Was This “Mistress” a King?

Were all the rulers in ancient Israel men? A recent archeological dig in Israel says maybe not. This plaque found by Tel Aviv University archaeologists shows a mysterious woman they’re labeling “Mistress of the Lionesses.” Archaeologists and art historians have determined from the hairstyle and lotus flowers that this image portrays a woman, and they can tell she’s a ruler by her clothing (who knew?). She may be the mystery author of letters written on clay tablets around 1350 B.C.E., sent to Pharaoh and found two decades ago in Egypt. The letters, from a woman ruler of some pre-Exodus Canaanite city, ask for military help in protecting her city from invaders, according to Science Daily. Until this plaque was found in Israel, scholars wondered which city she ruled; now they speculate she was the ruler of what is Bet Shemesh in present-day Israel.

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