The Double Crown: Secret Writings of the Female Pharaoh

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Order a copy Copyright or permission restrictions may apply. We will contact you if necessary. To learn more about Copies Direct watch this short online video. During her reign, so much statuary was produced that almost every major museum with Ancient Egyptian artifacts in the world has Hatshepsut statuary among their collections; for instance, the Hatshepsut Room in New York City 's Metropolitan Museum of Art is dedicated solely to some of these pieces.

Following the tradition of most pharaohs, Hatshepsut had monuments constructed at the Temple of Karnak. She also restored the original Precinct of Mut , the ancient great goddess of Egypt , at Karnak that had been ravaged by the foreign rulers during the Hyksos occupation. It later was ravaged by other pharaohs, who took one part after another to use in their own pet projects.

Hatshepsut - Wikipedia

The precinct awaits restoration. She had twin obelisks , at the time the tallest in the world, erected at the entrance to the temple. One still stands, as the tallest surviving ancient obelisk on Earth; the other has broken in two and toppled. The official in charge of those obelisks was the high steward Amenhotep. Another project, Karnak's Red Chapel, or Chapelle Rouge , was intended as a barque shrine and originally may have stood between her two obelisks. It was lined with carved stones that depicted significant events in Hatshepsut's life. She later ordered the construction of two more obelisks to celebrate her 16th year as pharaoh; one of the obelisks broke during construction and a third was therefore constructed to replace it.

The broken obelisk was left at its quarrying site in Aswan , where it still remains. Known as the Unfinished Obelisk , it provides evidence of how obelisks were quarried. The name, Pakhet, was a synthesis that occurred by combining Bast and Sekhmet , who were similar lioness war goddesses, in an area that bordered the north and south division of their cults. The cavernous underground temple, cut into the rock cliffs on the eastern side of the Nile , was admired and called the Speos Artemidos by the Greeks during their occupation of Egypt, known as the Ptolemaic Dynasty.

They saw the goddess as akin to their hunter goddess, Artemis. The temple is thought to have been built alongside much more ancient ones that have not survived. This temple has an architrave with a long dedicatory text bearing Hatshepsut's famous denunciation of the Hyksos that has been translated by James P. This temple was altered later and some of its inside decorations were usurped by Seti I of the Nineteenth Dynasty , in an attempt to have his name replace that of Hatshepsut.

Following the tradition of many pharaohs, the masterpiece of Hatshepsut's building projects was a mortuary temple. She built hers in a complex at Deir el-Bahri. It was designed and implemented by Senenmut at a site on the West Bank of the Nile River near the entrance to what now is called the Valley of the Kings because of all the pharaohs who later chose to associate their complexes with the grandeur of hers. Her buildings were the first grand ones planned for that location. The focal point of the complex was the Djeser-Djeseru or "the Sublime of Sublimes", a colonnaded structure of perfect harmony built nearly one thousand years before the Parthenon.

Djeser-Djeseru sits atop a series of terraces that once were graced with lush gardens. Djeser-Djeseru is built into a cliff face that rises sharply above it. Djeser-Djeseru and the other buildings of Hatshepsut's Deir el-Bahri complex are considered to be significant advances in architecture.

Another one of her great accomplishments is the Hatshepsut needle [28] also known as the granite obelisks. Although it was uncommon for Egypt to be ruled by a woman, the situation was not unprecedented. As a regent , Hatshepsut was preceded by Merneith of the First Dynasty , who was buried with the full honors of a pharaoh and may have ruled in her own right. Nimaathap of the Third Dynasty may have been the dowager of Khasekhemwy , but certainly acted as regent for her son, Djoser , and may have reigned as pharaoh in her own right. Her name is found in the Histories of Herodotus and writings of Manetho , but her historicity is uncertain.

Queen Sobekneferu of the Twelfth Dynasty is known to have assumed formal power as ruler of "Upper and Lower Egypt" three centuries earlier than Hatshepsut. Ahhotep I , lauded as a warrior queen, may have been a regent between the reigns of two of her sons, Kamose and Ahmose I , at the end of the Seventeenth Dynasty and the beginning of Hatshepsut's own Eighteenth Dynasty. Amenhotep I , also preceding Hatshepsut in the Eighteenth Dynasty, probably came to power while a young child and his mother, Ahmose-Nefertari , is thought to have been a regent for him. Among the later, non-indigenous Egyptian dynasties, the most notable example of another woman who became pharaoh was Cleopatra VII , the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.

Perhaps in an effort to ease anxiety over the prospect of a female pharaoh , Hatshepsut claimed a divine right to rule based on the authority of the god Amun. In comparison with other female pharaohs, Hatshepsut's reign was much longer and more prosperous. She was successful in warfare early in her reign, but generally is considered to be a pharaoh who inaugurated a long peaceful era. She re-established international trading relationships lost during foreign occupation by the Hyksos and brought great wealth to Egypt.

That wealth enabled Hatshepsut to initiate building projects that raised the calibre of Ancient Egyptian architecture to a standard, comparable to classical architecture, that would not be rivaled by any other culture for a thousand years. She managed to rule for about 20 years. One of the most famous things that she did was build Hatshepsut's temple see above. Hyperbole is common to virtually all royal inscriptions of Egyptian history. While all ancient leaders used it to laud their achievements, Hatshepsut has been called the most accomplished pharaoh at promoting her accomplishments.

It afforded her many opportunities to laud herself, but it also reflected the wealth that her policies and administration brought to Egypt, enabling her to finance such projects. Aggrandizement of their achievements was traditional when pharaohs built temples and their tombs. Women had a relatively high status in ancient Egypt and enjoyed the legal right to own, inherit, or will property. A woman becoming pharaoh was rare, however; only Sobekneferu , Khentkaus I and possibly Nitocris preceded her.

Egyptian Pharaohs Crowns, Headdresses and Regalia

Nefernferuaten and Twosret may have been the only women to succeed her among the indigenous rulers. In Egyptian history, there was no word for a "queen regnant" as in contemporary history, "king" being the ancient Egyptian title regardless of gender, and by the time of her reign, pharaoh had become the name for the ruler. Hatshepsut is not unique, however, in taking the title of king.

Sobekneferu, ruling six dynasties prior to Hatshepsut, also did so when she ruled Egypt. Hatshepsut had been well trained in her duties as the daughter of the pharaoh. During her father's reign she held the powerful office of God's Wife. She had taken a strong role as queen to her husband and was well experienced in the administration of her kingdom by the time she became pharaoh. There is no indication of challenges to her leadership and, until her death, her co-regent remained in a secondary role, quite amicably heading her powerful army—which would have given him the power necessary to overthrow a usurper of his rightful place, if that had been the case.

Hatshepsut assumed all of the regalia and symbols of the pharaonic office in official representations: the Khat head cloth, topped with the uraeus , the traditional false beard , and shendyt kilt.

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Statues portraying Sobekneferu also combine elements of traditional male and female iconography and, by tradition, may have served as inspiration for these works commissioned by Hatshepsut. At her mortuary temple, in Osirian statues that regaled the transportation of the pharaoh to the world of the dead, the symbols of the pharaoh as the deity Osiris were the reason for the attire and they were much more important to be displayed traditionally, her breasts are obscured behind her crossed arms holding the royal staffs of the two kingdoms she ruled.

This became a pointed concern among writers who sought reasons for the generic style of the shrouded statues and led to misinterpretations. Understanding of the religious symbolism was required to interpret the statues correctly. Interpretations by these early scholars varied and often, were baseless conjectures of their own contemporary values.

The possible reasons for her breasts not being emphasized in the most formal statues were debated among some early Egyptologists, who failed to understand the ritual religious symbolism, to take into account the fact that many women and goddesses portrayed in ancient Egyptian art often lack delineation of breasts, and that the physical aspect of the gender of pharaohs was never stressed in the art. With few exceptions, subjects were idealized. Modern scholars, however, have theorized that by assuming the typical symbols of pharaonic power, Hatshepsut was asserting her claim to be the sovereign rather than a "King's Great Wife" or queen consort.

The gender of pharaohs was never stressed in official depictions; even the men were depicted with the highly stylized false beard associated with their position in the society. Moreover, the Osirian statues of Hatshepsut—as with other pharaohs—depict the dead pharaoh as Osiris , with the body and regalia of that deity. All of the statues of Hatshepsut at her tomb follow that tradition. The promise of resurrection after death was a tenet of the cult of Osiris. Since many statues of Hatshepsut depicted in this fashion have been put on display in museums and those images have been widely published, viewers who lack an understanding of the religious significance of these depictions have been misled.

Aside from the face depicting Hatshepsut, these statues closely resemble those of other kings as Osiris, following religious traditions. Most of the official statues commissioned of Hatshepsut show her less symbolically and more naturally, as a woman in typical dresses of the nobility of her day. Notably, even after assuming the formal regalia, Hatshepsut still described herself as a beautiful woman, often as the most beautiful of women, and although she assumed almost all of her father's titles, she declined to take the title "The Strong Bull" the full title being, The Strong Bull of his Mother , which tied the pharaoh to the goddesses Isis , the throne , and Hathor , the cow who gave birth to and protected the pharaohs —by being her son sitting on her throne—an unnecessary title for her, since Hatshepsut became allied with the goddesses, herself, which no male pharaoh could.

Rather than the strong bull, Hatshepsut, having served as a very successful warrior during the early portion of her reign as pharaoh, associated herself with the lioness image of Sekhmet , the major war deity in the Egyptian pantheon.

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Religious concepts were tied into all of these symbols and titles. By the time of Hatshepsut's reign, the merger of some aspects of these two goddesses provided that they would both have given birth to, and were the protectors of, the pharaohs. They became interchangeable at times. Hatshepsut also traced her lineage to Mut , a primal mother goddess of the Egyptian pantheon , which gave her another ancestor who was a deity as well as her father and grandfathers, pharaohs who would have become deified upon death.

While Hatshepsut was depicted in official art wearing regalia of a pharaoh, such as the false beard that male pharaohs also wore, it is most unlikely that she ever wore such ceremonial decorations, just as it is unlikely that the male pharaohs did.

Statues such as those at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, depicting her seated wearing a tight-fitting dress and the nemes crown, are thought to be a more accurate representation of how she would have presented herself at court. As a notable exception, only one male pharaoh abandoned the rigid symbolic depiction that had become the style of the most official artwork representing the ruler, Pharaoh Amenhotep IV later Akhenaten of the same eighteenth dynasty, whose wife, Nefertiti , also may have ruled in her own right following the death of her husband.

One of the most famous examples of the legends about Hatshepsut is a myth about her birth. In this myth, Amun goes to Ahmose in the form of Thutmose I and awakens her with pleasant odors. At this point Amun places the ankh , a symbol of life, to Ahmose's nose, and Hatshepsut is conceived by Ahmose.

Heket , the goddess of life and fertility, and Khnum then lead Ahmose along to a lioness ' bed where she gives birth to Hatshepsut. Reliefs depicting each step in these events are at Karnak and in her mortuary temple. The Oracle of Amun proclaimed that it was the will of Amun that Hatshepsut be pharaoh, further strengthening her position. She reiterated Amun's support by having these proclamations by the god Amun carved on her monuments:. Thou art the Pharaoh, taking possession of the Two Lands. Hatshepsut claimed that she was her father's intended heir and that he made her the heir apparent of Egypt.

Almost all scholars today view this as historical revisionism , or prolepsis , on Hatshepsut's part since it was Thutmose II —a son of Thutmose I by Mutnofret —who was her father's heir. Moreover, Thutmose I could not have foreseen that his daughter Hatshepsut would outlive his son within his own lifetime. Thutmose II soon married Hatshepsut and the latter became both his senior royal wife and the most powerful woman at court. Biographer Evelyn Wells , however, accepts Hatshepsut's claim that she was her father's intended successor. Once she became pharaoh herself, Hatshepsut supported her assertion that she was her father's designated successor with inscriptions on the walls of her mortuary temple:.

Then his majesty said to them: "This daughter of mine, Khnumetamun Hatshepsut—may she live! Obey her words, unite yourselves at her command. American humorist Will Cuppy wrote an essay on Hatshepsut which was published after his death in the book The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody.

THE DOUBLE CROWN: SECRET WRITINGS OF FEMALE PHARAOH - MARIE IN SOUTH AFRICA

Regarding one of her wall inscriptions, he wrote,. For a general notion of Hatshepsut's appearance at a certain stage of her career, we are indebted to one of those wall inscriptions. It states that "to look upon her was more beautiful than anything; her splendor and her form were divine. Not at all. She was merely saying how things were about thirty-five years back, before she had married Thutmose II and slugged it out with Thutmose III. Surely there is no harm in telling the world how one looked in B.

Hatshepsut died as she was approaching what we would consider middle age given typical contemporary lifespans, in her twenty-second regnal year. No contemporary mention of the cause of her death has survived. In June , there was a discovery made in the Valley of the Kings. A mummy was discovered in the tomb of Hatshepsut's royal nurse, Setre-In.

A tooth fragment found in a jar of organs was used to help identify the body to be Hatshepsut's. Hatshepsut had begun construction of a tomb when she was the Great Royal Wife of Thutmose II, but the scale of this was not suitable for a pharaoh, so when she ascended the throne, preparation for another burial started. For this, KV20 , originally quarried for her father, Thutmose I, and probably the first royal tomb in the Valley of the Kings , was extended with a new burial chamber.

Winckler's opinion that he was a ruler of Musri in North Arabia, though accepted by many, is without sufficient foundation. Tharaca, who was the opponent of Sennacherib, is called King of Ethiopia 2 Kings ; Isaiah , and hence is not given the title Pharao which he bears in Egyptian documents. Nekau II , who defeated Josiah 2 Kings sqq. Leaders who build megaprojects for the sheer pride of breaking records are considered "modern day pharaohs".

Such projects include the Burj Dubai, Taipei Any excessively large self sculpture is also considered "pharistic". Like the great pyramids, work is usually completed by the poorly paid underclass with little regard for their suffering. Projects that are of high practical use but nevertheless break records and benefit the masses, such as water works, mass transit, highways, sewage systems, etc are not considered "pharistic". Libya's Great Manmade River is an example of a non-pharistic project.

Such megaprojects include the world's tallest buildings, which have little or no practical use where a more modest design could easily suffice. Sign In Don't have an account? Start a Wiki. The Pharaoh was also believed to be the son of the sun god Ra Contents [ show ]. Categories :. Predynastic Period.