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The name Candace and its variants derive from the title Kandake.
A legend in the Alexander romance claims that Candace of Meroë fought Alexander the Great. In fact, Alexander never attacked Nubia, and never attempted to move further south than the oasis of Siwa in Egypt.
In 25 BC the kandake Amanirenas, as reported by Strabo, attacked the city of Syene, today's Aswan, in territory of the Roman Empire; Emperor Augustus destroyed the city of Napata in retaliation.
Most scholars would dismiss the accounts of Herodotus, Strabo, and Diodorus as compelling evidence to support the existence of women warriors in Africa, although all three ancient writers have proved accurate in the great majority of their testable observations about life in the centuries before Christ. As time proceeds, the evidence supporting the presence of a tradition of African women warriors grows in its persuasiveness. An impressive series of Nubian warrior queens, queen regents, and queen mothers, known as kentakes (Greek: Candace "Candake"), are only appearing to the light of history through the ongoing deciphering of the Meroitic script. They controlled what is now Sudan, Ethiopia, and parts of Egypt.
Bas-reliefs dated to about 170 B.C. reveal kentakes Shanakdakheto, dressed in armor and wielding a spear in battle. She did not rule as queen regent or queen mother but as a fully independent ruler. Her husband was her consort. In bas-reliefs found in the ruins of building projects she commissioned, Shanakdakheto is portrayed both alone as well as with her husband and son, who would inherit the throne by her death.
Four African queens were known to the Greco-Roman world as the "Candaces": Amanishakhete, Amanirenas, Nawidemak, and Malegereabar.