Hatshepsut and Tuthmosis: a Royal Feud?

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Hatshepsut and Tuthmosis: a royal feud?



Hatshepsut and Tuthmosis: a royal feud?
By Dr Joyce Tyldesley

After her death, Pharoah Hatshepsut vanished from Egyptian history. Was her stepson, Tuthmosis III, to blame? Colossal red granite sphinx of Hatshepsut from Deir el-Bahari Endless death Pharaoh Hatshepsut enjoyed a peaceful and prosperous reign. She built magnificent temples, protected Egypt's borders and masterminded a highly profitable trading mission to the mysterious land of Punt. She should have been feted as one of the most successful of the 18th Dynasty kings. Not everyone, however, was impressed by her achievements. 'The female king vanished from Egyptian history.' Soon after her death in 1457 BC, Hatshepsut's monuments were attacked, her statues dragged down and smashed and her image and titles defaced. The female king vanished from Egyptian history. She would remain lost until, almost three thousand years later, modern Egyptologists reconstructed her damaged inscriptions and restored her to her rightful dynastic place. The Egyptians believed that the spirit could live beyond the grave, but only if some remembrance - a body, a statue, or even a name - of the deceased remained in the land of the living. Hatshepsut had effectively been cursed with endless death. Who could have done such a terrible thing, and why? Tuthmosis III, stepson and successor to Hatshepsut, seems the obvious culprit, but we should not condemn him unheard. There are two major crimes to be considered before we draw any conclusion. A powerful stepmother

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Hatshepsut and Tuthmosis: a royal feud?


Deir el-Bahari Hatshepsut was a royal princess, the eldest daughter of the great general Tuthmosis I and his consort Queen Ahmose. Ahmose had failed to provide her husband with a male heir, but that did not matter overmuch; the royal harem could furnish an acceptable substitute. Prince Tuthmosis, son of a respected secondary queen, was married to his half sister Hatshepsut, and eventually succeeded to the throne unchallenged as Tuthmosis II. '...with no explanation, she was crowned king...' Hatshepsut, now queen of Egypt, bore her husband/brother a daughter, Princess Neferure, but no son. When Tuthmosis II died suddenly, after a mere three years on the throne, a dynastic crisis threatened. Again there was a prince in the royal harem, but this time the prince was a baby. Under normal circumstances the royal mother would act as regent for her son; unfortunately the mother in this case was a lady of unacceptably low status. A compromise was reached. The infant Tuthmosis III would become king under the temporary guidance of his stepmother, the dowager Queen Hatshepsut. For a couple of years Hatshepsut behaved as a totally conventional regent, acknowledging the young Tuthmosis III as the one and only pharaoh. Then, with no explanation, she was crowned king. Hatshepsut now took precedence over her stepson, and Tuthmosis was relegated to the background. He would languish in obscurity for some 20 years. From this point onwards, Hatshepsut enjoyed a conventional reign. Military campaigns were scarce; it seems that few enemies were prepared to challenge pharaoh's might. Instead Egypt's vast resources were directed towards a nationwide improvement programme which was to see an extension of the Karnak Temple complex, and the building of the Deir el-Bahari mortuary temple, one of the most beautiful monuments of the Dynastic age. When she died, after 22 years on the throne, Hatshepsut was buried with all due honour alongside her father in the Valley of the Kings. Co-regency

Statue of Tuthmosis III in green greywacke stone, discovered in Karnak temple's hidden statue cache. Just one obvious aberration mars an otherwise perfect reign. Hatshepsut had...
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