Women in power Year 1-500

Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership 

CE 1-500

Female leaders
and women in other positions of political authority
of independent states and
self-governing understate entities

Chinese Han lady

1-6 Reigning Dowager Empress of China

The widow of emperor Lui Xin (BCE 5-CE 1), she reigned together with Minister Wang Mang in the name of the nominal emperor Liv Kan. The Han dynasty ended in year 8 after a reign of more than 200 years, during which the methods of bureaucracy was developed, which held the vast empire together.

Queen Medb of Connaught Around year 1 Queen Medb of Connaught (Ireland)
Also known as Maeve, she was daughter of the high king of Ireland, Ouchu Feidlich, and married King Ailill mac Mata of Connaught. It seems that she was once married to Conchobor mac Nessa, the king of Ulster. She was powerful enough to be euhemerized in myth as a triune goddess of fertility and nature. 


3-40 Regent Queen Antonia Thryphaena of Pontus (Turkey)
38-40 Regent of Thrace
Ruled in the name of son King Polemos who succeeded her mother in Pontus in Asia Minor. He succeeded a brother, Rhoemetaces, who had become king after the murder of her husband, Kytos.


7/8-23 Queen Pythodoris I Philometer of Pontus (Turkey)
Pantos Pythodorida succeeded husband, Polemon I, and married King Archelaos of Cappadocia. Succeeded by daughter and her son. 


11-40 Joint Reigning Queen Shaqilat I of the Nabataean Kingdom (Jordan)
Appeared on the coins together with her husband king Aretas IV, indicating a joint rule.


Around year 12 Queen Regnant Nawidemak of Meroe (Sudan)
Also known as Naldamak, she succeeded her mother, Amanitore, who reigned from BCE 12. Nawidemak is portrayed on a pyramid as Osiris, a male god sheltered by the wings of the great goddess Isis. An unknown queen ruled before her. She was married to prince Apedemakhe, and her son Arikharer [Arikhankharer] ruled in 10-15.

Augusta Livia 14-29 De-facto Co-Regent Augusta Livia of the Roman Empire

Livia Drusilla Augusta was a member of the ancient, wealthy and powerful patrician gens claudia, the Claudian family. Octavian divorced his first wife Scribonia and forced Livia to divorce Tiberius so they could marry in 38 BCE. It was a political marriage in the tradition of the Republic, intended to bring together the wealth and might of the gens claudia and the gens julia, the Julian family, into which Octavian had been adopted by Julius Cæsar. The marriage thus formed an important part of Octavian's strategy in the intense power struggles of the late Republic. The dynasty they founded is known as the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Though their union was political in nature, there were warm feelings between the two, at the very least a profound sense of mutual loyalty. Their marriage lasted 52 years, until the death of Augustus in 14 CE. Livia never bore him any children, but Augustus Adopted Tiberius after a number of other possible heirs all died. Livia's son Drusus died in an accident in 9 CE. Livia was quite influential, through her personal wealth, through her intelligence and political sense, and through her marriage. She played a central role in the establishment of the Principate, along with Augustus and M. Agrippa. Livia's influence continued when her son Tiberius became emperor, until her death in 29 CE at the age of 85. She was deified by her grandson Claudius in CE 41, and lived (BCE 58-CE 29).


Until circa 23 Queen Regnant Candace of The Meroe (Sudan)
Sudan was concord by the Romans.  


30-40 Joint Princess Regnant Helena of Adiabene (North Iraq)
Reigned jointly with husband Bazeus Monobazus. The rulers of the territory had converted to Judaism.

Queen Sivali 35 Queen Sivali of Sri Lanka
Succeeded to the throne upon the death of her older brother, king Surabaya, but after four months her  nephew, Ila Naga dethroned her and raised the parasol of sovereignty in the capital.


35-65 Queen Regnant Candice of Meroe (Sudan)

One of the many female rulers of the territoriy.


39-41 Queen Regnant Gepaepyris of the Bosporanian Kingdom  (Georgia)

Succeeded husband, Aspurgos, the widower of Queen Dynamis as ruler of the Kingdom in the Crimean by the Black Sea.

Trung sisters 39-43 Joint Reigning Queen Trưng Trắc of Parts of Vietnam 
39-43 Joint Reigning Queen Trưng Nhị of Parts of Vietnam

The two sisters, Trung Trac and Trung Nhi, lead a defending army against the Chinese occupation-forces, they ruled over a territory until they were defeated. They are today seen as national heroes and known as Hai Ba Trung (Hai Bà Trưng), the two Trung Ladies.


Circa 40-70 Joint Queen Regnant Shakilat of the Nabataean Kingdom 70-76 Regent Dowager Queen of Nabatea (Jordan)

Shaqilath was the daughter of Aretas IV, she reigned jointly with her husband and brother, king Maliku III also known as Malichus and after his death she was regent for son, Rabbel II. The Nabataeans were an Arabian people, occupying Edom, southern Transjordan, and South Eastern Syria, with its capital at Petra.

  Circa  40-60 Queen Regnant Cartimandra of The Brigants (Brigantia) (United Kingdom)
Brigantia was a British tribe in Yorkshire. She signed a treaty with the Romans, placing herself under their protection. Her tribe was opposed to this treaty and there were several revolts. In 48, she asked for and received Roman help in fighting the rebellion. Cartimandua's consort, Venutius attempted to have her overthrown but he was unsuccessful after the Romans came to her aid. For a while Cartimandua ruled jointly with Venutius, but when he made another attempt to overthrow her, she took Vellocatus, a royal armor-bearer, as her consort. She sent Vellocatus to fight Venutius and, again, asked for Roman help. Ca.69, Cartimandua "retired" and in 71, Rome annexed Brigantia after they easily defeated Venutius, Vellocatus and the Brigantes in battle.


45/6–68/9 Joint Ruler Queen Eunike of the Bosporanian Realm

Reigned together with Kotys I. (45/6–68/9).


Circa 50-60 Queen Regnant Garsemot Kandake of Ethiopia
Her relation to the other rulers is not known.


Around 50 Military Leader Hau Mu-Lan in China

In the Mid-first century she became one of the country's most famous warriors when, disguised as a man, she took her father's place in battle for 12 years. She was celebrated in plays and poems. Her commanding officer was so impressed with her military skills that he offered his daughter in marriage to what he thought to be his greatest male warrior. 

Unnamed Judean Lady

Around 52 Co-Ruler Princess Julia Berenice of Judea (Israel)

Daughter of Herod Agrippa I, who ruled Judea from 37-57, and shared the Chaleis throne and the business of the kingdom in Atonal and Taconites in Southern Syria with her brother Agrippa II, who succeeded their father in 44. They lived together causing scandal among the Jews. She continued to live with him after his brief marriage to another eastern Princess. Emperor Titus of Rome, 13 years her junior became infatuated with her, and wanted to marry her, which scandalized the court and forced him to abandon her. 

Augusta Iulia Aggripina 54-56 Regent Augusta Iulia Agrippina of the Roman Empire
Youngest of three daughters of Germanicus and Agrippina the Elder. She was 34 years old when she married emperor Claudius, who was nearing the end of his life. During the last five years of Claudius’ reign, she grew more and more powerful. Her son Nero succeeded her husband at the age of 17 and could not legally rule in his own name. Agrippina acted as his regent and was a powerful controlling influence on him even after he came of age. After about a year, Nero moved her out of the imperial palace. She began to denounce her son more and more in public. After the tension between mother and son grew to a critical level, Nero determined to be rid of her, and had her killed. She lived (16-59).


Around 60 Queen Regnant Pythodoris of Colchis (Georgia)
Colchis was an ancient country on the eastern shore of the Black Sea and in the Caucasus region. Centered about the fertile valley of the Phasis River (the modern Rion), Colchis corresponds to the present-day region of  Mingrelia in Georgia. She was a vassal of the Roman Empire. 

Queen Boudicca 60-61 Queen Regnant Boudicca of the Iceni-Tribe in Norfolk (United Kingdom)
The Iceni was a people who lived in the present-day counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. She led a rebellion against the Roman authorities as a result of their mistreatment of her family and people after the death of her husband, Prasutagus, who may have been a Roman client-ruler, in 60 AD. She and other disaffected tribes, sacked the cities of Colchester, St. Albans and London and, it is estimated, massacred approximately 70.000 Roman soldiers and civilians in the course of the glorious, but ill-fated rebellion. The rebels were finally defeated in battle by a force led by the Roman governor of Britain, Suetonius Paulinus, after which she took her own life by ingesting poison together with her two daughters, Camorra and Tasca or, according to legend, Voada and Voadicia. She lived (15-61).


Around 60 Military Leader Queen Aife of Alba in Scotland (Uinted Kingdom)

In Celtic mythology she was a female warrior from Alba. She gave her lover, Cuchulainn, his spear, Gae Bulg. They had one son, Connla.

Meroean Queen 62-85 Queen Regnant Amanishipalata of Meroe (Nubia) (Sudan)  
Marching at the head of her army, Amanirenas reached the strategic city of Qasr Ibrim, south of the Egyptian city of Aswan. There she confronted the Roman general Petronius, who told her that Emperor Augustus was willing to lay aside the arms if Amanirenas would negotiate a settlement with him to which she agreed. She sent her ambassadors to the Greek Island of Samos to meet with the representatives of Rome. 


Circa 71-90 Queen Regnant Gamilat of Nabataea of the Nabataean Kingdom (Jordan)

Reigned jointly with king ar-Rabil II also known as Rabbel Soter. They were client monarch of Rome, (1st cent. BCE-1st cent. A.D). Women played a significant role in Nabatean society.


88-97 Regent Dowager Empress Tou Hsien of China
Also known was Dou, she took over the regency for Liv Chao (Hedi) (79-88-106). She led the court audiences (linchao), and her brother Dou Xian took over the governmental affairs. An eunuch of Emperor Hedi called Zheng Zhong finally destroyed the power of the Dou clan and grasped the power himself. They belonged to the Later Hou and Eastern Han Dynasty, which was able to keep China united for about 200 years.


105-106 Regent The Dowager Empress of China
After the death of Emperor He, she announced that he had left two young sons who had been brought up outside the palace, but that the elder brother, Liu Sheng, was suffering from an incurable illness and was unfit to rule. She therefore placed the younger, Liu Long, upon the throne, and even when he died a few months later, aged just over a year old, she again passed over Liu Sheng in favour of Liu You, a nephew of Emperor He, later known as Emperor An (reigned 106-125). Inevitably, much of the information formed an intimate secret of the state, and all the decisions and announcements were made on the authority of the Dowager alone.

105-21 Regent Dowager Empress Deng Sui of China
Her son, Aiu Long (Aidi) (105-06) was only 13 at his throne accession, and together with her brother Deng Zhi, she controlled him, who was nominal ruler during the Han-Dynasty period. Later she placed her grandson, Shang, on the throne when he was barely 100 days old, despite having two older brothers who were born from a consort. She also raised Liu Hu, the twelve-year old cousin of Shangdi and future Emperor Han Aidi, in the palace as the successor to the throne as insurance against the baby emperor's death. Liu Hu ascended to the throne when Shang passed away in 106; however, she still remained as the regent. A decree by her during this reign shed light on bureaucratic inefficiency. Also influential during the reign of her grandson. When she died her most prominent relatives chose suicide. She lived (80-121).


112-? Regent Dowager Queen Gespaepyris of Pontus (Turkey)
Gespaepyris was born as Princess of Thrace and ruled on behalf of her son Mithridates VI. in the kingdom in Asia Minor.


114 Queen Regnant Yasovati of Kashmir (India)
The contemporary sources says abut her; "The ruins of Martanda and other old temples are even now called 'Pandawa Houses' and Kalhana says it was at Lord Krishna's advice that Yasovati was made Queen regent of Kashmir after Krishna had defeated King Damodara, Yasovati's husband".   


120-25 Politically Influential Empress Yan of China
After Dowager Empress Deng's death, she dominated the court together with the eunuchs Li Run and Jiang Jing, and her brother Yan Xian.  

Laodike II Nysa 130-? Reigning Dowager Queen Laodike II Nysa of Cappadocia (Turkey)
Following the death of her husband, Ariarathes V, she poisoned 5 stepsons and ruled in the name of her own son. 


135-49 Regent Dowager Queen Ghadana of Iberia (Georgia)
The widow of King Pharasmenes II Kveli (circa 116-32), she reigned for grandson Pharasmenes III (135-185) after the death of her son Rhadamiste I (or Ghadam). She was daughter of King Sanatroukes of Armenia (b. circa 100).


144-50 Regent Dowager Empress Liang Na of the Eastern Han Dynasty in China
When her husband, Emperor Shun of the Eastern Han Dynasty died, she assumed the regency for his only son, the infant Emperor, Hong, who died the following year. In these circumstances an empress-dowager of Han acquired even greater power, for she had undisputed authority to choose the next emperor from any of the male members of the imperial family. The precedent for this dated back to Former Han, but had been decisively confirmed by the Dowager Deng in 105 and 106. Three weeks later she choose the 8-year-old Liu Zuan, a great-great grandson of Emperor Zhang, who also died after one year on the throne and Liu Zhi was placed upon the throne. For the next few years she held formal control of the government in association with her brother Liang Ji. The historians praised her for her devotion to duty in the difficult times, which followed the second great rebellion of the Qiang people in the northwest and a series of frontier disturbances with the Xiongnu of the north. Inside China, reflecting these troubles, there were frequent small-scale rebellions, increased feuding amongst local gentry and a gradual alienation from the imperial regime. Apparently she appointed good officials, sent out troops to deal with disorder, and all the empire was settled by her efforts. Emperor Huan came of age in 148, but she maintained her regency, on the grounds of the disturbances in the empire. She formally relinquished her office in the first month of 150, and she died a few weeks later. She lived (116-150).


Around 150 Joint Queen Regnant Ulfan of Elymias (Iraq)

Reigned together with Orodes IV of the Helleno-Iranian kingdom located in what are now southeastern Iraq and the Zagros Mountains of Iran. Its name is a Hellenization of "Elam", an ancient state in roughly the same region. Its capital was Susa, the centre of the Achaemenid Persian kings.

Chinese Han lady 168-72 Regent Princess Dou Shi of China 
Ruled in the name of her son Liu Hong (168-89). During the end of the Han Dynasty, the rulers became more and more dissolute. But more importantly, they were unable to deal with two factors: a population shift from the Yellow River in the north to the Yangzi in the south; and they simply could not control barbarian tribal raiders from the north, which were one reason why people were moving to the south. Eventually, in 220, the centre had lost so much control to the provinces that it collapsed (a small rebellion in the north helped), plunging China into 350 years of chaos and disunity.


180-90 Queen Regnant Somâ of Fu-Nan (Cambodia and Vietnam)
Soma succeeded her father, and ruled over a kingdom which extending over much of present-day Cambodia and southern Vietnam from the 1st to the 6th centuries. It owed its prosperity to its position on the great trade route between India and China and subsequent Khmer dynasties viewed Funan as the state from which they were descended. The name is a transliteration of the ancient Khmer form of the word phnom (= hill).


Circa 188-248 Queen Himiko of Yamataikoku (Japan)
卑弥呼 is also referred to as Pimiko, she was ruler of an ancient state-like formation thought to have been located either in the Yamato region or in northern Kyushu of present-day Japan. Few records are available and little is known about her, and the location of Yamataikoku is the subject of a great, often emotionally charged, debate that has been raging since the late Edo period. According to an ancient Chinese history book, Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms she was a shaman who controlled people through her paranormal abilities. The Nihonshoki, an old Japanese history book, notes that Himiko was actually Empress Jingū Kogo, the mother of Emperor Ōjin, but historians disagree. Some speculate that she is conflated with Amaterasu, the Japanese sun goddess. The Chinese chronicles book from 297 refers to the inhabitants of the Japanese islands simply as the Wa, literally, "The Little People", and dscribes a fragmented political structure of more than a hundred or more separate tribes, nominally ruled by a female shaman. According to an ancient Korean history book, Samguk Sagi, she sent an embassy to King Adalla of Silla in May 172. However, Chinese history books record Silla as having been established on 356, which casts doubt on this claim. Himiko never married and it is recorded that her younger brother assisted her as a political advisor. She is said to have had one thousand female servants and to have never appeared in public. There are indications that a tribal king, posthumously now known as Emperor Shujin, raised military host against her or her successor - reportedly another shamaness, her niece or other relative, ultimately conquering their position and establishing male rule with headquarters in central Japan. Himiko may have been a Chinese corruption of Himemiko, princess-priestess, or lady shaman. The name is said to mean "Sun Daughter" and there are also assessments that she is the real person upon whom the myth of sun goddess Amaterasu is built. Also Known as Yamatohime no Mikoto (d. 248)


189 Politically Influential Empress Dowager He Mou of Han China
Chief consort of Emperor Ling of Han Dynasty China. Along with her half-brother He Jin, she was able to temporarily dominate power at the imperial court after the death of Emperor Ling in 189, during the reign of her son Liu Bian (b. 176); they presided over the imperial court. Throughout much of the year, she acted as balancing force between the eunuch faction, led by Jian Shuo and Zhang Rang, and the official faction, led by He Jin and Yuan Shao. The climax of the struggles came in September, when He Jin was assassinated by the eunuchs at the imperial palace. In the chaotic fighting which followed, she lost all the members of her clan of political importance, including her brother He Miao and mother, the Lady of Wuyang. Her son was deposed in favour of his younger half-brother Liu Xie. Empress Dowager He was accused of the murder of Empress Dowager Dong and ordered to move to the Yongle Palace, outside the main palace complex. She was poisoned there by order of Dong Zhuo on 30 September 189. She was originally from a butcher's family from Wan county in central China. 


190-203 Politically Influential Lady Wu of Wu (China)
The chief consort of Emperor Ling of Han Dynasty China. Along with A master swordsman, she was the advisor of her oldest son, Sun Ce, and helped in directing military and state affairs. When Sun Ce died in 200, she asked the ministers to support her second son, Sun Quan and since he was still young, she assisted in administering the army and state. He ruled 200-222 as Wu Wang (King of Wu) and 222-252 as Emperor of the Wu Dynasty, and when he was proclaimed emperor, he conferred the posthumous title of Empress Wulie on her and the title of of Emperor Wulie Huangdi on his father. Mother of 5 sons and 1 daughter. (d. 203).

Iulia Domna  193-217 Joint Ruler Iulia Domna of the Roman Empire
One of the most powerful people in the Roman Empire. While her emperor husband, Septimius Severus, was fighting rivals, pursuing rebels, and subduing revolts in the far corners of the empire, she was left to administer the vast Roman Empire. She played one powerful general or senator against another, while keeping herself from falling into the many traps set by political enemies at court. Caracalla had murdered his brother Geta in her private apartments even as the younger son sought protection in her arms. After Macrinus had murdered Caracalla and seized the throne in 217, he sent her away from Antiochia after it was reported that Julia was inciting troops to rebel against him. At this time, she was believed to be about fifty years old and was suffering from a painful illness, probably cancer of the breast. Rather than face exile and the humiliation of being reduced to the status of a private citizen, she decided to commit suicide by starving herself.

Empress Jitu

200-69 or 343-380 Regent Dowager Empress Jingo-Kogo of Japan
Jingu or Jingû-Kōgō Tennō was a semi-legendary regent, descending from the legendary Empress Jummu (Sanohiko), she was daughter of Prince Okinaga no Sukune and married to Chuai-Tenno, who ruled (192-200). He died on the way on an expedition to conquer Korea and though she was pregnant, she went on to Korea and brought the kings of Koryo, Pekche and Silla under her suzerainty. She returned to Japan and gave birth to Prince Homuda, the future Ojin-Tenno. She refused to ascend to the throne, but ruled as regent. According to the Korean historians the invasion took place in 346 and she died 380. She was succeeded by son, and lived (169-269).


Circa 216 Queen Regnant Wakana of Ethiopia
Ruled for 2 days before she was deposed.  

Iulia Soaemias Bassiana 218-222 (†) Joint De-facto Ruler Iulia Soaemias Bassiana of the Roman Empire
Plotted together with her mother, Julia Maesa, to substitute the usurper, Macrinus, by her son Varius Avitus Bassianus (Heliogabalus) (203-218-222). As the emperor's mother, with the title Iulia Soaemias Augusta, she played a great role in government and administration and was in fact the de facto ruler of Rome, since her son was concerned mainly with religious matters. Their rule was not popular and soon discontent arose. The Praetorian Guard killed Julia Soaemias and Heliogabalus in 222, and she was declared public enemy and her name erased from all records. She lived (circa 180-222).

Iulia Maesa 218-222 Joint De-facto Ruler Iulia Maesa of the Roman Empire
222-225/26 (†) Joint Regent of the Roman Empire
First she plotted together with her daughter, Julia Soaemias Bassiana to have her grandson Elagabaleus placed on the throne and later she was joint regent with her other daughter, Julia Masaea and her son, Alexander Servus. She was sister of Julia Domna and closely related to the Imperial family and grew up in Syria.


219-245 Queen Wu Mu of Hanzhong (China)
Also known as Lady Wu her husband the warlord Prince Liu Bei, named her as Queen of Hanzhong. It was period of many uprisings and various Emperors. When he became Emperor in 221, she was named Empress to serve the ancestral temple and be mother over the empire. His successor, Liu Shan, named her as the Empress Dowager. She (d. 245).

222-228 (†) Regent Dowager Empress Iulia Mamaea of the Roman Empire
Behind the plot that ousted her sister, Julia Soaemias Bassiana, and her son and had her infant son, son Alexander Servus, placed on the throne. She ruled together her mother, Julia Mamesa and 16 senatorsm but as they were unable to defend the empire from the attacking Germans, the Army killed both her and her son.

Trieu Au Circa 222-248 Army Leader Trieu Au (Trieu Thi Trinh) Vietnam
Sometimes referred to as the "Vietnamese Joan of Arc", she was a rebel leader at the time when Vietnam was a territory of China. She led an army from the mountains, which won more than 30 major battles against the Chinese. She then set up her own administration in the freed territory, which she kept independent for several months. She was defeated in 248 and committed suicide. Also known as Ba Trieu – Lady Trieu.  

Queen Denak of the Sasanian Empire

227-43 Influential Queen Denak of the Sasanian Empire (Iran)
Sister and wife of Ardeshir Papakan, the founder of the Sasanian Dynasty. One of her seals has survived and is currently at the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg and shows her without her husband. The Sasanian aristocratic women had great wealth and influence and managed their extensive wealth with their own administration.


238-41 Regent N.N. of the Roman Empire
Her name is not known, but she was the daughter of Emperor Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus Romanus Africanus (Gordian I) and married to a senator, whose name is also not known. After Emperor Maximus I Thrax was murdered, her 13-year-old son, Emperor Gordianus III (225-38-44) was placed on the throne with her in charge of the regency.


Circa 250-66 Queen Regnant Toyo of Japan
Succeeded her relative Himiko. In 266 she was mentioned in the Chinese annals for sending an envoy to China.


Around 256/74 Queen Regnant of Vakataka in Bhadramukhas (India)
The wife of Rudrasena II of Bhadramukhas (256-274), she ruled independently for 20 years.


266-283 Queen Regnant Maleqorobar of Meroe (Sudan)
Also known as Malegereabar.

Queen Zenobia 268-71 Queen Regnant Zenobia of Palmyra  (Syria)
Following the assassination of her husband, King Odenathus, in which she is believed to have been implicated, Zenobia succeeded to power as regent for their young son. Within three years, she extended her rule to all of Syria, to Egypt, and to most of Asia Minor, ostensibly in alliance with Rome. In 271, however, because of Zenobia's aggressiveness in the East, the Roman emperor Lucius Domitius Aurelian took up arms against her. After gaining control of nearly Zenobia’s entire domain, Aurelian besieged the city of Palmyra. It fell, and Zenobia was captured and taken to Rome. Later she was given an estate at Tibur (now Tivoli, Italy), where she spent the rest of her life in pensioned retirement. 


268-270/271 Politically Influential Augusta Victoria in the Gallic Empire (A number of Roman Provinces)
Also known as Victorina or Vitruvia she was a wealthy noblewoman. It was due to her influence that her son, Marcus Piavonius Victorinus I, was cosen as a Co-Consul to Postumus about the 265. 3 years later her son was declared emperor by the troops in the Gallic Empire (in Latin Imperium Galliarum) - the independent realm that existed 260-274, consisting of the breakaway Roman provinces of Gaul, Britannia, and Hispania. She had considerable influence over him at times. Victorinus was murdered in 270 or early 271 by Attitianus, one of his officers, whose wife he had supposedly seduced. She continued to hold power after the death of Victorinus and she arranged for his deification and, after considerable payment to the troops, the appointment of Tetricus I as his successor. She adopted by the Roman Empresses after Faustina the Younger. According to “Historia Augusta” she even minted coins in her name. She died soon after Tetricus' accession.

Ulipia Serverina 275 Sole Regent Dowager Empress Ulipia Serverina of The Roman Empire (March-September)
Reigned alone after her husband, Aurelianus' death until Tacitus was named emperor.


Around 280 Mahrani Regnant Prabhavati Gupta of Magadha (India)
Her Poona plate mentions her as the daughter of Chandra Gupta II and Kubera Naga, who ruled independently and issued charters without the sanction of any extraneous higher authority. Though not much evidence is available, from the available records it is understood that Sri Gupta could be the first King of the Gupta lineage who at the time ruled in the Bengal. She was married to Sri Gupta (240-280).


290-291 Co-Ruler Dowager Empress Yang Zhi of China
Married Emperor Wu after the death of her cousin, Empress Yang Yan in 276. Their only son, Sima Hui died in 283. After he conquered Eastern Wu in 280, he became largely obsessed with feasting and women, and tired of handling important matters of state and her father, Yang Jun and uncles Yang Yao and Yang Ji became those who made actual decisions and became very powerful. She was instrumental in keeping Crown Prince Zhong's wife Jia Nanfeng from being deposed after she personally had several of the crown prince's pregnant concubines killed. After her husband's death her father became regent for the mentally deficient new emperor. The regent quickly showed himself to be autocratic and incompetent, drawing the ires of many other nobles and officials. He ordered that all edicts should be signed by both the emperor and Yang Zhi before they could be promulgated. When the allies of Empress Jia attacked, she wrote an edict ordering assistance for Yang Jun and put it on arrows, shooting it out of the palace, but then made the bold declaration that the Dowager Empress was committing treason. Her father was quickly defeated, and her clan was massacred. Yang Zhi was deposed from her position and made a commoner, and her mother, Lady Phang was executed and Yang Zhi committed suicide by refusing to eat. (d. 292).

Chinese lady

291-300 De facto Ruler Empress Jia Nanfeng of China

When her mental deficient husband, Emperor Sima Zhong, succeeded to the throne the father of his stepmother, Dowager Empress Yang Zhi was named regent, and they kept her away from the government. She staged a coup deposing Yang Zhi and her father, Yang Ju and taking over power and since then made all the important decisions for the state and effectively ruled the country. She eliminated any who appeared to be a threat to her position, including a her husband's pregnant concubines, and in 291 she deposed her husband's stepmother, Empress Yang Zhi and her father, Yang Jun, who was the regent., In addition, her victims even included the Crown Prince. In  300 the King of Zhao led a coup against her, and she was killed along with several others in her faction. In addition, Emperor Zhong was placed under house arrest. Not long after putting down this insurrection and regaining power, the kings began to fight amongst each another.


300-308 Queen Regnant Patrapeameni of Meroe (Sudan)  
Also known as Nahidemani. The Meroeans developed a unique form of art uniting styles from Black Africa and Mediterranean Egypt.


308-320 Queen Regnant Amanipilade of Meroe (Sudan)
The kingdom declined under attacks by little known invaders, desert nomads, called the Blemyes and Nobatae by around 200. Meroe was finally taken over by Axum. 


310-32? Regent The Dowager Queen of Persia (Iran)
Her husband Hormozd II died before the birth of their son Shahpur II the Great (310-79), who was elected king before his birth, or possibly as an infant after her brother-in-law Adarnarseh had been on the throne for a short while. During her son's minority reign Persia had a weak government of regents and suffered raids from its neighbours, particularly the Arabs who invaded southern Persia. Rome, however, which had gained some of the western Persian cities in Mesopotamia during the reign of Narse, Shahpur's grandfather, left Persia in peace.

Unnamed Mayan Lady Around 317 Queen Regnant Une' B'alam of Tikal (Guatemala)
The state was an important Classic-Age Mayan city-state located in northwestern Guatemala. Her name means Baby Jaguar, and she was succeeded by king K'inich Muwaan Jol.


Circa 325-ca.34 Queen Regnant Zaela Ahyawa of Ethiopia
Also known as Ahyawa Sefya or Eguala Anbasa, she succeeded her husband and converted to Christianity 327.

Chinese Lady 325-28 Regent Dowager Empress Yu Wenjun of Eastern Jin (China)

Joint regent with two others for Sima Yan (321-25-42) of the Eastern Dong (Jin), in a period that saw a severe fragmentation of central authority, as northern barbarians succeeded in laying waste too much of China, and establishing their own states in turn. 


343-357, 364-365 and 373-76 Regent Dowager Empress Chu Suanzi of the Eastern Jin Kingdom (China)
When her husband, Sima Yue, died after 1 year as Emperor Kang, her 1-year-old son Mu succeeded with her as regent. During the next years many of Later Zhao's southern provinces switched their allegiance to Jin, but not firmly so and a number of military campaigns followed. In 357, as Emperor Mu turned 14 and she officially stripped herself of her role as regent, and moved to Chongde Palace, which would be her residence for the rest of her life. But 4 years later, her son died without heirs, and she named cousin Prince Sima Pi of Langye as Emperor Ai. In 364 he was poisoned by pills given by magicians he was taking trying to seek immortality and could not handle matters of state. She again served as regent. After he died sonless in 365, she ordered that his younger brother Sima Yi succeed him (as Emperor Fei). After some years he was deposed and replaced by Emperor Jianwen, who died in 372, and when his son Emperor Xiaowu succeeded him, she was persuaded to become regent again until he turned 14 in 376. For the rest of her life, she was again referred to as Empress Dowager Chongde. She lived (324-384).


349 Regent Empress Dowager Liu of the Kingdom of Later Zhao (China)
After Later Zhao’s founding emperor Shi Le captured her father, the last Han Zhao emperor, Liu Yao, in 329, she fled together with her brothers Crown Prince Liu Xi and Prince Liu Yin of Nanyang from the capital Chang'an to Shanggui. Soon after her brothers were defeated and killed and she was captured by Zhang Chai. In 348 Emperor Shi Hu picked their son as his Heir and she was named Empress. When the Emperor grew ill the following year, he appointed his two sons as joint regents for her son, Shi Shi, but when he died she took over as regent for her son, holding power jointly with her husband. She tried to placate the sons of the later Emperor giving them high posts, but instead they marched on the capital. She then tried to placate them by offering them the office of regent and the nine bestowments, but instead he executed her husband, and then forged her to sign an edict deposing her son. She was given the title of Princess Dowager of Qiao, but soon both she and her son were executed. She lived (318-349).


Circa 370-80 Queen Regnant Mavia of the Saracens (Egypt)
Succeeded her husband as head of the Bedouin tribe, which lived in the area around the Sinai Peninsular. She organized raids against Rome's eastern frontier into Phoenicia and Palestine. Her troops defeated a Roman army and she made peace only on the condition that a hermit named Moses was appointed Bishop of her tribe. She married her daughter to a Roman commander in chief. She is probably the same person described as Mawi, Queen of Syria and possibly she was from Ghassar, an Arab Kingdom in the Sinai Peninsular. 


Around 371 Arabian Leader Mauriya of the Nabatan (Arabia)

The Nabatan was an old people in Arabia, and is believed to have invented the basis for the Arab script.


375-83 Joint Ruler Dowager Empress Iustiana of the Roman Empire
383-? Regent
Reigned together with son Gratianus and regent for Valentianus II (383-92), who ruled the Western division of the Empire, encompassing Rome itself together with Italy, Gaul, Britain, Iberia, and northwestern Africa, though the state was already disintegrating faced with the barbaric invasions.


378 Queen Regnant Zarmandukht of Greater Armenia
Her name is also spelled Zarmandux, she was widow of King Pap, who was known to have been gay and was killed on the orders of the Byzantine general Terent. In the first instance his cousin Varazdat was king until 378. She took power, but from 378 until his death in 385, Manuel Mamikonean, was the real ruler of Armenia. He ruled as a "trustee" of the monarchy in the name of her son, and kept both of them in the king's place and causing them to circulate around in honour. He nourished her two sons Arshak and Vagharsha as his foster-children and honoured her.


378 De-facto Regent Dowager Empress Domnica of The Byzantine Empire (Covering what is now Greece and Turkey)
Held the City of Byzanz after the death of her husband, Valens and defended the city against the attacks of the Goths, before the arrival of the successor, Theodosios.


390 Queen Regnant Prabhavati Gupta of the Deccan Region (India)
As ruler of the Deccan region, she introduced the Gupta culture of northern India to the Vakata Kingdom. (Probably the same as in 280).


Circa 390-410 Regent Dowager Queen Sita Mahadevi of Vakatakas (India)
After the death of her husband, Rudrasena II who died five years after coming to the throne, she took over the reins for their under-age sons, and had coins struck in her name. She was daughter of Chandra Gupta II. In the early part of the Christian Era when Bharasivas were suzerains, we have the seal of Mahadevi Rudramati, the last royal document of the Vakatakas before the state virtually became a part of the Gupta empire.

Justa Grata Honoria of Rome

449/50 Augusta Justa Grata Honoria of the Roman Empire (in the West)
The sister of Valentin III, she acted in her capacity as Augusta.

Eudoxia of Byzans 400-04 De-facto Ruler Empress Eudoxia of The Byzantine Empire (Covering what is now Greece and Turkey)
A significant figure in the government because she had the ear of her husband Emperor Arcadius of the East Roman Empire until her own death in 404. She was strong and strident, dominating her weak and passive husband.

Princess Pulchera 414-55 De-facto Ruler Augusta Pulchera of The Byzantine Empire (Covering what is now Greece and Turkey)
At the age of 15 Princess Aelia Pulcheria was crowned Augusta and assumed a dominant role in guiding the affairs of state. In 420/22 she may have organized the Byzantine campaign against Persia, she replaced the emperor as director of power, but the ultimate power resided with her brother. In the mid-420s she engaged in a power struggle with her sister-in-law, Eudokia, and Pulchera was forced into semi-retirement. She established herself as a holy virgin dedicated to God, and this gave her access into the altar to receive the communion with priests and deacons, something normally barred to women. When her brother died in 450 she took control of the government of the Eastern Empire, and married Marcian, Army Chief of Staff, and named him co-Emperor. She spoke Greek and Latin and had a deep interest in medicine and natural science lived (399-453).


421-442/443 Politically influential Empress Athenais-Eudokia of The Byzantine Empire (Covering what is now Greece and Turkey)
In 423 her husband, emperor Theodosius II gave her title of Augusta. She fought for power and influence over emperor with her sister Pulcheria, was very well educated and was involved in the founding of an university in Constantinople. 442/443-460 she was in exile in Jerusalem. The daughter of the philosopher Leonciushe, she died in 460.

Galla Placidia 423-50 Regent Dowager Empress Galla Placidia of the Roman Empire (Covering Italy, Spain, France and Northern Africa)
In Rome at the time of its sack by Alaric and the Visigoths, and after Alaric’s death in 414, she married his brother and successor as king of the Visigoths, Athaulf. After his death, Placidia returned home in 416 to marry Constantius, who was made Co-augustus in the West in 421 and became the Roman emperor Constantius III. He died of pleurisy after a reign of only seven months. In 423 her brother Emperor Honorius died and Galla Placidia was made Augusta and regent for her six-year-old son Valentinian III. Placidia proved to be a hard-nosed ruler who knew how to manage a declining economy and rebellious subjects. Even after her son's death, she managed the Roman government in the West for twenty years during one of the most perilous periods of its existence. She lived (388-450).

Chinese lady 465-71 and 476-90 Regent Dowager Queen Feng Shi of Touba Wei (China)
Also known as Wenming, she dominated politics in Northern Wei for twenty-five years as regent during the reigns of two emperors: Xianwen (Toba Hong) (465-76) whom she had poisoned in 476, then her grandson, Xiaowen (476-99). Xiaowen is known for his sinicization zeal, as flamboyantly demonstrated by moving the capital from Datong to Luoyang, forbidding Xianbei clothes and language, legislating Han names, and encouraging intermarriage and Chinese law. The Xianbei aristocracy was against full-scale sinicization and even though the opposition was contained by Xiaowen, the dissent later split the Northern Wei into Eastern and Western Wei. She was Han - a member of the Northern Yan imperial family who entered the Northern Wei court as a concubine after Wei conquered Northern Yan. In the south, a series of ethnically Chinese dynasties managed to endure on the lower Yangtze. She lived (441-90).

Verina of Rome

474-84 Politically Influential Empress Verina of The Roman Empire and Byzantine (Italy etc, Greece and Turkey)
Her husband, Leo I was succeeded by their grandson Leo II (seven years old), who appointed his father Zeno as Co-Emperor with her support, but after Leo's death in November 474 she fought for power with Zeno. In January 475 he was overthrown by her and her allies. She wanted to make her brother Bazyliskos, and Patrikios, Emperors. She planned to marry Patrikios. She personally crowned her brother, but he killed Patrikios, and she again entered into an alliance with Zeno, who regained the throne in 476. Afterwards Veria became one of the most influential and powerful persons on the court and later fought for power with Illus. In 477-78 she organized two unsuccessfully coup d'etats against Illus, who took her hostage. In 481 her daughter, Empress Ariane, organized an unsuccessful coup d'etat against Illus to free her, the same year the emperor forced Illus to leave for Constantinople, where he announced a patrician Leoncius as the real emperor. Veria joined to him, and at 19th July 484 she personally crowned Leoncius. She published a document for the administrators of provinces and for the citizens of Antiochia, where she wrote, that the imperial power belonged to her. She had, after her husband's death, chosen Zeno as Emperor, but she had not know, that Zeno was so greedy, and therefore she now wanted to a pious and just Christian as Emperor, who would repair the state and bring peace. This is seen as an example of the fact that public and political personal power could pass down trough the female line in The Byzantine Empire. The Augusta could legitimize the rule of their husband's or others. But all power was vested in the Emperor, and everybody else - including officials at court - depended on his will. One of her three daughters, Ariane was married to Emperor Zeno. She died in 484. 


478-79 Rebellion Leader Princess Leontia of the Byzantine Empire (Covering what is now Greece and Turkey)
She was the youngest daughter of Emperor Leo I and Empress Aelia Verina. Her older sister was Empress Ariadne. Leontia was first married to Patricius, a son of Aspar. Their marriage was probably annulled when Aspar and another of his sons, Ardabur, were assassinated in 471. Leontia then married Marcian, a son of Anthemius and Marcia Euphemia. The couple led a failed revolt against Zeno in 478-479. They were exiled to Isauria following their defeat.


484-85 Princess Regent Iitoyo Ao no Kōjo of Yamato (Japan)
As Emperor Seinei (reigned 479-484) lay dying without having named a successor, serious conflict between the various factions at court seemed inevitable. To avoid this, the nobles chose her, the highest ranking shamaness as a consensus sovereign. A daughter of the 16th Emperor Richu and with a lineage that could be traced back to Õjin, she lived within Takaki (Tall Stockade) tending to the spiritual needs of the Yamato people. She declined to assume the title of tennõ but ruled until the children of her late brother could be brought back from exile. She lived (440-485).

Queen of Kuba Circa 490 Queen Regnant Lobamba of Kuba (Congo-Brazzaville)
Daughter of Loko Yima and succeeded by Woto. The state developed east of the confluence of the Sankuru and Kasai rivers, before the Kubans migrated to its present habitat in the Kuba area. 

Empress Ariane 491 Regent Dowager Empress Ariane of The Byzantine Empire (Covering what is now Greece and Turkey)
Also known as Aelia Ariadane, she was the daughter of Leo I (447-74). She was married to Tarasicodissa, who became Emperor Zeno, and after his death in 491 the Senate officially requested her to choose another candidate to rule and she married Anastasios I, who became emperor. 






Last update 24.02.14


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