnamese sisters, Trung Trac and Trung Nhi led a rebellion against the Chinese overlords and proclaimed themselves queens of an independent state. However they were eventually defeated by the Chinese and they both committed suicide in 43.
Eumachia was a priestess in Pompeii in the 1st century AD. She was a prominent citizen in the town.
Julia Balbilla was a famous Roman poet who lived about 130 AD.
Blandina was a Christian slave. She lived in what is now France in the 2nd century AD. She was martyred in Lyons in 177 AD.
Julia Domna was a philosopher. She was also married to the Roman emperor Severus. Julia was born in 170 AD. She accompanied her husband on military campaigns and her face appears on some Roman coins. Julia died in 217 AD.
FALTONIA BETITIA PROBA
Faltonia Betitia Proba was a famous Christian poet. She lived from about 320 AD to about 370 AD.
Zenobia was queen of Palmyra in what is now Syria from about 268 AD to 272 AD. She fought the Romans and conquered Egypt. However Zenobia was eventually defeated and captured.
METRODORAMetrodora was a woman who lived in the 3rd or 4th century AD. She wrote a famous book called On the Diseases and Cures of Women.
Hypatia was was a mathematician, philosopher and astronomer. She lived and taught in the city of Alexandria in Egypt. Hypatia was killed in 415 AD.
Famous Women of the Middle Ages
Famous Women of the 16th Century
Life for Women in the Ancient World
A Timeline of Women Writers