Hatepshut

Hatepshut was so wild over monuments that she put her name on all of them. She was the fifth pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Ancient Egypt, and liked to be called king just so no one thought she was joking around.  Born 1508 BC, she was married to her half-brother Thutmose II to strengthen his legitimacy, being twice as royal as him.  As is so often the case, this arrangement ended in a mysterious death, and Hatepshut became pharaoh.

Egypt was still struggling out a the mess left by the Hyksos, a group of foreign rulers, and pharaohs like the Thutmoses hadn’t helped much.  Hatepshut sent an expedition to the land of Punt, bringing back important trade goods such as myrrh trees and Puntites.  More importantly, Egypt was still looking pretty shabby, and Hatepshut set out on a beautification project.

Hatepshut produced so many statues that most Western museums have managed to steal something of hers.  Don’t let the beards fool you; they were probably just for show.  Kings had beards and Hatepshut was king so Hatepshut had to have a beard.  We still get to see her feminine side in some candid statuary.

Hatepshut spent about twenty years having temples and obelisks and sundries built with inscriptions describing how super she was.  It wasn’t abnormal for pharaohs to applaud themselves on their monuments; she just had more writing material.  By the time she died, she’d linked herself to most major gods and goddesses and left little space for anyone else to inscribe anything.

Thutmose II’s son Thutmose III tried his best to chisel Hatepshut off of her monuments after he ascended to the throne, but he didn’t do a very good job, leaving obvious Hatepshut-shaped holes in their place.  If you see one of these holes, you’ll know at least two people who’ll have been there.

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