“Foremost of Noble Ladies”
Greek name: Amensis
Born: ~1508 B.C.
Mother: Ahmose (Queen)
Father: Thutmose I
Siblings: Amenmose (brother), Wadjmose (brother), Nefrubity (sister), Thutmose II (half-brother, husband)
Period: 5th Pharaoh in the 18th dynasty
Started reign: (as regent) 1492 B.C. ; (as Pharaoh) 1472 B.C.
Husband: Thutmose II
Children: 2 daughters (Neferure, ???)
Ruled: ~21 years and 9 months
Festival Hall of Thutmose III: Hat-schepsut-chenemet-Amun
Death: 14th January 1457
Hatshepsut was the oldest daughter of Pharaoh Thutmose I and his great royal wife Queen Ahmose. In the patio temple of Hatshepsut a record of Queen Ahmose says that her daughter was not only the child of Pharaoh Thutmose I, but also from the God Amun-Ra. The Pharaoh and the God were one person at the siring of Hatshepsut and it is also documented that the God told Ahomse that this daughter will be Pharaoh and rule over Egypt one day. That document was probably added to the temple to legitimize Hatshepsut entitlement of the throne on Egypt.
~Pharaoh Thutmose I ~God Amun-Ra
The Pharaoh’s wife
Hatshepsut married her half-brother Thutmose II, who was the son of her father Thutmose I and a secondary wife Mutnofret. Thutmose II was not the son who was chosen to become Pharaoh in the first place, but as all of his three older brothers died premature he was elected to be king after his father. Thutmose I died in 1492 B.C. and Thutmose II took over the throne in the same year. He ruled about 13 years and in 1479 B.C. Thutmose II died of an illness. There were a lot of disputes who should follow him on the throne. Some wanted Hatshepsut because she was the legitimate heir, some others wanted a male follower and there for Thutmose II son with a secondary wife (Isis) should take over throne. The oracle of Amun finally solved the problem as it decided that Thutmose III should be Pharaoh, but at that time he was only 7 years old, so Hatshepsut became regent for him. Later, after Hatshepsut was officially the Pharaoh of Egypt is edited the augury of the oracle in her monuments and she also added a text of her father, where he says she is his official heir of the throne.
Oracle of Amun:”Welcome my sweet daughter, my favorite, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Maatkare, Hatshepsut. Thou art the Pharaoh, taking possession of the Two Lands.”
Text in Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple: “Then his majesty said to them: “This daughter of mine, Khnumetamun Hatshepsut—may she live!—I have appointed as my successor upon my throne… she shall direct the people in every sphere of the palace; it is she indeed who shall lead you. Obey her words, unite yourselves at her command.” The royal nobles, the dignitaries, and the leaders of the people heard this proclamation of the promotion of his daughter, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Maatkare—may she live eternally.”
~Pharaoh Thutmose II
Today little is know from the time as Hatshepsut was only the regent for her stepson. We have nearly no documentary from this time period but it is assumed that in the first few years Hatshepsut was a completely conventional regent. The first evidence that she took over the throne as Pharaoh is found in her Mortuary Temple in Deir el-Bahari in the 7th year of her stepson’s reign (1472 B.C); as well on a plaque in the stone pit of Aswan.
In the 7th year Hatshepsut and Thutmose III (he 14 years old at that point) were officially co-rulers over Egypt but the reality was that Thutmose III was more a reign and Hatshepsut the real Pharaoh. There for her deception changed too. In the first seven years she was shown as typical Queen, with a female body and appropriately feminine garments. Than after a brief period of experimentation that involved combining a female body with kingly (male) regalia followed until she formal portraits began to show Hatshepsut with a male body, wearing the traditional regalia of kilt, crown or head-cloth, and false beard. She ordered these changes in her deception because she wanted to be fully accepted and viewed as a traditional king.
Today we do not know any monument that shows or explains how she took the throne or how she convinced Egypt’s elite to accept her new place as Pharaoh. But the key to this was probably that she placed a group of loyal officials in key positions in her government.
~Pharaoh Hatshepsut with male attributes (false beard, traditionally head-cloth)
Expedition to Punt
Today it is not possible to decide which land Punt was actually but it is assumed that laid east for Egypt. It is also known as Pwenet or Pwene. Nother name for it was Ta natjer which means “land of god” and is a reference to the goddess Hathor. There were several expeditions to Punt under Hatshepsut’s reign; she also built a whole fleet which was crossing regularly to the land to treat gold for oilbanum and ebony, but also for other things like animals, furs, etc. But not only treating was done, there were several expeditions which brough plants from Punt back to Egypt. This is today known as the first botanical collective expedition.
Hatshepsut was a very peaceful time for Egypt. The female Pharaoh prefered to trade, and not to fight. But partly for the tradition, partly because it was necessary she lead several military campaigns against the enemies at the boarders of Egypt. Officially there is only one real military campaign noticed under Hatshepsut, as she conquered the Gaza Strip. But this campaign was lead by Thutmose III and was at the end of Hatshepsut’s reign. All other battles and campaigns were part of punitive expedition, mainly in Nubia. Scenes on the walls of her Dayr al-Bar temple, in western Thebes, suggest that she began with a short, successful military campaign in Nubia. There was also a punitive expedition against Syria-Palestine, and one that lead the army into the region of Mau, in the years 20-22 of her reign.
The man, who was responsible for the architecture and the buildings of Hatshepsut, was Senemut; one of the closest confidant of the Pharaoh. He helped Hatshepsut to build her Mortuary Temple (that project took 15 years!). The Dayr al-Bar temple was the supreme achievement; designed as a funerary monument for Hatshepsut, it was dedicated to Amun-Re and included a series of chapels dedicated to Osiris, Re, Hathor, Anubis, and the royal ancestors.
~The Dayr al-Bar (Mortuary Temple) temple of Hatshepsut
She undertook an intensive rebuilding program during her reign and extended most of the temples. In Thebes her focused laid on the temple of Amun-Ra in Karnak. The chapelle rouge and her obelisks were only some of the extensions. At Beni Hasan in Middle Egypt, she built a rock-cut temple known in Greek as Speos Artemidos.
~The chapelle rouge (red chapel) in Karnak
~Obelisk in Karnak
~”Zoom in” of one of the obelisks
The Pharaoh also claimed to have repaired the damage done by the Hyksos during the Second Intermediate Period (~1800-1570 B.C). Today it is proof that this is a false claim of Hatshepsut. The damaged done by the foreign rulers was repaired over decades by different Pharaohs and not by Hatshepsut alone!
During her rule, the grave of her father in the Valley of kings was expended, so that after her death, she also could be buried in it, with her father.
~Entrence of Thutmose I/Hatshepsut’s grave in the Valley of Kings
Hatshepsut allowed her stepson and the real “Pharaoh” Thutmose III to play an increasing important role in the state affairs towards her reign. It is assumed that Hatshepsut died on the 14th of January 1457 B.C, after she ruled about 21 years and 9 months. Since it was not possible to find (identify!) her mummy for a long time, there were some theories out that she may have been murdered for political reasons. The mummy was found around the year 1907 in the Kings of Vally, but until June 2007 the scientists were not able to proof without a doubt that the mummy was the female Pharaoh. Only with the help of modern technology (such as DNA analysis, and CT) it was able to erase any doubt about the mummy being Hatshepsut! The mummy also gave a clue about the Pharaoh might have died. She probably suffered from cancer or diabetes, and one of these disease put an end to her reign/life. In the grave of Hatshepsut only a tooth and her internal organs were found, and the coffin of her father next to hers (only a par of the coffin was there). The rest of her belongings were found in a chute in the grave of Pharaoh Ramses XI. There are several theories out there how these things might have ended up there, but non of them proofed.
~Mummy of Pharaoh Hatshepsut
After her death, cartouches with her name, reliefs and statues were destroyed. For a long time it was assumed that this was done by her stepson Thutmose III out of anger, because his stepmother took his throne. Egyptologists assume today, that the deletion was done later in the New Kingdom. The common theory today is that a Pharaoh in the New Kingdom could not stand the thought that a woman had ruled (quiet successful) over Egypt and there for tried to erase her name, so that a continuous line of male reigns would be displayed by the monuments. Hatshepsut sank into obscurity until 1822, when the decoding of hieroglyphic script allowed archaeologists to read the Dayr al-Bar inscriptions.