Hatshepsut (also known as Hatshepsowe) represented a rare breed of woman during ancient Egyptian times. Not only was she a pharaoh, but she also ruled for a long and successful time. In this article, you will learn more about the queen, including details on her family and information concerning her life.
The Reign of a Female Pharaoh
Hatshepsut was the oldest daughter of Tuthmose I and Aahmes. She took as her husband her half-brother Tuthmose II when her father died. Tuthmose II died after only ruling the throne for a few years. The next in line to take over the Egyptian throne was Hatshepsut’s nephew and stepson, Tuthmose III, but he was still quite young. This is why Hatshepsut had to take over the throne. Being a female pharaoh was not an easy task to accomplish.
Although the Egyptians had experienced a female ruler during the Middle Kingdom period in the 12th dynasty, she still did not win over all of the Egyptians. Fortunately, she would later gain the respect of the land over the course of her reign. During her reign, Hatshepsut was responsible for different construction projects and encouraged trading expeditions. Other accomplishments include campaigning in Nubia, sending a fleet of ships to the land of Punt, as well as oversaw the building of a temple in the Valley of the Kings.
Hatshepsut lived during the 15th century and ruled during the early part of the 18th Dynasty. This time period of the land was called the New Kingdom. The exact dates of her rule are unclear, but some accounts state that she reigned between 1504 and 1482. Her overall reign was around 15 to 20 years.
Depictions of the Female Pharaoh
In some artistic depictions of Hatshepsut, she is seen wearing a short kilt, crown (or head cloth), collar, and a false beard. Artists tend to show the queen in a masculine form. Researchers believe that she had the ability to appear male or female under various circumstances. As a pharaoh, Hatshepsut adopted other characteristics of a ruler of Egypt. She displayed athletic skill by participating in the Sed festival. Just like other pharaohs before her, she completed a circuit of the pyramid complex of Djoser.
Sadly, after Hatshepsut died, it is said that her name was erased from the records and her tomb destroyed. Excavations conducted in the Valley of the Kings revealed a tomb called KV60 that was first discovered in 1903. Two poorly preserved female mummies were found. One of the remains belonged to Hatshepsut’s nurse, Sitre. The other was of a middle-aged woman positioned with her left arm across the chest in what is known as a ‘royal’ position.
There is a theory that Hatshepsut died from bone cancer. By analyzing the DNA and other details of what they believe to be the queen’s remains, Hatshepsut is believed to have suffered from diabetes, bad teeth, and obesity. She was estimated to have been around 50 years of age when she died. It was a tooth that was used to identify the body of what archeologists believe was the former pharaoh.