Ancient History - Hatshepsut - Essay Example

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Ancient History: Hatshepsut “Divine of Diadems; splendid part of her father, Amon-Re, lord of heaven, who has not been far removed from the father of all gods, shining in brightness like the Horizon-God she illuminates like the sun, vivifying the hearts of the people, who is exalted in name so that it hath reached heaven." Breasted, 1962: 137 Introduction: Images of Hatshepsut from female to male Hatshepsut is known as one of the most significant figures in ancient Egyptian history for her role as a pharaoh and the first co-regent as well as for her remarkable yet controversial rise to power as the ‘King’ of Egypt…
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Hatshepsut’s ascendancy to the throne: Traditional Egyptians followed a custom of marrying within the family as a move to preserve their 'pure bloodlines'. Hatshepsut's father Thutmose I had a son - Thutmose II, by a concubine who had greater right over ascendancy to the throne as compared to Hatshepsut despite her true royal bloodline. Hence after the demise of her father, she was married to her half-brother Thutmose II and was conferred the title of the Great Royal Wife. Hatshepsut's husband Thutmose II who died eventually had a son, Thutmose III born to a lesser wife who was to succeed the throne after his death, since Hatshepsut had no male heirs with her husband. However when her husband died, Thutmose III was too young to assume the responsibilities of a pharaoh which ultimately led Hatshepsut to become his regent. This event eventually changed the course of history. Hatshepsut deliberately circulated a story of her mother being visited by the state-god Amun-Ra who seduced her mother in the guise of her father Thutmose, with his divine fragrance, thus entailing that she was born of a divine union and presented herself to the people of Egypt as the daughter of the God Amun-Ra. This practically sealed her status as a demi-god and enhanced her public image to instant fame enabling her to gather public support and acceptance (Coulter-Harris, 2012; History, n.d.). Transformation in image over time: Most of the representations of Hatshepsut discovered so far, depict her in the guise of a male. This is attributed to the fact that she consciously chose to be perceived as a male during her reign as a monarch (Capel & Markoe, 1996). According to some scholars, she insisted on being portrayed as a male complete with "bulging muscles and the traditional pharaonic false beard". This act on her part was viewed by some scholars as an act of defiance implying that she was outrageous, insolent, as well as deviant (Wilson, 2006). Early monuments of that time describe her as dressed as a Queen standing demurely to one side. However with passage of time there was dramatic change in the manner in which she was portrayed. By the time she was in her seventh year of her regency, she shed her modest feminine and graceful image as a queen to be replaced by that of a "full-blown, flail-and-crook-wielding king" highlighting typical male features of broad bare chest and a false beard (Wilson, 2006). Modern vs. Traditional Historians: The interpretations and images of Hatshepsut are varied and scholars are divided in their opinion regarding her personality and rulership during her reign. According to Egyptologists from nineteenth and early twentieth century, she is often described as highly demonic and as an usurper who deliberately transgressed conventional Egyptian cultural and religious boundaries and manipulated those around her in her lust for power. Others however described and perceived her as a submissive woman who was manipulated by her male subjects and advisors (Roehrig, Dreyfus, and Keller Read More
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