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Definition: Hatshepsut from Philip's Encyclopedia

(d.1482 BC) Queen of Egypt (c.1494-1482 BC). Daughter of Thutmose I, she married Thutmose II and, after his death (c.1504 BC), ruled first as regent for her nephew, then in her own right - the only woman to rule as pharaoh.

Summary Article: Hatshepsut
From The Encyclopedia of Ancient History

Hatshepsut was a queen who became a regent, later taking on the titles of a king. She and Neferu-bity were the daughters of Thutmose I and Ahmose B (both commoners). Hatshepsut had three half-brothers whose mother was Mutnofret: Wadjmose and Amunmose, who both died young, and Thutmose (II).

Hatshepsut married her half-brother, Thutmose II – probably a very young king at the time (Gabolde 1987: 61, 74). By the end of his short reign (Gabolde 1987: 66–74), their daughter, Neferure, was about two or three years old. As King's Wife, Hatshepsut also held the title God's wife of Amun for Karnak temple, the richest and most influential priestly office for a woman. With another wife or wives, Thutmose II had a daughter, Meryt-nebu, and a son, Thutmose III, who succeeded his father. Due to his youth, his stepmother/aunt Hatshepsut became his regent (Year 1).

As co-regent, Hatshepsut broke with convention. Two events were illustrated in her mortuary temple (Djeser-Djeseru) at Deir el-Bahari to justify this unorthodoxy: she was shown as the divine child of Amun (Naville 1986: pls. 46–55), but also claimed she was chosen byThutmose I to be his successor (Naville 1908: pls. 166–7). This may have been the case after the death of her brothers and before the birth of Thutmose II, or it may have been simply propaganda (Callender 1988). In the Red Chapel at Karnak, a damaged inscription mentions a temple procession in which the god Amun-Re (see Amun-Re) came to her palace and asked her to take up the reins of office (Lacau and Chevrier 1977: Block 297). Murnane (1980: 95) claimed that although the Birth Cycle reports that she has been given the right to rule, Hatshepsut only took up that right when the oracle told her to take the crown. If Murnane is right, perhaps Hatshepsut was not a queen greedy for power, but one rather reluctant to take on the duties of kingship. Mathieu (2000: 6) suggests that the co-regency could have been intended to protect Egypt.

Hatshepsut and Thutmose III shared the reign and are frequently shown together (Dorman 2005). Thutmose III led the army, chose officials, and carried out his own building projects during the years of Hatshepsut's domination. Nonetheless, Hatshepsut still took the leading role politically as well as on the monuments featuring both rulers. After her reign (Year 42), her images as pharaoh started to be destroyed, and her name as ruler eradicated or replaced by that of Thutmose I, II, or III.

Although she is said to have celebrated a heb-sed in Year 16, the evidence is ambiguous (Schnittger 2008: 106–16).

Hatshepsut surrounded herself with loyal officials (Aksamit 1997: 85–93). Her chief vizier, Hapuseneb, combined high government offices with the position of Chief Priest of Amun at Karnak. Puyemre (the second priest) was Hapuseneb's son-in-law and, like many other officials, he served Thutmose III after Hatshepsut's death. Hapuseneb's relationship with other high officials at Karnak meant he controlled religious affairs. He was much more important than Senenmut (Dorman 1988), a trusted official of the queen, tutor of Hatshepsut's daughter, scholar, financial expert, and a man who got things done. He was also spokesperson for the co-regency. Rumors about Senenmut's liaison with Hatshepsut are extremely unlikely to be true. Other officials from Karnak temple held governmental positions. This era was marked by the rapidly increasing power of the Amun priests.

During her reign, Hatshepsut built extensively: her most famous monument is her mortuary temple, Djeser-Djeseru (Szafranski 2001: 57–79). In Years 17–20, she erected her Red Chapel at Karnak (Chevrier and Lacau 1977), reconstructed buildings, erected the eighth pylon in Year 18, and built six barque shrines. In addition, she constructed the Netjery-menu, a building shared with Thutmose II (Gabolde 2005), and four obelisks – a fifth obelisk was erected in Qasr Ibrim, and the sixth is still in situ in the Aswan quarry. The Temple of Mut-in-Isheru, north of Karnak, also dates to this period. other temples or chapels were built in Sai, Kouma, Semna, Buhen, Abishek, Aswan, Hermopolis, Armant, Medinet Habu (the small temple), as well as some rock-cut shrines like the Speos Artemidos, whose inscription (Gardiner 1946) mentions other works carried out by the queen. There were expeditions to Punt (Year 9) to bring back incense trees to plant at Karnak, and two to the Sinai turquoise mines – the first expedition in over a hundred years (Years 13 and 20).

Hatshepsut was devoted to her god Amun – probably because she had been God's Wife of Amun. As ruler, Hatshepsut made use of Amun's oracles, for the god's words placed her policies beyond criticism. She was the first ruler to record the Feast of Opet – the procession of Amun's image from Karnak to Luxor Temple – and the Beautiful Festival of the Valley, when Amun's statue visited the West Bank, and public spectacles were part of her policy (Mathieu 2000: 10).

Hatshepsut also revered solar deities, as is attested by the Sun Court and Altar, the Litany of Re, and the Chapel of the Night Sun in Djeser-Djeseru. There was an early Altar for the sun god at Karnak, and reference to the Aton (see Aten/Aton) in many of her inscriptions. Foundation texts for New Kingdom religion – The Book of the Dead, the Litany of Re, and the Journey of the Night Sun – were introduced during her time. Other cults that flourished during Hatshepsut's reign include that of Hathor, with a rock-cut chapel at Serabeit el-Khadim and a special rite at Djeser-Djeseru, involving the union of the cult statue of Amun-Re with Hathor. The lion goddess, Pakhet, was honored by Hatshepsut both at Djeser-Djeseru and in the Speos Artemidos (Gardiner 1946).

According to Manetho (see Manetho, Egyptian historian), Hatshepsut probably died in Year 22. As her birth date is unknown, her age at death is uncertain. However, it should be noted that a statuette, now in Cairo, shows Hatshepsut as an elderly lady (CG 42061; Tefnin 1979: 60f.). This would corroborate with the fifty-year-old mummy from KV 60 recently examined by an Egyptian team, and thought to be Hatshepsut.


Thutmose I–IV.

References and Suggested Readings
  • Aksamit, J. (1997) Die großen Personen des königlichen Hofes. In Lipinska, J. et al., eds., Geheimnisvolle Konigin Hatschepsut: 85-93. Warsaw.
  • Callender, V. G. (1988) "A critical examination of the reign of Hatshepsut." Ancient History Resources for Teachers 18, 2: 86-103.
  • Callender, V. G. (2002) "Innovations of Hatshepsut's reign." Bulletin of the Australian Centre for Egyptology 13: 29-46, 74.
  • Caminos, R.; James, T. G. H. (1963) Gebel es-Silsilah, vol. I. The Shrines. London.
  • Dorman, P. (1988) The Monuments of Senenmut. London.
  • Dorman, P. (2006) The early reign of Thutmose III. In E. H. Kline; D. O'Connor, eds., Thutmose III. A New Biography: 39-68. Ann Arbor.
  • Gabolde, L. (1987) "La chronologie du regne de Thoutmosis II." Studien zur altägyptischen Kultur 14: 61-81.
  • Gabolde, L. (2005) Monuments décorés en bas relief aux noms de Thoutmosis II et Hatchepsout à Karnak, 2 vols. Cairo.
  • Gardiner, A. H. (1946) "The Great Speos Artemidos inscription." Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 32: 43-56.
  • Karkowski, J. (2003) The temple of Hatshepsut: the solar complex. Deir el-Bahari, vol. 6. Warsaw.
  • Lacau, P.; Chevrier, H. (1977) Une chapelle d'Hatshepsout à Karnak. Cairo.
  • Mathieu, B., (2000) "L'Énigmatique Hatchepsout." Égypte Afrique & Orient 17: 3-12.
  • Murnane, W. (1980) "Unpublished fragments of Hatshepsut's historical inscription." Serapis 6: 91-101.
  • Naville, E. (1986) The Temple of Deir el-Bahari, Part 2, The ebony shrine, northern half of the Middle Platform. London.
  • Naville, E. (1908) The Temple of Deir el-Bahari, Part 6, The Lower Terrace, Upper Platform. London.
  • Redford, D. B. (1967) History and chronology of the Eighteenth Dynasty: seven studies. Toronto.
  • Robins, G. (1999) "The Names of Hatshepsut as King." Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 85: 103-12.
  • Roehrig, C. H., ed. (2005) Hatshepsut from queen to pharaoh. New York.
  • Schnittger, M. (2008) Hatschepsut. Eine Frau als König von Ägypten. Mainz am Rhein.
  • Szafranski, Z. E., ed. (2001) Queen Hatshepsut and her temple 3500 years later, Polish - English ed. Warsaw.
  • Tefnin, R. (1979) La statuaire d'Hatshepsout. Brussels.
  • Vivianne Callender
    Wiley ©2012

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