Queen Hatshepsut (the Foremost of Women) was the first great woman in recorded history: the forerunner of such figures as Cleopatra, Elisabeth I Tudor and Catherine the Great. The eldest daughter of King Tuthmosis and Queen Ahmose, she learned much of the art of ruling the country from her father with whom she had a special bond. She outlived her siblings and, after the death of her father, she became a queen of Egypt and ruled together with her half-brother-husband, Tuthmosis II. Together they ruled Egypt for fourteen years.When Tuthmosis died Hatshepsut assumed the duties of a co-regent together with her minor step-son Tuthmosis III. Within three years she crowned herself as a queen and started building a wealthy and powerful state. Hatshepsut's reign was one of a peace and prosperity for Egypt. There were few military endeavors during her reign, but most of her efforts went toward building projects. These had a two-fold purpose, the first, of course was erecting temples and chapels dedicated to various Gods, which pleased people greatly. The second purpose was a personal propaganda. Whoever had the power to erect stone buildings also had the power to beautify them with inscriptions and paintings. Words written in stone to the Egyptian masses were considered truthful and magical. Hatshepsut used this tool to legitimize her ascension to the throne by claiming her father had proclaimed her his rightful heir instead of his son before his death. She also claimed that she was of divine descent and as such her reign is unquestionable. These claims were written in stone on the front panels of her mortuary temple, Djeser-Djeseru, that was built with great effort and attention to detail by a great architect, Senemut, her chief of court, tutor of her only child, and supposedly her lover. Each day at dawn, the Sun rising over Thebes set the temple walls a glow and illuminated the hierogliphs that told of these things. Besides many architectural masterpieces left for future generations Hatshepsut is also credited with one extraordinary endeavour - the expedition to the fabled land ofPunt. She organized a land-sea expedition that sailed alongside the coastline around the Horn of Somalia to the distant (some 600 miles) capitol of Punt. After one year the expedition brought back ebony, eye cosmetics, ivory, apes, monkeys and panthers. It also brought 31 living myrrh trees complete with the roots and soil they were grown in. She ordered them to be planted in the gardens in front of her mortuary temple Djeser-Djeseru and the story of the expedition was carved on her temple to tell all of its greatness for eternity. Hatshepsut had only one child, a daughter, who married her step-son Tuthmosis III, and who died before any children were conceived. The Foremost of Women ruled Egypt for about 22 years and then, suddenly, disappeared. This was the time when her, now grown, step-son Tuthmosis III took over the throne of Egypt. He became one of the greatest warrior pharaohs in Egyptian history, "the Napoleon of ancient Egypt." He ruled for 54 years and when he died Egypt was the pre-eminent military power in the world. He had her name cut away from the temple walls which suggest he was not overly fond of his auntie-step-mother. But the fact that she was able to contain the ambitions of this charismatic and wily young man for so many years, hints at the qualities of her character.Hatshepsut's life is a story of power, wisdom, mystery, courage and love. She wielded far more power then the better known last female ruler of Egypt, Queen Cleopatra VII; she had the wisdom to use this power for the benefit of her country; and although it will probably forever remain a mystery, she had the courage against all traditions to love the commoner who captured her heart, the architect Senenmut.
Queen Hatshepsut has 2 mysteries:
Queen Hatshepsut dressed as a man and her tomb have never been conclusively found. Both Wadjmose and Amenose were...
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