Friday, August 20, 2010

Uppity Women #26

By popular request...

1508–1458 BC
"Truth in the soul of the sun."
(photo attribution unknown)

The fifth pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty in Ancient Egypt, Hatshepsut was a rare female ruler in Ancient Egypt (there were from all accounts less than ten over the course of more than two thousand years. Although purportedly her father Thutmose I's heir apparent, she had to marry her younger half-brother Thutmose II to become co-regent with him in the early years of her rule. It is uncertain when her father, and then her husband, died but what is certain is that Hatshepsut, who was to be regent while her stepson Thutmose III grew to adulthood instead declared herself Pharaoh. And what a Pharaoh she was....

Among her many legacies was the wide trade network that specialized in myrrh, as commemorated on the temple, Deir el-Bahri. She was one of the most prolific builders in Ancient Egypt, and led successful military campaigns in Syria, the Levant and Nubia. She excelled at Ancient Egyptian PR, aka self-promotion. Carved on her monuments 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.*"
Hatshepsut reigned for 22 years, and presided over one of the most peaceful and culturally successful periods of the Ancient Egyptian world. Her stepson Thumose III attempted, unsuccessfully, to remove all traces of her from Deir el-Bahri and Karnak, albeit after her death and his ascension to the throne. Her reign and its successes were documented so thoroughly, however, that they could not be lost in history.

Various of her temples, buildings and statuary still stand in Egypt and around the world today. And 3500 years later, we still know her name, while those of most other pharaohs are long forgotten.

That's true staying power...

Fragment of statue of Hatshepsut
Museum of Fine Arts
(Image credit: Keith Schengili-Roberts, Wikimedia Commons)

Deir el-Bahri, West Thebes
Built during the 18th Dynasty, 1550 - 1400 BC
(Image credit: Hajor, Wikimedia Commons)

*The two lands being Upper and Lower Egypt

© Bright Nepenthe, 2010


  1. Thank you Marzie! She is one of my favorite historical figures...

  2. Thanks Marzie. She's one of my favourites too.

  3. Listen Dennis, you need to quit posting your rant on this post. This post is about an ancient Egyptian queen and has nothing to do with atheism. Where you ought to put it is on the Bigotry post right below this one because that's the one where I say I'm an atheist.

    I don't mean to be abrasive, but I really think you ought to read the post before posting on it, to make sure it's anti-atheist ranting appropriate. Remember the time I chewed you out because you did it on a child welfare post? Like, seriously, you ought to make sure it fits your rant because otherwise it just looks like you're looney-tunesing.