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Female Ruler in Canaan?

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posted on May, 25 2009 @ 02:38 PM

The legend is that the great rulers of Canaan, the ancient land of Israel, were all men. But a recent dig by Tel Aviv University archaeologists at Tel Beth-Shemesh uncovered possible evidence of a mysterious female ruler.

Tel Aviv University archaeologists Prof. Shlomo Bunimovitz and Dr. Zvi Lederman of the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations have uncovered an unusual ceramic plaque of a goddess in female dress, suggesting that a mighty female "king" may have ruled the city. If true, they say, the plaque would depict the only known female ruler of the region.

The plaque itself depicts a figure dressed as royal male figures and deities once appeared in Egyptian and Canaanite art. The figure's hairstyle, though, is womanly and its bent arms are holding lotus flowers – attributes given to women. This plaque, art historians suggest, may be an artistic representation of the "Mistress of the Lionesses," a female Canaanite ruler who was known to have sent distress letters to the Pharaoh in Egypt reporting unrest and destruction in her kingdom.

"We took this finding to an art historian who confirmed our hypothesis that the figure was a female," says Dr. Lederman. "Obviously something very different was happening in this city. We may have found the 'Mistress of the Lionesses' who'd been sending letters from Canaan to Egypt. The destruction we uncovered at the site last summer, along with the plaque, may just be the key to the puzzle.

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[edit on Mon May 25 2009 by Jbird]

posted on May, 25 2009 @ 10:29 PM
thats really cool,

I believe tehre is an undocumented pharoa, listed in a kings list but not represented in the archeological record, that married his daughter to a king of Canaan.

posted on May, 26 2009 @ 02:46 AM
reply to post by pteridine

I look forward to hearing more about this. There were certanly female rulers in ancient times such as Hatchepsut and Sheeba, however they were exceptions throughout millenia.

Cheers Zazz

[edit on 26-5-2009 by zazzafrazz]

posted on May, 28 2009 @ 09:57 PM
I think as this was a city state we may be finding some idiosyncratic culture where they passed on leadership to the eldest or selected, male or female.
Matrilineal descendancy was ingrained in the Canaanite by then.

This could be a rogue city politically separate from the main Egyptian rule. The monotheistic Pharaoh, Ikhnaton, was exiled to the Sinai peninsula and established a colony. It is conceivable there is some connection or influence.

And finally, in your linked article I noted:

"The city had been violently destroyed, in a way we rarely see in archaeology," says Prof. Bunimovitz, who points to many exotic finds buried under the destruction

Did they find any evidence of explosives?


posted on May, 31 2009 @ 04:43 PM
The mentioned amarna letters date to the reign of akhenaten who died while he still reigned.
The "Mistress of The Lionesses" would have written him when she asked for help from "rough people" and "rebels" that were threatening her kingdom.
The armarna letters were also the first time the Hibaru are mentioned by the egyptians. Could the Hibaru be the rough people and rebels she mentions?

The sea pople also show up around this time and bronze age med civilization collapses in the next century

posted on May, 31 2009 @ 05:48 PM
I wouldn't count on the Apiru/Hapiru actually being Jews/Hebrews. Wikipedia goes into some of the evidence -- think of them more as being like a band of Cossacks or pirates. They weren't a shepherd people.

Habiru (Ha biru) or Apiru or pr.w (Egyptian)[1]was the name given by various Sumerian, Egyptian, Akkadian, Hittite, Mitanni, and Ugaritic sources (dated, roughly, from before 2000 BC to around 1200 BC) to a group of people living as nomadic invaders in areas of the Fertile Crescent from Northeastern Mesopotamia and Iran to the borders of Egypt in Canaan [2] Depending on the source and epoch, these Habiru are variously described as nomadic or semi-nomadic, rebels, outlaws, raiders, mercenaries, and bowmen, servants, slaves, migrant laborers, etc.

So they're believed to be a band or tribe of folk who were outcasts... think of the Somali pirates of today as being somewhat similar.

Say to the king, my lord, my god, my Sun: Message of the Lady of the Lionesses [Belit-nesheti], your handmaid. May the king, my lord, know that war has been waged in the land, and gone is the land of the king, my lord, by desertion to the Apiru.

So writes the queen, who was one of the "client kings" of Egypt and in particular of Ahkenaten. She and others write to him about this issue, but he doesn't bother answering as far as we can tell and he certainly doesn't send troops. I frankly hope that she eventually got away but if the city was hers, it was hit hard by raiders:

This blog discusses that article and adds some info on Belit-Nesheti's possible city:

posted on May, 31 2009 @ 05:51 PM

Originally posted by mmiichael
This could be a rogue city politically separate from the main Egyptian rule. The monotheistic Pharaoh, Ikhnaton, was exiled to the Sinai peninsula and established a colony.

Actually, she was a "client king"; someone who was put into place (or whose family was put into place) by the very powerful Egyptian pharaohs. They sent tribute and in return, Egypt was to protect them. The "client-king" system was very common in the ancient world.

Did they find any evidence of explosives?

No. Just fire and swords and battering rams to knock things over. Mostly fire. Regular fire, not alchemical based fire.


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