Queen Hatshepsut

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Thutmose II married his half-sister, the King's Daughter, King's Sister and King's Great Wife Queen Hatshepsut who, having inherited the office of God's Wife of Amun from Meritamun, used this as her preferred title. Egypt's new queen started to build a suitable consort's tomb in the remote Wadi Sikkat Taka el-Zeida, on the Theban west bank. Here her quartzite sarcophagus was inscribed with a prayer to the mother goddess Nut: 
The King's Daughter, God's Wife, King's Great Wife, Lady of the Two Lands, Queen Hatshepsut, says, 'O my mother Nut, stretch over me so that you may place me amongst the undying stars that are in you, and that I may not die.' 
The Wadi Sikkat Taka el-Zeida tomb would be abandoned before the burial shaft could be completed. 



Hatshepsut the Consort 

Queen Hatshepsut bore her brother one daughter, Neferure, but no son. And so, when Thutmose II died unexpectedly after maybe 13 years on the throne, the crown passed to Thutmose III, a son born in the royal harem to the lady Isis. As the new king was still an infant, and as the new King's Mother was not considered sufficiently royal to act as regent, Queen Hatshepsut was called upon to rule on behalf of her stepson. Thutmose III, proud of his mother and perhaps eager to inflate his lineage, would later promote Isis posthumously to the roles of King's Great Wife and God's Wife. We may see Isis on a pillar in Thutmose's tomb (KV 34) where she stands behind her son in a boat. Here she wears a simple sheath dress and tripartite wig but no crown. In contrast, a statue of Isis recovered from Karnak shows her wearing a modius and double uraeus. 
His son has risen in his place as King of the Two Lands. He [Thutmose III] ruled on the throne ofhe who had begotten him. His sister, the God's Wife Queen Hatshepsut, governed the land and the Two Lands were advised by her. Work was done for her and Egypt bowed its head.
For several years Queen Hatshepsut acted as a typical regent, allowing the young Thutmose to take precedence in all activities. But already there were signs that Queen Hatshepsut was not afraid to flout tradition. Her new title, Mistress of the Two Lands, was a clear reference to the king's time-hon-oured title Lord of the Two Lands. More unusually, she commissioned a pair of obelisks to stand in front of the gateway to the Karnak temple of Amun. Obelisks - tall, thin, tapering shafts of hard stone whose pyramid-shaped tops, coated with gold foil, sparkled in the strong Egyptian sunlight - were understood to represent the first rays of light that shone as the world was created. Very difficult to cut and transport, and so difficult to erect that modern scientists have not yet managed to replicate the procedure, they had thitherto been the very expensive gifts of kings to their gods. By the time her obelisks were cut,  Queen Hatshepsut too had become a king, and her new titles were engraved with pride on her monuments. 




Hatshepsut the King!



By year 7 Queen Hatshepsut had been crowned king of Egypt, acquiring in the process a full king's titulary of five royal names - Horus, Powerful-of-Kasi Two Ladies, Flourishing-of-Years; Female Horus of Fine Gold, Divine-of-Diadems; King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Maatkare (Truth is the Soul of Re); Daughter of Ra, Khenmet-Amun Hatshepsut (the One who is joined with Amun, the Foremost of Women). Thutmose III was 
never forgotten. He was scrupulously acknowledged as a co-ruler and the now-joint regnal years continued to be counted from the date of his accession, but Queen Hatshepsut was undeniably the dominant king of Egypt. Only towards the end of Queen Hatshepsut's life would Thutmose acquire anything like equal status with his co-ruler. 
We can chart Queen  Hatshepsut's journey from conventional consort to king in a series of contrasting images. A stela now housed in Berlin Museum shows us the royal family shortly before Thutmose's death. The young king stands facing the sun god Re. Directly behind him stands his step-mother/mother-in-law Ahmose wearing the vulture headdress and uraeus topped with tall feathers. Queen Hatshepsut stands dutifully behind her mother, her plain sheath dress and simple platform crown emphasizing the fact that here she is very much the junior queen. The modius or plat-form crown, decorated with flower stalks, was worn by a variety of not particularly prominent New Kingdom royal women. Two years after the death of Thutmose II, images carved at the Semna Temple, Nubia, show an adult-looking Thutmose III, sole King of Upper and Lower Egypt and Lord of the Two Lands, receiving the white crown from the ancient Nubian god Dedwen. Finally Hatshepsufs Red Chapel at Karnak shows Queen Hatshepsut and Thutmose III standing together. The two kings are identical in appearance, both wearing the kilt and the blue crown, botb carrying a staff and an ankh, and both with breastless male bodies. Their cartouches confirm that it is Thutmose who stands behind Queen Hatshepsut in the more junior position. 
Queen Hatshepsut offers us no explanation for her unprecedented assumption of power. It seems that there was no opposition to her elevation although, of course, it is very unlikely that any such opposition would have been recorded. We can only guess that it was precipitated by a political or theological crisis requiring a fully adult king. Carved into the walls of her religious monuments Queen Hatshepsut does, however, offer some justification. Queen Hatshepsut is entitled to claim the throne because she is not only the beloved daughter and intended heir of the revered Thutmose I (the less impressive Thutmose II being conveniently forgotten); she is also the daughter of the great god Amun. And he, via an oracle revealed to Queen Hatshepsut herself, has proclaimed his daughter King of Egypt.



Divine Birth of Queen Hatshepsut:
Queen Hatshepsut's semi-divine nature is emphasized on the walls of her mortuary temple, where a cartoon-like sequence of images and a brief accompanying text tell the story of her divine birth. Amon, we learn, has fallen in love with a beautiful queen of Egypt, and has determined to father her child. In one of the few scenes showing a queen communicating directly with a god, we can view Queen Ahmose sitting unchaperoned in her boudoir. Here she is visited by Amon who, for propriety's sake, has disguised himself as her husband. Amon tells Ahmose that she has been chosen to bear his daughter, the future king of Egypt. Then he passes her the ankh that symbolizes life, and his potent perfume fills the palace. Meanwhile, in heaven, the ram-headed creator god Khnum crafts both the baby and the baby's soul on his potter's wheel. Nine months later it is time for the birth. The pregnant Ahmose, her baby bump barely visible, is led to the birthing bower by Khnum and the frog-headed midwife Heket. Here, in a scene discreetly left to the imagination, Queen Hatshepsut is born. 

Amon is overwhelmed with love for his new daughter. He takes her from Hathor the divine wet nurse, kisses her and speaks: 
Come to me in peace, daughter of my loins, beloved Maatkare, thou art the king who takes possession of the diadem on the Throne of Horus of the Living, eternally.
The temple walls show Egypt's new, naked king with an unmistakably male body; her identical and equally naked soul, too, is obviously male. But the new king's names are female, and neither Ahmose nor Amon is in any doubt over the gender of their child. The presentation of Queen Hatshepsut as a male is purely a convention, her response to the artistic dilemma that, three centuries before, saw Sobeknefru don an unhappy mixture of men's and women's clothing. As a queen Hatshepsut had been happy to be portrayed as a conventional woman: slender, pale and passive. But as a king she needed to find an image that would reinforce her new position while distancing her from the consort's role. Towards the beginning of her reign she was depicted either as a conventional woman or as a woman wearing [male] king's clothing. Two seated limestone statues recovered from Deir el-Bahari show her dressed in this hybrid manner.  Queen Hatshepsut wears the traditional headcloth and kilt. She has a rounded, feminine, unbearded face and a feminine body with breasts and an indented waist. Soon, however, she evolves into an entirely masculine king, with a man's body, male clothing, male ccessories and male ritual actions. It seems that it is the appearance of the king that matters rather than her actual gender; the masculine form of Queen Hatshepsut is happy to alternate between masculine and feminine forms of her titulary. 

Princess Neferure, the Queen of Hatshepsut:
From the time of her coronation onwards, Queen Hatshepsut was careful to behave as an entirely conventional King of Egypt; in consequence, while her story tells us a great deal about the perceived role of the king, it tells us less about the role of the queen than we might have hoped. It does, however, confirm one very important detail: that the queen was an important element of the kingship. Like any other king, Queen Hatshepsut needed a queen to fulfil the feminine aspect of her monarchy, and for this she turned to her daughter Neferure. Most of Egypt's royal children remain hidden in their nurseries throughout their childhoods and, during her father's reign, Neferure had been no exception. But following her mother's coronation, Neferure started to play an unusually prominent role - the queen's role - in public life. Neferure used the titles Lady of Upper and Lower Egypt and Mistress of the Lands and she assumed the office of God's Wife of Amun, a role that Queen Hatshepsut had been forced to abandon as it was incompatible with her kingly status. Neferure, like all other God's Wives before her, adopted this as her preferred title. Scenes carved on the walls of the Red Chapel at Karnak show Neferure as a fully adult woman performing the appropriate rituals. 
Neferure's education was clearly a matter of some importance. The young princess was taught first by the courtier Ahmose-Pennekhbet, next by Senenmut, Queen Hatshepsut's most influential advisor, and finally by the administrator Senimen. A series of hard stone statues - highly expensive, produced by the royal workshops - show Neferure and Senenmut together. Neferure has the shaven head and sidelock of youth worn by all Egyptian children. Senenmut, dressed in a heavy striated wig, assumes a typical woman's role by either holding the princess tight, or seating her on his knee and wrapping her body in his cloak. Neferure disappears 
towards the end of her mother's reign; she appears on a stela at Serabit el-Khadim in Year II, but is unmentioned in Senenmut's tomb dated to Year 16. The obvious assumption is that she has died and been buried in her tomb which lay near that built for her mother in the remote Wadi Sikkat Taka el-Zeida. 

Senenmut, Queen Hatshepsut's Advisor 
The new king inherited her late brother's courtiers but gradually, as her reign developed, she started to pick new advisors, many of whom, like Senenmut, were men of relatively humble birth. As  Queen Hatshepsut well realized, these self-made men had a vested interest in keeping her on the throne: if she fell, they fell with her. Senenmut, Steward of Amun and tutor to Princess Neferure, enjoyed a meteoric rise through the ranks, and this has sparked a great deal of speculation over the precise nature of his relationship with Queen Hatshepsut. They certainly never married - marriage was not an option for a female king, as it would lead to too great a conflict of roles - but could they have been lovers? A crude piece of graffiti scrawled in a Deir el-Bahari tomb, which apparently shows a man having 'doggy-style' intercourse with a woman wearing a royal headdress, cannot be accepted as conclusive proof of anything other than the fact that the ancient Egyptians enjoyed smutty gossip as much as any other people. The fact that Senenmut carved his image into Queen Hatshepsut's mortuary temple - an unprecedented and daring move for a non-royal- combines with the fact that his second tomb encroached upon the Deir el-Bahari precincts to offer a more convincing argument in favour of a close bond between the two. It is difficult to imagine that Senenmut could have ordered these infringements of protocol without Queen Hatshepsut's knowledge and tacit approval. 

Queen Hatshepsut's Policy
The new king set out to maintain maat by launching an obvious assault on chaos. Foreigners were to be subdued, the monuments of the ancestors were to be restored, and the whole of Egypt was to be enhanced by a series of ambitious temple-building projects. The subduing of the foreigners was quickly achieved in a token series of military campaigns against the vassals to the south and east. The Deir el-Bahari temple again shows the Nubian god Dedwen, this time leading a series of captive Nubian towns leach depicted as a walled town or fortified cartouch bearing an obviously Nubian head) towards the victorious Queen Hatshepsut. 
Next, Queen Hatshepsut turned her attention to trade. There were missions to the Lebanon for wood, increased exploi tation of the copper and turquoise mines in Sinai and, most important of all, during Year 9, a successful trading mission to Punt. The real but almost legendary land of Punt was a source of many exotic treasures: precious resins, curious wild animals, and the ever-desirable ebony, ivory and gold. It was, however, a long way from the safety of Thebes. The exact location of Punt is now lost, but flora and fauna included in the reliefs decorating Queen Hatshepsut's mortuary temple suggest that it was an east African trading centresituated somewhere along the Eritrean/Ethiopian coast. The journey to this distant Utopia involved a long, hot march across 100 miles (160 km) of desert, possibly carrying a dismantled boat, to the Red Sea port of Quseir. This was followed by a sea journey along the coast, an adventure that the Egyptians, always very happy on the calm waters of the Nile, dreaded. 
Queen Hatshepsut's envoy Neshy set sail with a small but well-armed army, his precise route undisclosed. After some sharp bargaining with the chief of Punt - the temple walls show a handful of trinkets being exchanged for 
a wonderful array of goods, but doubtless they exaggerate - he returned home in triumph. Queen Hatshepsut, watching as her ships disgorged their valuable cargos at Thebes, must have been overjoyed. The safe return of her troops proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that her reign was indeed blessed by her divine father. With great perspicacity she promptly donated the best of the goods to Amun, and ordered that the epic voyage be immortalized on the Deir el-Bahari temple walls. 

Queen Hatshepsut's Projects Building
Back at home the building projects were proceeding well. It seems likely that Queen Hatshepsut instigated a temple-building project in all of Egypt's major cities, but most of these temples have been lost along with their cities, leaving the Theban monuments to stand as testimony to the prosperity of her reign. We know that there were building works in Nubia, and at Kom ambo, Hierakonpolis, Elkab, Armant and the island of Elephantine, which received two temples dedicated to local gods. In Middle Egypt, not far from Beni Hassan and the Hatnub quarries, Egypt's first two rock-cut temples were dedicated to the obscure lion-headed goddess Pakhet, 'She who Scratches', a local variant of the goddess Sekhmet, who was herself a variant of Hathor. On one of these temples, known today bits Greek name Speos Artemidos (Grotto of Artemis),  Queen Hatshepsut carved a bold statement setting out her policy of rebuilding and restoration: 
I have never slumbered as one forgetful, but have made strong what was decayed. I have raised up what was dismembered, even from the first time when the Asiatics were in Avaris of the North Land, with roving hordes in the midst of them overthrowing what had been made; they ruled without Ra.... I have banished the abominations of the gods, and the earth has removed their footprints. 
In suggesting that she has personally expelled the Hyksos from Egypt, Queen Hatshepsut is being more than economical with the truth; such an outrageous lie can, however, be justified if we take the view, as Queen Hatshepsut 
herself undoubtedly did, that each of Egypt's kings was a continuation of the kings who had gone before and so fully entitled to claim his deeds for his (or her) own, Her assertion that she is renewing and restoring damaged monuments does appear to be true within the modern meaning of the term, We know, for example, that she repaired the temple of Hathor at the town of Cusae, a town which, situated on the border between the Theban and Hyksos kingdoms, suffered badly during the wars that ended the 17th Dynasty, The Karnak temple benefited greatly from the new king's generosity, There was another pair of obelisks - this time entirely covered in gold foil - raised to commemorate Queen Hatshepsut's 15-year jubilee, a new bark shrine (the Red Chapel) where Amun's processional boat could rest, a new southern pylon (gateway), a new royal palace and a series of improvements to the processional routes which linked the various temples within the complex, But the most magnificent building she commissioned was a mortuary temple for herself, situated close by the Middle Kingdom tomb of Mentuhotep II in the Deir el-Bahari bay.

Deir el-Bahari, Queen Hatshepsut's Mortuary Temple.
Deir el-Bahari was a multi-functional temple with a series of shrines and chapels devoted to a variety of gods. The main sanctuary was dedicated to Queen  Hatshepsut's divine father, Amun. But there was also a suite of chapels 
devoted to the royal ancestors; this included a small mortuary or memorial chapel for her earthly father, Thutmose I, and a much larger mortuary chapel for Queen Hatshepsut herself. Here, in front of  Queen Hatshepsut's cult statue, the priests could make the daily offerings of food, drink, music and incense that would allow the dead king's soul to live forever. An open-air court dedicated to the worship of the sun god Re-Herakhty balanced the dark and gloomy mortuary chapels, chapels that linked the dead with the cult of Osiris. One level down were the chapels dedicated to the god of embalming, Anubis, and to Hathor, who was not only the goddess of the Deir el-Bahari bay, but also 'Mistress of Punt'. Like many of Egypt's queens, Hatshepsut (now an ex-queen) felt a particular attraction to Hathor's predominantly female cult, and Hathor features prominently in her temple. She is present at Hatshepsut's birth and later, taking the form of a cow, suckles a newborn infant. If Amon can be considered the divine father of the king, it seems that Hathor is now his (or her) mother. 
The mortuary temple was one half of Queen Hatshepsut's mortuary provision. Her tomb, the other half, was to be in the Valley of the Kings, the now traditional cemetery for Egypt's kings. The old consort's tomb in the Wadi Sikkat Taka el-Zeida was abandoned, but Queen Hatshepsut (perhaps concerned about her lack of time) did not try to build a replacement. Instead she started to enlarge the tomb (KV 20) which already held her father, until it became the longest and deepest tomb in the Valley. Eventually, or so she hoped, father and daughter would lie side-by-side forever in two matching yellow quartzite sarcophagi (Thutmose l's sarcophagus, a shade less magnificent than Queen Hatshepsut's own, was actually a second-hand sarcophagus originally prepared for his daughter). The two did indeed lie together for a time, but Thutmose III eventually had his grand-father reinterred in a nest of new coffins placed in a new sarcophagus in a brand new tomb (KV 38). 

The End of the Era of Queen Hatshepsut


A single stela, raised at Armant, tells us that Queen Hatshepsut died on the tenth day of the sixth month of the 22nd year of her reign. Finally Thutmose was free to embark on what would be 33 years of highly successful solo rule. First, however, he had to bury his predecessor to consolidate his claim to the throne.  Queen Hatshepsut's tomb was looted in antiquity, but included amongst the debris left by the robbers were two vases - family heirlooms? - made for Queen Ahmose-Nefertari. We have Queen Hatshepsut's sarcophagus and her matching canopic chest, and a few fragments of her furniture, but her body has vanished. All that remains is a box recovered from the Deir el-Bahari mummy cache, decorated with Queen Hatshepsut's cartouch and holding mummified tissue identified rather loosely as either a liver or a spleen. We do, however, have several nameless New Kingdom female mummies who might, or might not, be Queen Hatshepsut. Chief amongst these are the 'Elder Lady', a female mummy in her 40s recovered from a sealed side-chamber in the tomb of Amenhotep II (KV 35) and an obese female mummy with red-gold hair discovered in the tomb of the royal nurse Sitre (KV 60). Sitre is known to have been Queen Hatshepsut's wet-nurse, and a badly damaged limestone statue shows her sitting with the young Hatshepsut (a miniature adult rather than a child) on her lap. 

Erasing Queen Hatshepsut 
Towards the end of Thutmose's reign an attempt was made to delete Queen Hatshepsut from the historical record. This elimination was carried out in the most literal way possible. Her cartouches and images were chiselled off the stone walls -leaving very obvious Queen-Hatshepsut-shaped gaps in the artwork - and she was excluded from the official history that now ran without any form of co-regency from Thutmose II to Thutmose III. At the Deir el-Bahari temple Queen Hatshepsut's numerous statues were torn down and in many cases smashed or disfigured before being buried in a pit. Over the river at Karnak there was even an attempt to wall up her obelisks. While it is clear that much of this rewriting of history occurred during the later part of Thutmose's reign, it is not clear why it happened. For many years Egyptologists assumed that it was a damnatio memoriae, the deliberate erasure of a person's name, image and memory, which would cause them to die a second, terrible and permanent death in the afterlife. This appeared to make perfect sense. Thutmose must have been an unwilling co-regent for years. What could be more natural than a wish to destroy the memory of the woman who had so wronged him? But this assessment of the situation is probably too simplistic. It is always dangerous to attempt to psychoanalyse the long dead, but it seems highly unlikely that the determined and focused Thutmose - not only Egypt's most successful general, but an acclaimed athlete, author, historian, botanist and architect - would have brooded for two decades before attempting to revenge himself on his stepmother. 
Furthermore the erasure was both sporadic and haphazard, with only the more visible and accessible images of Queen Hatshepsut being removed. Had it been complete - and, given the manpower available, there is no reason why it should not have been - we would not now have so many images of  Queen Hatshepsut. It seems either that Thutmose must have died before his act of vengeance was finished, or that he had never intended a total obliteration of her memory at all. In fact, we have no evidence to support the assumption that Thutmose hated or resented Queen Hatshepsut during her lifetime. Had he done so he could surely, as head of the army (a position given to him by Queen Hatshepsut, who was clearly not worried about her co-regent's loyalty), have led a successful coup. It may well be that Thutmose, lacking any sinister motivation, was, towards the end of his life, simply engaged in 'tidying up' his personal history, restoring Queen Hatshepsut to her rightful place as a queen regent rather than a king. By eliminating the more obvious traces of his female co-regent, Thutmose could claim all the achievements of their joint reign for himself. 
The erasure of Queen Hatshepsut's name, whatever the reason, allowed her to disappear from Egypt's archaeological and written record. Thus, when 19th-century Egyptologists started to interpret the texts on the Deir el-Bahari temple walls (walls illustrated with not one but two obviously male kings) their translations made no sense. Champollion, the French decoder of hieroglyphs, was not alone in feeling deeply confused by the obvious conflict between the words and the pictures: 

If I felt somewhat surprised at seeing here, as elsewhere throughout the temple, the renowned Moeris [Thutmose III}, adorned with all the insignia of royalty, giving place to this Amenenthe (Hatshepsut}, for whose name we may search the royal lists in vain, still more astonished was I to find on reading the inscriptions that wherever they referred to this bearded king in the usual dress of the Pharaohs, nouns and verbs were in the feminine, as though a queen were in question. I found the same peculiarity everywhere.. 

By the late 19th century the truth had been revealed and, despite her masculine appearance, Queen Hatshepsut had been restored to her rightful place as a female king.

Check The Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut in details

Queen Hatshepsut

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Thutmose II married his half-sister, the King's Daughter, King's Sister and King's Great Wife Queen Hatshepsut who, having inherited the office of God's Wife of Amun from Meritamun, used this as her preferred title. Egypt's new queen started to build a suitable consort's tomb in the remote Wadi Sikkat Taka el-Zeida, on the Theban west bank. Here her quartzite sarcophagus was inscribed with a prayer to the mother goddess Nut: 
The King's Daughter, God's Wife, King's Great Wife, Lady of the Two Lands, Queen Hatshepsut, says, 'O my mother Nut, stretch over me so that you may place me amongst the undying stars that are in you, and that I may not die.' 
The Wadi Sikkat Taka el-Zeida tomb would be abandoned before the burial shaft could be completed. 



Hatshepsut the Consort 

Queen Hatshepsut bore her brother one daughter, Neferure, but no son. And so, when Thutmose II died unexpectedly after maybe 13 years on the throne, the crown passed to Thutmose III, a son born in the royal harem to the lady Isis. As the new king was still an infant, and as the new King's Mother was not considered sufficiently royal to act as regent, Queen Hatshepsut was called upon to rule on behalf of her stepson. Thutmose III, proud of his mother and perhaps eager to inflate his lineage, would later promote Isis posthumously to the roles of King's Great Wife and God's Wife. We may see Isis on a pillar in Thutmose's tomb (KV 34) where she stands behind her son in a boat. Here she wears a simple sheath dress and tripartite wig but no crown. In contrast, a statue of Isis recovered from Karnak shows her wearing a modius and double uraeus. 
His son has risen in his place as King of the Two Lands. He [Thutmose III] ruled on the throne ofhe who had begotten him. His sister, the God's Wife Queen Hatshepsut, governed the land and the Two Lands were advised by her. Work was done for her and Egypt bowed its head.
For several years Queen Hatshepsut acted as a typical regent, allowing the young Thutmose to take precedence in all activities. But already there were signs that Queen Hatshepsut was not afraid to flout tradition. Her new title, Mistress of the Two Lands, was a clear reference to the king's time-hon-oured title Lord of the Two Lands. More unusually, she commissioned a pair of obelisks to stand in front of the gateway to the Karnak temple of Amun. Obelisks - tall, thin, tapering shafts of hard stone whose pyramid-shaped tops, coated with gold foil, sparkled in the strong Egyptian sunlight - were understood to represent the first rays of light that shone as the world was created. Very difficult to cut and transport, and so difficult to erect that modern scientists have not yet managed to replicate the procedure, they had thitherto been the very expensive gifts of kings to their gods. By the time her obelisks were cut,  Queen Hatshepsut too had become a king, and her new titles were engraved with pride on her monuments. 




Hatshepsut the King!



By year 7 Queen Hatshepsut had been crowned king of Egypt, acquiring in the process a full king's titulary of five royal names - Horus, Powerful-of-Kasi Two Ladies, Flourishing-of-Years; Female Horus of Fine Gold, Divine-of-Diadems; King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Maatkare (Truth is the Soul of Re); Daughter of Ra, Khenmet-Amun Hatshepsut (the One who is joined with Amun, the Foremost of Women). Thutmose III was 
never forgotten. He was scrupulously acknowledged as a co-ruler and the now-joint regnal years continued to be counted from the date of his accession, but Queen Hatshepsut was undeniably the dominant king of Egypt. Only towards the end of Queen Hatshepsut's life would Thutmose acquire anything like equal status with his co-ruler. 
We can chart Queen  Hatshepsut's journey from conventional consort to king in a series of contrasting images. A stela now housed in Berlin Museum shows us the royal family shortly before Thutmose's death. The young king stands facing the sun god Re. Directly behind him stands his step-mother/mother-in-law Ahmose wearing the vulture headdress and uraeus topped with tall feathers. Queen Hatshepsut stands dutifully behind her mother, her plain sheath dress and simple platform crown emphasizing the fact that here she is very much the junior queen. The modius or plat-form crown, decorated with flower stalks, was worn by a variety of not particularly prominent New Kingdom royal women. Two years after the death of Thutmose II, images carved at the Semna Temple, Nubia, show an adult-looking Thutmose III, sole King of Upper and Lower Egypt and Lord of the Two Lands, receiving the white crown from the ancient Nubian god Dedwen. Finally Hatshepsufs Red Chapel at Karnak shows Queen Hatshepsut and Thutmose III standing together. The two kings are identical in appearance, both wearing the kilt and the blue crown, botb carrying a staff and an ankh, and both with breastless male bodies. Their cartouches confirm that it is Thutmose who stands behind Queen Hatshepsut in the more junior position. 
Queen Hatshepsut offers us no explanation for her unprecedented assumption of power. It seems that there was no opposition to her elevation although, of course, it is very unlikely that any such opposition would have been recorded. We can only guess that it was precipitated by a political or theological crisis requiring a fully adult king. Carved into the walls of her religious monuments Queen Hatshepsut does, however, offer some justification. Queen Hatshepsut is entitled to claim the throne because she is not only the beloved daughter and intended heir of the revered Thutmose I (the less impressive Thutmose II being conveniently forgotten); she is also the daughter of the great god Amun. And he, via an oracle revealed to Queen Hatshepsut herself, has proclaimed his daughter King of Egypt.



Divine Birth of Queen Hatshepsut:
Queen Hatshepsut's semi-divine nature is emphasized on the walls of her mortuary temple, where a cartoon-like sequence of images and a brief accompanying text tell the story of her divine birth. Amon, we learn, has fallen in love with a beautiful queen of Egypt, and has determined to father her child. In one of the few scenes showing a queen communicating directly with a god, we can view Queen Ahmose sitting unchaperoned in her boudoir. Here she is visited by Amon who, for propriety's sake, has disguised himself as her husband. Amon tells Ahmose that she has been chosen to bear his daughter, the future king of Egypt. Then he passes her the ankh that symbolizes life, and his potent perfume fills the palace. Meanwhile, in heaven, the ram-headed creator god Khnum crafts both the baby and the baby's soul on his potter's wheel. Nine months later it is time for the birth. The pregnant Ahmose, her baby bump barely visible, is led to the birthing bower by Khnum and the frog-headed midwife Heket. Here, in a scene discreetly left to the imagination, Queen Hatshepsut is born. 

Amon is overwhelmed with love for his new daughter. He takes her from Hathor the divine wet nurse, kisses her and speaks: 
Come to me in peace, daughter of my loins, beloved Maatkare, thou art the king who takes possession of the diadem on the Throne of Horus of the Living, eternally.
The temple walls show Egypt's new, naked king with an unmistakably male body; her identical and equally naked soul, too, is obviously male. But the new king's names are female, and neither Ahmose nor Amon is in any doubt over the gender of their child. The presentation of Queen Hatshepsut as a male is purely a convention, her response to the artistic dilemma that, three centuries before, saw Sobeknefru don an unhappy mixture of men's and women's clothing. As a queen Hatshepsut had been happy to be portrayed as a conventional woman: slender, pale and passive. But as a king she needed to find an image that would reinforce her new position while distancing her from the consort's role. Towards the beginning of her reign she was depicted either as a conventional woman or as a woman wearing [male] king's clothing. Two seated limestone statues recovered from Deir el-Bahari show her dressed in this hybrid manner.  Queen Hatshepsut wears the traditional headcloth and kilt. She has a rounded, feminine, unbearded face and a feminine body with breasts and an indented waist. Soon, however, she evolves into an entirely masculine king, with a man's body, male clothing, male ccessories and male ritual actions. It seems that it is the appearance of the king that matters rather than her actual gender; the masculine form of Queen Hatshepsut is happy to alternate between masculine and feminine forms of her titulary. 

Princess Neferure, the Queen of Hatshepsut:
From the time of her coronation onwards, Queen Hatshepsut was careful to behave as an entirely conventional King of Egypt; in consequence, while her story tells us a great deal about the perceived role of the king, it tells us less about the role of the queen than we might have hoped. It does, however, confirm one very important detail: that the queen was an important element of the kingship. Like any other king, Queen Hatshepsut needed a queen to fulfil the feminine aspect of her monarchy, and for this she turned to her daughter Neferure. Most of Egypt's royal children remain hidden in their nurseries throughout their childhoods and, during her father's reign, Neferure had been no exception. But following her mother's coronation, Neferure started to play an unusually prominent role - the queen's role - in public life. Neferure used the titles Lady of Upper and Lower Egypt and Mistress of the Lands and she assumed the office of God's Wife of Amun, a role that Queen Hatshepsut had been forced to abandon as it was incompatible with her kingly status. Neferure, like all other God's Wives before her, adopted this as her preferred title. Scenes carved on the walls of the Red Chapel at Karnak show Neferure as a fully adult woman performing the appropriate rituals. 
Neferure's education was clearly a matter of some importance. The young princess was taught first by the courtier Ahmose-Pennekhbet, next by Senenmut, Queen Hatshepsut's most influential advisor, and finally by the administrator Senimen. A series of hard stone statues - highly expensive, produced by the royal workshops - show Neferure and Senenmut together. Neferure has the shaven head and sidelock of youth worn by all Egyptian children. Senenmut, dressed in a heavy striated wig, assumes a typical woman's role by either holding the princess tight, or seating her on his knee and wrapping her body in his cloak. Neferure disappears 
towards the end of her mother's reign; she appears on a stela at Serabit el-Khadim in Year II, but is unmentioned in Senenmut's tomb dated to Year 16. The obvious assumption is that she has died and been buried in her tomb which lay near that built for her mother in the remote Wadi Sikkat Taka el-Zeida. 

Senenmut, Queen Hatshepsut's Advisor 
The new king inherited her late brother's courtiers but gradually, as her reign developed, she started to pick new advisors, many of whom, like Senenmut, were men of relatively humble birth. As  Queen Hatshepsut well realized, these self-made men had a vested interest in keeping her on the throne: if she fell, they fell with her. Senenmut, Steward of Amun and tutor to Princess Neferure, enjoyed a meteoric rise through the ranks, and this has sparked a great deal of speculation over the precise nature of his relationship with Queen Hatshepsut. They certainly never married - marriage was not an option for a female king, as it would lead to too great a conflict of roles - but could they have been lovers? A crude piece of graffiti scrawled in a Deir el-Bahari tomb, which apparently shows a man having 'doggy-style' intercourse with a woman wearing a royal headdress, cannot be accepted as conclusive proof of anything other than the fact that the ancient Egyptians enjoyed smutty gossip as much as any other people. The fact that Senenmut carved his image into Queen Hatshepsut's mortuary temple - an unprecedented and daring move for a non-royal- combines with the fact that his second tomb encroached upon the Deir el-Bahari precincts to offer a more convincing argument in favour of a close bond between the two. It is difficult to imagine that Senenmut could have ordered these infringements of protocol without Queen Hatshepsut's knowledge and tacit approval. 

Queen Hatshepsut's Policy
The new king set out to maintain maat by launching an obvious assault on chaos. Foreigners were to be subdued, the monuments of the ancestors were to be restored, and the whole of Egypt was to be enhanced by a series of ambitious temple-building projects. The subduing of the foreigners was quickly achieved in a token series of military campaigns against the vassals to the south and east. The Deir el-Bahari temple again shows the Nubian god Dedwen, this time leading a series of captive Nubian towns leach depicted as a walled town or fortified cartouch bearing an obviously Nubian head) towards the victorious Queen Hatshepsut. 
Next, Queen Hatshepsut turned her attention to trade. There were missions to the Lebanon for wood, increased exploi tation of the copper and turquoise mines in Sinai and, most important of all, during Year 9, a successful trading mission to Punt. The real but almost legendary land of Punt was a source of many exotic treasures: precious resins, curious wild animals, and the ever-desirable ebony, ivory and gold. It was, however, a long way from the safety of Thebes. The exact location of Punt is now lost, but flora and fauna included in the reliefs decorating Queen Hatshepsut's mortuary temple suggest that it was an east African trading centresituated somewhere along the Eritrean/Ethiopian coast. The journey to this distant Utopia involved a long, hot march across 100 miles (160 km) of desert, possibly carrying a dismantled boat, to the Red Sea port of Quseir. This was followed by a sea journey along the coast, an adventure that the Egyptians, always very happy on the calm waters of the Nile, dreaded. 
Queen Hatshepsut's envoy Neshy set sail with a small but well-armed army, his precise route undisclosed. After some sharp bargaining with the chief of Punt - the temple walls show a handful of trinkets being exchanged for 
a wonderful array of goods, but doubtless they exaggerate - he returned home in triumph. Queen Hatshepsut, watching as her ships disgorged their valuable cargos at Thebes, must have been overjoyed. The safe return of her troops proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that her reign was indeed blessed by her divine father. With great perspicacity she promptly donated the best of the goods to Amun, and ordered that the epic voyage be immortalized on the Deir el-Bahari temple walls. 

Queen Hatshepsut's Projects Building
Back at home the building projects were proceeding well. It seems likely that Queen Hatshepsut instigated a temple-building project in all of Egypt's major cities, but most of these temples have been lost along with their cities, leaving the Theban monuments to stand as testimony to the prosperity of her reign. We know that there were building works in Nubia, and at Kom ambo, Hierakonpolis, Elkab, Armant and the island of Elephantine, which received two temples dedicated to local gods. In Middle Egypt, not far from Beni Hassan and the Hatnub quarries, Egypt's first two rock-cut temples were dedicated to the obscure lion-headed goddess Pakhet, 'She who Scratches', a local variant of the goddess Sekhmet, who was herself a variant of Hathor. On one of these temples, known today bits Greek name Speos Artemidos (Grotto of Artemis),  Queen Hatshepsut carved a bold statement setting out her policy of rebuilding and restoration: 
I have never slumbered as one forgetful, but have made strong what was decayed. I have raised up what was dismembered, even from the first time when the Asiatics were in Avaris of the North Land, with roving hordes in the midst of them overthrowing what had been made; they ruled without Ra.... I have banished the abominations of the gods, and the earth has removed their footprints. 
In suggesting that she has personally expelled the Hyksos from Egypt, Queen Hatshepsut is being more than economical with the truth; such an outrageous lie can, however, be justified if we take the view, as Queen Hatshepsut 
herself undoubtedly did, that each of Egypt's kings was a continuation of the kings who had gone before and so fully entitled to claim his deeds for his (or her) own, Her assertion that she is renewing and restoring damaged monuments does appear to be true within the modern meaning of the term, We know, for example, that she repaired the temple of Hathor at the town of Cusae, a town which, situated on the border between the Theban and Hyksos kingdoms, suffered badly during the wars that ended the 17th Dynasty, The Karnak temple benefited greatly from the new king's generosity, There was another pair of obelisks - this time entirely covered in gold foil - raised to commemorate Queen Hatshepsut's 15-year jubilee, a new bark shrine (the Red Chapel) where Amun's processional boat could rest, a new southern pylon (gateway), a new royal palace and a series of improvements to the processional routes which linked the various temples within the complex, But the most magnificent building she commissioned was a mortuary temple for herself, situated close by the Middle Kingdom tomb of Mentuhotep II in the Deir el-Bahari bay.

Deir el-Bahari, Queen Hatshepsut's Mortuary Temple.
Deir el-Bahari was a multi-functional temple with a series of shrines and chapels devoted to a variety of gods. The main sanctuary was dedicated to Queen  Hatshepsut's divine father, Amun. But there was also a suite of chapels 
devoted to the royal ancestors; this included a small mortuary or memorial chapel for her earthly father, Thutmose I, and a much larger mortuary chapel for Queen Hatshepsut herself. Here, in front of  Queen Hatshepsut's cult statue, the priests could make the daily offerings of food, drink, music and incense that would allow the dead king's soul to live forever. An open-air court dedicated to the worship of the sun god Re-Herakhty balanced the dark and gloomy mortuary chapels, chapels that linked the dead with the cult of Osiris. One level down were the chapels dedicated to the god of embalming, Anubis, and to Hathor, who was not only the goddess of the Deir el-Bahari bay, but also 'Mistress of Punt'. Like many of Egypt's queens, Hatshepsut (now an ex-queen) felt a particular attraction to Hathor's predominantly female cult, and Hathor features prominently in her temple. She is present at Hatshepsut's birth and later, taking the form of a cow, suckles a newborn infant. If Amon can be considered the divine father of the king, it seems that Hathor is now his (or her) mother. 
The mortuary temple was one half of Queen Hatshepsut's mortuary provision. Her tomb, the other half, was to be in the Valley of the Kings, the now traditional cemetery for Egypt's kings. The old consort's tomb in the Wadi Sikkat Taka el-Zeida was abandoned, but Queen Hatshepsut (perhaps concerned about her lack of time) did not try to build a replacement. Instead she started to enlarge the tomb (KV 20) which already held her father, until it became the longest and deepest tomb in the Valley. Eventually, or so she hoped, father and daughter would lie side-by-side forever in two matching yellow quartzite sarcophagi (Thutmose l's sarcophagus, a shade less magnificent than Queen Hatshepsut's own, was actually a second-hand sarcophagus originally prepared for his daughter). The two did indeed lie together for a time, but Thutmose III eventually had his grand-father reinterred in a nest of new coffins placed in a new sarcophagus in a brand new tomb (KV 38). 

The End of the Era of Queen Hatshepsut


A single stela, raised at Armant, tells us that Queen Hatshepsut died on the tenth day of the sixth month of the 22nd year of her reign. Finally Thutmose was free to embark on what would be 33 years of highly successful solo rule. First, however, he had to bury his predecessor to consolidate his claim to the throne.  Queen Hatshepsut's tomb was looted in antiquity, but included amongst the debris left by the robbers were two vases - family heirlooms? - made for Queen Ahmose-Nefertari. We have Queen Hatshepsut's sarcophagus and her matching canopic chest, and a few fragments of her furniture, but her body has vanished. All that remains is a box recovered from the Deir el-Bahari mummy cache, decorated with Queen Hatshepsut's cartouch and holding mummified tissue identified rather loosely as either a liver or a spleen. We do, however, have several nameless New Kingdom female mummies who might, or might not, be Queen Hatshepsut. Chief amongst these are the 'Elder Lady', a female mummy in her 40s recovered from a sealed side-chamber in the tomb of Amenhotep II (KV 35) and an obese female mummy with red-gold hair discovered in the tomb of the royal nurse Sitre (KV 60). Sitre is known to have been Queen Hatshepsut's wet-nurse, and a badly damaged limestone statue shows her sitting with the young Hatshepsut (a miniature adult rather than a child) on her lap. 

Erasing Queen Hatshepsut 
Towards the end of Thutmose's reign an attempt was made to delete Queen Hatshepsut from the historical record. This elimination was carried out in the most literal way possible. Her cartouches and images were chiselled off the stone walls -leaving very obvious Queen-Hatshepsut-shaped gaps in the artwork - and she was excluded from the official history that now ran without any form of co-regency from Thutmose II to Thutmose III. At the Deir el-Bahari temple Queen Hatshepsut's numerous statues were torn down and in many cases smashed or disfigured before being buried in a pit. Over the river at Karnak there was even an attempt to wall up her obelisks. While it is clear that much of this rewriting of history occurred during the later part of Thutmose's reign, it is not clear why it happened. For many years Egyptologists assumed that it was a damnatio memoriae, the deliberate erasure of a person's name, image and memory, which would cause them to die a second, terrible and permanent death in the afterlife. This appeared to make perfect sense. Thutmose must have been an unwilling co-regent for years. What could be more natural than a wish to destroy the memory of the woman who had so wronged him? But this assessment of the situation is probably too simplistic. It is always dangerous to attempt to psychoanalyse the long dead, but it seems highly unlikely that the determined and focused Thutmose - not only Egypt's most successful general, but an acclaimed athlete, author, historian, botanist and architect - would have brooded for two decades before attempting to revenge himself on his stepmother. 
Furthermore the erasure was both sporadic and haphazard, with only the more visible and accessible images of Queen Hatshepsut being removed. Had it been complete - and, given the manpower available, there is no reason why it should not have been - we would not now have so many images of  Queen Hatshepsut. It seems either that Thutmose must have died before his act of vengeance was finished, or that he had never intended a total obliteration of her memory at all. In fact, we have no evidence to support the assumption that Thutmose hated or resented Queen Hatshepsut during her lifetime. Had he done so he could surely, as head of the army (a position given to him by Queen Hatshepsut, who was clearly not worried about her co-regent's loyalty), have led a successful coup. It may well be that Thutmose, lacking any sinister motivation, was, towards the end of his life, simply engaged in 'tidying up' his personal history, restoring Queen Hatshepsut to her rightful place as a queen regent rather than a king. By eliminating the more obvious traces of his female co-regent, Thutmose could claim all the achievements of their joint reign for himself. 
The erasure of Queen Hatshepsut's name, whatever the reason, allowed her to disappear from Egypt's archaeological and written record. Thus, when 19th-century Egyptologists started to interpret the texts on the Deir el-Bahari temple walls (walls illustrated with not one but two obviously male kings) their translations made no sense. Champollion, the French decoder of hieroglyphs, was not alone in feeling deeply confused by the obvious conflict between the words and the pictures: 

If I felt somewhat surprised at seeing here, as elsewhere throughout the temple, the renowned Moeris [Thutmose III}, adorned with all the insignia of royalty, giving place to this Amenenthe (Hatshepsut}, for whose name we may search the royal lists in vain, still more astonished was I to find on reading the inscriptions that wherever they referred to this bearded king in the usual dress of the Pharaohs, nouns and verbs were in the feminine, as though a queen were in question. I found the same peculiarity everywhere.. 

By the late 19th century the truth had been revealed and, despite her masculine appearance, Queen Hatshepsut had been restored to her rightful place as a female king.

Check The Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut in details
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