The Queen who would be King .
The ancient Egyptian era brings to mind the beginnings of writing, organized warfare ,centralised states , massive irrigation projects in the dessert, emperors , warlords and chariots .
One thing that doesn’t really spring to mind is the position of women and especially a woman with power.
For over 20 years the most powerful person in the ancient age in Egypt specially the new kingdom was a female.
One ruling the wealthiest Kingdom ever seen and she did it as a fully fledged Pharaoh.
Hatshepsut‘s rise to power was noteworthy as it required her to utilize her bloodline, education, and an understanding of religion .
In this article, we’ll look at her rise to power and her legacy.
Hatshepsut ruled in her husband’s stead Thutmosis II for 7 years after his death. When his son , Tuthmosis III cane of age , Hatshepsut refused to step aside. She continued her rule as one of the most powerful pharaohs of all time .
but until modern researches and discoveries were made, both Tutmosis III and high official’s society successfully conspired to hide her name and achievements from future generations.
Nowadays, we all know her glories and finally the story of Hatshepsut is told.
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Who was Hatshepsut and why is she considered one of Egypt’s greatest Pharaohs?
Well, let’s find out. The years before Hatshepsut’s birth were troubling times for the Egyptian New Kingdom , the Pharaoh “Amenhotep I” died without producing a male .Thutmose , a respected middle-aged Prince from Thebes stepped into the power vacuum. Around 1506 BC he was crowned as a king.
Under his role Egypt’s fortunes skyrocketed. The borders expended, and gold poured in. During this prosperity, Thutmose and his Great wife Ahmose had a daughter, Hatshepsut .While in ancient Egyptian eyes a son would have been preferable, but Thutmose the first still had plans for his daughter.
As soon as she could walk , Hatshepsut would have begun training to become the next ruler and to take the title of God’s wife of Amun, who was the Patron god of Thebes and a creator god, and she became God’s wife at an extremely young age, probably before 10 years old.
Thutmose wanted the influential position filled with someone loyal to him. Standing by Thutmose’s side at important events Hatshepsut would have learned how to win wars and how building programs functioned simultaneously as jobs programs and propaganda.
Hatshepsut became King’s Great wife to her younger half brother
She grew up as the greatest priestess in the land. All that was left was to marry her full brother (that happened only at the royal families )and became the King’s Great wife, which is super weird! .
Then tragedy struck. Her two full brothers and heirs to the throne died. At just 12 Hatshepsut was the only pure royal child left. Her half brother , also called Thutmose, , was nothing like his strong father. Yet everyone at court depended on this boy king to continue the Thutmosis line and thus secure their own jobs and livelihoods. And then tragedy struck again.
“Thutmose l” died , leaving behind a boy too weak and young to wield real power. And so at the age of 13 , Hatshepsut became King’s Great wife to her younger half brother, now called Thutmose II
Ready for a little surprise? Thutmose II had managed to produce some male children with another woman out of the royal family, they weren’t considered as pure as ones that he and Hatshepsut could have made but desperate times call for none incestuous babies as they say. While Hatshepsut only gave birth to a baby girl .
After he died one of his sons must be chosen and none of them was older than 2 years old. This was a rare case for Egypt.
Hatshepsut was crowned as king
Early in ThutmoseIII ‘s reign Hatshepsut had begun craving important messages into obelisks, temples and palaces across Egypt, inscriptions that showed her doing things a king would normally do.
Speaking to gods, making offerings , issuing commands, and wearing the cloth of a queen on her body but the crown of a king upon her head. also she wore a false beard on her chin to appear like a man! These were all traditional masculine tasks performed by the male Pharaoh. But here Hatshepsut a woman was claiming these duties and all that before she was officially king. As her image became more and more Kingly she made sure to inform her people that God Amun himself had personally chosen her to role.
Against all odds, sometimes around year 7 of Thutmose III’s reign , the impossible happened, she was crowned as king.
Her title had finally caught up to what she was already doing. From 12 to 20 she has positioned herself as queen, then regent and now Pharaoh.
Hatshepsut’s kingship provides us with the ultimate case of merit over ambition. Doing Kingly things made Hatshepsut king.
She erected more pairs of red granite obelisks in Karnak Temple than any known Egyptian king. some of them covered with electrum, so when the sun hit them at the right angle they would right up and appear capture the energy of the sun itself. Her earliest images show a woman wearing a dress but the headgear of a king. This openly feminine representation wouldn’t work anymore.
Soon Hatshepsut would slowly shift all her images to a man’s body. She was adapting to the times and culture. She did hide all of her feminine features in images but continued to use her and she in writing , proof that she refused to give all her feminine identity.
After 22 years as the leader of the world’s most powerful Kingdom, the King’s Daughter , God’s Wife and Pharaoh, Hatshepsut passed away. But the Hatshepsut’s true legacy lived on , was hidden but still there.