Friday, May 25, 2007


Hatshepsut(18th Dynasty BC)
Pharoah of Egypt (r. 1503-1483 BC)

Hatshepsut married her half-brother the Pharaoh and was the real power behind the throne of Egypt, ruling openly when he died. Hatshhepsut was sufficiently powerful enough to exercise supreme power when she took over the government as Regent for her husband's six year old son by a concubine.

Hatshepsut surrounded herself with men of outstanding administrative and intellectual ability, and manipulated the council and strengthened her own position by marrying the boy to her own daughter.

Hatshepsut renounced the regency when her position was strong enough, and successfully declared herself Pharaoh. Her 20 year reign was devoted to peace and prosperity (unlike her male counterparts and predecessors whose main occupation was war). She encouraged agriculture and trade, establishing new sea trade routes to replace the long overland journies. Arts and especially architecture flourished - evidenced by her funerary temple at Deir el-Bahri and two obelisks at Karnak.

On her death, her half-nephew cum stepson cum son-in-law, finally became Pharaoh and he systematically smashed all her statues and hid or erased her name from monuments in an attempt to belittle her.

The Story of Hatshepsut

~~~ Melisende (first pub: 1998 - Women of History)

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