[St. Pachomius Library]

St. Candace and other Kandakai

"Candace", treated as the personal name of an "Ethiopian" queen in Acts 8:27, was a Meroitic title, kdiqo or kntiky, "royal woman". The state of Meroë in Nubia, (which Greek writers referred to vaguely as "Æthiopia", a term they applied to many African and Asian territories with dark-skinned inhabitants) was frequently ruled by queens reigning in their own right or in collaboration with their husbands, or by powerful queen-mothers. Some Kandakai even led troops into battle. Strabo
[Geog. XVII, i, 54] records that in 24 BC Gaius Petronius, third prefect of Roman Egypt, became embroiled in a border war with Meroë, and eventually found himself battling thousands of Nubian soldiers who had marched on Primis under the command of "Candace, the queen of the Æthiops in our times, a mannish sort of woman who had lost her other eye". This would have been a generation before the Biblical Candace.

Most scholars believe that the Candace of Acts was the Queen of Meroë. However, there are also Abyssinian traditions about early queens of Axum called "Candace" as a name or as a title, one of whom, Garsamot Kandake VI, is considered by the Ethiopian Church to have been the Biblical ruler. All ancient Christian sources agree that Candace became a Christian after the return of the eunuch to "Ethiopia".

---Norman Hugh Redington

Under construction --- far from complete! Read with caution.


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