Hatshepsut



thCA1LUUI3.jpg"To Look upon her was beautiful than anything, her splendor and her form were divine; she was a maiden beautiful and blooming."

In ancient Egypt, when a woman gave birth, she had to say out loud her new born child's name. A new born baby was named Hatshepsut, it means "foremost of woman". Hatshepsut was even better than what her mother expected, she was "foremost of all the kingdom" (Galford 21). After being a pharaoh, her throne name was Maatkare, which means "soul of sun-god" (Wikipedia).

Personal Background


Hatshepsut was born circa 1508 B.C. in Thebes Egypt. She was not the only child, who was born by Tuthmose I's principle wife and queen, Ahmose, but her sister could not survive through infant stage. Therefore, Hatshepsut was accepted to be queen of Egypt without any obstacles. Some evidences suggest that Hatshepsut attended male's school with her half-brothers during her childhood instead of female's school. After the dead of Tumose I, Hatshepsut had to marry her half-brother, Tuthmose II, at age 12 to remain the royal pure-blood. Most modern scholars believe that the Tuthmose II was a sickly man (Wikipedia).
Hatshepsut was in charge to rule Egypt for 20 years and nine months, but the last nine months turned out to be Tuthmose III's first year in power. During her reigning period, she depicted herself as a man, not a woman. One of her most important adviser was Senemut, and the historians believe that he was her lover as well (Biography.com). She has only one daughter with Tuthmose II, Nefure. But her daughter was not as good as she was. Hatshepsut died in 1458 B.C because of unknown cause. There was no contemporary mention of the cause of her death was survived. However, people have been believed that her death was related to Tuthmose III. But if the identifications of her mummy were correct, the medical evidences would indicate that she suffered from diabetes and die from bone cancer which had spread through her body while she was in her fifties. In addition, she also had arthritis and bad teeth (Wikipedia).

Personality Traits


"I have commanded that my life abide like the mountains; when the sun shines its rays are bright upon the titulary of my majesty, my Horus is high upon the standard... forever..." (Wikiquote).
As a child, Hatshepsut did not like sitting in one place, she was a dynamic, curious and outgoing kid. She liked going out to hunt with her father and brothers (Andronik 8). Hatshepsut grew up to be a beautiful and strong woman, people believe so because the way she depicted herself in the traditional king's kilt and crown along with the fake beard and male body; in addition to all of this, she took the name of Maatkare when she began to rule Egypt. In other hand, Hatshepsut was also a good leader, a good pharaoh. She always maintained calm in front people. Unlike other pharaoh, Hatshepsut was not interested in conquering new land, it did not mean she was not ambitious; she was a very ambitious and clever woman. Instead of conquering new land, she ensured economic prosperity, building and restoring monument. She was one of the most prolific builders in ancient Egypt (Galford 44). Egypt was peaceful and prospered under her reign (Biography.com). According to Egyptologist,Jame Henry Breasted, she was also known as "The first great woman in history of whom we are informed."

Obstacles


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Hatshepsut Depicted Herself as a Male Pharaoh with the Fake Chin
The God Amen to Hatshepsut, carved on the wall at Deirel-Bahri (Hatshepsut's temple). "Welcome my sweet daughter, my favorite, the King of upper and lower Egypt, Maatkare, Hatshepsut. Thou art the King, taking possession of the two lands." (Galford 47)

Hatshepsut ruled Egypt as a regent after the death of her husband, Tuthmose II, because Ththmose III was a baby. At the beginning, she had to face a lot of problems because of the two things she could not change, her gender and male-dominated society. In ancient Egypt, people did not think a woman can be their ruler, their god. Therefore, Hatshepsut had to depict herself as a male pharaoh. Even though people knew their pharaoh was a woman but Hatshepsut male-looking did solve some of her problems about her gender, however, some people were unhappy about that (Wikipedia). Despite all bad comments, Hatshepsut tried hard to gain her power. Eventually, her influence was growing bigger. She took place of pharaoh and rewrite her life story on the war of her new template, Deir El-Bahri. The story tells that her birth was the result of a miraculous meeting between the divine Amen and her mother (Galford 30). She also declared that she was her father's tended heir and that he made her heir apparent of Egypt (Andronik 23). Even during her ruling, Egypt was peaceful and prospered but some people believed that was because she could not lead armies to get more land (Biography.com). People did not look at what she did for Egypt, they just looked at what she had not done, because she was a woman.

Historical Significance


In the time of war, during Tuthmose II’s reign, Hatshepsut performed a rite to defend the kingdom-burning the names of Egypt’s enemies in order to help destroy them (Galford 43). After being a pharaoh, Hatshepsut was successful in warfare early in her reign, but generally was considered to be a pharaoh who inaugurated a long peaceful era. Although many Egyptologists have claimed that her foreign policy was mainly peaceful, there are evidences that Hatshepsut led successful military campaigns in Nubia, the Levant, and Syna early in her career. Not only that, during Hatshepsut’s era, she re-established international trading relationships, brought great wealth to Egypt. She was a great builder, one of her most famous building was her temple, Al Deir El Bahri-Djeser-Djesery, and two obelisks more than 97 feet high, one of them is still standing, it remains the tallest ancient monument in Egypt (Andronik 30). In comparison with other female pharaohs, Hatshepsut’s reign was much longer and prosperous. Egyptologists believe that she was even more powerful than the most well-known female pharaoh – Cleopatra. Hatshepsut has been known as the most accomplished pharaoh at promoting her accomplishments (Wikipedia.com). Her mumified body would now lie in the Valley of the Kings instead of the tomb that was prepared when she was merely a queen. This is similar to the proof that Hatshepsut wanted to be known as a pharaoh, not a queen. Hatshepsut was also responsible for carrying out certain religious duties for the kingdom’s well-being (Galford 48). She believed that the story of her deeds would survive forever but she was wrong. 20 years after her death, someone tried to wipe all traces of Hatshepsut off the face of the earth (Galford 50). Most Egyptologists believe that people began a campaign to enadicate everything involved to Hatshepsut because they cannot accept their ruler was a female. In a male-dominated society, it seemed like an embarassment. However, many sources suggest that this campaingn was led by Tuthmose III (Biography.com).


References


Andronik, Catherine M. Hatshepsut, His Majesty, Herself. New York: Athemeum Books for Young Readers, 2001. Print.

Galford, Ellen. Hatshepsut, The Princess Who Became King. Washington: The National Geographic Society, 2005. Print.

“Hatshepsut Biography– Facts, Birthday, Life Story.” Biography.com. A+E external image arrow-10x10.png Networks, LLC, 2014. 3 Feb. 2014
<http://www.biography.com/people/hatshepsut-9331094>

“Hatshepsut.” En.wikipedia.org. Wikipedia, 18 Feb. 2014. Web. 20 Feb. 2014
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatshepsut>

"Hatshepsut." En.wikiquote.org. Wikiqoute, 8 Mar. 2014. Web. 28 Apr. 2014
<http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Hatshepsut>