Hatshepsut (ca. 1493 – ca. 1458 B.C.)

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Editor: Michael Berger
Date: 2003
The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt
Publisher: Greenhaven Press
Document Type: Biography
Pages: 2
Content Level: (Level 4)
Lexile Measure: 1180L

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About this Person
Born: 1538 BC in Egypt
Died: 1458 BC in Egypt
Nationality: Egyptian
Occupation: Pharaoh
Other Names: Hatchepsout, Queen of Egypt; Hatasu, Queen of Egypt; Hatchepsut, Queen of Egypt; Queen Hatshepsut; Khnemet-Amon-Hatshepsut
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Page 135

Hatshepsut (ca. 1493 – ca. 1458 B.C.)

Daughter of Queen Ahmose Meryt-Amon and King Tuthmosis I and the principal wife and half-sister of Tuthmosis II, Hatshepsut was an Eighteenth Dynasty queen who eventually declared herself pharaoh. Her path to becoming queen-pharaoh began upon the death of King Tuthmosis II when the throne went to Tuthmosis III, the young son of another of the king's wives, Isis, because Hatshepsut had no son. Because she had been the king's principal wife, Queen Hatshepsut was declared the boy's regent; within a very short time, she usurped the throne. Hatshepsut's closest adviser was her royal steward and architect, Senenmut, whom some Egyptologists believe was also her lover and might have been the father of Hatshepsut's daughter Neferure, who was born when Hatshepsut was still married to Tuthmosis II.

After declaring herself queen-pharaoh, Hatshepsut apparently adopted all of the titles and trappings of any male king, including masculine attire and perhaps a false beard used by very young kings to make themselves appear more mature. She also engaged in a traditional activity for an Egyptian king: launching numerous building projects. Hatshepsut oversaw the building, rebuilding, or enlargement of several temples and shrines and constructed her tomb at Deir el-Bahri. One of the reliefs there shows the spirit of her father, King Tuthmosis I, making her his coruler, and there is evidence that she claimed this sponsorship in arguing her right to rule.

By most accounts, Hatshepsut was an effective ruler, but there is also evidence that the public disapproved of her kingship

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Page 136  |  Top of Articleand her association with Senenmut. Meanwhile, the child whose throne she had usurped grew into a man. At some point during this time, Hatshepsut apparently made him marry her daughter, but the girl died in the eleventh year of the queen's reign. Over the next few years, Tuthmosis III became a powerful military commander, fighting for Egypt in foreign campaigns. During the twentieth year of Hatshepsut's reign he suddenly took over the throne, probably because the queen died; the year before, Senenmut also appears to have died. Some Egyptologists suspect foul play in one or both deaths, particularly since supporters of Tuthmosis III defaced or destroyed many of Hatshepsut's monuments, reliefs, and statues after her death. She was subsequently omitted from king lists as well, so for many Egyptians it was as though her rule had never existed. Moreover, some Egyptologists believe that Tuthmosis III's supporters also destroyed Hatshepsut's body, since it has never been found. Others, however, suspect that an unidentified mummy found in a royal cache in the tomb of Amenhotep II is that of Hatshepsut, because the body, even though female, is poised in the traditional manner of the king, with arms crossed over the chest to hold the symbols of kingship known as the crook and the flail.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|CX2277500230