Monday, August 20, 2007


Hatshepsut's Family And Hathshepsut's Childhood:

Hathshepsut was born to King Thutmose I. Hatshepsut was the only surviving child of the Pharoah Thutmose I and Ahmose, born in the 15th century B.C. Her father was one of Egypt's most successful kings, whose dazzling military campaigns established the 18th Dynasty.

Discovery Channel assumes that she was relatively petite with light brown skin, a relatively narrow skull, dark brown eyes and wavy dark brown or black hair, as was common with most upper-class Egyptian women.

Hathshepsut likely grew up in a royal harem where she was groomed to become a king's wife, but she came from a line of strong women who took her on more prominent, powerful and lasting roles than women from any other dynasty. Her grandmother, Ahmose-Nefertari, had an unprededented amount of influence during the reign of King Ahmose, her husband.

Thutmose I died when Hatshepsut was about 12 years old. His son by a second wife, Thutmose II, became heir to the throne.

Thutmosis II:

Thutmose II married his half-sister, Hathshepsut, whose pure royal bloodline helped legitimize his rule and strengthen his position. Had Hatsepsut been a man, she would have succeeded her father.

Thutmose II was a physically weak person and many Egyptologists speculate that Hatshepsut may have been the real power behind the throne. It is thought he reigned for three to 14 years.

When the king died, the widowed queen became regent to her stepson, Thutmose III, who was too young to assume the duties of a Pharoah. It was unprecedented for Hatshepsut to be called upon to be regent for a boy who was not her son.


Hathshepsut and Thutmose II had a daughter, Neferure. Inscriptions depict her as a young prince, with a beard and a sidelock.

Neferure was invisible throughout her father's reign, but following his death, she had an unusually prominent paty in court life, suddenly appearing alongside her mother. As an only child, it seemed Neferure was being groomed from an early age to play an important role in the Egyptian royal family. Neferure died at about 16 years old.

Hathshepsut's Regency:

Possibly as early as the second year of her regency Hatshepsut began a slow transformation into Pharaoh. Even while she was still considered a regent queen she was assuming the role of king.

She added the title "Mistress of the two lands" to her name, which is a female version of the kingly "Lord of the two lands," and near Karnak she is depicted making offerings to the gods as kings normally do. She began the construction of two obelisks at Karnak, both tasks usually only performed by kings.

Hathshepsut's usurpation of kingly powers was a gradual evolution, a carefully controlled political maneuver that may not have been apparent to any but her closest advisers. It is believed that Hatshepsut must have had powerful supporters within the royal court and high priests.

Eventually, she declared herself ruler, calling herself "King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Maatkara and the Daughter of Re." She counts the dates of her reign starting from Thutmose III's rise to the throne.

Hathshepsut's Trusted Advisers:

Hathshepsut's adviser, chief architect and tutor to her daughter was a commoner - Senenmut. He had unprecedented importance and privileges, which is believed to be a sign that he was either Hatshepsut's lover or the real power behind the throne. He had been with her since she was Thutmose II's queen.

She also gave her wet nurse, Sitre, a position of respect and influence in her court, so much so that she commissioned a statue of her at Deir el-Bahri.

Pharoah Hathshepsut:

Hathshepsut's declaration of herself as king was absolutely unique. Egypt had female rulers before her, but only when there was no male heir and only for short, intermediate periods. She knew she needed a massive public relations campaign to legitimize her reign, so she claimed that her father wanted her to succeed his rule.

Hathshepsut maintained a delicate balance between presenting herself as male when kingship was concerned, but personally as female. She was alternately referred to with male and female pronouns and titles. She was almost always represented as a male king, wearing the traditional male headdress and false beard. But in her inscriptions, she kept the female pronouns even if she was depicted as a male king.

Her legitimacy campaign included claims of her direct divine lineage from the god Amun. She deepened her ties to the powerful priesthood of Amun by adding temples, her Red Chapel and obelisks to Karnak. Her surviving obelisk is the second tallest in the world.

Thutmose III:

Hatshepsut never attempted to become the sole ruler of Egypt, and instead of hiding Thutmose III away or having him killed, she was careful to give him due respect as king. But throughout the 20 years of their co-rule, we know almost nothing of Thutmose. He is always shown in a secondary position and is never shown in a major role at any event.

One possible reason for Thutmose's absence is that he was sent into military training. We do know that the growing boy was named commander in chief of the army.

Hathshepsut was careful never to appear subordinate: her cartouche and image always preceded his. Thutmose's masculinity was probably compromised as he was always represented standing behind her and in the traditional position of a queen.

Eventually, Thutmose became known as a warrior king, leading several campaigns abroad. Toward the end of Hatshepsut's reign, shortly after leading his troops to quell an uprising, he claimed the role of sole king of Egypt.

Hathshepsut's Monuments:

Hatshepsut successfully ruled the most powerful, advanced civilization in the world for 20 years. While it is often said that Hatshepsut was a peaceful Pharaoh, there is evidence that she not only ordered the Nubian campaigns, but actually led one of them herself.

She was the first Pharaoh to build a tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Her mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahri is a masterpiece of ancient Egyptian architecture, known by the Egyptians as Djeser-Djeseru, "Wonder of Wonders." Her sensationalized autobiography is written on the walls.

Here, she depicts her divine birth, in which Amun calls together all the gods and goddesses of Egypt to announce his desire to beget a child to rule over Egypt. She also boasts that in the ninth year of her reign, she launched a trade expedition by sea to the mysterious Land of Punt, considered by Ancient Egyptians to be the most exotic and mysterious of places to visit, like El Dorado or Atlantis.

Death And Desecration:

Hatshepsut either died or was deposed in about the 20th year of her reign. There is no historical indication of a violent end to her reign, the record just stops and there is no reference to her death. Her cartouches were systematically destroyed or replaced with the names Thutmose I, II or III.

The first mention of Hatshepsut after her death came from Manetho, an Egyptian priest and historian who compiled a detailed history of the kings of Egypt in 300 B.C. He was the first to divide the various reigns into dynasties and the first to preserve the memory and name of Hatshepsut.

While there is speculation that Thutmose III resented his stepmother for taking over his position, there is no evidence that foul play was involved in her death. Many scholars believe the vandalism was strictly a political move to re-establish the rightful succession of royal heirs.

Now.. We explained about Hathshepsut's family and life... Now lets talk about the mummy.. (Note: This section is from the show "Secrets Of Egypt's Lost Queen" on discovery channel {channel 41}.)


~Evidence 1: The Canopic Burial Box~

A canopic box inscribed with the name "Hathshepsut" is sent through the CT scanner.

Internal organs are usually placed inside such boxes for burial with the mummy in the tomb. This box, originally discovered inside the mummy cache at Tomb TT 320 had been display at the Cairo Museum.

~Evidence 2: The CT Scans~

Experts analyze CT scans of a tooth fragment inside the canopic box inscribed with the name "Hatshepsut".

~Evidence 3: The Tooth~

A computer-generated 3-D view demonstrates how the tooth fragment found inside the canopic box fits perfectly in the mouth of mummy "KV 60 A." Described as the "Strong mummy".

~Evidence 4: The Relatives~

A computer-generated 3-D view of Pharoah Thutmose I; his son, Thutmose II and grandson, Thutmose III.

CT scans of the mummies helped scientists link physical traits of the "KV 60 A" mummy to Hathshepsut's relatives.

~Evidence 5: The Actual Mummy~

Mummy "KV 60 A", once assumed unimportant it was left by several excavation teams on the floor of KV 60, has now been identified by Zahi Hawass as the Pharoah Hathshepsut.

~Evidence 6: The Family Tree~

Hathshepsut's family tree helped scientists determine which mummies to examine for links to the queen.

Hathshepsut's Legacy:

Ma'atkara Hatshepsut Khenemetamun (r. 1473 - 1458)

"Truth is the Soul of Ra, Foremost of Noble Ladies, She Whom Amun Embraces"
Hathshepsut, daughter of Ahmose and Thutmosis I, first came to power as the wife of Thutmosis II, her half-brother who was the son of a lesser queen, Mutnofret. Hathshepsut bore Thutmosis II one daughter, Neferura. After the death of Thutmosis II, Hatshepsut became coregent alongside her step-son, Thutmosis III, who was the son of Thutmosis II's lesser wife, Isis. Because Thutmosis III was too young to reign himself, Hatshepsut served his administative duties. Possibly as early as Year 2, Hatshepsut began her slow transformation into pharaoh. For a while, at least, she maintained her feminine titles, was referred to by feminine pronouns, and was still being depicted as clearly female.

In a bid to legitimize her reign, Hatshepsut deepened her ties to the powerful priesthood of Amun, Egypt's state god. She repaired parts of Karnak, brought in two obelisks to adorn Amun's temple, and built the recently reconstructed Red Chapel. The Red Chapel served as a barque shrine made from red quartzite. To reciprocate Hathshepsut's generosity, the priesthood of Amun fabricated a story that made Hatshepsut the undeniable heir to Thutmosis II's throne. The story, which is etched in the walls of her mortuary temple, details Hatshepsut's divine origins. Ahmose supposedly conceived Hatshepsut with the king of gods himself, Amun. Amun tells Ahmose she will bear his daughter and heir, who will be named Khenemetamun Hatshepsut, "She Whom Amun Embraces, Foremost of Noble Ladies." After the inscription of her parentage was commissioned, Hatshepsut began taking on male attributes. She adopted all of the titles of the male pharaoh, except "Might Bull," wore the false beard, was depicted with a male physique, wore the nemes adorned with the protective uraeus, and even began to omit the feminine ending of her name, thus becoming Hathshepsut.

The mortuarty temple on which this tale is shown, is in Deir el-Bahari. This beautiful example of Egyptian architecture, known by the Egyptians as Djeser-Djeseru, "Wonder of Wonders," was influenced by the design of Montuhotep I's temple. Djeser Djeseru is in the Theban necropolis, seemingly carved from the cliffs which are guarded by the goddess MerytSeger, "She Who Loves Silence." Another inscription on the walls of the mortuary temple depicts the expedition which Hatshepsut ordered to Punt, during the 9th year of her reign. Punt was a land so rich in resources that the Egyptians called in "God's Land." It was a foreign land probably situated in modern day Sudan, near the Somali border. The main purpose behind the expedition was to bring back valuable myrrh. In the inscriptions, the homes of the people of Punt are shown as beehive-like huts. The most peculiar inscription is that of the Queen of Punt; she is depicted as a squat, comical looking fat woman. The Egyptians returned from the expedition with ships loaded with ivory, ebony, animal skins, monkeys, and 31 incense trees, which Hatshepsut had planted in her mortuary temple. It is said that some of the animals brought back from the expedition went to Hatshepsut's own collection of exotic animals, an early proto-type for a zoo.

Hatshepsut's reign, although not entirely remarkable, was peaceful and prosperous. She focussed her attention towards building projects and trade. Some scholars believe that because she was supposed to be co-regent, she concerned herself with adminstrative duties while allowing Thutmosis III to control the military. Hatshepsut could have quite possibly been very reluctant to relinquish her throne to her step-son. Inscriptions depict her daughter as a young prince, with a beard and side-lock; it seems Hatshepsut wasn't grooming a daughter - rather a future king. After Year 11, Neferura seems to disappear. She is no longer mentioned in Egypt's historical record.

One notable character from Hatshepsut's reign was Senenmut. Senenmut came from humble beginnings, but was quickly promoted to numerous lucrative and prestigious posts within Hathshepsut's court. He is mentioned as Hatshepsut's chief architect, however it is doubtful on whether he actually performed any real duties under this title. It is known that he left his likeness behind the doors of the numerous storerooms of Hatshepsut's temple. An attempt to erase these images was made, however not all were discovered, leaving some for posterity. Senenmut is also mentioned as the tutor of Princess Neferura. One famous statue shows Senenmut embracing the young princess, leaving many scholars to believe that he was a trusted confidante of the royal family. Graffiti discovered in a workers' quarry show the female pharaoh and a figure which many believe is Senenmut in a position that is a little more than compromising. Hatshepsut is seen as the submissive partner in a sexual act, perhaps also making the statement that although she has made painstaking effort to represent herself as king, she still finds herself being dominated because she has dared to take on a role reserved for only men. This graffiti lends credence to the belief that Senenmut could have been Hatshepsut's lover. However, some dismiss this claim as unsubstantiated heresay and fantasy. Like Neferura, Senenmut also disappears before the end of Hatshepsut's reign.

After at least 20 years of leadership, Hatshepsut either died or was deposed. Her cartouches seem to have been hacked at, with the names of Thutmosis I, II, and III replacing her own name. Her likeness was also systematically destroyed. Many theories surround the deliberate vandalism of her image and name.

Kurt Sethe believed Thutmosis I or II briefly returned to the throne after Hatshepsut's death, making them responsible for defacing her name and likeness. E. Naville argued that the defacements are of Ramesside date. In reality, some really are. However, Ramesses was known for "stealing the thunder," so to speak, of other pharaohs by claiming credit for their building projects. W.F. Edgerton maintained Thutmosis III was the culprit. Most scholars will agree that a large amount of the vandalism took place during Thutmosis III's reign. The reason behind this act of excluding Hatshepsut from history, however, remains the true mystery. Some think Thutmosis III eradicated Hatshepsut's legacy out of revenge for never relinquishing Thutmosis III's rightful place on the throne. The only problem with this theory is that Thutmosis III began to erase Hatshepsut later on in his reign. Why, then, would Thutmosis III wait so long if he wanted revenge? By erasing her name and evidence of her existence, he is condemning her soul to oblivion. But if he acted out of malice, surely he would have obliterated her memory early in his reign. Perhaps he tried to erase her memory to reclaim the years he should have been pharaoh. By erasing her reign, he effectively gains what he was denied back. It was not at all uncommon for Egyptian kings to rewrite history to their favor. It should also be noted that the inscriptions depicting the story of Hatshepsut's conception were partially hacked away. It is possible that Thutmosis III or subsequent pharaohs saw her reign as an upset to the balance of ma'at. The role of pharaoh was a role strictly reserved for men, even in a society that offered considerable freedoms to women. By claiming her father was Amun and then coronating herself, Hatshepsut essentially commits blasphemy.

The tomb of Hathsepsut and Thutmosis I was found in the last century. Their tomb, KV20, yielded no body that could be identified conclusively as that of Hatshepsut. Her body and the body of her father were probably moved to a royal cache by the priesthood, so they would not be violated by greedy tomb robbers.


Hathsepsut (18th Dynasty, c. 1473-1458 B.C.)

Hatshepsut was the daughter of Thutmose I. When Thutmose died, his son, Thutmose II, succeeded him and, as was the custom, married his stepsister, Hathsepsut. When Thutmose II died around 1479 B.C., his son Thutmose III became Pharoah. However, as the new pharoah was a minor, Hatshepsut stepped in as his regent.

Thutmose III and Hatshepsut ruled together until 1473 B.C. when she eventually appointed herself Pharoah. She used a number of strategies to legitimize her role, including the claim that the god Amun-Ra had visited her mother while she was pregnant, which made her a divine child.

Hathsepsut assumed traditional kingly regalia, including a fake beard, male clothing and having herself drawn and treated like a man. During her 15-year reign she mounted at least one military campaign and initiated a number of impressive building projects, including her funerary temple at Deir El-Bahari.

Her triumphant expedition to the Land of Punt is depicted on the temple walls. Believed to be located near the Red Sea, the story shows ebony, ivory, myrrh, saplings, animal skins, gold, perfumes and exotic animals being brought back to Egypt from the expedition. Another remarkable achievement, also chronicled through illustration at the temple, shows two huge granite obelisks being transported on the River Nile from Aswan to the Temple of Karnak.

Hathsepsut was a powerful woman who brought great stability to Egypt; however, she mysteriously disappeared around 1458 B.C., when Thutmose III regained his title as Pharoah. It is thought he despised Hatshepsut for keeping him from the throne and ordered all reference to her be wiped from Egyptian history.

Hathshepsut's Life:

Hathshepsut was considered one of the greatest rulers, male or female of her time. Born during Egypt's 18th dynasty, she was able to rise from princess to queen to pharoah. Her rise to the throne, though against ideals of time, might have inspired others, such as Cleopatra. During this time she was able to expand trade, watch the Egyptian economy grow and improve, and build and restore temples of Egypt. Hathsepsut did this by claiming right of male, being in the image of the Sphinx. She strapped a golden beard to her chin and often dressed in male clothing.

Facts Of The Lost Queen:

Hatshepsut Is Also Known As: Hatchepsut, Hatshepset, Hatshepsowe.

Places Connected With Hatshepsut: Egypt, Thebes, Karnak, Luxor, Deir El-Bahri (Deir El Bahari, Dayru I-Bahri).

Now we are going continue to talk about her life.

The Message Of Hatshepsut

Among the oldest of the tales handed down from the prehistoric days of ancient Egypt is the legend of Osiris, the god who was betrayed and torn into pieces by his jealous brother Set. The legend tells that Osiris’ sister-wife Isis searched the world over to find his scattered members, and with loving tenderness she brought them together in order to restore him to life.

The Egyptians loved this tale. For them it embodied a truth that seemed too immediate to be expressed in mere words, too profound to yield its meaning to mere logic. In one sense, the tale of Osiris is the story of Egypt, Egypt forever dying, being scattered, forever being reborn out of the fragments of the past. Egypt felt herself to be, in some deep sense, Osirian.

Today, in this our own age, that Egypt--the Egypt of the Pharaohs--lies dead, entirely a thing of the past. It has been almost two thousand years since any man has placed upon his head the white and the red crowns of the Upper and Lower Kingdoms, ornamented with the vulture and cobra, twin symbols of divine authority over the men of Keme. The Biblical prophecy has been fulfilled, that "there shall be no more a prince of the land of Egypt."

Yet something of Egypt survives. A spirit of the past, Osiris-like, stirs in the modern age. It is the spirit of a truth first grasped in the morning of the human story, more than three thousand years ago. That truth was suppressed, its witnesses consigned to oblivion. But somehow it has endured to become revivified in our own day. The legend of Osiris has been proved true. Osiris is Truth, and Truth is Osiris. Truth alone is the true Osiris, for it alone can be fully resurrected and brought back to blooming life. No matter how mutilated, swaddled, entombed or dispersed in fragments, it has the power, given time and favorable circumstances, to pull itself together again, to take form, to blush with true life under the false flush of the embalmer's rouge, to burst its wrappings and rise up, to stride forth godlike again with eyes opened to the sun.

This is a story of the resurrection of truth after a slumber of ages. It is fitting that this story should be told in our age of desperate technologies, when men have no faith in Osiris and in resurrections. Men now build their lives on the hope that there are and can be no resurrections, that what is dead is dead and will stay dead. Only thus can they feel secure from their innumerable enemies, among whom they count the truths they have slain.

Thutmosis, the third of that name, the Good God on Earth, Lord of the Two Lands of Upper and Lower Egypt, was among the first, if not the first, of the moderns. True, he lived a long time ago, at least by our own standards of reckoning time, which seem to have shrunk and become more parochial even as our concepts of space have extended without limit to include the whole globe and beyond that the solar system and the universe. For us, ten years ago is hopelessly in the past. How, then, can we call modern a pharaoh who lived in the antiquity of Egypt, a ruler whom we would be more likely to refer to with contempt as a mud-king rather than a god-king, the ruler of a riverbank and a marsh?

Thutmosis III, he whose name encompasses the triple image of the beetle of self-begetting, the sun-disk of ultimate power, and the senet-board of established order, was by no means the first man to believe, as men believe today, that truth is what the strong man says it is. His position in this matter is for us not germinal but, rather, prototypic. He was modern in this--that he carried the idea out to its logical conclusion. And he was modern in having the means to carry it out on a large scale. Logic and means: rationality and power. These two attributes made Thutmosis a modern. Only today are we slowly learning that being modern is not enough, that rationality and power do not make men human.
Thutmosis was the first emperor of history: the first man to organize the entire resources of a nation for the purpose of systematically subjugating all other nations, even to the ends of the earth. In this he succeeded, thereby setting a bad example for his own people and for all who have come later and attempted to emulate him, down to our present day. In his enterprise he had the support and approbation of his own people. After all, he made them rich, and he set them up as lords and masters of the whole earth.

But strangely--and this is where our story gets its point--he had an adversary, an opponent at home who disagreed with his viewpoint that Egyptians were the natural masters of the world. Even more strange, that opponent was a woman, his own close relative, a Queen of Egypt and Pharaoh in her own right, the first woman in history to rule over a nation in the full exercise of royal power. So long as she ruled, Thutmosis had to sit on the sidelines, impatiently plotting the things he would do when he in his own turn became a god-king and the intermediary of the gods and men on earth.

It was a long wait--twenty-two years--and the longer he waited the more desperate and bitter he became. He came to hate the woman who kept him from the throne--to hate her and all she stood for. Especially what she stood for, since it was diametrically opposed to his own beliefs. Even worse, events occurred--tragic events--that tended to prove his aunt was right; and we all know how upset we become when events suggest that we may have been wrong!

During those bitter years, then, Thutmosis conceived a plan, simple and appealing in its basic concept, one that could be grasped by any child, yet admired by the wisest. Hatshepsut had caused him pain, therefore he would make Hatshepsut cease to exist.

We are not speaking of simple murder, though that, of course, was one aspect of the plan. No, murder is both too simple and too simple-minded. A murdered slave might cease to exist, but a murdered Queen--that is a different matter. She would continue to live on in the minds of the people. Everywhere one turned, one saw the name and image of the She-Hawk, beloved of the people. In a hundred magnificent temples throughout the length of Egypt, in ten thousand statues of the benevolent female Pharaoh, on every palace gate and every public building--none was reminded of Hatshepsut.

It was in contemplation of this painful fact that Thutmosis had his malignant inspiration. He would reshape the world so that it would be as if she had never existed. He would erase her from history. It was an inspiration appropriate to one who would soon be a god-king, vested with the power of life and death over all souls and with absolute sway over all things of the earth in the two lands. For only one with absolute power could hope to do what Thutmosis planned to do.

And he did succeed. Ten thousand stonemasons, armed with chisel and maul and guided by detailed diagrams--those records, so typical of Egypt, of everything done in former times--went forth on Thutmosis' bidding to find and expunge every trace of the hated Queen. Within a few years the name of Hatshepsut was only dimly recalled. A generation later she had become a legend of the past. Her memory slept the ages away--until time and circumstance at last worked their slow change; until Truth, like Osiris, awoke in its grave and, putting forth its strength, burst its swaddling bonds.

In our age, after a sleep of centuries, Queen Hatshepsut has come to life again in a very real sense--namely, in the minds and hearts of the living. The brilliant light of historical insight, based on painstaking synthesis of the myriad fragments of ruined temples, monuments, and memorial stelae, has illuminated for us the salient acts of the first great Queen of history. The erasures of Thutmosis have been undone. We see her as child bride of her step-brother, the unlucky Thutmosis II, whose premature disappearance from history remains a mystery; we see her ruling as coregent for her nephew--or more accurately, her step-son--the young Thutmosis III, then unexpectedly assuming for herself the royal power and ascending the ancient Throne of Horus. We see her surrounded by "new men" of her own choosing: the Chancellor Hapu-seneb, the Viceroy Nehesi (herein called Khudr), the Treasurer Thutiy. Above all, we see her in the constant company of her closest confidant and counselor, the great architect and Steward of Amun, Senmut, whose dazzling achievement in the conception and construction of Hatshepsut's funerary temple in the great bay in the cliffs on the western side of the river, opposite Karnak at Thebes, appears to us now to have been as much the inspiration of passionate love for his Queen as it was the most perfect expression in stone of the Egyptian religious ethos.

The resurrection of Hatshepsut and of her great Steward Senmut is now a reality. We know who they were and when they lived and, in some detail, what they achieved. We have the facts, so to speak. But knowledge of this type is of a rather low order. What is still lacking is of a different realm, orders of magnitude in importance above the brute facts of time and place.

Hatshepsut was opposed to her stepson Thutmosis III. That is the bare fact. But what was the substance, the content, the meaning, of her opposition? That titanic struggle at the dawn of history was not a meaningless fight for the throne, of that we may be sure. No. Thutmosis stood for something, and in opposition to that stand Hatshepsut put forth her own message. The message of Hatshepsut: that is what is missing from the story.

How shall we dare to reconstruct the message of Hatshepsut? It is one thing to reconstruct a temple, dilapidated, crumbling, and buried in the sand. It is quite another thing to reconstruct a message, a thought, a wish, a breath of air given meaning by the magic of language. For such evanescences, a day, an hour, even a moment is too long. Their lifespan is short, they die in their borning. To bring an unwritten message to life after the passage of weary millennia would seem audacious indeed. But there is a way--through the act of creative imagination, which can guess the outline of the missing thing by the shape of the emptiness it leaves behind.

We here assert that the message of Hatshepsut is knowable--that she left us clues to its resurrection, and that it is nothing less than the true voice of Egypt, the one deep insight which, if grasped and acted upon, could have led Egypt forward into an indefinite future of increasing strength and creativity, sparing her the long-drawn-out misery of her thousand-year decline and decay, which ended at long last in total extinction and disappearance from history. To call it a message of love would be an oversimplification unworthy alike of Hatshepsut and of our conception of it. It would be more accurate, perhaps, to call it a message of light, if by that one word we understand a metaphorical light in the human spirit, neither the pitiless blinding light of Atum the Sun-god, nor the cold and jejune light of reason, the spurious Sun-god of our modern age.

But one must not suppose that the light appeared to Hatshepsut as a sudden religious revelation. Nothing that we know of her life and times would lend the slightest support to such a theory. The light of which we speak began to glow from within and only gradually. It was recognized by Hatshepsut and Senmut jointly only after the passage of years of struggle and mutual dedication to the building of Hatshepsut's temple. And it is in the temple, and through the temple, that single most marvelous conception of Egyptian civilization, that the message of Hatshepsut took concrete form and was conveyed to us after having survived the vicissitudes of millennia, the wreckage of history, the forces of nature herself.

Egypt-of-the-Pharaohs has paid the full measure for her failure to recognize the right path. Her fate has been painful in the extreme. Yet if Egypt, in dying, has been able to transmit that message, that insight, to the world of the living, then Egypt, again Osiris-like in sending forth life out of the dead body of the past, will have justified herself and made good the debt of suffering incurred by the oldest and weariest of earth's civilizations.

Three thousand years later, scholars discuss the policies of Thutmosis and praise him for his political sense, comparing him to Alexander, Caesar, or Napoleon, and failing to see how Thutmosis, like those others, led not only his own nation but also an entire civilization down the path to destruction. The successive invasions and humiliations of Egypt in the seventh and sixth centuries B.C:--from the invasion of the Delta by Esarhaddon the Assyrian, the sacking of Memphis by Ashurbanipal in 663 B.C, and the sack of Thebes in 571 B.C, to the final surrender to the Persians in 525 B.C.--these were the consequences of the policies of Thutmosis, begun almost a thousand years earlier. And worse, much worse, was in store through another millennium until the final extinction of Thebes in 500 A.D.: the city dead, the people gone, the temples quarried for their limestone, the very language of the Pharaohs forgotten. So much for the scholars.

But the people, now as then, have no time for Thutmosis. Hatshepsut is the one they love. Their instinct tells them Hatshepsut was for them, and their instinct is right, today as then. There is no lack of tyrants à la Thutmosis, even today. Pharaoh today is not dead. He has merely changed his outward appearance and lives in discreet luxury in many a capital city of the modern world. But the world still waits for a new generation of leaders and builders cast in the mold of Hatshepsut, who will lead through the power of love. And the world listens as it strains to catch, behind the turmoil and violence of modern life, the elusive music of the message of Hapshepsut.

The 18th Dynasty:

The 18th Dynasty starts not with the accession of a new royal family to the throne, but with the reign of Ahmose, a brother or nephew of his predecessor Kamose, who is counted as the last king of the previous dynasty.

After about a decade of relative peace and status quo with the Hyksos who still controlled the northern half of the country, the Theban king Ahmose rekindled Kamose's war against these foreign rulers. Within 5 years, he succeeded in expelling them from his country, reuniting it back under the sole rule of one Egyptian king.

Perhaps driven by the desire to make sure that Egypt never again would fall under a foreign rulership, Ahmose continued his military campaigns after the expulsion of the Hyksos. Through a series of campaigns both in Syria-Palestine and in Nubia, Ahmose extended Egypt's realm of influence well beyond its borders, stretching from at least as far north as the city of Bybos and perhaps even beyond, down to the second cataract town of Buhen in the south.

From this reign on, Egypt would become a military power that the neighbouring states and kingdoms would need to reckon with.

The reign of Ahmose's son and successor Amenhotep I was somewhat more peaceful than that of Ahmose and seems to have focused more on the building of new temples throughout the country.

Although he was not buried there, Amenhotep I, along with his mother Ahmes-Nefertari, would be revered until long after his death by the craftsmen who built the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings.

With Thutmosis I a new family ascended to the throne. The mother of the new king is only known by the title of King's Mother, which she obtained after her son came to power. She was neither the sister, daughter nor wife of a king, which means that the father of Thutmosis I, who is not known, was definitely not a king. It is sometimes argued that the royal line was continued through Ahmes, Thutmosis' principal wife, but the fact that this queen is not known to have held the title King's Daughter, does indicate that she was neither a daughter of Ahmose nor Amenhotep I. Her title King's Sisiter might as well mean that she was the sister of Thutmosis I himself, .

Following some rebellions in the conquered territories, Thutmosis I launched a series of military campaigns both in Syria-Palestine and in Nubia. Towards the end of his reign, Egypt's southern border was at the at the town of Napata, near the 4th cataract, deep into Sudan, while in the north, the country's influence stretched as far as the town of Karkemish, not far from the modern day Turkish border.

The bounty Thutmosis brought back from his campaigns, and the tribute that foreign kings and vassal rulers would send to Egypt on a regular basis, brought a wealth to the country unlike anything it had ever seen before. This wealth flowed mainly to the building of temples, particularly the temple of the god Amun-Re at Karnak.

Thutmosis I was the first king to be buried in the Valley of the Kings, a tradition that would be followed until the end of the New Kingdom.

Stretching from Karkemish, on the shores of the Euphrates river in the North, to Napata at the 4th cataract of the Nile in the South, Egypt reached its widest expansion during the reign of Thutmosis I and Thutmosis III.

Thutmosis I was succeeded by his son Thutmosis II who died after a brief reign leaving only an infant son, Thutmosis III, to inherit the empire. The widow and sister of the deceased king, Hatshepsut, was appointed regent on behalf of the new king, her stepson. Within a few years, Hatshepsut evolved from regent to king, forcing the young Thutmosis III into the role of junior partner in a corregency.

Hatshepsut's reign was generally a peacefull one, during which the country prospered. A trading mission to the mysterious land of Punt is often considered as one of the most important accomplishments of this remarkable queen-turned-king and was left very well documented in her funerary temple at Deir el-Bahari.

An important part of Egypt's prosperity continued to flow to large building projects. Hatshepsut added many new shrines and a pair of obelisks to the great temple of Amun at Karnak and she extended or built several temples throughout the country. Her most remarkable building achievement, however, was be the unique mortuary temple she built at Deir el-Bahari, on the Westbank of Thebes.

At Deir el-Bahari on the westbank of Thebes, Hatshepsut built a unique funerary temple.

When Hatshepsut disappeared from the political stage the then adult Thutmosis III was faced with a rebellion that threatened Egypt's hold on Syria-Palestine. Like his grandfather before him, Thutmosis III embarked on a series of military campaigns in Syria-Palestine and in Nubia that reinforced Egypt's control over both areas. Rather than executing the vassals that had rebelled against him, Thutmosis III confirmed them in their power, ensuring himself of their loyalty by bringing their heirs back to Egypt, not just as hostages, but also to "educate" them so that, when they would succeed their fathers, they too would remain loyal to Egypt.

The success of this policy is shown by the fact that Thutmosis III's successors would rely more on diplomacy and trade than solely on military power to maintain their empire.

The 18th Dynasty peaked during the reign of Amenhotep III, a great-grandson of Thutmosis III. Sustained by the enormous wealth of past conquests, by tributes and diplomatic gifts of vassal kings and foreign rulers, Amenhotep III became one of the greatest builders in the history of his country.

Like his ancestors, he continued extending the great temple of Amun at Karnak. He also built the temple of the goddess Mut at Karnak, just to the South of Amun's great temple and somewhat more to the south, he constructed a new temple dedicated to Amun and Amenhotep III himself. On the Theban Westbank, he built a large palace complex and a funerary temple of which, unfortunately, only two badly damaged colossi now bear witness.

Amenhotep's building activity was not limited to Thebes alone. Throughout his realm, and as far south as the 4th cataract, new temples were built and others extended.

Thutmosis III is considered to be the greatest conqueror in the history of Ancient Egypt.

Another interesting development in the course of Amenhotep III's reign was more of a religious nature. Next to the apparent deification of the living king, a new god made his appearance in the already vast pantheon of the Ancient Egyptians: Aton, the solar disk.

All the while, however, Amenhotep III continued to support the cult of the god Amun, whose priests became increasingly wealthy and powerful. Perhaps driven by a desire to break this power, Amenhotep IV, the son and successor of Amenhotep III, advanced the status of this new god from being the most important solar god, to being as good as the only god. Amenhotep IV changed his name to Akhenaten, which means as much as "ray of Aton", ordered all temples that were not dedicated to the new god closed and moved the capital away from Thebes to a new city which he built in Middle Egypt: Akhet-Aton, "the horizon of Aton", which, in modern-day literature is called Amarna. The so-called Amarna Revolution had begun.

As part of his revolution, Akhenaten also made some drastic changes in the way people and things would be represented. The most obvious change would be the way he had himself and the members of his family portrayed. His protruding belly, elongated face, fat thighs and small ankles and arms are in sharp contrast with the young and athletic portrayals of his predecessors. Whether or not this was actually what Akhenaten looked like, is still the subject of much debate.

Although there was some military activity during Akhenaten's reign, the king seems to have been interested more in his religious and cultural reforms than he was in protecting Egypt's intrests abroad. Calls for support from his vassals in Syria-Palestine went largely ignored, opening the way for the Hittite empire to expand its own realm of influence in that region.

Akhenaten's religious reforms were also reflected in the different way he had himself portrayed in statues and reliefs.

Towards the end of his reign, Akhenaten appointed Semenekhkare to be his coregent, leaving all the worldly matters to him. Remarkably, the junior coregent appears to have set the first steps towards a restoration of the old cults.

It would, however, be Tutankhaten, who would abandon the capital of Akhenaten, along with the cult of its god. Having changed his name to Tutankhamun, this young king set about reopening the temples that were closed during the reign of Akhenaten, restoring the old priesthood back to its former power. Despite the importance of his reign, Tutankhamun will probably be best remembered for his tomb, which was found almost intact in the early 1920s.

The mummy mask of Tutankhamun is perhaps one of the most famous finds in the history of archaeology.

Tutankhamun having died without leaving an heir, the throne passed to two of his courtiers. The first was Ay, who is sometimes believed to have been a brother-in-law of Amenhotep III and who married the widow of the deceased king in order to legitimise his claims to the throne.

The second was Horemheb, a former general who served under Tutankhamun and who may have been married to a sister of Nefertiti, Akhenaten's wife. It was during Horemheb's reign that the restoration policy after the Amarna Revolution turned into a policy of destruction: Akhenaten's names were chissled away, his statues torn down and his temples smashed to bits.

As he had no male offspring, Horemheb appointed an old comrade in arms, the general Paramesu, to be his successor. With Paramesu's accession to the throne as Ramesses I, the 18th Dynasty had come to an end.

The table below lists the kings and queen of the 18th Dynasty:

Name Manetho Highest Year Dates (*)
Ahmose Amosis 1540 - 1515
Amenhotep I Amenophis 1515 - 1494
Thutmosis I Tethmosis 1494 - 1482
Thutmosis II Khebron 1 [or 3 (?)] 1482 - 1479
Thutmosis III Misphragmuthosis 1479 - 1425
Hatshepsut Amensis 1473 - 1458
Amenhotep II 1425 - 1401
Thutmosis IV Tuthmosis 1401 - 1391
Amenhotep III 1391 - 1353
Amenhotep IV
Akhenaten 1353 - 1335
Semenekhkare 1335 - 1334
Tutankhamun 1334 - 1325
Ay 1325 - 1321
Horemheb Armaios 13 1321 - 1307


Perhaps the invasion of the Middle Kingdom had brought another rejuvenation by the infusion of fresh blood; but at the same time the new age marked the beginning of a thousand-year struggle betwen Egypt and Western Asia.

Thutmose I not only consolidated the power of the new empire, but on the ground that western Asia must be controlled to prevent further interruptions, invaded Syria, subjugated it from the coast to Carchemish, put it under guard and tribute, and returned to Thebes laden with spoils and the glory that always comes from the killing of men.

At the end of his thirty years reign he raised his daughter Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt to partnership with him on the throne.

For a time her husband and step brother ruled as Thutmose II, and dying, named as his successor Thutmose III, son of Thutmose I by a concubine.

But Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt set this high destined youngster aside, assumed full royal powers, and proved herself a king in everything but gender.

Even this exception was not conceded by her.

Since sacred tradition required that every Egyptian ruler should be a son of the great god Amon, Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt arranged to be made at once male and divine.

A biography was invented for her by which Amon had descended upon Hatshepsut's mother Ahmasi in a flood of perfume and light;

his attentions had been gratefully received; and on his departure he had announced that Ahmasi would give birth to a daughter in whom all the valor and strength of the god would be made manifest on earth.

To satisfy the prejudices of her people, and perhaps the secret desire of her heart, the great Queen had herself represented on the monuments as a bearded and breastless warrior; and though the inscriptions referred to her with the feminine pronoun, they did not hesitate to speak of her as "Son of the Sun" and "Lord of the Two Lands."

When she appeared in public she dressed in male garb, and wore a beard.

She had a right to determine her own sex, for she became one of the most successful and beneficent of Egypt's many rulers. She maintained internal order without undue tyranny, and external peace without loss.

She organized a great expedition to Punt (presumably the eastern coast of Africa), giving new markets to her merchants and new delicacies to her oeonle. She helned to beautify Karnak. raised there two maiestic obelisks.

Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt built at Der-el-Bahri the stately temple which her father had designed, and repaired some of the damage that had been done to older temples by the Hyksos kings.

"I have restored that which was in ruins," one of her proud inscriptions tells us; "I have raised up that which was unfinished since the Asiatics were in the midst of the Northland, overthrowing that which had been made."

Finally Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt built for herself a secret and ornate tornb among the sand-swept mountains on the western side of the Nile, in what came to be called "The Valley of the Kings' Tombs";

Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt succes sors followed her example, until some sixty royal sepulchres had been cut into the hills, and the city of the dead began to rival living Thebes in population.

The "West End" in Egyptian cities was the abode of dead aristocrats; to "go west" meant to die.

One of the most powerful Pharaohs' in Ancient Egypt was a woman. If you guessed Cleopatra, you guessed wrong. The female Pharoah was Hatshepsut, who ruled for 15 years as Pharaoh and about 7 years as a co-regent with her young step-son, Tuthmosis III,1498-1483 BC and built one of the most beautiful tombs in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt.

Queen Hatshepsut was a powerful woman. During her reign, she managed to stabilized the government, improved trade between egypt and other countries and commissioned many buildings. The greatest of these being her Deir el Bahri temple tomb on the west bank of the Nile at Luxor. This temple/tomb is still considered one of the worlds' most beautiful. She was one of 3 children born to the Pharaoh Tuthmosis I and his Consort, Queen Ahmose. Her two brothers died before the death of her father. On the death of her father, at approximately 12 years old, she became a Queen Consort by marrying her half brother, Tuthmosis II. During her husbands' reign, Hatshepsut bore him one child, a daughter (Princess Neferure, no trace of her has ever been found). Tuthmosis II was a frail man who died within fourteen years of coming to the throne. Hatshepsut was then appointed Co-Regent with her infant stepson, Tuthmosis III, a son of Tuthmosis II by a minor wife. She was not content with being known as a Queen or a Co-Regent, and wanted to be acknowledged as a true "Pharaoh" of Egypt . She ordered the story of her divine birth to be carved inside her mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahri. This was a very clever move on her part as the carving shows how her mother (Queen Ahmose) was visited by the God, Amun, and told that she was to bear a daughter. During her reign she managed to maintain Egypts' stability, power and wealth without launching any military campaigns. Hatshepsut continued to rule for more than 20 years until she suddenly vanished from history... Tuthmosis III, by now a grown man, took his rightful place as Ruler, and for some reason, very late in his reign, went to great lengths to try and remove all traces of Hatshepsuts years on the throne. Hatshepsut was buried in tomb KV 20 in the valley of the Kings, only to be moved at some time in the past to KV21 or KV60.

Hatshepsut was an 18th-dynasty pharaoh who was one of the handful of female rulers in Ancient Egypt. Her reign was the longest of all the female pharaohs. Her funerary temple still stands as a tribute to her incredible rise to power.

Hatshepsut was the daughter of the Pharaoh Tuthmosis I and Queen Ahmose, both of royal lineage.

Hatshepsut was married to her own half-brother, Tuthmosis II, with whom she reigned for some 14 years. Realizing his sister-wife's ambitious nature, Tuthmosis II declared his son by the harem girl Isis to be his heir, but when the young Tuthmosis III came to the throne, Hatshepsut became regent and promptly usurped his position as ruler.

To support her cause she claimed the God Amon-Ra spoke, saying "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."

She dressed as a king, even wearing a false beard and the Egyptian people seem to have accepted this unprecedented behavior.

Hatshepsut had herself portrayed in the royal headdress, sometimes as a woman with prominent breasts but more often as male in body as well as costume. Her self-promotion, which extended to a miraculous conception and fictitious coronation in childhood, involved deliberately obscuring the rightful ruler, Tuthmosis III, who was a man by the time he succeeded to unfettered rulership in 1483 BC.

Hatshepsut accomplished what no woman had before her. She ruled the most powerful, advanced civilization in the world. Her consort and true love was her advisor, Senmut.

She remained in power for twenty years during which time the Egyptian economy flourished. She expanded trade relations.

The Egyptians sent trading missions to Punt, a region of East Africa that was rich in gold, resins, ebony, blackwood, ivory and wild animals, including monkeys and baboons. They also went in search of slaves. The best-documented mission was sent during the reign of Hatshepsut. Scenes from these expeditions are illustrated on her funerary temple at Deir el-Bahari, near the Valley of the Kings.

She built magnificent temples as well as restoring many of the old ones, most notably the great mortuary temple at Deir al-Bahari.

The Red Chapel was built between 1498 and 1483 BC.

Hidden for more than three millennia, it was
found in 1999 on the banks of the Nile River.

The mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut is one of the most dramatically situated in the world. The queen's architect, Senmut, designed it and set it at the head of a valley overshadowed by the Peak of the Thebes, the "Lover of Silence," where lived the goddess who presided over the necropolis. A tree lined avenue of sphinxes led up to the temple, and ramps led from terrace to terrace. The porticoes on the lowest terrace are out of proportion and coloring with the rest of the building. They were restored in 1906 to protect the celebrated reliefs depicting the transport of obelisks by barge to Karnak and the miraculous birth of Queen Hatshepsut. Reliefs on the south side of the middle terrace show the queen's expedition by way of the Red Sea to Punt, the land of incense. Along the front of the upper terrace, a line of large, gently smiling Osirid statues of the queen looked out over the valley. In the shade of the colonnade behind, brightly painted reliefs decorated the walls.

Throughout the temple, statues and sphinxes of the queen proliferate.

Hatshepsut disappeared in 1458 B.C. when Thutmose III, wishing to reclaim the throne, led a revolt. Thutmose had her shrines, statues and reliefs mutilated.

With the reunification of Egypt by the southerner Ahmose (Kamose died before it was united) and the expulsion of the Hyksos, Egypt began a new period of prosperity under the 18th dynasty. At this time there was a great deal of trade with Western Asia, and Egyptian armies even conquered much of Israel and Syria, though they were constantly fighting the Hittites and Assyrians to keep control of it. Great temples were built all over Egypt. The Egyptian queens were very powerful at this time and one of the queens, Hatshepsut, became Pharoah herself.

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