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Politics and Power in the Courts of Two Queens: Cleopatra of Egypt and Idia of the Old Benin Kingdom


The aim of this paper is to examine the character, personality, intrigues involved in the power and politics of two different female principalities who existed and reigned in two distinct epochs.  Queen Cleopatra of Egypt exhibited skills which surpassed those of her predecessors and secured her position as Pharaoh in Egypt.  Queen Idia of the old Benin Kingdom was a powerful political figure who, during her incumbency, sustained her son, Oba Esigie on the throne.  The paper contends that both female leaders believed in their capacity to rule, therefore, they exuded strong political strategies for the greater good of their interest.  This paper discovers that both queens who were indeed brave utilized what they possessed to achieve what they desired.  Consequently, Queen Cleopatra won the support and love of Julius Caesar first and then Mark Anthony.  The title of Iyioba, (King’s mother) was bestowed on Queen Idia by her son the Oba (king) of Benin. Studies that may interrogate political strategies of some leaders in both ancient Rome and Benin Empire are recommended.

Keywords: Benin, Cleopatra, Idia, Queen, ancient Egypt

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