The Worst Banquet Of All Time

Kayla Mahoney - Tour Guide

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Not much is known about the Egyptian Queen, Nitocris.

She might have been the last leader of the 6th Dynasty, she might have built the third pyramid using only her hands and sheer will, or she might have been completely made up by the Greek historian Herodotus.

For the sake of this story, let’s go ahead and believe that Nitocris was a real ruler, the last queen of the 6th Dynasty and the worst hostess of all time.

Nitocris

Blood Is Thicker Than Water

Nitocris gained power after her brother, the king of Egypt was murdered. The same people who murdered her brother put Nitocris in power, which indicates that they clearly never watched Game of Thrones. Nitocris was all smiles and waves to receive the throne, while contemplating the death and destruction of her family’s foes.

Shortly after becoming queen, Nitocris invited everyone who had anything to do with her brother’s death to an inauguration party. In an underground chamber.1

Once all her guests had arrived, Nitocris excused herself to a side room outside of the underground chamber. There, she unlocked a secret duct that unleashed the power and fury of the Nile River into the room, drowning every last guest.

After ensuring all of her enemies were dead, Nitocris threw herself onto a pyre to escape vengeance.

Here’s the tale in Herodotus’ own words:

After him came three hundred and thirty kings, whose names the priests recited from a papyrus roll. In all these many generations there were eighteen Ethiopian kings, and one queen, native to the country; the rest were all Egyptian men. The name of the queen was the same as that of the Babylonian princess, Nitocris.

She, to avenge her brother (he was king of Egypt and was slain by his subjects, who then gave Nitocris the sovereignty) put many of the Egyptians to death by treachery. She built a spacious underground chamber; then, with the pretence of inaugurating it, but with quite another intent in her mind, she gave a great feast, inviting to it those Egyptians whom she knew to have had the most complicity in her brother’s murder; and while they feasted, she let the river in upon them by a vast secret channel.

This was all that the priests told of her, except that when she had done this she cast herself into a chamber full of hot ashes, to escape vengeance. 2

Revenge Is a Dish Best Served Wet

Whether Nitocris really existed or not, her tale serves as a reminder to us all to watch who we put into power.

So the next time you get pissed at Siri for calling your Mom instead of Margaret, remember to hold your tongue. You’ll be thankful you did when the robots take over.

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Notes & Gossip 📌

  1. Ḏḥwty (February 13th, 2016). Ancient Origins
  2. Herodotus (1920). Harvard University Press

Scholarly Shout-outs 🌟

  • Ḏḥwty (2016, February 13th). The Shrouded History of Nitocris: Was the Last Pharaoh of the Sixth Dynasty a Woman? http://www.ancient-origins.net/history-famous-people/shrouded-history-nitocris-was-last-pharaoh-sixth-dynasty-woman-005347
  • Herodotus (1920). Herodotus, with an English translation by A. D. Godley. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0126%3Abook%3D2%3Achapter%3D100%3Asection%3D1
  • Mark, J. (2017, March 31st). Nitocris. https://www.ancient.eu/Nitocris/

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