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Welcome to My Official Web Page!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Off With Their Heads! Err... Hands!



So here's the story from my piece about Hatshepsut chopping her enemies' hands off. If you missed the post this weekend, it's right here.

Hatshepsut's mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahri provides us with accounts of defensive military accounts against the Ethiopians and Asiatics, but most convincing is the account of her foray into Nubia (modern day Sudan).

"As was done by her victorious father...a slaughter was made among them, the number of dead being unknown; their hands were cut off..."

Now, we know Hat's father really did conquer Nubia when he was Pharaoh so it was commonly believed that she had conveniently "borrowed" the tale from Dad to include in her long list of accomplishments. (Note: This was common practice for Egyptian Pharaohs. They made excellent thieves.)

However, a graffito written on behalf of a man named Ti who served under Hatshepsut and her stepson (who would later become Pharaoh) confirms Hat's story.

"I followed the good god, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt Maatkare (Hatshepsut's throne name), may she live! I saw him [i.e. Hatshepsut- remember, she swiped a man's throne so the pronouns get a little wacky] overthrowing Nubian nomads, their chiefs being brought to him as prisoners. I saw him destroying the land of Nubia..."

Another account from Djehuty, a witness to the southern fighting, claims that he saw Hatshepsut on the battle field collecting the spoils of war. (Unfortunately, I don't have a copy of that text, but I'm relying on Joyce Tyldesley's fabulous non-fiction book, Hatchepsut for confirmation. It's a great book if you're interested in learning more about the real Hatshepsut!)

The fact that Djehuty wrote that little historical footnote makes me want to kiss him. (Even though I'd probably be kissing a rather smelly mummy.) That piece of trivia, whether true or not, makes Hatshepsut the most kick-butt woman I've ever heard of. And it was something I knew had to be incorporated into my book.

Yep. I love Hatshepsut.

18 comments:

Summer Ross said...

How very interesting. Thanks for posting, before you I didn't know any of this amazing woman existed. :)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I believe your novel may well make Ancient Egypt hot as a subject in novels. Maybe Angelina Jolie will play Hatshepsut in the movie?

Have a great new week, Roland

Stephanie Thornton said...

Summer- I'm glad you know about her now! Not a lot of people do, but I'm hoping my book might change that!

Roland- I would love it if my book made ancient Egypt hot. We'll see about Angelina Jolie!

Jemi Fraser said...

So interesting! Your novel is oging to rock :)

Amalia T. said...

So in this case is "spoils" synonymous with hands?

aspiring_x said...

oohh! PROOF!! (they made excellent theives- LOL) i'm so STOKED to read your book!

Cort Ellyn said...

Ewww! Wow. How I admire any writer willing to go to the lengths in research it must take to capture the many facets of a historical character. All power to you!

Which is a good excuse to mention that I passed an award along to you, Stephanie.

Cheers!

Mark Noce said...

Neat history! Depending upon the way/perspective your book is written you can definitely play with the idea of her conquering other lands, but still leave room for speculation...one of the great things about historical fiction:)

Vicki Rocho said...

Imagine the uproar now if one side of any war were to cut off the hands of the other side? Brutal, but oh-so-effective!

VR Barkowski said...

Love the history. I think ancient Egypt has always been hot (excuse the pun), at least since Carter unearthed the Tut Man. Can't wait to learn more secrets about Hat.

Meghan said...

Hi Stephanie! Thanks for commenting on my blog. It's great to find another historical fiction writer out there on the web. Do you mind if I link you to my page?

Slushpile Slut said...

So great to meet another historical fiction writer!

Margo Berendsen said...

Fascinating to read this, then read your excerpt. While I'm waiting for your book to come out... what are your recommendations for other good fiction regarding ancient Egypt?

Lydia Kang said...

Ooh, off with their hands...wow, that's a memorable feat.
I think it's amazing how well you've immersed yourself in the history. It's wonderful!

Aubrie said...

Wow, so gruesome! Although it would be fascinating to read about, I'm glad I live in this century.

Medeia Sharif said...

This sounds awesome. In every history class I can recall, professors and books were brief about Hatshepsut. What I like about historical fiction is the added dimension given to historical figures.

WritingNut said...

Very interesting! Thanks for posting :)

Dawn Simon said...

I don't know if I've told you this before, but I truly envy your knowledge of history. My daughter is sooo into it--always has been. When she was in eighth grade, I wished I could sit in the back of her history class. She's had some incredible teachers--same with my son! I've learned from both kids. I imagine your students (and their parents) treasure you since you're so passionate about history, and you bring it to life. I bet your book rocks.