Today on my blog I am lucky enough to have the talented Katie Hamstead, author of Kiya, discussing the role of women in ancient history, as is relevant in her new ancient Egypt-based book.
History is riddled with the tales of men. Men ruling kingdoms and Empires, men conquering other men, men creating new ideas, developing civilization and progressing things forward. Women doing anything like this is a relatively new concept in western society. But, it’s important to remember who recorded these things: Men. The history of women is simply unwritten, but is easily as noble and powerful as that of men. So, the women who are mentioned must have been truly remarkable.
Akhenaten had an unknown number of wives and concubines. Nefertiti, like other Great Queens before her, was destined to be remembered as his wife for the rest of time. But many historians believe she had a greater influence over Akhenaten’s decisions. With depictions of him kissing her and touching her riddling temple walls—which is nothing like his predecessors who were portrayed as stern and powerful—some historians believe this is evidence of Nefertiti’s sway with the king.
With this in mind, how did the lower wife, Kiya, become so prominent during this period? She just appears, becomes greatly favored, then disappears from history. I don’t want to give away my story by going through several of the theories surrounding her, but she must have done something to be noticed about all the other now forgotten wives.
There are many great and famous, also infamous women in history. They did things which startled and baffled men, which gave them merit for the men writing the history to give them attention, but what of the forgotten women? The wives, the daughters, the mothers who influenced all the great men we are so familiar with today?
While research Hebrew history, I came across something interesting. Men were the patriarchs, they governed, managed income and presided over the home. But the women ruled the household. They directed servants and raised children. Women were greatly revered for their ability to conceive and raise children and it was considered a great honor. A man’s happiness in his home relied on her keeping everything in order.
Although women have lived in the shadows of history for thousands of years, they did have influence over it. For every man who inspired a nation, he had a mother who helped inspire him. Many queens whispered to their kings, softly directing their course. Although thing may not have been written, if we look close enough we can see the influence women have had in shaping our world. Never underestimate the power of a wife and mother. A wife inspires her husband, a mother teaches her child. A woman’s soft hand can change the course of history.
Oh yes, Kiya. Make him love you, make him hold you in his highest regard….
When Naomi’s sisters are snatched up to be taken to be wives of the erratic Pharaoh, Akhenaten, she knows they won’t survive the palace, so she offers herself in their place. The fearsome Commander Horemheb sees her courage, and knows she is exactly what he is looking for…
The Great Queen Nefertiti despises Naomi instantly, and strips her of her Hebrew lineage, including her name, which is changed to Kiya. Kiya allies herself with Horemheb, who pushes her to greatness and encourages her to make the Pharaoh fall in love with her. When Akhenaten declares Kiya will be the mother of his heir, Nefertiti, furious with jealousy, schemes to destroy Kiya.
Kiya must play the deadly game carefully. She is in a silent battle of wills, and a struggle for who will one day inherit the crown. If she does bear an heir, she knows she will need to fight to protect him, as well as herself, from Nefertiti who is out for blood.
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