Aganice (XX bc)
Aganice, cited in other texts as Athyrta, is the name of an Egyptian princess who lived around 1900 bc, during the Middle Kingdom (about 2000–1700 bc) working on astronomy and natural philosophy. As it is reported in ancient religious writings, she is supposed to be the daughter or the sister of the king Sesostris I or Sesostre of Twelfth Dynasty. This Pharaoh ruled Egypt for 45 years, pursuing an expansionistic policy through several military expeditions that enlarged and secured the borders of his kingdom. He was the first Pharaoh to leave the capital city to go to the lands of Kush, in Nubia, but he never managed to conquer them. Despite the military activity at the borders, the internal policy was characterized by a peaceful climate which favored the development of arts and science, thus continuing a long-standing tradition whose origins can be traced back to the Old Kingdom, which lasted for about 500 years starting from the twenty-seventh century bc.Women were an integral part of this society, to such an extent that there were medical schools in which they could be educated. There are distinguished examples of this institution, including Moses and his wife Zipporah, who are claimed to have studied medicine at Heliopolis around 1500 bc, and Hashepsut, woman Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty. Indeed, she was called the Queen-doctor, and promoted a botanical expedition searching for officinal plants. In Egypt, not just medicine but also observation of the stars had very remote origins. In the southern Sahara desert, near Nabta in the Nubian desert, what is believed to be the oldest Astronomical Observatory, erected well before the Age of Pyramids, is still standing after 7000 years. The site consists of a small stone circle, with a series of grave-like flat structures, and of five lines of megaliths that resemble those of Stonehenge and of other European areas which, however are dated 1000 years later.