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
Nubian soldiers who had marched on
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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