Queen Hatshepsut

Queen Hatshepsut

Queen Hatshepsut

Queen Hatshepsut (Hatchepsut) was one of Ancient Egypt’s rare female monarchs and the 5th pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty. Her name means “Foremost of Noble Ladies,” and she assumed the throne name “Ma’atkare” (“Truth is the soul of Ra”) when she became the first Egyptian female pharaoh.

Hatshepsut Family Background

Pharaoh Tuthmosis (Thutmose) Akheperkare (Tuthmosis I) and his magnificent wife Queen Ahmose had Hatshepsut’s daughter. Her sister Akhbetneferu (Neferubity), who died in infancy, was her sole complete sibling. Wadjmose, Amenose, Thuthmosis Akheperenre (Tuthmosis II), and Ramose were the sons of her father’s marriage to Mutnofret (perhaps Ahmose I’s daughter). Wadjmose and Amenose both died before reaching maturity. Her half-brother Thuthmosis Akheperenre (Thotmose II) was appointed pharaoh when her father died, and she became his Great Wife. Because descent was largely matrilineal, marrying Queen Hatshepsut (the king’s daughter) bolstered his claim to the throne, even though his mother was not the Great Royal Wife.

Queen Hatshepsut

Hatshepsut’s Father

Thutmose II governed Egypt for three or thirteen years, depending on the source (the records are unclear). They had one daughter, Neferure, frequently represented with the fake royal beard and the youth’s sidelock. Thutmosis II had a son called Tuthmosis with a member of his harem named Isis, who would eventually become Thuthmosis Menkheperre (Thutmose III). Because Thutmose II’s son was too young to succeed him, Queen Hatshepsut was designated regency, and her daughter Neferure assumed the position of Queen in holy and civic rites. To prove Thutmose III’s right to govern, Neferure married him (as his mother was not of noble blood). She might have been the mother of Amenemhat, his oldest son. However, not all academics agree with this.

From a Queen to a Pharaoh

Her early professional life was not unusual. Many Queens, including Hatshepsut’s legendary forebears Ahmose Nefertari and Ahhotep, had served as regents to their baby sons. The position was acceptable to the gods since it resembled Isis‘ guardianship of her son Horus after Osiris’ death. Queen Hatshepsut was not Thuthmosis’ mother, but she was the king’s daughter and hence had a stronger claim to regency than Thuthmosis’ mother. Hatshepsut’s regent acts were likewise very everyday.

During the Middle Ages, co-regencies were quite prevalent since they avoided succession issues and enabled the younger Pharaoh to be groomed for his job.

Hatshepsut from a Queen to a King

Hatshepsut and Thutmose III

Tuthmosis II triumphed in heaven, having mixed with the gods; his son (Thutmosis III) succeeded him as king of the Two Lands, having ascended the throne of the one who spawned him. Hatshepsut, his sister, and Divine Consort used her intentions to settle the troubles of the Two Lands. Egypt was obliged to toil with a bent head for her, the god’s good seed, who sprang from him. Hatshepsut was pictured in Karnak, while still standing as regent, making gifts to the gods, which was traditionally the unique prerogative of the monarch.

She carries a crown of two plumes and ram horns and she was known as “King of Upper and Lower Egypt” and “Mistress of the Two Lands, Maatkare.” She does, however, dress in a long sheath gown and poses with her feet together (a female pose).  This picture is an awkward balance between her status as a female regent and royalty’s traditionally masculine symbols and titles. Thutmosis III was entirely recognized by Queen Hatshepsut, who made no effort to usurp the throne.

Queen Hatshepsut

Queen Hatshepsut Female Pharoah

Hatshepsut’s transition from co-regent to Pharaoh is unknown. Still, it must have occurred before or during her seventh year of rule, as pottery jars with labels going to date to that year were found in the tomb of Senenmut’s parents, naming her “The Good Goddess Maatkare,” the name she adopted as the first female Pharaoh. Queen Hatshepsut progressively adopted all of the pharaonic emblems, including the Khat (a headscarf with a uraeus), the Nemes headdress, the shendyt kilt, and the typical fake beard, after becoming a Pharaoh. On occasion, she changed her name from “Hatshepsut” to “Hatshepsu” omitting the feminine ending.

Hatshepsut Titles

Despite this, she was sometimes shown in feminine apparel and maintained to refer to herself as a woman. She was increasingly represented as a classic male pharaoh as her reign developed. She ceased using titles like “God’s Wife of Amun” This was a ceremonial title granted to Queen Ahmose Nefertari when she was initially crowned. Neferure was given this title.

Because of the unconventional nature of this action, it needed considerable explanation and a reworking of her history to downplay her right to function as regent as Thutmose II’s wife and instead assert her right to be king Thutmose I’s child. She accomplished this by using art, architecture, and inscriptions, most notably by;

  • She promoted the religious conception myth on her funerary temple at Deir el Bahri.
  • Her father allegedly selected her as his heir; she claims (in her mortuary temple).
  • Also, Hatshepsut claimed to have rebuilt Egypt after the Hyksos had wreaked havoc during the 2nd Century (in the temple of Pakhet at Beni Hassan).

Things helped Hatshepsut to take over Egypt

She had no intention of excluding Tuthmosis III or attempting to take his crown. Except for her tomb in the Valley of the Kings, he features in all of her monuments. She is, however, undoubtedly the most powerful party’s founder. Hatshepsut is closer to the gods and takes a more dynamic attitude in moments when she appears with Tuthmosis III. She didn’t try to disguise her gender; instead, she just adopted the symbolism of a king to her position. She could not be shown as a ruler of equal or higher rank than her co-regent due to gender iconography, so she accepted tradition and had herself painted in the idealized form — as a male monarch.

In other ways, she was a rather ordinary pharaoh. She is often depicted as a peace-loving pharaoh, which may partly be due to her gender. There were a few military excursions, but Egypt’s neighbors seemed unconcerned (indicating that her rule was vital). She erected the Mortuary Temple at Deir el Bahari, enlarged Egypt’s commerce, and extended the temple complex at Karnak (including conducting a famous trade mission to Punt). The Pharoah Hatshepsut died after a twenty-two-year reign and was buried alongside her father in the Valley of the Kings with full honors. Her narrative, however, did not stop there. Thutmose III, her successor, would undertake a deliberate attempt to overthrow her power many years after she died. Thutmose III would have been the natural successor to his father under normal conditions. Still, his mother was a minor bride; thus, elevating her to the role of regent would have been difficult.

Daughter of a great King

She was far from the first Pharaoh to behave in this manner, and it was not wholly self-serving. Every Pharaoh was essential to preserving Ma’at and ensuring that everything was in order. Queen Hatshepsut governed over a prosperous and productive government and never missed a chance to assert her power. However, she was no more guilty of this than monarchs like Ramses II or Thutmosis IV. According to an inscription in Karnak, her father designated her as his heir before his death (although its historical authenticity is debatable).

He is supposed to have stated. “I have selected this daughter of mine, Khnumetamun Hatshepsut, may she live, as my heir to the throne…

She will lead the people in all areas of the palace; she is the one who will guide you. “Follow her orders and unite at her command.” The royal nobles, dignitaries, and people’s leaders heard this declaration of his daughter, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Maatkare – may she live forever. Much more of her propaganda was carried out with the blessing of Amun’s priesthood. Hatshepsut would be PharaohPharaoh, according to Amun’s wishes, according to the Oracle of Amun. Queen Hatshepsut gave expensive sacrifices to his shrine and decorated her monuments with allusions to him in return. As a result, she claims that Amun’s daughter is not meant to dig at her father, but rather an assurance that Amun was the principal national deity and that he (and his priests) backed her authority. Amun states in one inscription.

Wife and Sister of a kind pharoah

As Tuthmosis II’s wife, Hatshepsut seems to have exercised tremendous authority, making her replacement difficult and possibly disruptive. Hatshepsut’s regency was based on her marriage to Tuthmosis II, but her title to govern Egypt was based on the fact that she was Thutmosis I’s daughter and so his closest matrilineal cousin. According to the evidence, her validity was not challenged until many years after her death. Despite this, many academics believe she took the throne from the true heir (Thuthmosis) and had to fight a “propaganda” war to keep her position.

It would be stupid to claim that she was unaware of the need to convince everyone that she could perform the job regardless of her gender, and there is no question that she was glad to bend the truth and exaggerate the facts to declare that the gods backed her reign.

“Welcome, Maatkare, Hatshepsut, my darling daughter, my favorite, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt.”; You are the PharaohPharaoh, and the Two Lands are yours.”; Without the assistance of the nobility and the clergy, Hatshepsut would not have been able to govern Egypt (in particular, the priests of Amun). The Viziers Hapuseneb and Useramun, Royal Steward Senenmut, Nubian general Nehsi, Seal bearer Ahmose Pen Nekhbet, the second prophet of Amun Puyemre, Senimen; and Ineni were among her faithful advisers, many of whom had previously served her husband and father. Her status as PharaohPharaoh was reaffirmed by the Siwa oracle, who backed and were accepted by the priests of Amun.

Senenmut’s Relationship with Hatshepsut

Because; it is often assumed that she had a sexual connection with the official Senenmut. Graffiti discovered in an incomplete tomb used by workers constructing her Deir el Bahri tomb portrayed a pharaoh (probably Hatshepsut) having sexual relations with a man (possibly Senenmut). Senenmut carved his name and likeness onto one of her funerary temple’s main entrances (although it is sometimes suggested that he did this without receiving permission).

Senenmut and Hatshepsut

Senenmut built two tombs (although this was not uncommon for close advisors). Some have speculated that Neferure was the daughter of Senenmut, rather than Thutmose II’s daughter.

Relationship with Senenmut

The sculptures of Senenmut around the little girl are presented as proof. This appears improbable since it suggests that any sexual connection existed before the king’s death. If this was the case, it’s difficult to understand why the clergy and nobility would have permitted Pharoah Hatshepsut to function as regent and later king; and her reign would have been unsustainable without their backing.

Some have speculated that Senenmut was the real power behind the throne. This seems to Hatshepsut to be unjust, and it may represent a hesitation on the part of contemporary observers to acknowledge the authority of a strong female king. Others regard Senenmut as a loyal servant with a spiritual connection with his queen, while others see him as a dedicated servant with only a spiritual bond. It’s hard to know the actual scope of their connection, but it’s been the topic of considerable conjecture.

Queen Hatshepsut Achievements

Queen Hatshepsut may not have “expelled the Hyksos from Egypt,” as she claimed. Still, she is credited for restoring trade networks that had not been completely restored after their exile at the end of the second Intermediate Period. She sent missions to the Sinai in search of rich jewels and other supplies, and her name was found in the Serabit el Khadim turquoise mines.

She also sent a mission to Punt (now Somalia), which returned with many valuable stones, incense, plants, animals, and other pleasures. This victory was memorialized at Hatshepsut Mortuary Temple at Deir el-Bahari.

Hatshepsut Mortuary Temple

Hatshepsut Mortuary Temple at Deir el-Bahari

Hatshepsut Monuments

During her reign, a large amount of wonderfully wrought sculpture was produced. There are examples in museums all across the globe. Pharoah Hatshepsut was one of the most productive builders of Ancient Egypt’s pharaohs. She hired two famous architects, Ineni (who had previously worked for both her husband and father) and Senenmut; to help her realize her grandiose architectural ideas. Hatshepsut erected the Red Chapel (or Chapelle Rouge) inside the temple precinct and set two massive obelisks at the main temple of Amun at Karnak. She ordered the building of two additional massive obelisks to commemorate her 16 years as pharaoh. One of them cracked during construction and is still visible near Aswan in a quarry (The Unfinished Obelisk).

Other Monument for Queen Hatshpsut

also repaired several lesser cult sanctuaries in Middle Egypt, including the Speos Artemidos (near Beni Hasan) shrine dedicated to the lioness Paket. Senenmut created Djeser-djeseru, her finest masterpiece (her Mortuary Temple at Deir el Bahari). The temple precincts are, without a doubt, among the most stunning structures ever built. Pharoah Hatshepsut was said to be uninterested in military successes as a woman; and that the voyage to Punt was mainly a means of keeping the troops employed. Alternatively, it is said that she sent the army on minor missions to keep young Thuthmosis out of harm’s way. In her defense, it has been noted that when Queen Hatshepsut became pharaoh; there was no effort at insurrection by Egypt’s vassals, indicating that she was not seen as weak or susceptible. In fact, after her death, a lot of them got restless.

According to some evidence, she may have conducted operations in Nubia, the Levant, and Syria. Furthermore, there is evidence that Tuthmosis III became Hatshepsut’s army’s Commander in Chief and led a brief, successful war in the Levant on her behalf. This would be perfectly compatible with the practice he would need to function as sole pharaoh as the younger co-regent pharaoh. It’s also less probable that she planned to deprive him of his right to govern (rather than postpone his ascension as sole pharaoh) since putting your adversaries in control of the army is seldom a wise decision.

Hatshepsut Proscription by Tuthmosis III

Tuthmosis III undoubtedly attempted to vandalize her monuments and tarnish her image and titles after her death. However, the issue is not as straightforward as it seems. The proscription was once thought to be an act of vengeance against a despised stepmother and usurper, although Thuthmosis did not act for another 10 to 20 years after her death. Hatshepsut’s name and image are likewise treated differently in various regions. Only portraits and titles that alluded to her as a pharaoh were defiled, not representations of her as a queen. There is no proof that her grave was tampered with. Furthermore, Tuthmosis III seldom substituted her name with his while removing her name from scenes.

Instead, he substituted his father (Tuthmosis II) or grandfather for Hatshepsut (Tuthmosis I).

Damaging Hatshepsut Heritage

There have also been several occasions when the disposal was hasty or partial, with no replacement. Because the damage to her funerary temple was minimal; the sequences in which she declares divine birth and records her triumphs as a pharaoh are still legible. Queen Hatshepsut’s monuments were not changed to reflect another person, and practically all of her statues’ inscriptions were preserved. Despite this, several of her exquisite Osiride sculptures from her funerary shrine at Deir el Bahri were broken and buried.

Removing the royal areas from a number of the stone sphinx and sitting sculptures seems to have initiated the destruction at Deir el Bahri. The ureas were often put on the brows of royal ladies, not only monarchs, which is an unusual act. It’s possible that removing it was an effort to deny her royal ancestry. Following that, the element Ma’at was removed from her throne name (again, denying her authority); and her cartouche was damaged on some, but not all, sculptures.

This might have happened between the years of 30 and 42. Her sculptures were eventually cut to pieces and placed in deep holes.

After Hatshepsut

The destruction of the Chapelle Rouge at Karnak seems to have begun about the year 42 of Tuthmosis III’s reign. However, evidence suggests that the general prohibition was lifted when Amenhotep II was firmly established as his successor. Some have speculated that the prohibitions were a political measure to safeguard Amenhotep III’s succession. However, this is doubtful since there is no evident challenger who would have the authority to govern via Queen Hatshepsut. Another theory is that Thuthmosis attempted to remove the history and precedence of a female pharaoh to avoid a repeat of the scenario. The fact that Hatshepsut’s title of God’s Wife of Amun was dropped after her rule; which gave her substantial authority as a queen before she became regent might be relevant.


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