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Queen Hatshepsut, daughter of Thutmose I and Aahmes, was one of the few female pharaohs of Egypt. There were other female pharaohs prior to her, and female pharaohs after her, although Queen Hatshepsut was special in many aspects. Hatshepsut's full name is composed of four parts. The first is "she who is rich, powerful through her ka's, her doubles. " (Edwards) The second, next, indicates pharaoh's authority over both east and west. (Edwards) The third, Horus, means "the divine one in her risings. " (Edwards) The final part of her name is composed of two cartouches. The first being Kamara, the "true double of Ra. " (Edwards) The second cartouche has no holy meaning but simply gives her name, "Hatshepsut. " (Edwards) Her full name inscribed on her great seal read: The Horus, mighty by his Kas, the lord of East and West abounding in years, the good goddess, the pious lady, the golden falcon, divine in her rings, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Kamara, the daughter of Ra, Khnumit Amon, Hatshepsut. (Edwards) Women in Egypt were quite different than those in other cultures. They were allowed to own property, hold official positions, inherit from their parents or husbands, and defend her legal rights in court. (Unknown) It seemed that they were allowed to appear in public, whereas in Greece their designated area was at home. (Unknown) Due to the social freedoms of women in Egypt, a number of queens were able to gain some influence.
Hatshepsut was preceded by Tetisheri, Ahhotep II, and Ahmose-Nefertary, all whom were 17 th century queens that achieved some sort of control over the government. (Unknown) Paving the way for Hatshepsut they impacted the general view of women and maintained stability and order, making her the most extraordinary female to be pharaoh in Egypt. (Unknown) Hatshepsut, daughter of Thutmose I and Ahmose, was the favorite of the three children. Upon the death of her father, Thutmose II, stepbrother of Hatshepsut, succeeded the throne. It was customary in the royal families of Egypt that the succeeding pharaoh, marry the oldest daughter of his father, who happened to be Hatshepsut. (Tarr) In 1479 BC, Thutmose II died of a skin disease and Thutmose III became Pharaoh. (Tarr) Because he was a minor at this time, Hatshepsut stepped in as his regent. (Tarr) They ruled together until 1473 BC, when she appointed herself Pharaoh. (Tarr) As a favorite daughter of a popular pharaoh, she was able to command enough followers to take control pharaoh. She ruled for almost twenty years and left behind more monuments and works of art than any other Egyptian queen.
As a female, Hatshepsut had to overcome many obstacles to legitimize her role as Pharaoh. She claimed that Amon-Ra visited her mother while she was pregnant with Hatshepsut, making her a divine child. (Edwards) This was one technique she used to influence the priesthood in Egypt. Another principle she used, was adopting several male attributes including a fake beard, male clothing, and being illustrated as a man. (Unknown) Hatshepsut also used her relationship to with her father to establish her position. She claimed to have been chosen by him above her two brothers and half-brother. In her temple are written the words of Khnum, the divine potter who sculpted the forms of the gods: I will make you to be the first of all living creatures, You will rise as king of Upper and of Lower Egypt, as your father Amon, who loves you, did ordain. (Edwards) All of these techniques worked well to solidify Hatshepsut's position. However, as Thutmose III grew, her power began to weaken. (Edwards) In 1458 BC, Hatshepsut mysteriously disappeared when Thutmose III regained his position as Pharoah. (Unknown) After her death or disappearance, Thutmose III had her name erased from any monument she had built, including her temple at Deir-el-Bahri. (Edwards) Because most of her images were males, it was easy to change her name.
Her name was not only erased, but some of her monuments were destroyed as well. (Edwards) Hatshepsut's mummy was probably stolen and her tomb destroyed, with only one of the canopy jars found containing her liver. (Edwards) One of Hatshepsut's greatest achievements was her temple at Deir-el-Bahri. On one of the walls is a description of the expedition to Punt, near the Red Sea in present-day Somalia. (Unknown) It was in Punt that ebony, ivory, myrrh, animal skins, gold, and perfumes were brought back. (Unknown) Another painting describes the transport of two granite obelisks to the temple of Karnak in which they were used as religious monuments. (Edwards) The architect of her temple was Sent, her lover and a member of her court. (Tarr) The sanctuary lies within the mountainside with two ramps connecting the three levels. On each side of the lower incline were T-shaped papyrus pools. (Edwards) On the ground level there were sphinxes and fragrant trees of from Punt. (Edwards) The temple is viewed as an example of architectural harmony between man and nature. (Edwards) It is dedicated to Hatshepsut's claimed parents, Amon and Hathor. The architect of the tomb and and the temple of Thutmose I, prided himself on being the only one who knew where his master's temple was located. To protect the secret of its location, the 100 slaves that built the tomb were killed afterwards. (Edwards) In conclusion, Hatshepsut successfully achieved what no woman before had. She ruled the most powerful, advanced civilization in the world for twenty years. (Edwards) Despite those who resented her success, it will stand for all eternity. (Edwards) Edwards, Amelia Ann Blanford.
Chapter 8: Queen Hatasu and her expedition into the Land of Punt, From Pharaohs, Fellahs, & Explorers. web web Tarr, Judith. King and Goddess. Tom Doherty Associates, Inc. 408 p. 1998.
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