7 of the Most Powerful Women From Ancient Times

History has always been spotlighting powerful men around the world. But there were several women who were equally or more powerful than men. These powerful women have shaped the course of history with their intelligence, strength, passion, and leadership qualities.

7. Theodora (500-548)

Theodora was a highly influential Empress of the Byzantine Empire and a saint of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Married to Emperor Justinian I, she was his most trusted advisor and used him to achieve her purposes. She controlled foreign affairs and legislation, violently put down riots, and, notably, fought for the rights of women, passing anti-trafficking laws and improving divorce proceedings.

6. Empress Wu Zetian (624-705)

Empress Wu Zetian was the only female Emperor in Chinese history, living during the Tang Dynasty. Her rule is known for expanding the Chinese empire, economic prosperity, and education reform. She was also known as a patron of Buddhism. She did have her detractors who accused her of ruthlessness and cruelty, perhaps going as far as killing her daughter and son as part of a political intrigue.

5. Nefertiti, Queen of the Nile

Nefertiti was the chief consort of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten , who reigned from approximately 1353 to 1336 BC. Known as the Ruler of the Nile and Daughter of Gods, Nefertiti acquired unprecedented power, and is believed to have held equal status to the pharaoh himself.

4. Olympias: Woman Ruler of Macedonia

Olympias was the wife of Philip II of Macedonia, and the mother of Alexander the Great. She had a reputation as both sacred and violent. After Alexander’s death, she seized power as regent for Alexander’s posthumous son and had many of her enemies killed.

3. Cleopatra VII, Egypt

Cleopatra was beautiful, intelligent and powerful. Why was she powerful? At one point of time she was controlling two powerful people in the world – Julius Caesar and Marc Antony. With her amazing beauty, she was able to hypnotize any man. The last active ruler of Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt was a naval commander, diplomat, author and multilingual. She is one of the most famous and important figure in the history of Egypt and the world.

2. Queen Hatshepsut – Pharaoh of Egypt

Hatshepsut was one of the most powerful rulers of ancient Egypt and is the second confirmed female Pharaoh of Egypt. She ruled from c. 1478–1458 BC in the 18th dynasty. She was one of the most successful rulers of Egypt. Hatshepsut was innovative, intelligent and was represented with the title of “king”. At such a time, a women belonging to an already powerful kingdom should have been undoubtedly the most powerful on Earth.

1. Zenobia (240-275)- Palmyrene Empire, Syria

Zenobia was a queen of the Palmyrene Empire in Syria who challenged the authority of the Roman Empire in the 3rd century. She conquered Egypt, Anatolia, Lebanon and Roman Judea until finally being defeated by the Roman emperor Aurelian.