Temple of Queen Hatshepsut in Luxor and her tale as the longest reigning female pharaoh in Egypt.
“Welcome my sweet daughter, my favorite, the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Hatshepsut. Thou art the king, taking possession of the Two Lands.”
The status of women in ancient Egypt was higher than any other ancient civilization. Women could own land, inherit from family members, and even go to court to defend their rights.
But the notion that a woman could be a king was abhorrent to the Egyptians. Yet, Hatshepsut did not just become any ordinary king, she became the first great woman in recorded Egyptian history.
Hatshepsut was the only child born to the Egyptian king Thutmose I by his principal wife and queen, Ahmose. After the death of her father at age 12, Hatsheput married her half-brother Thutmose II. Women in Egypt carried the royal blood and not the males. To become Pharaoh, the man had to marry a female of royal blood, often a sister, half sister or other near relative.
Thuthmose II died soon after becoming Pharaoh, leaving Hatshepsut, a daughter Neferura and a son by another wife – Thuthmose III. Since Thutmose III was too young to assume the throne unaided, Hatshepsut served as his regent.
Hatshepsut proclaimed herself pharaoh and began having herself depicted in the traditional king’s kilt and crown, along with a fake beard, male body and she referred to herself as the “female falcon”. During her reign, the Egyptian economy flourished, her subjects were happy, monumental temples were constructed and beneficial conquests were made.
After a glorious reign of 15 years, Thutmose III took his rightful place as pharaoh but under mysterious circumstances. Thutmose III had Hatshepsut’s name removed from nearly all the monuments and replaced it with either the name of her father, her husband, or Thutmose III himself.
Ironically, some of the best-preserved obelisks in Egypt are those of Hatshepsut. Thutmose III had stone walls built around them to hide them from public view, but these walls also served the purpose of protecting them from the elements and as a result still retain its old glory.
This ended our journey in Upper Ancient Egypt, we bid fond farewell to our guide Michael and hopped on a flight back to Cairo. Our journey ahead promised us the modern avatar of Egypt, with the trip to the sea-side city of Alexandria and the buzzing downtown markets of Cairo.
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