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A long time ago, women didn’t have much say in the social or political. There weren’t many queens and even less had control as pharaohs and the most victorious and famous female pharaoh was Hatshepsut. She was the eldest of two sisters, daughter of Thutmose I and his wife Ames was the queen of Egypt, she married her half-brother, Thutmose II, at the age of 12. Thutmose II took the throne in 1492 B.C. but died about 13 years later (1479 B.C.). After her husband’s death, Hatshepsut acted as regent for her son, Thutmose III until he came of age. Thutmose III’s parents were Thutmose II and Iset, Thutmose’s secondary wife but Hatshepsut and Thutmose II had a daughter together called Neferure. In 1473 B.C. after 7 years Hatshepsut stepped up to the title and full power of Pharaoh. When Thutmose III came of age, he became co-ruler of Egypt with her for 22 years. During her reign Hatshepsut extended Egyptian trade, made building projects, restored old temples, fought for her place and launched the Punt expedition.

 Hatshepsut being in power was very controversial but she fought to defend her legitimacy (conformity to law or to rules) by pointing her royal ancestry and claiming that her father designated her as his successor. She wanted to be represented as a male (beared, big muscles) in images, sculptures etc. to reinvent her image and assert her power. She also surrounded herself with supporters in key position in government such as Senenmut, her chief minister.

Hatshepsut sent out 5 ships in her name to the land of Punt which is now known as Eretria, each ship was 21 m long and had 210 men on board (30 rowers, sailors and other people). The ships came back with Myrrh (Hatshepsut’s favourite scent), ivory, ebony, gold, leopard skin. They also came back with 31 frankincense trees. They put their roots in baskets for the trip so they wouldn’t die. This enabled Hatshepsut to make her first attempt to replant foreign trees. The trees were planted in the court of her temple, Deir el-Bahari. After the successful Punt expedition, Hatshepsut sent expeditions to Byblos and Sinai.

During Hatshepsut’s reign, she made a lot of building projects such as the temple of Pakhet, Karnak’s real chapel but one of her biggest achievements regarding construction is her mortuary temple. It was built in the bay of cliffs which is known as Deir el-Bahri. In ancient times the temple was called Djeser-djeseru, meaning the ‘sacred of sacreds’. The style resembles the earlier temple in the same place, but the construction looked nothing like what had already been built in architecture. She chose to put her temple at this place because it was on a direct axis with Karnak’s temple of Amun. On the other side of the mountain was the tomb which Hatshepsut had constructed for herself in the valley of kings. This temple is considered as one of the ‘incomparable monuments of ancient Egypt.’



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