Tuesday, 9 July 2013


I love the story of Hatshepsut (if you say hot chicken soup really fast it sounds the same).  She was an amazing women who accomplished a lot during her time as Pharaoh of Egypt.  Although she was not the only female ruler Egypt had she is probably one of the better known other than the legendary Cleopatra.  Her name means “foremost of noblewomen”.

The story goes that when Hatshepsut’s father passed away her half-brother was to ascend to the throne.  According to history he was younger than Hatshepsut herself…..but in order for him to become pharaoh he had to marry a women of royal blood.  It is important to note that in Egypt who carry the royal blood and not the males. It was therefore, not unusual for men to marry their sister, half sister or any other close relative with royal blood.  It was however, according to history more often than not the eldest daughter of the previous pharaoh. 

To continue with Hatshepsut’s story, she married her half-brother and he became pharaoh.  But he did not live for very long and left behind his widow, a daughter and a son by another wife.  Because her husband’s son was very young Hatshepsut became the young pharaoh’s regent. She was a sly one because after ruling together for many years she proclaimed herself pharaoh which was something almost unheard of in spite of the higher status of women in Egypt at the time. An interesting note here is that at the time in Egypt women could own land, inherit from family members and even go to court to defend their rights. This was not the case in many other cultures of the time. There had of course been queens who had ruled Egypt but not a female Pharaoh…You go girl!!!

Her rule was relatively peaceful and she was able to launch a building program what would see the construction of a great temple near Luxor. Being an adventurous women she also launched a successful sea voyage to the land of Punt.  A place located somewhere on the northeast coast of Africa where her people traded with the inhabitants.

She took on a full throne name, and statues were created depicting her as a male king, right down to the beard. However, she did allow some feminine traits to come through. “Although for most of her reign Hatshepsut was depicted with the traditional image of a male king, the names that she used as king were formed with grammatically feminine participles, thus openly acknowledging her female status,” write Gay Robins in a 1999 article in "The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology."

In addition, University of Toronto Professor Mary-Ann Pouls Wegner, whose team found a wooden statue at Abydos that may be of Hatshepsut, notes that her waist was depicted as being somewhat slimmer than her male counterparts.
"Even though she was portrayed as a man in her statues, oftentimes they did give a nod to her female physique by making her waist narrower," she is quoted as saying. Hatshepsut took care to cultivate loyalty and obedience among those who surrounded her.  

There is a story about her architect falling in love with her and him drawing some ummmmm racy pictures on the wall of her temple in an effort to announce his feelings for her.  She did not like the pictures much it seems because she had him killed. Our guide told us that this first known pornography started all the trouble….
Hatshepsut ruled for about 20 years. Her step son who was technically co-ruler with Hatshepsut, succeeded her after her death.  And although  she was given a burial in the valley of the kings, her memory was not honored  Despite the apparent success of her reign after her death her monuments would be defaced by her step some Thutmose III.”

It is said that Hatshepsut was around 50 years old when she passed away, she was balding and suffering from diabetes. History also says that she was wearing black and red nail polish…and had a strong desire for perfume. For years her mummy was not found but in the temple they found a single tooth in a box with her name on it.  Then in 2007, a guy and his donkey was walking along the hills surrounding the temple and suddenly the donkey fell into a hole. When the owner went to retrieve his donkey he discovered mummies. One of the mummies was missing and tooth and a CT scan was used to match the tooth found with the tooth socket of the mummy and there Hatshepsut was found.

The historian Small writes that despite her health problems, and the post-mortem destruction of some of her images, history still remembers her as a successful ancient Egyptian ruler. “Hatshepsut’s image couldn't be erased because even with the weight, the beard, and the nail polish, she was a ruler, and a grand one,” she writes:

“In ancient Egypt, just like today, you simply can’t keep a good woman down.”

I dedicate this post to my friend Shahy, the most amazing Egyptian Women I have ever met!!!

Hills where the mummies were found

New discoveries being made...

Section which was destroyed

On the way back to Luxor we were treated by a boat ride instead of the hour long trip by car.

Meg steers the boat!!!


Katie Cook said...

WWWOOOOOWWW! These pics and info are amazing! I definitely said Hot Chicken Soup aloud to get her name, hahahah! love Katie

Katie Cook said...

WWWOOOOOWWW! These pics and info are amazing! I definitely said Hot Chicken Soup aloud to get her name, hahahah! love Katie

Katie Cook said...

WWWOOOOOWWW! These pics and info are amazing! I definitely said Hot Chicken Soup aloud to get her name, hahahah! love Katie