Why Did Hatshepsut Become King History Essay
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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016
In ancient time, women didn’t have much influence in the social or political. However, in Egypt women was honor and given much more freedom than women in other civilizations. In kingship, their role was responsible for passing throne to the next king, the co-regent for their too young king. Moreover, there were few queen had authority as a pharaoh and the most successful and famous female pharaoh was Hatshepsut.
Hatshepsut (1508-1458 BC), the 5th pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of Ancient Egypt, she was the eldest daughter of king Thutmose I. Hatshepsut was the only queen enthroned as a king, and took all the king’s divine names, except “The Strong Bull”. During her reign Egyptian enjoyed a peaceful life, prosperity and stability economy.
Why do we study about Hatshepsut?
Hatshepsut was the most successful female pharaoh, who ruled the Egypt about two decades and provided the Egyptian a peaceful life and economic prosperity. However, today, there was very little information about her. So how did she become a successful king? And why today there is very little information about her? To answer these questions, we need to learn more deeply about her life.
In the following part of this document will talk about the Biographical sketch of Queen Hatshepsut.
Hatshepsut’s life and kingship
Why did Hatshepsut become king?
Hatshepsut was married to Tuthmosis II, her half-brother, who was physically and mentally disabled. So that Hatshepsut had full control on state affair and gain much influence among the priests. Thotmose II ‘s reign was only 4 years. Thotmose III, his illegitimate son was declared to be his heir. But, Thotmose III was too young for kingship and his mother Isis, a minor wife of Thotmose II, so Hatshepsut became his co-regent. In early inscriptions and images, Hatshepsut and Thutmose III are shown as co-rulers, with Hatshepsut had a higherposition. And in year 7th of their joint reign (about 1473 BCE), she took on the full powers and identity of a king. She dressed and wore a false beard as a male king.
How did she rule the country?
Around 1473 BC, Hatshepsut crowned herself as a pharaoh, and had the throne name Maatkare, mean “Truth in the soul of the sun.” It was chosen to clarify that it was right and orderly for her to be a king as it important to the rightness and order of the universe.
After became king, she changed her feminine name Hatshepsut to Hatshepsu, a male name. She employed many strong and loyal advisors, such as Hapuseneb, the High Priest of Amun, and the royal steward Senemut, her closest advisor. At that time, Egyptians was an advanced civilization and the most powerful in the world. The trade networks that had been destroyed by the Hyksos was rebuilt, and brought back wealth for Egyptian. Hatshepsut’s carried a peaceful foreign policy and much activities was for trading facilitation and the building projects. However, she also led some successful military campaigns in her early year such as war in Nubia, Levant and Syria.
Hatshepsut was very good at propagandizing to legitimatize her rule. One of her most famous propagandas was a myth about her birth. In the myth, Amun went to Ahmose and awakens her in the form of Thutmose I. Then Amun placed a symbol of life, the ankh, to Ahmose’s nose, and she pregnant. Then Khnum, the god who forms the bodies of human children, instructed to create Hatshepsut’s body and ka. Khnum and Heket, goddess of life and fertility, leads Ahmose along to a lion bed where she gives birth to Hatshepsut. Furthermore, in order to strengthen her position; the Oracle of Amun proclaimed that Hatshepsut be Pharaoh was the will of Amun. In addition, She carved on her monuments and publicized the Amun’s endorsements: “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.”
Comparison with other queens
Hatshepsut was not the first ancient Egypt queen who rules as a pharaoh. There were few queens who had authority as a pharaoh such as queen Merneith of the first dynasty, queen Nimaethap of the third dynasty and queen Sobekneferu of Middle Kingdom. These queens were a co-regent to their son and took a pharaoh role while the country in the chaos or fading situation. In contrast, under Hatshesut rule, Egyptian had enjoyed a long peaceful and prosperous life due to her good governance. The wealth of Egypt paved the way for Hatshesut’s building projects and raised the architecture of ancient Egypt to a position which was considered that no any other culture could challenge it for a thousand years.
The trouble with her titles
Why did Hatshepsut not rule as a co-regent? Why did she take the title and images as a king?
There were some reasons for this problem. First, at that time in Egyptian there was no word “Queen”, which a female rule as a king, there were only the tittles such as king’s great wife, king’s mother, king’s sister and king’s daughter.
Hatshepsut took all these tittles except the title king’s mother because Isis, the mother of Thutmose III, had already taken it. However, Isis was a minor wife of Thutmose II, so even she had the title as king’s mother, she could not a co-regent for her son. This would be the reasonable and necessary for Hatshepsut took the title “King.”
III. Major achievement of Hatshepsut
Hatshepsut restored the trade networks that had been paused during the country invaded by Hyksos. She supervised a mission to the Land of Punt, a region of East Africa that was rich in natural resource such as gold, blackwood, and wild animals, ivory and slaves. Her peaceful foreign policy gave the Egypt an opportunity to boost their economic growth and brought wealth for her country.
Hatshepsut was one of the most project builders in ancient Egypt, she built hundreds of construction projects throughout Egypt, that were greater than those of any of her Middle Kingdom predecessors; however some of her projects were claimed by later pharaohs.
Hatshepsut built many monuments, as well as also restored the original Precinct of Mut, the ancient great goddess of Egypt at Karnak, that had been damaged during the Hyksos occupation. Moreover, she constructed the tallest twice obelisks, at the Deir el-Bahary temple entrance. Today, one of them is the tallest surviving ancient obelisk on Earth. Between the twice obelisk, the Chapelle Rouge or Karnak’s Red Chapel was built and was consider as a barque shrine.
Hatshepsut’s masterpiece project was her mortuary temple which designed and implemented by Senemut, the first biggest project at the Deir el-Bahri, a site on the Nile River’s West Bank near the King Valley’s entrance. The central of this project was the Djeser-Djeseru or “the Sublime of Sublimes”, a perfect colonnaded structure which very famous in nearly one thousand years before the Parthenon. Djeser-Djeseru and the other Hatshepsut’s projects at the Deir el-Bahri have been considered a significant architecture achievement.
Hatshepsut’s large scale building projects during her reign, not only reflected the wealth of Egypt but also gave her an opportunity to promote herself to the public. In official representations she took on all the pharaonic symbols: the Khat head cloth, the traditional false beard, and the shendyt kilt.
IV. Death, burial and mummy of Hatshepsut.
Hatshepsut died when she was about 50 years old, in her 22nd regal year. There were no any evident for the cause of her death; however, the scientists found that, if mummy which is considered to be hers is correct, she was suffered from diabetes and died from bone cancer.
When she was the Great Royal Wife of Thutmose II, Hatshepsut constructed of a tomb, but the scale was not suitable for a pharaoh, so after became king, she ordered her engineers to build another one, the first royal tomb in the Valley of the Kings, which is bigger and prettier. This new tomb was prepared for father, Thumose I, and herself. It was likely that she wanted to be burried along with her father in this tomb. However, Thutmose III’s reign, Thutmose I mummy was moved to a new tomb, while Hatshepsut’s mummy was moved into the tomb of her wet nurse, Sitre-Re.
Nearly at the end of Thutmose III’s and the ealry of his son, Amenhotep II’s reign there was an attempt to eliminate Hatshepsut’s name from historical and pharaonic records. At the Deir el-Bahri temple, Hatshepsut’s statues were destroyed by smashing or defacing. What they could not destroy, they shaped it again and made it relate to themselves. For example, at Karnak after destroyed statue of Hatshepsut sitting beside Amon, they designed a god’s figure which did not make any sense.
However, there was no any evidences show that Thutmose III hated his step-mother. Because during Hatshepsut reign, Thutmose III was a head of military, a position which could easily led a successful coup. Furthermore, Hatshepsut’s images and her other accomplishment remain featured in 20 years after her death.
There are many difference ideas among the scholars about the elimination of her statuses. Some of them argued that, because of the self-promotion of the later pharaohs or their officials. Another idea is that may be the pharaoh didn’t want to pay money for the new tomb of Thutmose III, Amenhotep II used the Hatshepsut’s constructions instead.
Joyce Tyldeley, a writer, believed that by eliminate Hatshepsut’s monument and reduce her status to his co-regent, Thutmose III could claim that he was the direct succeed of his father, Thutmose II, without any interupted. In addition, it would be thought that the image of a successful female king would be a bad example and dangerous for the male pharaoh because it would encourage to have a new potential female king in the future. The last argument is that, the elimination could done by the new officials that appointed by the Thutmose III because they want to promote him in order to get benefit and assured their position.
In all, Hatshepsut accomplished what no woman had before her. She was the most successful female king. She brought to Egyptian a peaceful and prosperous life for twenty years. Even if there were some who resented her success, her success last forever.
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