Women to Watch: Hatshepsut


Living out many of our colors is not new in the history women. One ancient woman who lived out her colors is the Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut (1479 - 1457B.C), whose name means "the Foremost of Noble Women." She had married her half-brother Thutmose II, and upon his death, declared herself Pharaoh, though he had a son by a lesser wife whose legacy should have been to immediately become King, with his mother as his advisor until he was older. I. Hatshepsut the fighter:

Strategically, Hatshepsut claimed that the God Amun-Ra had spoken to her saying, "welcome my sweet daughter, my favorite...Thou are the King... ." So she dressed like a king, wearing a false beard, and remained in power for 20 years of peace, a flourishing economy and expanded trading relationships. She had magnificent temples built and many older ones restored.

2. Hatshepsut the sage:

When her late husband's son, Thutmose III, became a man, he took his rightful place as Pharaoh. Hatshepsut had sagely contained Thutmose III's ambitions until he was mature enough to handle the job of Pharaoh. For a while before that, she even formed a real partnership with him. Then when he ruled, he became the greatest of all Pharaohs and is referred to now as "the Napoleon of ancient Egypt." She had performed not so much as a king's mother but as a senior king fostering the education of her royal ward.

3. Hatshepsut the lover:

It is said that she may have had an intimate relationship with a man named Senenmut, who was her advisor. It is also said she may have consulted pharmacists for herbal mixtures to end pregnancies. Whatever may be true about her life as a lover, we know that as a young girl, she was appointed the god's wife of Amun, serving as an important priestess responsible for sexually exciting the god himself, presumably in his statue form.

"Hatshepsut was responsible for facilitating the masturbatory act of the god in his holy shrine, instigating a sacred sexual release that allowed for the re-creation of the god, and his entire store of creative potential. As god’s wife, Hatshepsut used her feminine sexuality to enable the god’s continued renewal of the universe itself—it didn’t hurt that the position of god’s wife of Amun came with lands, servants, and palaces. It was a lot of power for a ten-year-old girl to take in." --  Lapham's Quarterly

But take it in she must have to make the very gutsy proclamation that she was Pharaoh.

If you'd like to read more about her, check out a recent book out about her life, The Woman Who Would be King: Hatshepsut's Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt by Egyptologist Kara Cooney.