Welcome to My Official Web Page!

Welcome to My Official Web Page!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Who the Heck is Hatshepsut?

I've been putting off writing a blog bio of Hatshepsut for a long time. Since I started blogging actually.

Why? Because I wanted to wait until people would actually read the post! Imagine your hero, the one person in the world you've on a pedestal, one so high you can hardly see the top. Now imagine that no one has ever heard about your hero. That's Hatshepsut.

And I want everyone to know what a superstar she was!

So, without further ado, here is Hatshepsut!

Hatshepsut was the daughter of Pharaoh Tutmose I and Queen Ahmose. (BTW- There are multiple spellings of some of these names and I'm going to use the ones I used in my book.) Her father had several other children, but all of them predeceased him except for Hatshepsut and her half-brother, Thutmosis. That's one of the hazards of living back then- life expectancies hovered somewhere around the 30 year mark.

Thutmosis was the son of the Pharaoh and a lesser wife named Mutnofret. When Tutmose died, Thutmosis became Pharaoh. His reign was short- dated anywhere from two to twelve years, but with most historians leaning toward the former. Regardless, the guy's only major accomplishment while on the throne was fathering a son with a dancing girl named Aset and Hatshepsut's daughter, Neferure.

Then he dies.

Aw, what a shame. But not really! Thutmosis kicking the bucket allows Hatshepsut to become regent to her toddler stepson. (And yes, little Tutmose would also be her nephew since he's her brother's kid.)


Hatshepsut sits by dutifully for seven years, ruling for Tutmose like a good little regent. But then, for whatever reason (and we don't really know what this reason is) she declares herself Pharaoh.


Only two other women before Hatshepsut were Pharaoh and both were the end of their family lines, the last link in a family to toss on the throne. And both women brought about the end of their family dynasties. Oops.

But Hatshepsut's reign was a total success. She went on to built the architectural marvel of Deir-el-Bahri (there I am in front of it!), organize an expedition to reopen trade to the mythical land of Punt, and keep the peace in her country for a couple decades.

Hatshepsut disappears from the historical record around 1482BCE and then Tutmose gets to take his place on the throne. Late in his reign all references to Hatshepsut as Pharaoh and all her monuments and statues are destroyed. Historians used to think this was an act of revenge against his usurper stepmother, but now it's believed it was merely to secure later successions and erase the aberration of a female ruler from Egypt's history.

Hatshepsut may not be as famous as Cleopatra VII (who lost the entire country to Rome, by the way), but of all the women Pharaohs, Hatshepsut was by far the most successful. In fact, even compared to the entire list of Egypt's rulers, Hatshepsut would still rank up there in the top five. I'm biased, but I'd say she only comes behind Ramesses II and he lived so long (ninety-some-odd-years-old) that his death sunk the country into a slump from which it would never recover.

So yeah. Hatshepsut is a rock star!


Gary Corby said...

Great bio!

Was Hatsheptsut the first successful female ruler of a nation? I'm trying and failing to think of anyone earlier.

Matthew Delman said...

Go Hatshepsut! I always love reading about strong female rulers -- probably because there are so few of them throughout history.

Tamika: said...

Go girl power! Hatshepsut sits high enough to have a lot of fun. Can't wait to see where her seat takes her.

Paul Greci said...

Thanks for this cool piece of history. Now I want to learn more!

Amalia T. said...

Awesome! Hatshepsut sounds really interesting! I'm glad that you wrote about her--I can't wait to be able to read her story!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I'm so glad you did this post. I've actually been hoping you would post more info about her bio. Now, we need you to tell us how to correctly pronounce her name! ;-)

L. T. Host said...

Good ol' Hatty.

Egypt's female rulers really didn't have a good time of it, did they?

Julie said...

When I first went on your blog I had to google this because I had no idea. Very interesting story!

Stephanie Thornton said...

Gary- I honestly can't think of any female ruler before Hat who was successful. I'm not an expert on Mesopotamia or Babylon, but no one comes to mind. That makes Hatshepsut that much cooler!

Shannon- It's pronounced Hat-shep-soot. Quite a mouthful, eh? Her throne name was Maatkare- I'm not sure if that one is any easier.

Yay! I'm glad you all are interested in her! I love her soooooooo much!

Steph Damore said...

Thanks for the info! I too had no idea who she was when I stumbled upon your blog (but quickly figured it out). How awesome was she? Kudos to you for writing a novel about such an awesome person.

The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

Hatsheptsut rocked and now so do you for telling me about her. Thanks.
Have a great week.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Thanks, Stephanie!

There have been many nights since I began following your blog when I couldn't sleep, and (ridiculous as this may sound, it is totally true) I actually lay there, playing with how to pronounce that name!

Sadly, I will probably still lay there playing with that name - it's a tough one to get out of your head once it gets in there! :)

Voidwalker said...

I haven't seen the name Hatshepsut in sooooo long. As I've been getting back into the blogging scene I came across your site (I'm trying to write and publish my own novel too). I used to be big into the Egyptian thing back when I was a kid. I had all the books and even tried learning to read the hieroglyphs. I even had the amazing opportunity to see the Rosetta stone over in the Brittish Museum in London, which I'm sure you are familiar with. Anyway, good luck with your book and I'll definitely check it out when you get published :)

Bane of Anubis said...

Excellent. Thanks for sharing.

Lisa and Laura said...

This post reminds me why I love to read historical fiction. Amazing! I can't wait to learn more about Hatshepsut!

Stephanie Thornton said...

Voidwalker- I tried learning hieroglyphics too, but it's pretty darn hard so I didn't get much past the alphabet. I have seen the Rosetta Stone though- it was awesome!

Shannon- Join the club! Hatshepsut traipses through my brain when I'm trying to fall asleep too. All the time!

Steph- Thanks! Hatshepsut was awesome- I'd rank her up there with Elizabeth I. (Although I think she was cooler!)

RQL&HEA- Thanks! You have a great week too!

Faith said...

When I visited Deir al-Bahri, our guide told us that the best way to remember her name was: Hot-Chicken-Soup.

It was hilarious... mostly because the three of us were Near Eastern Archaeology majors, already slightly obsessed with Egypt. But he had a good point, that's one way to remember it!!! :D

Three Huzzahs for Hot-Chicken-Soup!

Stephanie Thornton said...

Hehehe! That's hilarious, Faith! I've always thought her name sounds like someone sneezing- there's a cartoon about that I'll have to dig up that's pretty cute. :)