Eighteenth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt

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26 April 2016

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Discuss the achievements of Hatshepsut on events and issues that she is remembered for in History and assess her legacy to the world. Hatshepsut was one of the most powerful women in the ancient world. She was the fifth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt and the first female pharaoh. She ruled longer than any other woman in Egyptian history. Hatshepsut was pharaoh for approximately twenty-one years, from 1479 BC–1458 BC. Hatshepsut’s successful reign brought wealth to her country & she helped shape Egypt into a stronger nation in many ways. Hatshepsut has been widely regarded as one of the most successful pharaohs throughout time and has left behind more monuments and works of art than any Egyptian queen. Hatshepsut’s parents were both from a royal background, and her father (Thutmose I) was Pharaoh when she was born.

When Thutmose I died, Hatshepsut was about 15 years old, and Thutmose II took over as pharaoh. Thutmose II died after only three or four years of rule but historians have thought that during the reign of Thutmose II, Hatshepsut may actually have been in power. Hatshepsut had had a daughter, named Neferure, but Thutmose II also had a son, named Asset. When Thutmose II died, Thutmose III was still too young to rule, and Hatshepsut began to reign, using the title “God’s Wife”. This was an issue Hatshepsut had to face as people doubted a woman as a leader but the popularity of her father and her own charismatic presence enabled her to become a full pharaoh seven years into the reign of Thutmose III. Hatshepsut achieved a lot, including expanding territory, broadening trade, building and restoring temples, and maintaining stable order in Egypt.

Egyptologists believed that there were no wars in the time she ruled, although evidence is now growing to suggest that Hatshepsut did protect her country against others that were invading Egypt. She mostly focused her efforts on constructing buildings and making Egypt a stronger, wealthier nation through trade. Hatshepsut reestablished the trade networks after the invasion of the Hyksos (a group of mixed Semitic-Asiatics) and in the ninth year of her reign, Hatshepsut sent a number of ships on a trading expedition to the distant land of Punt, located in the South of Egypt. The Punt trade provided goods (such as frankincense, gold and myrrh) that were essential to Egypt’s economic development and Hatshepsut continued to promote these trips. Archeologists and historians have noted that these expeditions have been featured on the walls of Hatshepsut’s temples.

These expeditions brought great wealth to Egypt and enabled Hatshepsut to initiate building projects. Hatshepsut was one of the most prolific builders in ancient Egypt, commissioning several projects throughout both Upper and Lower Egypt. Hatshepsut restored and renovated several old buildings that had been damaged or destroyed by invading armies before her reign. Hatshepsut had monuments constructed at the Temple of Karnak & she also restored the original Precinct of Mut (a temple used to worship the goddess of Mut). Not only did she restore and renovate, but she also started several building programs, for example, she built the Temple of Pahket, which is an underground, cavernous shrine.

She also built her mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahri, which took 15 years to build & is the most significant monument Hatshepsut has built. Egyptologists have assumed that Hatshepsut ruled a long, peaceful era but evidence is now growing to suggest that Hatshepsut was involved in warfare. The Deir el-Bahri mortuary temple provides us with fragments and inscriptions showing defensive military activity against the Ethiopians during Hatshepsut’s reign. Hatshepsut was certainly prepared to fight to maintain the borders of her country and keep her country strong. In 1458 BC, when Thutmose III was due to rule, Hatshepsut disappeared with no evidence of how she died.

Whether Thutmose III murdered her or not is not known. Hatshepsut’s tomb was destroyed and only her liver was found, preserved in a jar. It is likely that Thutmose III arranged for the removal of Hatshepsut’s name from all her constructions, but historians have found no accurate reasons of why Thutmose III did this. Hatshepsut showed to the world and her country that a woman was able to rule with great self-confidence and help bring wealth to their nation, her rise to the throne might have inspired others, such as Cleopatra.

She would do anything for her country and was brave and charismatic. Hatshepsut left behind beautiful, sacred monuments promoting Egypt’s tourist industry and further more, bringing wonder to her country in the 21st century. Hatshepsut showed legacy to the world by taking charge and getting things done for the benefit of her country.

She wasn’t one to stand around and rose to the throne with great confidence, showing her country that she was worthy to be a ruler. Hatshepsut left many monuments as her legacy, however, no construction work ordered by Hatshepsut is more remarkable or impressive than her mortuary temple complex at Deir el-Bahri, which took 15 years to build & was found several centuries after its completion, buried beneath hundreds of tons of sand. Although some monuments have been destroyed, she showed to the world that she was a great leader and was appreciated by the people of her country.

She has been remembered long after her death not only because of her physical legacy (through her monuments and projects), but also her legacy of success, peace and strategic ideas. This has been led to several makings of documentaries about her, including “The Secrets of Egypt’s Lost Queen”, which was aired on the discovery channel & a few books have been written about her, such as “Her Majesty the King” by Patricia L O’Neill. Hatshepsut was a great leader in Ancient Egypt and she showed confidence & bravery to her country, as well as showing to the world that a woman was able to rule with charisma and courage.

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