Let`s Explore Egypt
Hatshepsut was the daughter of King Tuthmose I, who was an ordinary army leader then he married Queen Ahmose, who was possibly the sister of King Amenhotep I, in order to legitimize his accession to the throne. However, King Tuthmose I had a secondary wife called Mut-Nefert who gave birth to the son King Tuthmose II. In order to keep the throne in the royal family, Tuthmose II got married to his half-sister Queen Hatshepsut.
It seems that King Tuthmose II was a weak King, thus the real authority was in the hands of Queen Hatshepsut. It is worthy here to mention that Hatshepsut gave birth to a baby girl called Neferurea.
Like-his father, King Tuthmose II married a secondary wife called Isis who gave birth to King Tuthmose III who was supposed to inherit the throne of his father Tuthmose II -after his death-according to an oracle. At this point of time, King Tuthmose III, was still young thus he was put under the formal regency of his aunt, step mother and' mother-in-law Hatshepsut, who respected this regency for a couple of years, then all of a sudden she announced herself as the King of Upper and Lower Egypt:
2. The methods she used to consolidate her position on the throne:
Queen- Hatshepsut realized that she had to convince the Egyptians to accept her as the ruler of Upper and Lower Egypt, thus she adopter the following methods:
Representing herself in a male form:
As she is shown in all her scenes and statues with all the male features, wearing the false royal beard, the royal headdress, the royal shendyt kilt. Moreover, she is shown with strong muscles.
She carried the two famous royal titles for Egyptian Kings:
nsw-bity King of Upper and Lower Egypt.
sA-Ra The son of Rea.
These titles were followed by royal cartouches containing her coronation and birth names. Moreover, she used the masculine 3rd pronoun (.f) instead of the feminine 3rd pronoun (.s).
Depending on some high officials:
Hatshepsut surrounded herself with powerful high officials to help her to manage the affairs of the country; the most prominent of them are:
1. Senenmut: who held the titles of the chief steward, the tutor of the queen's daughter Neferurea, the counselor of the queen and her lover. Moreover, he is the architect who designed her mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahari.
2. Panehsy: the leader of Punt expedition.
3. Hapuseneb: the, high priest of god Amun at the Karnak temples who helped her to promote the story of her divine birth.
The story of her divine birth:
All the previously mentioned methods were not sufficient for the queen to consolidate her position as the King of Upper and Lower Egypt. Therefore, she invented the story of her divine birth with the help of Hapuseneb. This story goes as follows:
"One night god Amun-Rea was so bored in the sky, thus he was advised by his counselor to spend the night on earth with a beautiful lady called Ahmose, the mother of Hatshepsut So he went to Ahmose in the guise of her husband Tuthmose I, and at the end of the night he uncovered himself telling the queen that she will give birth to his daughter Hatshepsut".
By this story Queen Hatshepsut succeeded to consolidate her position as the King of Upper and Lower Egypt since she became the daughter of the supreme god of the country. It is noteworthy that the scenes of that divine birth are depicted on the walls of the northern portico of the middle terrace in her mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahari.
3. The policy of Queen Hatshepsut:
I. The interior policy:
Queen Hatshepsut ruled the country for two -peaceful decades and unlike her predecessors Hatshepsut focused her attention on the internal policy of the country rattier than the exterior one, thus she focused on restoring and constructing the temples and monuments in different sites all over the country.
The building achievements of Queen Hatshepsut:
1. The mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahari:Hatshepsut temple
This temple was designed by the great architect Senenmut. In fact its design is identical to that of the mortuary' temple of King Montuhotep II Neb-hepet-Rea (11th Dynasty), as Senenmut copied its design. The temple of Montuhotep if is now in ruins.
Hatshepsut's temple is a rock-cut temple at the famous site of Deir el-Bahari on the west- bank of Thebes. It was called Dsr-Dsrw, during the reign of the queen, which means the Holy of the Holies or the most sacred of the sacred, then the name was abbreviated under the Ramessides to Dsrw, which means the sacred. As for the name Deir el-Bahari, it was given to the area after the Christians built a church on the uppermost terrace of the temple.
The temple consists of three elevated terraces and each terrace is divided into two porticos by means of an ascending ramp, in addition to that there are two shrines dedicated to goddess Hathor and god Anubis. .
The walls of the temple are depicted with important scenes for Queen Hatshepsut as follows:
a. The walls of the northern portico of the middle terrace are depicted with scenes of the divine birth story.
b. The walls of the southern portico of the middle terrace are depicted with scenes of Punt expedition
c. The walls of the southern portico of the first terrace are depicted with the scenes of the transportation of her 2 obelisks from Aswan to the Karnak temples.
2. The two obelisks of Hatshepsut at the Karnak temples:
Queen Hatshepsut built two obelisks in the great temple of god Amun-Re at the Karnak .temples, between the 4th and the 5th pylons. The northern obelisk was walled up by King Tuthmose III, while the southern one was destroyed by him and its upper part still lies on the ground beside the sacred lake.
3. The tomb of Queen Hatshepsut- hatshepsut Tomb
Once she announced herself the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, queen Hatshepsut built for herself a tomb, in the Valley of the Kings, which carries no. 20 (KV 20).
The foreign policy of Hatshepsut:
Queen Hatshepsut ruled for two peaceful decades during which she gave great attention to the foreign and economic affairs of the country, thus she sent a commercial expedition to the land of Punt.
How did hatshepsut die ?
The end of Queen Hatshepsut is still ambiguous: some scholars suggest that she was probably assassinated or poisoned; some others suggest that she had a natural death. However, her mummy has not yet been found.
Identification of mummy
Hatshepsut's remains were long considered lost, but in June 2007 a mummy from Tomb KV60, known as the "Strong One" was publicly identified as her remains by Zahi Hawass, the chief of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities. Evidence supporting this identification includes the results of a DNA comparison with the mummy of Ahmose Nefertari, Hatshepsut's grandmother. Further conclusive evidence includes the possession of a broken tooth previously found inside a small wooden box inscribed with Hatshepsut's name and cartouche:
The Valley of the Kings:
It is a dry and remote place in the desert that was chosen by the kings of the New Kingdom to be their burial place. It is located on the west bank of Thebes and it is known in the Arabic language as Biban el-Meluk. This valley includes 63 royal and non-royal tombs.
It is noteworthy that King Tuthmose I is considered the 1st King to be buried in this valley, while King Ramesses 11th is considered the last King to be buried there.
Head of Queen Hatshepsut
It is made of painted limestone, called in hieroglyphs inr-HD "the white stone", quarried from Tura, Masarah and Moqattam hills.
Discoverer and place of discovery:
It was discovered by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 1926-1927 inside the mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut at the site of Deir el-Bahari.
This head was part of an Osirian statue which once adorned the pillared facade of the northern portico of the uppermost terrace in the mortuary temple of the queen.
It dates to the New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, reign of Queen Hatshepsut.
The importance of this head is due to the fact that it was part of an Osirian statue of the queen.
The head measures 61 cm in height. It shows the feminine features of Queen Hatshepsut: the round full face, gently curved eyebrows, wide eyes extended with the cosmetic eye-lines, the delicate nose, the full cheeks and the gracious smiling mouth. Her ears are exposed. However, the head is painted in reddish colour, which is the traditional colour of men in ancient Egypt, whereas women had their skin painted in pale cream color. Hatshepsut intended to imitate all the features of men as she announced herself as the King of Upper and Lower Egypt.
Since the head was part of an Osirian statue, she has a turned-up beard attached to her chin by means of straps. A great part of the crown on top of her head is broken away, but the extant part of it indicates it was the Red Crown or possibly the Double Crown (), suggesting that the statue of our head once adorned a pillar on the northern portico of the uppermost terrace of the queen's mortuary temple, while the facade of the southern portico has the statues with the White Crown.
The Standing Statue of Queen Hatshepsut
It is made of red granite, called in hieroglyphs mAT quarried from Aswan.
Place of discovery:
It was discovered in the upper gateway of the vestibule in the mortuary temple of the queen at Deir el-Bahari.
It dates to the New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, reign of Queen Hatshepsut.
The importance of this statue is due to the fact that it represents the queen with all distinctive male features as a king, but with feminine facial features.
Queen Hatshepsut is shown in a standing position with a step left-leg forward. She is wearing a pleated royal headdress, 'nemes', and with the royal cobra (uraeus) over her forehead as a sign of protection.
In spite of the fact that she is represented here as a king with all the masculine features, the artist could not ignore her distinctive facial features:
the round full face, gently curved eyebrows, the wide eyes extended with cosmetic eye-lines, the delicate nose, the full cheeks and the gracious smiling mouth.
Although red granite is a hard stone to be shaped, the artist was skilful enough in carving the strong muscles of the body especially on the chest, arms and legs. There is no space left between the arms and the upper torso and also between the two legs in order to avoid the damage to any of these parts and to consolidate the whole statue.
Her hands are shown with two open palms resting flatly on the starched kilt which she wears. The kilt is decorated with sun-rays coming from the comers to enlighten the cartouche on the belt. The inscriptions read:
nTr nfr nb tAwy MAat-kA-Ra di anx Dt
The Good God, the Lord of the Two Lands, Maat-ka-Rea, given life forever.
The statue is standing on a base of the same material, which was inscribed with vertical columns of a text giving the name and titles of the queen, unfortunately the inscriptions are damaged now.
A back pillar exists to consolidate the statue and to avoid any damage to it.
Aswan is called Swn in hieroglyphs, which means the market or the trade centre.
The Limestone Sphinx of Queen Hatshepsut
It is made of painted limestone, called in hieroglyphs inr-HD, quarried From Tura, Masarah and Moqattam hills.
It was discovered nearby the causeway of the funerary temple of Queen Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahari. This causeway was connecting between the valley temple at the edge of the desert and the funerary temple. The causeway was flanked from both sides with some other sphinxes, now distributed among other archaeological museums all over the world.
It dates to the 18th Dynasty, reign of Queen Hatshepsut.
The Sphinx statues in ancient Egypt:
This type of statues was known in ancient Egypt as Ssp-anx which means the living image, a designation that either refers mainly to the king in his living image which is the combination between the human intelligence, represented in the royal head, and the physical power, represented in the lion's body (royal Sphinx). Or refers to the living image of the god in which the head of certain animal -that symbolizes a certain god- combined with the lion's body (divine Sphinx).
From the Egyptian word Ssp-anx the Greek word sphinx was derived; sphinx means the strangler. According to the legend of Odibes, it is an appellation that was given by the Greeks to a female sphinx - the sphinx of Odibes- with an evil power.
While the Arabs called it Abu el-Houl which was interpreted by the terrifying, as the word Abu el-Houl is the distortion of the word pr-Hwl or bw-Hwl which means the place of god Houl.
The Great Sphinx at Giza was identified during the New Kingdom with the Syrian deity Hauron (Houl). An identification regarded by some to contribute the choice of the Arabic name Abu el-Houl.
From the 4th Dynasty, the sphinx-statues served as guardians for the cemeteries (e.g. the Great Sphinx at the royal cemetery at the Giza plateau).
From the second half of the 4th Dynasty, they served as guardians for the entrance of the royal temple (e.g. two sphinxes for King xa .f-Ra, flanking the entrance of his valley temple).
Also they were considered as guardians or protectors of the processional routes connecting between two temples (e.g. the sphinx avenue connecting between Karnak temples and Luxor temple and also between the temple of god Ptah and the Serapeum at Memphis).
According to one of the chapters of the Book of the Dead which refers to the journey of the sun, in which it passes through two gates one during its rise while the other during its set, each gate is guarded by a lion -usually, both are depicted back to back and known by akrw – they acted as guardians for the gate of rise and set. One of these lions was called sp (yesterday) while the other was called dAw (tomorrow) and between them the processional route hrw (today).
The sphinx-statues have various types among which are:
A- Royal Sphinxes (for kings):
In which the royal head is combined with the lion's body.
1- During the Old Kingdom, sphinxes were represented with the lion's body and the royal head while wearing the royal headdress (nms) or a crown and the royal false beard.
2- During the Middle Kingdom, sphinxes were represented with the lion's body and the royal head, surrounded with the lion's mane. This type continued till the New Kingdom.
(Amenemhat III is the first king to be represented in this form half of the 12th Dynasty, Middle Kingdom).
3- During the New Kingdom, sphinxes were represented with the lion's body and the royal head, surrounded with the lion's mane, and the frontal paws were sometimes replaced by human hands holding cult objects, such as the Nu-jars or other religious symbols.
(Amenhotep III is the first king to be represented in such form; his statue was discovered in the temple of god Montu in the Karnak complex).
Some examples showing the lion's body and the royal head wearing the nms headdress also existed in the New Kingdom.
A new innovation also dating to this period of time represented in the decoration of the lion's body with wings.
(Appeared for the first time during the reign of Amenhotep III).
B- Divine Sphinxes (for gods):
In which the head of a certain animal symbolizing a certain god is combined with the lion's body.
1- Sphinxes were represented with the ram head -symbolizing god Amun-Rea- combined with the lion's body. This type is known as the criosphinx (e.g. the ram-headed sphinx avenue proceeding the Karnak Temples).
2- Sphinxes were represented with the falcon head -symbolizing god Ra-Hr-Axty- and the lion's body, discovered at Nubia forming an avenue. However from the beginning of the New Kingdom, god Ra-Hr-Axty was worshipped in the traditional form of sphinx: human head and lion's body (e.g. the first representation for the falcon-headed sphinx dating to the 12th Dynasty in one of the necklaces for the king smiting his enemies).
3- Sphinxes were represented with the crocodile head -symbolizing god Sobek-Rea (e.g. the crocodile-headed sphinx discovered nearby the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III on the west bank of Thebes).
Notice that the name of god Rea is the link between the above mentioned deities, this might suggest that the sphinx representation mainly refers to god Rea and it had a solar concept: according to the place inside which the sphinx statue appeared in Heliopolis inside the temple of god Rea there.
C- Female Sphinxes:
From the second half of the 12th Dynasty, most of the powerful queens and princesses started to have their own sphinxes. The most famous sphinx of a lady is the sphinx of Queen Nefertiti wearing a hair wig instead of the nms. This statue was discovered to the eastern part of the Karnak complex near the ruins of the remaining parts of the temple of Aten.
Location of the sphinx statues
The sphinx-statues were placed in various locations as follows:
1- In the front of the valley temple acting as guardians.
(e.g. two sphinx-statues flanking the entrance of the valley temple of King xa .f Ra at the Giza plateau).
2- Connecting between two temples.
(e.g. the sphinx avenue connecting between the Karnak temples and Luxor temple)
3- Connecting between a temple and a tomb. (e.g. the sphinx avenue between the temple of god Ptah at Memphis and the Serapeum tombs at Saqqara).
Queen Hatshepsut is represented in the form of a sphinx in which the face, surrounded with the lion's mane, is fixed on the lion's body.
Her face reflects very delicate features showing the long curved eye brows, the wide eyes extended with cosmetic lines in' high relief, delicate slim nose-- partly destroyed - and the gracious smiling mouth.
She is represented with a large square false beard attached to her chin.
The forehead was once decorated with the cobra, now partly destroyed and only the remains of its tail can still be seen.
The mane of the lion was colored in dark blue. Traces of the colour are also present on the inscriptions.
Most of the kings in ancient Egypt used to decorate the rear part of the nemes with the dark blue imitating the Lapis-Lazuli of god Rea, seeking for the identification with god Rea, and for the divine protection.
The Hieroglyphic Inscription:
On the chest there is a vertical line of hieroglyphic inscription continued on the surface of the base and surmounted with the pt sign ()- sign of the sky referring to goddess Nut (possibly to provide the whole inscription with divine protection). The text reads:
MAat-kA-Ra mry Imn di anx Dt.
Maaet-ka-rea (Justice is the Ka of Rea), the beloved of Amun, given life forever.
The five fragments of Punt expedition
They are made of painted limestone, called in hieroglyphs inr-HD 'the white stone', quarried from Tura, Masarah and Moqattam hills.
Place of discovery:
These five fragments were originally a part of an extraordinary series of scenes, which were used to decorate the walls of the southern portico of the middle terrace in the mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut.
The walls of the middle terrace of the mortuary temple are depicted with two important series of scenes: the 1st series is depicted on the walls of the southern portico (left) showing the expedition to the land of Punt, while the 2nd one is depicted on the walls of the northern portico (right) showing the story of the divine birth of Hatshepsut.
It dates to the New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty reign of Queen Hatshepsut.
The importance of these five fragments is due to the fact that they are the first pictorial detailed documentation of an expedition to the land o Punt throughout the ancient Egyptian history, in spite of the fact that the first expedition to the land of Punt was sent during the reign of King Sahurea, 5th Dynasty, Old Kingdom. However the sources of this expedition were written source and not pictorial ones such as the papyri rolls o the inscriptions on the walls of temples and tombs.
1. The land of Punt:
As we mentioned before the land of Punt was known to the Egyptians since the 5th Dynasty, it was called the land of gods, which indicates that it was a sacred land. Its exact location is unknown. However, it is believed to be a African country situated somewhere on the Somalian coast according to the flora and fauna which are depicted in the scenes. It could be reached by ships via the Red Sea.
2. The period of the expedition:
The Punt expedition was a commercial mission with the aim of trade. It was sent by Queen Hatshepsut under the leadership of Panehsy in the 9th year of her reign. It lasted for 3 years and returned to Egypt in the 12th year other reign.
3. The purpose of the expedition:
These five fragments show the Egyptian expedition under the command of Panehsy, while being welcomed by the chief of Punt, who is called Parehu (PA-Rhw). He is accompanied by his wife whose name is Ati (aA .ti). Moreover, they show the exchanging of goods between the Egyptians and the people of Punt.
The chief of the land of Punt, Parehu, is depicted in the typical Egyptian style in a standing position with a step left-leg forward. He is shown wearing a short hair wig, a long thin pointed beard - slightly turned up -, a collar around his neck, a short kilt with two frontal tassels, held in place by a belt. He is shown holding a staff in his left hand.
Parehu is followed by his rather deformed wife Ati who is depicted with realism and humor in a caricature form. She is shown in a standing position. She looks extremely fat as it seems that she clearly suffers from obesity and one can easily recognize the symptoms of this disease, represented in the excessive curvature of the vertebral column and the folds of fat on the arms, legs and belly.
She is shown wearing a long straight wig, with a head band around it; she also wears a collar, which adorns her neck, a sleeveless dress which exposes her shoulders and anklets.
Ati is followed by the retinue of the chief of Punt "Parehu"; they are shown standing with step left-leg forward, carrying goods, ready to place them on the Egyptian ships. They are painted in darker reddish colour than that of the Egyptians, who are painted in a lighter colour.
As for the Egyptian people they are depicted in the same attitude as the retinue of the chief of Punt, except for the lighter colour of their skin.
The hieroglyphic inscriptions:
One horizontal line of hieroglyphic signs is inscribed in the middle of the five fragments:
aA fAi.f Hmt.f
"The donkey which carries his wife" or "the donkey, which suffers from his wife".
The indication is that the artist is making humor and expressing irony, with this line, of the people of Punt, as the ancient Egyptian always looked down on other people.