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Queen Hatshepsut: An Untraditional Pharaoh And Her Rise To Power

1747 words - 7 pages

Hatshepsut accomplished what no other woman had ever done before her. Hatshepsut was the first female pharaoh of the ancient Egyptian dynasty. She successfully ruled one of the most powerful and advanced civilizations in the world for over twenty years. She was the fifth pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty and ruled from 1479 BC to1458 BC. Her name Hatshepsut means 'Foremost of Noble Ladies' because she reigned longer than any other female ruler of the Egyptian dynasty. Even though she was one of the most successful pharaohs ever, Hatshepsut is not really remembered for her achievements, but more for the fact that she did not follow the "traditional rules" of a male pharaoh ruling over Egypt. ...view middle of the document...

She used two devices to ensure the legitimacy of her position. The first was to emphasize not only her relationship to Thutmose I, but her favor from that popular ruler. She claimed to have been handpicked by her father, above her two brothers and her half-brother.The Pharaoh traditionally was the head of the civil administration, the supreme warlord and the chief priest of every god in the kingdom. All offerings were made in his name and the entire priesthood acted in his stead. In fact, he was himself a divine being, considered the physical offspring of a god. According to Egyptian custom, the ruling pharaoh was required to be considered as divine. Hatshepsut struck upon the brilliant plan of claiming her mother was visited by the deity Amon-Ra who called upon her while she was pregnant with Hatshepsut. This would indicate that the queen was divine because of the visit. Hatshepsut also realized that her stronghold on the throne of Egypt was only as strong as priest's support of her. Therefore, she made efforts to gain favor with them and succeeded admirably. Finally, Hatshepsut disposed of traditional female clothing and donned the garb of traditional male pharaohs.Hatshepsut, as a female pharaoh, had many obstacles to overcome. There was always a threat of revolt, especially as her bitter nephew came of age. Using propaganda and keen political skills, she deftly jumped each hurdle she faced. To quell the fears of her people, she became a "king" in all statuary and relief during her reign. She even dressed in the traditional garb of male rulers: the shendyt kilt, the nemes headdress with its uraeus and khat headcloth, and the false beard. In a society that was male dominated, Hatshepsut showed how unique she was by successfully ruling Egypt for over twenty years. Hatshepsut challenged all conventions of the rigid customs of Egypt where no female was granted the right to rule as a Pharaoh. She succeeded in engraving her name as the first female Pharaoh in recorded history.Although there were very few wars during her reign, Hatshepsut proved her sovereignty by ordering expeditions to the land of Punt in search of the ivory, animals, spices, gold and aromatic trees that Egyptians coveted. These expeditions are well documented in the hieroglyphic inscriptions on the walls of her temple. Hatshepsut, in a final bid to be recognized as a legitimate queen, constructed a fabulous temple in the Valley of the Kings, of all places, by a tall plateau at Deir-el-Bahri, across the Nile from Thebes. She ruled until her death in 1458 BC and left behind more monuments and works of art than any Egyptian queen to come. The propaganda worked well to cement Hatshepsut's position. But as Thutmose III grew, her sovereignty grew tenuous.Hatshepsut followed the tradition of most pharaohs by building monuments 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...

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