Hatshepsut Essays

Essay on Hatshepsut

Queen Maatkare Hatshepsut, Pharaoh of Egypt during the 18th dynasty, from 1473 BC to 1458 BC, was one of only a handful of female rulers of ancient Egypt. Her story is unique in Egyptian history, and has been the source of many disputes among scholars. Hatshepsut reigned longer than any other female pharaoh. Among the legacies she left behind, none is greater than the mortuary temple she erected at Deir el Bahari in Thebes, the ruins of which still stand in present-day Luxor. The temple, designed by Senenmut, reflects the adjacent mortuary temple of Mentuhotep II, but is much larger. Reliefs and inscriptions on the temple walls tell stories from Hatshepsut’s life, and profess her connection to the divine. Based on current knowledge, this essay will provide detailed information about Queen Hatshepsut and her mortuary temple.

Our Service Can Write a Custom Essay on Hatshepsut for You!

Hatshepsut was born around 1502 BC to Thutmose I and Ahmose. Both of her parents were from a royal background, and Thutmose I was Pharaoh when she was born. Her two brothers died in accidents, which meant that she was in a position to take over the throne after her father died. This was an unusual situation because very few women had ever become pharaohs. However, Hatshepsut was favored by her parents over her brothers, and she was beautiful and had a charismatic personality. Thus, despite her being a female, she had the makings to become a queen.

Thutmose II was Hatshepsut’s half-brother and husband, a common situation in ancient Egypt, where brother-sister and father-daughter marriages were accepted. When Thutmose I died, Hatshepsut was about 15 years old, and Thutmose II took over as pharaoh. Thutmose II died after only three or four years of rule, most likely of a skin disease. Hatshepsut had a daughter, named Neferure, but Thutmose II also had a son with a commoner named Aset. It is thought that even during the reign of Thutmose II, Hatshepsut may actually have been in power. When Thutmose II died, Thutmose III was about three years old, still too young to rule, and Hatshepsut began to reign as Queen Regent, using the title “God’s Wife.” The popularity of her father and her own charismatic presence enabled her to gain a following that led her to become a full pharaoh about seven years into the reign of Thutmose III. Hatshepsut assumed the pharaoh costume, which was intended for males and included a false beard, the shendyt kilt, and the nemes headdress with its uraeus and khat headcloth. At her coronation, she adopted the five great names: Horus Powerful of Kas, Two Ladies Flourishing of Years, Female Horus of Fine Gold, Divine of Diadems, King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Maatkare, Daughter of Ra, Khenmet-Amen Hatshepsut.

Hatshepsut’s reign was basically a peaceful one. The lack of frantic military activity during her years in power is one of the outstanding and defining characteristics of her rule. She focused more on activities like trade and construction. She expanded trade with Nubia, Libya, and countries in Asia. She also ordered expeditions to present-day Somalia, which was then called Punt, to acquire special goods like ivory, spices, and gold. Stories from these expeditions are featured on the walls of her temple. One scene shows the Queen of the Puntites, who has a crooked back, a curved nose, and rolls of fat hanging over her knees and elbows, in stark contrast to Egyptians who were generally short and thin.

Hatshepsut also restored and renovated several old buildings that had been damaged or destroyed by invading armies. One of these was the temple at Ipet-Issut, now known as Karnak. In addition to the renovations, she built the Red Chapel for the holy barge of Amun (discussed below). Hatshepsut put up two huge obelisks that were covered in gold foil, reflecting the sun’s rays all around. The inscription on the obelisks makes clear her determination to achieve posterity:

Those who shall see my monument in
future years, and shall speak of what I
have done, beware of saying, “I know
not, I know not how this has been
done, fashioning a mountain of gold
throughout, like something of nature”
... Nor shall he who hears this say it
was a boast, but rather, “How like her
this is, how worthy of her father”. (Ray)

However, no construction work ordered by Hatshepsut is more significant or more impressive than her mortuary temple. The temple was discovered several centuries after its completion, buried beneath hundreds of tons of sand. It was designed around 1473 BC by Senenmut, who was Hatshepsut’s consort, and took about fifteen years to complete. As mentioned earlier, the temple is next to that of Mentuhotep II, which is from the eleventh dynasty. Hatshepsut’s temple was built for herself and her father, and was dedicated to the gods Anubis and Hathor, with chapels for other gods and goddesses.

The temple is set at Deir el Bahari, across the Nile River from Thebes, in a valley known as the Valley of the Kings. It is made of rock and consists of three layered terraces against the natural backdrop of the huge cliffs at Deir el Bahari. The rows of colonnades that Senenmut designed play off the vertical patterns on the cliffs. Thus, the temple’s setting is not only stunning in itself, but harmonizes well with the architecture.

An avenue lined by trees and sphinxes leads to the forecourt, which was a garden with vines and fragrant trees from Punt. There was also a huge gate, which was later destroyed. The three terraces are divided by columns and linked to each other by ramps. The walls of the temple bore painted reliefs that told of Hatshepsut’s accomplishments. Since construction started at the beginning of Hatshepsut’s reign, these scenes were filled in as the accomplishments took place.

On either side of the first level ramp are papyrus pools and a galleries, with a double row of columns supporting the roofs. The porticoes on this terrace were restored in 1906 to protect the reliefs that show the giant obelisks being transported by barge to Karnak. Thus, these porticoes are a different color and are out of proportion compared with the rest of the building. Another gallery runs along the west side of the second level court, and holds the chapels for Anubis and Hathor. A shrine for Amun, the sun god, is cut out of rock. The south side of this terrace had the reliefs depicting the expeditions into Punt, across the Red Sea. The third level is a hall of columns with chapels on either side, including one for Hatshepsut’s parents. Along its front is a series of large statues of Queen Hatshepsut that look out over the valley. Behind the top terrace, built into the cliff, is a sanctuary.

Statues and sphinxes of the queen were numerous throughout the temple. In some places, Hatshepsut was represented as a lion, clawing at her enemies and capturing evil birds. Many of the statues have been carefully restored from broken fragments. These and other important artworks from the temple reside mainly at the Cairo Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

As Pharaoh, Hatshepsut continued to honor her nephew maintaining his status as her co-ruler, another situation acceptable under ancient Egyptian law. Some scholars even believe that their power was divided, Hatshepsut looking after commercial and administrative affairs while Thutmose III dealt with military affairs. However, as Thutmose III grew up, he became more envious of Hatshepsut’s position and wanted the throne for himself. Hatshepsut used several tactics to reconfirm and strengthen her status as ruler.

One of the tactics she used was to emphasize her relationship to the popular Pharaoh Thutmose I. She claimed that he had favored her over her two brothers and her half-brother. The words of the divine potter Khnum are written in her temple:
I will make you to be the first of all living creatures, you will rise as king of Upper and Lower Egypt, as your father Amon, who loves you, did ordain. (Bediz)

In addition to her first claim, Hatshepsut also proclaimed her true father to be Amun-Ra, the sun god, who had impregnated her mother through divine conception. In her temple is depicted the story of the night when Amun-Ra came to Ahmose in the form of Tuthmose I. The walls also recount the story of Amun-Ra speaking through an oracle and requesting Hatshepsut to rule Egypt. This assertion cannot be validated like the first can, but it did have important effects on Egyptian society. Her reign saw an increase in the number of priests of Amun, and gave new life to the Opet festival of Amun. Although all pharaohs were considered sons of Amun-Ra, Hatshepsut contributed to the expansion of his worship and strengthened her rule with the myth of her birth.

As Thutmose III grew older, he also grew more powerful, and eventually staged a revolt against Hatshepsut in 1458 BC, at which time she disappeared. Whether Thutmose III murdered her or not is unknown. Hatshepsut’s tomb was destroyed, and her mummy stolen. Only her liver, preserved in a canopic jar, was found. Thutmose III had also resented the presence of Senenmut, and Senenmut’s sarcophagus, housed in his own tomb near Hatshepsut’s, was also destroyed, and his mummy has never been found.

It is likely that Thutmose III arranged for the removal of Hatshepsut’s name from all her constructions. As most of the images of her pictured her as male (in the traditional pharaoh costume), these could remain, and only the name underneath was changed to Thutmose I, II, or III. Senenmut’s name was also removed. Historians can only speculate as to the reasons Thutmose III would have had for removing his aunt’s name. One sensible explanation is that he wanted to ensure a smooth transition of power to his own son, and therefore attempted to erase the history of Hatshepsut’s rule, along with any changes to the system of lineage it might have brought about.
As one of the few female pharaohs, Hatshepsut’s 15-year reign is a significant one in the history of ancient Egypt. Her period of rule was marked by an absence of military campaigns and a focus on commerce, renovation, and construction. This legacy is both exemplified by and depicted in the building of her mortuary temple at Dier el Bahari, a monument of grandeur both in its scale and its representation.


ATTENTION!!!HotEssays.blogspot.com provides free sample essays and essay examples on any topics and subjects. EssayLib.com essay writing service produces 100% custom essays, term papers & research papers, written by quality essay writers only. The prices start from $10 per page. You can order a custom essay on Hatshepsut now!

Hatshepsut Essay

Queen Hatshepsut was the fifth ruler of the 18th dynasty and was able to rise from princess to queen to pharaoh. She was supposedly born a beautiful child to the pharaoh Tuthmosis I and his queen Ahmose. Her family came from an ancestral line of strong and effective leaders who were devoted to Egypt. Her reign was the longest of all the female pharaohs.

After the death of her father, her half brother Tuthmosis II became king. When he became pharaoh, Tuthmosis had no choice but to marry a woman of the royal blood. Marriages between close relatives were usually within ancient Egypt's royal family, so Hatshepsut was destined to become her half brother's wife, who had a son, Tuthmosis III, by a minor wife.

After Tuthmosis II died in 1479 B.C., his son Tuthmosis III would become pharaoh. However Tuthmosis was too young to marry or rule, so for a short time Hatshepsut ruled with her nephew as a regent. At first, Hatshepsut stayed in the background so that Tuthmosis III would be seen as the true pharaoh. But little by little, she took on more of the work and more of the power. She chose officials and advisers, and she made decisions about running the kingdom. She also sent out the army when needed. Not long after was Hatshepsut basically ruling for herself and left Tuthmosis with very little power. As Hatshepsut gained power, she became more interested in ruling Egypt. She decided that she would become the next pharaoh and not Tuthmosis III.

Most of Hatshepsut's rule was peaceful, so she had plenty of time to work on projects in Egypt. She repaired many temples and other buildings that had been damaged in wars....

Loading: Checking Spelling


Read more

Assess the importance of the Punt expedition to the reign to Hatshepsut.

1204 words - 5 pages Along with her development of Egypt, Hatshepsut's expedition to Punt was one that she took great pride in, enough for it to be recorded in her mortuary temple. Along with the expedition came many positive outcomes, which included religious, economic and political benefits. Bentley believes that it was one of the most 'important events of her reign'.One main feature of importance of the expedition was the economic impact that it had....

Finessing the Pharaohs: A contrast and comparison between two leaders, Queen Hatshepsut and Golda Meir.

705 words - 3 pages Hatshepsut was the first female ruler of Egypt. During her reign, the Egyptians believed that as a female ruler she had put maat, the most important balance of Egypt in danger. Golda Meir, the first female Israeli Prime Minister, was thought to put the country in...

Which Egyptian Queen made the greatest contribution to her country Hatshepsut or Cleopatra?

1120 words - 4 pages Which Egyptian Queen made the greatest contribution to her country?Hatshepsut or Cleopatra?Pharaonic and Ptolemaic Egypt were ruled by a "king," and the Egyptian ideal of succession was from father to son (Shaw, 2003). The female relatives of the ruling king often played significant roles in the rule of Egypt, and the ideology of kingship...

Critically discuss how Egyptian pharaohs of this period (besides Hatshepsut) established and maintained the empire

3059 words - 12 pages New Kingdom Egypt to the Death of Thutmosis IV"Critically discuss how Egyptian pharaohs of this period (besides Hatshepsut) established and maintained the empire".Throughout time, leaders have been present in every society to establish, control and maintain the society wholly and completely. These include titles such as the Presidents, Prime Ministers, Monarchs and Dictators of today; to Napoleon...

Queen Hatshepsut, the fifth Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt which was one of the few female pharaohs of Egypt.

2377 words - 10 pages Hatshepsut was the eldest daughter of the pharaoh, Thutmose I and Queen Aahmes, the Royal Wife. Thutmose I was the successor of the childless pharaoh, Amenhotep I. Thutmose I was a successful general in the army and married the previous pharaoh's sister Aahmes.Hatshepsut was born around 1502 BC. Her two eldest brothers died in accidents before...

Hatshepsut’s Struggles in Power

1788 words - 7 pages When an Egyptian Pharaoh is pictured, it is normally a person with a very elegant crown and well-designed clothing, but most importantly a Pharaoh is depicted as a man. In the history of Egypt, though, some Pharaohs were actually women, just like the case of Hatshepsut. There were other women rulers of Egypt, and when asked which one is most recognized, it is probably Cleopatra, but Hatshepsut deserves just as much respect as Cleopatra for the...

Question: Justify Hatshepsut's claim to the throne, with references to political, religious and social forces.

1363 words - 5 pages Queen Hatshepsut was an astonishing king. She was the first female ever to claim the Egyptian throne and announce herself pharaoh. In order to do this, first she had to legitimise her claim. She believed she had political, social and religious reasons to claim the throne and used these along with half-truths to legitimise her rule.Hatshepsut believed that she...

Explain Hatshepsut's relations with Egyptian nobles and officials

604 words - 2 pages Explain Hatshepsut's relations with Egyptian nobles and officialsTo achieve the level of success and prestige that Hatshepsut aspired, she like all pharaohs needed skilled nobles and a huge bureaucracy to advise them in all aspects of administration. Perhaps the most famous of all her advisors is

Hatchepsut: The Female Pharaoh

2292 words - 9 pages Hatshepsut was Thutmose II’s queen, she became regent for Thutmose III ca. 1479 at his death. Egypt prospered under her reign. When Thutmose III was old enough to rule, it was decided that Hatshepsut and Thutmose III would reign together as co-regents. Hatshepsut and Thutmose III’s co-rule may have been strained. After Hatshepsut’s death, Thutmose III defiled or removed many statues, paintings or writings of Hatshepsut life and reign. Not...

18th Dynasty Egypt

1439 words - 6 pages 18th Dynasty EgyptThe 18th Dynasty of Egypt was very significant to African History. Many of the different pharaohs from the time achieved great accomplishments and were able to do much during their reign. The 18th Dynasty of Egypt seemed to represent Egypt at its greatest. The different pharaohs...

Ancient Egypt

519 words - 2 pages The Nile      The Nile river was the most important thing to Ancient Egyptians. The Egyptians were very smart because they were settled near a river. Without the Nile the Egyptians wouldn’t survive, and even now we wouldn’t study their history. The Nile was so important because it gave them water and fertilizer for farming and they believed in a God of the Nile whos name was Osiris The God of The Nile River. ...


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *