Jan 01, G. Lawrence rated it it was amazing Excellent. A fascinating look at a successful female pharaoh of the 18th dynasty, whose name some attempted thankfully unsuccessfully to obliterate from history. Sep 02, Victoria Adams rated it it was amazing Since I love ancient history I usually hunt through bookstore shelves for little known titles. Sometimes the dusty, cluttered and unorganized used bookshop can produce the most fascinating bits of wisdom. I cant say precisely where I found this particular gem, however the pricing on the dust jacket tells me that is was most likely on one of those adventurous afternoons in a cavernous used bookshop.

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Reign[ edit ] Jar bearing the cartouche of Hatshepsut. Filled in with cedar resin. Calcite, unfinished. Foundation deposit. From Deir el-Bahari, Egypt. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London Trade with other countries was re-established; here trees transported by ship from Punt are shown being moved ashore for planting in Egypt—relief from Hatshepsut mortuary temple Although contemporary records of her reign are documented in diverse ancient sources, Hatshepsut was thought by early modern scholars as only having served as a co-regent from about to BC, during years seven to twenty-one of the reign previously identified as that of Thutmose III.

With short reigns, Hatshepsut would have ascended the throne 14 years after the coronation of Thutmose I, her father. She oversaw the preparations and funding for a mission to the Land of Punt. This was the first recorded attempt to transplant foreign trees. It is reported that Hatshepsut had these trees planted in the courts of her mortuary temple complex. Egyptians also returned with a number of other gifts from Punt, among which was frankincense.

This is the first recorded use of the resin. Due to the fat deposits on her buttocks, it has sometimes been argued that she may have had steatopygia. However, according to the pathologist Marc Armand Ruffer , the main characteristic of a steatopygous woman is a disproportion in size between the buttocks and thighs, which was not the case with Ati. She instead appears to have been generally obese , a condition that was exaggerated by excessive lordosis or curvature of the lower spine.

Very little is known about these expeditions. Although many Egyptologists have claimed that her foreign policy was mainly peaceful, [22] it is possible that she led military campaigns against Nubia and Canaan.

Designed by Senemut, her vizier , the building is an example of perfect symmetry that predates the Parthenon , and it was the first complex built on the site she chose, which would become the Valley of the Kings Copper or bronze sheet bearing the name of Hatshepsut.

From a foundation deposit in "a small pit covered with a mat" found at Deir el-Bahri, Egypt. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London Hatshepsut was one of the most prolific builders in ancient Egypt, commissioning hundreds of construction projects throughout both Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. Later pharaohs attempted to claim some of her projects as theirs.

She employed the great architect Ineni , who also had worked for her father, her husband, and for the royal steward Senemut. Following the tradition of most pharaohs, Hatshepsut had monuments constructed at the Temple of Karnak. She also restored the original Precinct of Mut , the ancient great goddess of Egypt , at Karnak that had been ravaged by the foreign rulers during the Hyksos occupation.

It later was ravaged by other pharaohs, who took one part after another to use in their own pet projects. The precinct awaits restoration. She had twin obelisks , at the time the tallest in the world, erected at the entrance to the temple.

One still stands , as the tallest surviving ancient obelisk on Earth; the other has broken in two and toppled. The official in charge of those obelisks was the high steward Amenhotep. Later, she ordered the construction of two more obelisks to celebrate her 16th year as pharaoh; one of the obelisks broke during construction and a third was therefore constructed to replace it.

The broken obelisk was left at its quarrying site in Aswan , where it still remains. Known as the Unfinished Obelisk , it provides evidence of how obelisks were quarried. The name, Pakhet, was a synthesis that occurred by combining Bast and Sekhmet , who were similar lioness war goddesses, in an area that bordered the north and south division of their cults.

The cavernous underground temple, cut into the rock cliffs on the eastern side of the Nile , was admired and called the Speos Artemidos by the Greeks during their occupation of Egypt, known as the Ptolemaic Dynasty. They saw the goddess as akin to their hunter goddess, Artemis. The temple is thought to have been built alongside much more ancient ones that have not survived. This temple was altered later and some of its inside decorations were usurped by Seti I of the Nineteenth Dynasty , in an attempt to have his name replace that of Hatshepsut.

She built hers in a complex at Deir el-Bahri. It was designed and implemented by Senenmut at a site on the West Bank of the Nile River near the entrance to what now is called the Valley of the Kings because of all the pharaohs who later chose to associate their complexes with the grandeur of hers. Her buildings were the first grand ones planned for that location. The focal point of the complex was the Djeser-Djeseru or "the Sublime of Sublimes", a colonnaded structure of perfect harmony built nearly one thousand years before the Parthenon.

Djeser-Djeseru sits atop a series of terraces that once were graced with lush gardens. Djeser-Djeseru is built into a cliff face that rises sharply above it. Another one of her great accomplishments is the Hatshepsut needle [28] also known as the granite obelisks. Comparison with other female rulers[ edit ] Head of Hatshepsut wearing the royal headdress. State Museum of Egyptian Art, Munich Although it was uncommon for Egypt to be ruled by a woman, the situation was not unprecedented.

As a regent , Hatshepsut was preceded by Merneith of the First Dynasty , who was buried with the full honors of a pharaoh and may have ruled in her own right. Nimaathap of the Third Dynasty may have been the dowager of Khasekhemwy , but certainly acted as regent for her son, Djoser , and may have reigned as pharaoh in her own right. Her name is found in the Histories of Herodotus and writings of Manetho , but her historicity is uncertain.

Queen Sobekneferu of the Twelfth Dynasty is known to have assumed formal power as ruler of "Upper and Lower Egypt" three centuries earlier than Hatshepsut. Amenhotep I , also preceding Hatshepsut in the Eighteenth Dynasty, probably came to power while a young child and his mother, Ahmose-Nefertari , is thought to have been a regent for him.

Among the later, non-indigenous Egyptian dynasties, the most notable example of another woman who became pharaoh was Cleopatra VII , the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.

Perhaps in an effort to ease anxiety over the prospect of a female pharaoh , Hatshepsut claimed a divine right to rule based on the authority of the god Amun.

She was successful in warfare early in her reign, but generally is considered to be a pharaoh who inaugurated a long peaceful era.

She re-established international trading relationships lost during foreign occupation by the Hyksos and brought great wealth to Egypt. That wealth enabled Hatshepsut to initiate building projects that raised the calibre of Ancient Egyptian architecture to a standard, comparable to classical architecture, that would not be rivaled by any other culture for a thousand years.

She managed to rule for about 20 years. While all ancient leaders used it to laud their achievements, Hatshepsut has been called the most accomplished pharaoh at promoting her accomplishments. It afforded her many opportunities to laud herself, but it also reflected the wealth that her policies and administration brought to Egypt, enabling her to finance such projects. Aggrandizement of their achievements was traditional when pharaohs built temples and their tombs.

Large granite sphinx bearing the likeness of the pharaoh Hatshepsut, depicted with the traditional false beard, a symbol of her pharaonic power—Metropolitan Museum of Art Women had a relatively high status in ancient Egypt and enjoyed the legal right to own, inherit, or will property.

A woman becoming pharaoh was rare, however; only Sobekneferu , Khentkaus I and possibly Nitocris preceded her. Nefernferuaten and Twosret may have been the only women to succeed her among the indigenous rulers. In Egyptian history, there was no word for a "queen regnant" as in contemporary history, "king" being the ancient Egyptian title regardless of gender, and by the time of her reign, pharaoh had become the name for the ruler. Hatshepsut is not unique, however, in taking the title of king.

Sobekneferu, ruling six dynasties prior to Hatshepsut, also did so when she ruled Egypt. Hatshepsut had been well trained in her duties as the daughter of the pharaoh. She had taken a strong role as queen to her husband and was well experienced in the administration of her kingdom by the time she became pharaoh. There is no indication of challenges to her leadership and, until her death, her co-regent remained in a secondary role, quite amicably heading her powerful army—which would have given him the power necessary to overthrow a usurper of his rightful place, if that had been the case.

Hatshepsut assumed all of the regalia and symbols of the pharaonic office in official representations: the Khat head cloth, topped with the uraeus , the traditional false beard , and shendyt kilt. Statues portraying Sobekneferu also combine elements of traditional male and female iconography and, by tradition, may have served as inspiration for these works commissioned by Hatshepsut.

At her mortuary temple, in Osirian statues that regaled the transportation of the pharaoh to the world of the dead, the symbols of the pharaoh as the deity Osiris were the reason for the attire and they were much more important to be displayed traditionally; her breasts are obscured behind her crossed arms holding the royal staffs of the two kingdoms she ruled. This became a pointed concern among writers who sought reasons for the generic style of the shrouded statues and led to misinterpretations.

Understanding of the religious symbolism was required to interpret the statues correctly. Interpretations by these early scholars varied and often, were baseless conjectures of their own contemporary values. The possible reasons for her breasts not being emphasized in the most formal statues were debated among some early Egyptologists, who failed to understand the ritual religious symbolism, to take into account the fact that many women and goddesses portrayed in ancient Egyptian art often lack delineation of breasts, and that the physical aspect of the gender of pharaohs was never stressed in the art.

With few exceptions, subjects were idealized. The gender of pharaohs was never stressed in official depictions; even the men were depicted with the highly stylized false beard associated with their position in the society. Moreover, the Osirian statues of Hatshepsut — as with other pharaohs — depict the dead pharaoh as Osiris, with the body and regalia of that deity. All of the statues of Hatshepsut at her tomb follow that tradition.

The promise of resurrection after death was a tenet of the cult of Osiris. Since many statues of Hatshepsut depicted in this fashion have been put on display in museums and those images have been widely published, viewers who lack an understanding of the religious significance of these depictions have been misled. Aside from the face depicting Hatshepsut, these statues closely resemble those of other kings as Osiris, following religious traditions.

Most of the official statues commissioned of Hatshepsut show her less symbolically and more naturally, as a woman in typical dresses of the nobility of her day. Rather than the strong bull, Hatshepsut, having served as a very successful warrior during the early portion of her reign as pharaoh, associated herself with the lioness image of Sekhmet , the major war deity in the Egyptian pantheon. Religious concepts were tied into all of these symbols and titles. They became interchangeable at times.

Hatshepsut also traced her lineage to Mut , a primal mother goddess of the Egyptian pantheon, which gave her another ancestor who was a deity as well as her father and grandfathers, pharaohs who would have become deified upon death. While Hatshepsut was depicted in official art wearing regalia of a pharaoh, such as the false beard that male pharaohs also wore, it is most unlikely that she ever wore such ceremonial decorations, just as it is unlikely that the male pharaohs did.

Statues such as those at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, depicting her seated wearing a tight-fitting dress and the nemes crown, are thought to be a more accurate representation of how she would have presented herself at court. The Hawk of the Pharaoh, Hatshepsut—Temple at Luxor One of the most famous examples of the legends about Hatshepsut is a myth about her birth.

In this myth, Amun goes to Ahmose in the form of Thutmose I and awakens her with pleasant odors. Reliefs depicting each step in these events are at Karnak and in her mortuary temple. The Oracle of Amun proclaimed that it was the will of Amun that Hatshepsut be pharaoh, further strengthening her position. Thou art the Pharaoh, taking possession of the Two Lands. Moreover, Thutmose I could not have foreseen that his daughter Hatshepsut would outlive his son within his own lifetime.

Thutmose II soon married Hatshepsut and the latter became both his senior royal wife and the most powerful woman at court. Obey her words, unite yourselves at her command. No contemporary mention of the cause of her death has survived.



In she earned a first-class honours degree in the archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean from Liverpool University. In she was awarded a doctorate in Prehistoric Archaeology from Oxford University. Her thesis was written about Mousterian bifaces handaxes in Northern Europe. Tyldesley then joined the staff of Liverpool University, teaching Prehistoric Archaeology. She is currently Reader in Egyptology at the University of Manchester in the Department of Clasics, Ancient History, Archaeology and Egyptology where she is tutor and Programme Director of the three-year online Certificate in Egyptology programme, the two-year online Diploma in Egyptology programme and the two year part-time online MA in Egyptology programme [4]. She has devised, writes, directs and teaches a suite of on-line Short Courses in Egyptology, and has created several free online Egyptology courses MOOCS , working in conjunction with the Manchester Museum. Mumford the Mummy is a series of lessons aimed at Key Stage 2 primary school children, freely available via Nearpod [5].


Hatchepsut: The Female Pharaoh



Joyce Tyldesley





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