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Hatshepsut: The Queen who became a King (by Moss )

The year is 1479 BCE. Pharaoh Thutmose II has just succumbed to a skin disease, and his successor Thutmose III is just a mere infant, unable to rule over the empire. In his stead rules the woman we today know as Hatshepsut.

Not much is known about her upbringing, but what we do know is that she was the daughter of the 18th-dynasty king Thutmose I. She married her half-brother Thutmose II, who inherited the throne about 1492 BCE, with her becoming his queen. Hatshepsut bore no sons, so when Thutmose II died, the throne went to his newly born son which he had with a lesser harem queen named Iset — Thutmose III, who due to his age was not fit to become king just yet.

For the first couple of years, Hatshepsut acted as regent for her stepson, but after seven years she had been crowned king and made a co-ruler of Egypt together with Thutmose III. Until this point, Hatshepsut had been depicted with female features and garments typical of a queen, but as she was now a king, she saw to it that her formal portraits would show her with male features and garments typical of a king. 

Hatshepsut's reign was a peaceful one, and she focused more on foreign relations through trading rather than going to war. She re-established previously disrupted trade networks, which contributed greatly to the wealth of the 18th dynasty, and was responsible for the trading expedition that brought myrrh, which she planted in her temple complex, and frankincense, that she grinded into kohl eyeliner. These are recorded as the first attempt to transplant foreign trees, as well as the first use of frankincense. 

Restoration and building were seen as important royal duties, and Hatshepsut was one of the most productive builders in Ancient Egypt. During her time as king, she commissioned hundreds of construction projects throughout the empire, some which later pharaohs tried to claim as their own. Her greatest project, as many pharaohs before her, was a mortuary temple which she built near the entrance to what we call the Valley of the Kings.

16 January 1458 BCE, during her twenty-second regnal year, Hatshepsut died from unknown causes, and Thutmose III became the new ruler. Toward the end of his 33 years of ruling Egypt, an attempt to remove all traces of Hatshepsut’s rule was made. Statues depicting her were torn down and smashed or disfigured before being thrown in a pit, monuments made in her honor were defaced, her name was removed from the official list of kings, and attempts were made to wall up her obelisks. The reason why this removal of Hatshepsut’s history happened is unclear, but some suspect Amenhotep II the son of Thutmose III who toward the end of his father’s reign became a co-regent, of being the reason why. He is documented as having laid claim to many of Hatshepsut’s accomplishments, and his reign is full of attempts to break the royal lineage by not recording the names of his queens and eliminating the titles and official roles of royal women. Others theorize that Thutmose wanted to ensure that the succession would run from Thutmose I through Thutmose II to Thutmose III, without any female interruption. Nonetheless, the erasure of Hatshepsut’s name almost caused her disappearance from Egypt's archaeological and written records. Fortunately, the erasures were sporadic and haphazard; had they not been, we would not have so many images of her, and we might’ve never even known of her existence. 

Hatshepsut did fade into obscurity, until 1822 when the decoding of hieroglyphic script made it possible for architects to read the inscriptions on the temple walls of Dayr al-Baḥrī. This lead to what we call the “Hatshepsut Problem”, and can best be explained in the words of the French decoder of hieroglyphs, Jean-François Champollion:

If I felt somewhat surprised at seeing here, as elsewhere throughout the temple, the renowned Moeris [Thutmose III], adorned with all the insignia of royalty, giving place to this Amenenthe [Hatshepsut], for whose name we may search the royal lists in vain, still more astonished was I to find upon reading the inscriptions that wherever they referred to this bearded king in the usual dress of the Pharaohs, nouns and verbs were in the feminine, as though a queen were in question. I found the same peculiarity everywhere…”

The “Hatshepsut Problem” was resolved during the late 20th century, and today we know much more about this woman who attained unprecedented power for a woman of her time.

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SailorPom wrote on 13-06 01:49:
SailorPom wrote:
Only knew who she was because of Ryan and Shane 

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Minuete wrote on 12-06 12:25:
Minuete wrote:
What a cool lady, they always try to take the best women out of history
If you wanna know about another powerful woman in history find out about Wu Zetain, shes often painted as a villan but actually China prospered under her rule
Shes viewed as evil for doing the same stuff other emporers did, like kill and reign ruthlessly, but she also made a society where women were more involved and had more opportunities 
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Private wrote on 12-06 01:16:
Cherry wrote:
Woah! An amazing and fascinating read! And amazing layout too!
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Private wrote on 10-06 20:38:
Rochellette wrote:
Nice reading! And amazing layout and VP bg 
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BunnyButts wrote on 10-06 20:25:
BunnyButts wrote:
I lov e hatshepsut so much I learned about her in my art of eygpt class and ended up crying over her lol
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Moss wrote on 10-06 19:29:
Moss wrote:
Emmienem wrote:
thank you so much to @Moss for this stunning layout!
Was lovely working with you! 💚
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Private wrote on 10-06 18:27:
Emiliaaaaaaa wrote:
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Nice wrote on 10-06 18:23:
Nice wrote:
loved this article <3
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Private wrote on 10-06 18:08:
Amakia wrote:
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Emmienem wrote on 10-06 18:00:
Emmienem wrote:
thank you so much to @Moss for this stunning layout!

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