Top 10 Most Powerful Women From Ancient Times

History has always been highlighting powerful men around the world. There were several women who were equally or more powerful than men. These women from history have shown great leadership abilities, strength, courage, intelligence and development. They have influenced the course of history and the world by showcasing the power of women. They are iconic, legendary, badass and highly respected throughout history. This list talks about such strong people in history and from the ancient times to inspire us.

List of 10 most powerful women from the ancient world:

10. Olga of Kiev, Russia

Olga of Kiev

Olga of Kiev was one of the first female ruler of Russia and one of the most powerful women in the world. Regnant of the Kievan Rus was a Christian Saint who was powerful and a person you shouldn’t mess with. She was married to Igor who was murdered. After she became the Regnant, she slowly tied with the Christian powers of Europe and by asking its people to convert to Christianity without force. The religious ties helped Olga to establish trade paths between many powerful empires around her like the Byzantines and the Holy Roman Empire. She destroyed anyone who wanted to take away her powers. During her rule, the rising tribe of Drevlians was responsible for her husband’s murder. She made plans to defeat them and her revenge against them was vicious. She set up the Kievan Rus into a European Power during her reign.

9. Cleopatra VII, Egypt

Cleopatra the Most Beautiful Woman in History

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 control any men. The beauty from the ancient times had a liaison with Julius Caesar who helped Cleopatra solidify her grip on the throne. 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.

8. Empress Dowager Cixi, China

Empress Dowager Cixi

Empress Dowager Cixi was one of the most powerful empresses of China’s Qing dynasty who transformed China into a world power. Qing dynasty was one of the most powerful empires of the ancient world. The influential historical figure took China from a medieval state into the modern world. The ruthlessly brilliant empress challenged enemies within and outside the country. She is known to have efficiently controlled the Chinese government from 1861 till her death in 1908 for 47 years. Before the Qing dynasty, the Ming dynasty never had control of regions such as Tibet, Mongolia and parts of Turkestan. But, after Qing all those were under the control of China. Qings were the first to control Tibet. She was the only woman to exercise true power in China. Cixi was a supporter of China’s Self-Strengthening Movement, military reforms and technological advancements.

7. Hatshepsut, Egypt

Queen Hatshepsut

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 a time when the world was still forming, her kingdom was one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient world. The Greeks, Mesopotamia and Indians were just gaining momentum in their civilizations. At such a time, a women belonging to an already powerful kingdom should have been undoubtedly the most powerful on Earth.

6. Merneith, Egypt


The ancient Egypt was one of the most mysterious and powerful in the ancient world. Merneith is believed to have ruled around 2950 BC, more than 5000 years ago when Egypt was one of the most powerful. Merneith was the first female ruler of Egypt based on several official records. She was the first pharaoh of Egypt, consort and a regent. Her name appears on several artifacts and stela. During the first dynasty of Egypt when Egypt was developing at a fast rate, Merneith was there at that time strong and powerful. The Egyptians were driving and influencing the world for nearly 3,000 years where the queen was at the start of this journey.

5. Catherine the Great, Russia

Catherine The Great

Catherine the Great was the most powerful woman of the 18th Century and the longest reigning female leader of Russia. She took Russia from a state of medieval stupor to a modern Russia. Russia revitalized under her rule and she was recognized as one of the great powers of Europe. The ambitious and intelligent Empress of Russia had the support of the people and the army. She went to war with Turkey and won them. Her area of development were military, politics, economy, modernization, found many cities and towns, foreign policies and many more. The period of her rule from 1762 to 1796 is famously known as the Catherinian Era, the Golden Age of the Russian Empire. Russian Empire was one of the most powerful during her times.

4. Theodora, Turkey


Theodora, the Eastern Roman Empress was one of the most influential and powerful of the Eastern Roman Empire. She was from a humble family. Theodora was ruling as co-regent of Justinian I and was as powerful as the emperor. She ruled from 527 AD to 548 AD. She was so powerful that she removed Pope Silverius after he refused to obey her. During the Nika riots, she convinced the emperor Justinian I to stay in Constantinople which in return saved the empire. Justinian was able to save the empire from collapsing and easily crushed the revolt. She made several infrastructure projects, made Constantinople into one of the cutting-edge cities of those times and helped in the promotion of women rights.

At the time of her death, she was ruling such a big empire that, a similar empire could be seen only until the times of Napoleon. 

3. Queen Victoria, United Kingdom

Queen Victoria,

Queen Victoria was the most powerful woman in the world during her time. The strong empire set up by Queen Elizabeth I was taken over by Queen Victoria. At one point in time she had more powers than Queen Elizabeth had at her time. Queen Victoria was close to her first Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne. At one point of time she was ruling a vast area of land spanning six continents. She was in control of 14.2 million square miles of land belonging to Australia, India Canada, South Africa, and Nigeria, Sudan and New Zealand and many more countries. She ruled for 63 long years. Her ruling period was famously called as the “Victorian Era”. During the era, she abolished slavery; most of the Britishers got their voting rights and military, political and economic improvements occurred.

2. Elizabeth I, United Kingdom

Queen Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I was one of the most powerful queens to have come from England. We know that Queen Victoria was more famous and ruled vast area but it was Elizabeth who set up the power and position for Victoria. Elizabeth I made England into a world power against the mighty Spain. At a time when England was facing bankruptcy and weak due to the mid-Tudor crisis, Elizabeth I pulled out from that position into the ‘Golden Age’. She spearheaded changes in England such as the Renaissance and transformed the country into Protestant. Elizabeth’s reign became famously known as the Elizabethan era. Several famous poets such as William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe have contributed in this period.

1. Empress Wu Zetian, China

Empress Wu Zetian

Wu Zetian was a powerful Chinese empress from the Tang dynasty (618-906 AD). The Chinese empress is known as empress regnant of China for more than two millennia. Wu Zetain was the first and only true “empress” from China. In 700 A.D, the supreme ruler was at one point ruling almost one-fourth of the world population. She was the wife of Emperor GaoZong. She was one of the most effective and controversial monarchs in the history of China.

By the age of 13, she was famous for her beauty, wit and intelligence. After the death of Emperor GoaZong, Wu took over as the Empress of China officially. She went on to expand China militarily and politically. Wu also expanded the territory of China, deep into Central Asia by engaging wars on the Korean Peninsula. She won wars against the Tibetans and Turks. Today, she stands buried in Qianling Mausoleum but the entrance to the chambers is yet to be found.


Vinod Suthersan is an young tech enthusiast, Blogger addict, Internet craze and thriving to learn new things on the world of Internet.