Assess the importance of the Punt expedition to the reign to Hatshepsut.

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Along with her development of Egypt, Hatshepsut's expedition to Punt was one that she took great pride in, enough for it to be recorded in her mortuary temple. Along with the expedition came many positive outcomes, which included religious, economic and political benefits. Bentley believes that it was one of the most 'important events of her reign'.

One main feature of importance of the expedition was the economic impact that it had. Hatshepsut benefited greatly from the expedition, with many resources obtained. Redford states 'Hatshepsut was not blind to the need of bolstering Egypt's economy', emphasising that she was active in her trade missions. Bradley states 'the Egyptians needed a continuing supply of exotic products...' this illustrates the need for strong trade in order to maintain stability. The exotic products that they received included myrrh, incense, ebony, ivory, gold and even dancing pygmies, according to Tyldesley. These products were rare and objects such as these heightened the level of success of the Egyptians. Tyldesley states that 'trade flourished' during her reign in contrast to the reigns of her predecessors.

The Speos Artemidos temple, middle Egypt quotes 'and Punt overflows me on the fields'. This temple shows the view of Hatshepsut in promotion of her expedition, thus it may have bias from her view. Hatshepsut used the expedition as propaganda and the temple may be to an extent biased. Tyldesley states 'presented the King with a marvellous propaganda coup...' illustrating her use of propaganda. This source ensures that there was economic growth and that the expedition did benefit her reign. With the economic benefits came support and it further justified her reign. The expedition also gave an opportunity for extended trade with other parts of the continent. The expedition opened up trade between Egypt and inner Africa, according to Bentley. Egypt prospered from this trade and provided continuity during the period.

Another important point was that this expedition was a revival of New Kingdom tradition, according to Grimal. Grimal also states that it was a high point in her foreign policy. Along with this Grimal believes that it was rare, that she was not as adventurous as Tyldesley believes ('Hatshepsut's wider foreign policy should be classed as one of adventurous and exploration') Nevertheless this would further reinforce her reign, as she was emulating the old Pharaohs. This trade is comparable with great Pharaohs of the past; therefore it would please the public and officials.

The economic factor was as important as any for Hatshepsut. Without the expedition the great products that they received would never have been had, thus there would have been less prosperity. The expedition came at a very good time, when Hatshepsut needed to justify her reign and keep her people happy. In this aspect the expedition was very important to her reign.

The expedition to Punt also gave religious benefits. Some historians believe that it was Amun who ordered her to go on the expedition (Tyldesley). One of the main reasons Hatshepsut went on the expedition was to receive religious benefits by appeasing Amun and to also maintain the support of the Amun priesthood. Another view comes from O'Connor, who believes that Hatshepsut did not need support from the Amun priesthood because she was the head of religion.

By showing devotion to Amun it would also appease the officials and further justify her reign. In the scenes at Deir el-Bahri, an inscription is made which is devoted to her dedication to Amun, which is further proof of her dedication. Through this Hatshepsut justified her reign and now had approval from the officials and the Amun priesthood. According to Lawless, Hatshepsut did more than any other Pharaoh to raise the status of Amun beyond all other Gods. The success of the expedition increased Hatshepsut's intimacy with Amen as Amen commanded the expedition to her, 'The ways to Punt should...
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