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.