Hatshepsut Analysis Essay

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Hatshepsut was the daughter of the Pharaoh Thuthmosis Akheperkare, otherwise known as Thuthmosis the 1st, he was married to his sister Queen Aahmes who gave birth to Hatshepsut in 1508 B. C. Hatshepsut had many step siblings, they consisted of Ouazmosou, Amenmosou, Wadjmose, Nefrubity and Thutmose the 2nd some derived from a range of “second classed wives”. Out of all her siblings Hatshepsut was the oldest. Her sister Nefrubity died when she was an infant, so did the other ‘pure-bloods’ Wadjmose and Amenmosou, making Hatshepsut the only pure-blooded child of Thuthmosis the 1st.

After the passing of Thuthmosis the 1st the role of Pharaoh was assumed by Thuthmosis the 2nd after marrying Hatshepsut to ensure his right to the throne. This was needed to be done as Thuthmosis the 2nd was not of entirely pure blood due to his mother being a secondary wife and not the “Great Royal Wife”. Thuthmosis the 2nd and Hatshepsut had one child, she was named Neferure. Thuthmosis also had a son with the secondary wife Isis, named Thuthmosis the 3rd. The rule of Thuthmosis the 2nd ended abruptly after 13 years due to death by an unknown sickness.

Early Career After the death of her husband Thuthmosis the 2nd, It was declared that Thuthmosis the 3rd was to become pharaoh, however he was too young to assume this role. Hatshepsut then began her early career as Queen and regent of Egypt taking command until Thuthmosis the 3rd was able to rule. Her daughter Neferure took on the role of Queen in religious and civil rituals. In an attempt to ensure Thuthmosis the 3rd’s right to rule Neferure became his wife due to his mother not being of royal blood.

Hatshepsut’s early career was quite conventional as wife to Thuthmosis the 2nd and regent, Queen’s before Hatshepsut have also ruled as regent for their under aged sons, an example of this would be the Queen Ahhotep. In fact, co-regency’s were quite common in the middle kingdom, it is thought that it aided in avoiding succession difficulties and allowed the young Pharaoh a chance to be trained into his role. Although it was quite conventional, It has been argued by Historian ‘Tyldesley’ that this was an unprecedented situation due to Hatshepsut acting as regent even though Thuthmosis the 3rd was not her son.

At the start of her regency she was quite accepting of her role and she still regarded herself with titles such as ‘King’s great wife and god’s wife’. Although Hatshepsut was quite accepting of her role as regency during the earlier stages, according to Scholars such as W. C Hayes after 2 years as regent she began to pursue her right to reign as Pharaoh. They came with this theory after an inscription detailing a religious procession at Luxor Temple found at Hatshepsut’s Red Chapel at Karnak.

Some scholars like Tyldesley believed that she assumed the role of Pharaoh after pursuit in year7 due to a pottery seal found in the tomb of Senemut’s mother indicating that she was using her throne name ‘Maat-ka-re ‘ by year7. Hatshepsut’s claim to the throne was enshrouded with propaganda used to aid justify her right to rule, this propaganda was used to heavily emphasize her relationship with the god Amun and Thuthmosis the 1st. In ancient Egypt it was believed that the Pharaoh was the physical son of Amun, Hatshepsut’s claim was unconventional as it is pursued the idea of the birth of the first ever daughter of Amun.

She conveyed this belief with the story that the god Amun manifested as Thuthmosis the 1st in front of her mother Queen Ahmose and held the Ankh (The symbol of life) up to her nose where she could breathe his heavenly essence and thus give birth to Hatshepsut after being assisted by the gods Bes an Taweret. Upon birth she claims that she was given the symbols of the Pharaoh the Ankh, Threshing flail and the Shepherd’s crook where she is then promised all the peoples and lands of Egypt by the god Anubis.

This relief was found at Deir El Bahri. Hatshepsut also claims that her father also wished for her to be Pharaoh, she describes her father and her in a purification ceremony where she is being presented to the gods. She also claims that she was her father’s favorite child and that on his death he had also told her that he wished for her to become Pharaoh. With the extensive use of propaganda she was able to assume the role of Pharaoh; however the use of propaganda was not the only reason for her being able to assume the throne.

As she started her career, Thuthmosis the 3rd was still a child and was unable to contest her, she was also able to gain the favor of various individuals that aided her in her assumption of the throne. Career, Influence, Contributions and Achievements Hatshepsut had various reigning titles as Pharaoh; however her main title was Maat-ka-re. It was the belief Hatshepsut’s career as Pharaoh had been a peaceful one due to speculation of sexism; however many historians have found evidence to disprove such theories and show that she did well as a military leader.

During her career as Pharaoh it was believed that Hatshepsut had been involved in four military campaigns, one of these campaigns consists of one that was conducted during the earlier stages of her reign. A graffito by Tiy, her treasurer, translated ‘I followed the good god
may she live! I saw when he other threw the Nubian bowman’. There is also an image depicting Hatshepsut as a Sphinx trampling over Egypt’s enemies, this image situated on the Lower Colonnade at Dier El Bahri.

Another source that aids in the argument that Hatshepsut had successful military victories would be a scene depicted at Deir el Bahri. The scene depicts what Hatshepsut see’s as one of her greatest military achievements, her victory over the Puntites. This expedition was believed to have been conducted to obtain resources such as myrrh and frankincense trees and thus establish trade routes to obtain these resources honor the god Amun, reinforce her right to rule showing that she was a successful warrior and religious leader that achieved military victories.

As Pharaoh she was able to establish various trade routes and went on trading missions to surrounding countries such as discussed above Punt, Lebanon, Nubia, and Sinai. We know this due to the tomb biography of Thutiy and inscriptions at Wadi Maghera and Serabit el Khadim. These trade routes became a great contribution to the Egyptian empire giving them a larger economy and access to various resources that could be imported from these lands.

During Hatshepsut’s reign she sought out to repair and construct new buildings, many monuments were destroyed or neglected during the occupation of the Hyksos. Some of these damaged and destroyed monuments consist of the temple of Hathor, Uni, She and a necropolis of western Thebes. Hatshepsut’s most famous constructed building is her temple ‘Deir el Bahri’, there are various reasons for constructing this temple for instance her tomb was separated from the Valley of the Kings and it was also believed that she may have wanted to link the temple and the tomb via temples.

She may also have believed it to be a place where ancient Egyptians could worship her without disturbing her tomb. Historians have also found evidence that it was built in honor of her father Thuthmosis the 1st along with the gods Amun, Hathor, Anubis and Re-Horakthe, however the temple was also became a gathering of all the propaganda she had unleashed, turning the temple into a justification of her rule and her usurpation of the throne. This theory can be justified with the various works that can be found inside the temple and inscribed into the walls.

Tyldesley agrees that Deir el Bahri is one of Hatshepsut’s main achievements and states that it is ‘a building which is still regarded as one of the most beautiful in the world’. The building has boastful architectural design and beauty with features such as an avenue lined with sphinxes leading to the forecourt makes it a great achievement. Hatshepsut would’ve had a major influence over the people of Egypt, not only was she the first ever female Pharaoh which aided in the quelling sexism to an extent, she also provided extra confidence for the Egyptian people after having successful military expeditions.

Military expeditions like the one that was conducted on Punt also provided new trade routes and access to new resources for the ancient Egyptians thus strengthening their economy and aiding to ensure prosperity. She was also a highly influential religious leader building and repairing various temples to strengthen religious groups and belief, particularly the followers of Amun. Assessment Hatshepsut as a female Pharaoh left a legacy of various monuments such as the temple Deir el Bahri which has been praised by modern historians such as Tyldesley to be a building regarded as one of the most beautiful in the world.

Her legacy as a ruling Pharaoh can be argued to be extremely successful due to her various achievements. She was an effective religious leader, reconstructing and constructing new temples and bolstering religious belief particularly the worship of Amun. She served as an effective military leader being able to hold successful military campaigns against neighboring countries and be praised for its success, like the military campaign to Punt.

With her victorious military conquests she was also able to establish rade routes thus bolstering the economy and ensuring the future prosperity of Ancient Egypt, however even when presented with such an argument the ancient and modern interpretations of Hatshepsut vary for and against. Some modern day historians such as Tyldesley agree that Hatshepsut left behind the legacy of a great Pharaoh and was generally liked by the general public of ancient Egypt and had a good relationship with Thuthmosis the 3rd.

Historians argue that as a female Pharaoh she was disliked by the general public due to such an unconventional circumstance of a female being in the biggest seat of power. Sexism and conservatism was quite common among the cultures of the old, the idea of such conservatism can be reinforced with the events that surrounded Akhenaton and his plans to change the religion of Egypt and banish the worshiping of the main gods and replace them with Aten, and this plan was socially rejected and displaced many religious figures and pilgrims.

Another argument consists of the fact that many of Hatshepsut’s monuments and statutes of her were defiled, most believing that it was done by Thuthmosis the 3rd. The defilement of the monuments and statutes of Hatshepsut can also be argued to not have been done with the drive of hatred. It can be argued that the defilement of the statues and monuments were done because she did too good of a job. As discussed earlier, cultures of old seemed to admire conservatism, change was not generally accepted.

The fact that Hatshepsut did such an amazing job, constructing so many beautiful monuments and statues, could’ve been so influential that it may have been able to change the Egyptian thought process and sway the younger generation that came to visit these monuments, temples and statues into up taking the idea of feminism. By defiling such monuments and statues it could aid in deterring that. In regards to Thuthmosis the 3rds possible hatred towards Queen Hatshepsut. Some historians interpreted that she wasn’t disliked by him, in fact admired.

Even though she took over the throne and ruled Egypt in his stead, some historians argue that by doing so it became an experience for Thuthmosis the 3rd and that Hatshepsut was teaching him along the way. This theory has justification due to mutual agreement that Thuthmosis the 3rd was one of the greatest Pharaohs Egypt has ever had. Those who lived during her reign must have also approved of her rule and legacy, although she was a female ruler she brought various successful military campaigns and aided in ensuring their prosperity.

If the ancient Egyptians had disapproved f her rule and rejected it, logic dictates that she wouldn’t have been able to rule for a period of an assumed twenty-two years. In my opinion Hatshepsut was a great pharaoh and Egypt prospered under her rule. The generally accepted theory that she ruled for twenty two years is a major argument for her being a successful Pharaoh, if the general public and those in higher seats of power disapproved of her rule and she was doing a terrible job, causing poverty and corruption she wouldn’t have been able to rule for such a long period of time or generate the resources to fix or construct new monuments, statues and temples.

Bibliography

http://hatshepsut.bediz.com/story.html

http://ancientegyptonline.co.uk/hatshepsut.html

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