Thursday, September 23, 2021


 From Historical Eve:

Hatshepsut is often remembered as one of the few women who achieved the rank of pharaoh. She did so against all the laws and customs of the Egyptian State, taking advantage of a series of dynastic circumstances that allowed her to channel her ambition for power. Daughter of Thutmose I and his main wife, Queen Ahmose, her marriage to her stepbrother Thutmose II made her queen consort and, after being soon a widow, assumed the regency until her stepson Thutmose III–Son of Thutmose II and one of his secondary wives– reached the necessary age to rule.

After seven years she changed her name to Maatkare Hatshepsut and began to show herself as the sole sovereign of Egypt, adopting the attributes of a pharaoh – the false beard and the nemes headdress – and the royal male epithets of King of Upper and Lower Egypt and Lord of the Two Lands. Not even when Thutmose III came of age did Hatshepsut renounce power. Thus, for almost two decades Egypt had two pharaohs, the mother and the stepson, who reigned jointly without apparent conflict, although it was Hatshepsut who held the reins of the country. As pharaoh, Hatshsepsut occupied the center of a brilliant court based in the country’s capital, Thebes. In it, in addition to the members of the royal family and their servants, there were a large number of courtiers and officers who performed civil, religious and military functions. We know the names of some, such as Maya, responsible for the prophets (priests); Mentekhenu, in charge of the security of the palace, or Satepihu, in charge of the priests of Tanis.

The three most powerful characters in the Theban court, however, were Hapuseneb, Senenmut, and Djehuty. The most important position in the Egyptian administration was that of vizier. Equivalent to a current head of government, the vizier served directly with the king and all other positions were under his responsibility. We know that Hatshepsut had several viziers throughout her reign. She inherited the one that Thutmose II already had, Ineni, also a royal architect, whom he soon relegated. Useramum, for his part, was apparently closer to Thutmose III. The one who played the most prominent role during Hatshepsut’s reign was undoubtedly Hapuseneb. As high priest of Amun, administrator of the temples and head of the prophets of Upper and Lower Egypt, he assured her of the support of the powerful clergy of Amun. He was also responsible for the construction of the tomb of the sovereign in the Valley of the Kings. Hapuseneb concentrated in his person the highest judicial power. (Read more.)


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