Who Was Hatshepsut? And What Is The Story Of The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut?
Hatshepsut(r. 1479- 1458 BCE) was the first female ruler of ancient Egypt to rule as a male with the complete authority of the pharaoh. Her name means” Foremost of Noble Women” or” She’s First Among Noble Women”. She began her reign as regent to her stepson Thutmose III(r. 1458- 1425 BCE) who would succeed her.
originally, she ruled as a woman as depicted in statuary but, at around the seventh time of her reign, she chose to be depicted as a male pharaoh in statuary and reliefs though still pertaining to herself as a female in her eulogies.
She was the fifth pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty during the period known as the New Kingdom(c. 1570 to. 1069 BCE) and is regarded as one of the most prosperous and the period of the Egyptian Empire.
Although she’s occasionally cited as the first female ruler of Egypt, or the only one, there were women who reigned before her similar to Merneith(r.c. 3000 BCE) in the Early Dynastic Period( presumably as regent) and Sobeknefru(r.c. 1807- 1802 BCE) in the Middle Kingdom and Twosret(r. 1191- 1190 BCE) after her toward the end of the 19th Dynasty. Hatshepsut, though not the first or last, is really the best-known female ruler of ancient Egypt after Cleopatra VII(r.c. 69- 30 BCE) and one of the most successful monarchs in Egyptian history.
Her reign was one of the most prosperous and peaceful in Egypt’s history. There’s evidence that she commissioned military peregrinations beforehand on and she clearly kept the army at peak effectiveness but, for the utmost part, her time as pharaoh is characterized by successful trade, a booming economy, and her numerous public works systems which employed laborers from across the nation.
Her expedition to Punt seems to have been legendary and was clearly the accomplishment she was most proud of, but it also seems that all of her trade initiatives were inversely successful and she was suitable to employ an entire nation in building her monuments. These workshops were so beautiful and so finely crafted that they would be claimed by latterly kings as their own.
Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut
Among the duties of any Egyptian monarch was the construction of monumental structure projects to honor the gods and save the memory of their reigns for eternity. These building projects weren’t just some grandiose gesture on the part of the king to assuage the pride but were central to the foundation and development of a unified state.
Building projects assured work for the peasant agriculturists during the period of the Nile’s alluvion, encouraged concinnity through collaborative trouble, pride in one’s donation to the project, and handed openings for the expression of ma’at( harmony/ balance), the central value of the culture, through collaborative – and public – trouble.
Contrary to the view so frequently held, the great monuments of Egypt weren’t built by Hebrew slaves nor by slave labor of any kind. professed and unskilled Egyptian workers built the palaces, temples, pyramids, and monuments, and raised the obelisks as paid workers.
From the period of the Old Kingdom of Egypt(c. 2613- 2181 BCE) through the New Kingdom(c. 1570-c. 1069 BCE) and, to a less extent, from the Third Intermediate Period(c. 1069- 525) through the Ptolemaic Dynasty( 323- 30 BCE) the great rulers of Egypt created some of the most impressive cities, temples, and monuments in the world and these were all created by collaborative Egyptian effort.
There are numerous exemplifications of these great monuments and temples throughout Egypt from the pyramid complex at Giza in the north to the temple at Karnak in the south. Among these, the mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut( 1479- 1458 BCE) at Deir el- Bahri stands out as one of the most impressive.
The structure was modeled after the mortuary temple of Mentuhotep II(c. 2061- 2010 BCE), the great Theban prince who innovated the 11th Dynasty and initiated the Middle Kingdom of Egypt( 2040- 1782 BCE). Mentuhotep II was considered a’ second Menes’ by his coevals, a reference to the legendary king of the First Dynasty of Egypt, and he continued to be reverenced largely throughout the rest of Egypt’s history.
The temple of Mentuhotep II was erected during his reign across the river from Thebes at Deir el- Bahri, the first structure to be raised there. It was a fully innovative conception in that it would serve as both tomb and temple.
The king would not actually be buried in the complex but in a tomb cut into the rock of the cliffs behind it. The entire structure was designed to blend organically with the girding geography and the towering cliffs and was the most striking tomb complex raised in Upper Egypt and the most elaborate created since the Old Kingdom.
Hatshepsut, an admirer of Mentuhotep II’s temple had her own designed to reflect it but on an important grander scale and, just in case anyone should miss the comparison, ordered it built exactly next to the older temple. Hatshepsut was always keenly apprehensive of ways in which to elevate her public image and immortalize her name; the mortuary temple achieved both ends.
It would be an homage to the alternate Menes’ but, more importantly, link Hatshepsut to the majesty of history while, at the same time, surpassing former monumental works in every respect. As a woman in a traditionally male position of power, Hatshepsut understood she demanded to establish her authority and the legality of her reign in much more egregious ways that her forerunners, and the scale and fineness of her temple are evidence of this.
The Temple Design & Layout
She delegated her mortuary temple at some point soon after coming to power in 1479 BCE and had it designed to tell the story of her life and reign and surpass any other in class and majesty. The temple was designed by Hatshepsut’s steward and confidant Senenmut, who was also tutor to Neferu- Ra and, conceivably, Hatshepsut’s lover.
Senenmut modeled it precisely on that of Mentuhotep II but took every aspect of the earlier structure and made it larger, longer, and more elaborate. Mentuhotep II’s temple featured a large stone ramp from the first yard to the second level; Hatshepsut’s second level was reached by a much longer and indeed more elaborate ramp one reached by passing through lush auditoriums and an elaborate entrance pylon adjoined by towering obelisks.
Walking through the first yard( ground level), one could go directly through the archways on either side( which led down alleys to small ramps up to the second level) or stroll up the central ramp, whose entrance was adjoined by statues of lions. On the second level, there were two reflecting pools and sphinxes lining the pathway to another ramp which brought a guest up to the third level.
The first, second, and third situations of the tabernacle all featured galilee and elaborate reliefs, oils, and statuary. The second yard would house the tomb of Senenmut to the right of the ramp leading up to the third level, and a meetly opulent tomb placed beneath the second yard with no outside features in order to save harmony.
All three levels instanced the traditional Egyptian value of harmony and, as there was no structure to the left wing of the ramp, there could be no apparent tomb on its right.
On the right side of the ramp leading to the third level was the Birth Colonnade, and on the left the Punt Colonnade. The Birth Colonnade told the story of Hatshepsut’s godly creation with Amun as her true father.
As the daughter of the most mighty and popular god in Egypt at the time, Hatshepsut was claiming for herself the special privilege to rule the country as a man would. She established her special relationship with Amun beforehand on, conceivably before taking the throne, in order to neutralize critique of her reign on account of her gender.
The Punt Colonnade related her noble passage to the mysterious land of the gods’ which the Egyptians hadn’t visited in centuries. Her capability to launch such a passage is evidence of the wealth of the country under her rule and also her ambition in reviving the traditions and glory of history. Punt was known to the Egyptians since the Early Dynastic Period(c. 3150-c. 2613 BCE) but either the route had been forgotten or Hatshepsut’s more recent forerunners didn’t consider a passage worth their time.
At either end of the second-level colonnade were two temples The Temple of Anubis to the north and The Temple of Hathor to the south. As a woman in a position of power, Hatshepsut had a special relationship with the goddess Hathor and invoked her frequently. A temple to Anubis, the guardian, and companion to the dead, was a common point of any mortuary complex; one would not wish to slight the god who was responsible for leading one’s soul from the grave to the afterlife.
The ramp to the third level, centered impeccably between the Birth and Punt colonnades, brought a guest up to another colonnade, lined with statues, and the three most significant structures the Royal Cult Chapel, Solar Cult Chapel, and the Sanctuary of Amun. The whole temple complex was erected on the cliffs of Deir el- Bahri and the Sanctuary of Amun – the most sacred area of the point – was cut from the cliff itself.
The Royal Cult Chapel and Solar Cult Chapel both depicted scenes of the royal family making immolations to the gods. Amun- Ra, the compound creator/ sun god, is featured prominently in the Solar Cult Chapel with Hatshepsut and her immediate family kneeling before him in honor.
Desecration & Erasure from History
Throughout Hatshepsut’s reign, Thutmose III hadn’t been footling at court but was leading the armies of Egypt on successful juggernauts of conquest. Hatshepsut had given him supreme command of the military, and he didn’t fail her. Thutmose III is considered one of the topmost military leaders in the history of ancient Egypt and the most constantly successful in the period of the New Kingdom.
Inc. 1457 BCE Thutmose III led his armies to triumph at the Battle of Megiddo, a crusade conceivably anticipated and prepared for by Hatshepsut, and latterly her name disappears from the historical record. Thutmose III had all substantiation of her reign destroyed by erasing her name and having her image cut from all public monuments.
He also backdated his reign to the death of his father and Hatshepsut’s accomplishments as pharaoh were credited to him. Senenmut and Neferu- Ra were dead by this time, and it seems anyone differently who was personally devoted to Hatshepsut lacked the power or inclination to challenge Thutmose III’s policy regarding his step-mother’s memory.
To abolish one’s name on earth was to condemn that person to virtuality. In ancient Egyptian belief, one demanded to be remembered in order to continue one’s eternal journey in the afterlife. Although Thutmose III seems to have ordered this extreme measure, there’s no substantiation of any hostility between him and his stepmother, and significantly, he left fairly untouched the story of her godly birth and passage to Punt inside her mortuary tabernacle; only public citation of her was canceled. This would indicate that he didn’t harbor Hatshepsut any ill will personally but was trying to annihilate any overt substantiation of a strong female pharaoh.
The ruler of Egypt was traditionally male, in keeping with the legendary first king of Egypt, the god Osiris. Although no one knows for sure why Thutmose III chose to remove his stepmother from history, it’s presumably because she broke with the tradition of male monarchs and he didn’t want women in the unborn emulating Hatshepsut in this way.
The most vital duty of the pharaoh was the conservation of ma’at and recognizing the traditions of the history was a part of this in that it maintained balance and social stability. Indeed though Hatshepsut’s reign had been successful, there was no way to guarantee that another woman, inspired by her illustration, would be suitable to rule as effectively.
To allow the precedent of a suitable woman as pharaoh to stand, thus, could have been relatively threatening to Thutmose III’s understanding of ma’at.
Although the inner reliefs, oils, and eulogies of her temple were left largely complete, some were defaced by Thutmose III and others by the later pharaoh Akhenaten( 1353- 1336 BCE).
By the time of Akhenaten, Hatshepsut had been forgotten. Thutmose III had replaced her images with his own, buried her statues, and built his own mortuary temple at Deir el- Bahri in between Hatshepsut’s and Mentuhotep II’s. His temple is much smaller than either, but this wasn’t a concern since he basically took over Hatshepsut’s temple as his own.
Akhenaten, thus, had no quarrel with Hatshepsut as a female pharaoh; his problem was with her god. Akhenaten is best known as the heretic king’ who abolished the traditional religious beliefs and practices of Egypt and replaced them with his own brand of deism centered on the solar god Aten. Although he’s routinely hailed as a visionary for this by fundamentalists, his action was most likely motivated far more by politics than theology.
The Cult of Amun had grown so important by Akhenaten’s time that it rivaled the throne – a problem faced by a number of kings throughout Egypt’s history – and rescinding that cult along with all the others was the quickest and most effective way of restoring balance and wealth to the monarchy. Although Hatshepsut’s temple( understood by Akhenaten to be that of Thutmose III) was allowed to stand, the images of Amun were cut from the exterior and inner walls.
Hatshepsut’s name stayed unknown for the rest of Egypt’s history and up until the mid-19th century CE. When Thutmose III had her public monuments destroyed, he disposed of the wreckage near her temple at Deir el- Bahri. Excavations in the 19th century CE brought these broken monuments and statues to light but, at that time, no one understood how to read hieroglyphics – numerous still believed them to be simple decorations – and so her name was lost to history.
The English polymath and scholar Thomas Young( 1773- 1829 CE), still, was argued that these ancient symbols represented words and that hieroglyphics were nearly related to demotic and latterly Coptic scripts. His work was erected upon by his occasionally- colleague- occasionally- rival, the French philologist and scholar Jean- Francois Champollion( 1790- 1832 CE).
In 1824 CE Champollion published his translation of the Rosetta Stone, proving that the symbols were a written language and this opened up ancient Egypt to a contemporary world.
Champollion, visiting Hatshepsut’s temple, was mystified by the egregious references to a female pharaoh during the New Kingdom of Egypt who was unknown in history. His compliances were the first in the contemporary age to inspire an interest in the queen who, moment, is regarded as one of the topmost rulers of the ancient world.
How and when Hatshepsut died was unknown until relatively lately. She wasn’t buried in her mortuary temple but in a tomb in the near Valley of the Kings( KV60).
Egyptologist Zahi Hawass located her mummy in the Cairo museum’s effects in 2006 CE and proved her identity by matching a loose tooth from a box of hers to the mummy. An examination of that corpus shows that she died in her fifties from an abscess following this tooth’s birth.
Although Egyptian monarchs didn’t know her name, her mortuary temple and other monuments saved her legacy. Her temple at Deir el- Bahri was considered so magnific that later kings had their own built in the same vicinity and, as noted, was so impressed with this temple and her other workshop that they claimed them as their own.
There is, in fact, no other Egyptian monarch except Ramesses II( 1279- 1213 BCE) who erected as numerous impressive monuments as Hatshepsut. Although unknown for the utmost of history, in the once 100 times her accomplishments have achieved global recognition.
In the present day, she’s a commanding presence in Egyptian – and world – history and stands as the very part model for women that Thutmose III may have tried so hard to abolish from time and memory.
What to do in Luxor Egypt – Luxor Tours and Excursions
Explore Luxor Tours’ uncountable adventures, start with the East bank tour visiting Karnak Temple, and Luxor Temple, also enjoy the West bank tour visiting Valley Of The Kings, Hatshepsut Temple, the Colossi of Memnon, enjoy a hot air balloon ride in the morning. Take in Nile Cruise from Luxor to Aswan visiting Kom Ombo, Edfu, and Esna while enjoying the beautiful view of the Nile along the way, or spend a day in Cairo visiting The Pyramids of Cheops, Chefren, Mykreinus, the Sphinx, the Egyptian museum, Old Cairo also go shopping in Khan El Khalili, or a trip to Aswan visiting Philae Temple, Unfinished Obelisk, the High Dam and Abu Simple Temples.
All these tours are assured to add something memorable to your tours in Luxor with EZ Tour Egypt.