Ancient Egypt - Pharaoh Ahmose I


The war against the Hyksos had not been without cost. Ahmose I came to the throne at a young age after both his father and older brother were killed in the war. His mother, Queen Ahhotep, was a powerful figure and may have acted as co-regent with him in the early years of his reign. Women in Egypt were always more important than in any other ancient civilization. However, the 18th Dynasty really set the standard for their power. Pharaoh Ahmose's wife, Queen Ahmose-Nefertari, was the first to be named 'God's Wife' and 'Heiress', legitimizing matrilineal succession of pharaohs. Although the record isn't clear, one apparently became pharaoh by marrying the right woman – the one who had the most royal blood flowing through her veins, usually the daughter of the king and queen.


There is no Egyptian word for queen. What we define as queen, they defined as 'Great Wife'. A pharaoh could have many 'queens' but only one 'Great Wife', one who was considered the chief wife of the pharaoh. Their children were always next in line for the throne. Beneath the 'Great Wife' were other wives who were married to the king. They had full rights and their children sometimes became king based on the circumstances. Beneath them were the concubines. Their sons could also become king, but only on rare occasions.