Why Was Hatshepsut Unusual Among the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt?

Hatshepsut depicts the god Osiris. Egyptian art often shows pharoahs as divine figures.
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Hatshepsut, who lived roughly between 1508 and1458 BC, is unique among Egyptian pharaohs for her gender. She was born a princess in the 18th dynasty, became a queen and then took on the trappings and title of king. Hatshepsut's father was Tuthmesis I, a general who became pharaoh. He was succeeded by Tuthmesis II, Hatshepsut's husband and half-brother. Hatshepsut served as a traditional Egyptian queen consort until Tuthmesis II died 15 years after taking the throne and Hatshepsut's stepson Tuthmesis III assumed the throne. He was a child so Hatshepsut served as regent. By the seventh year of her regency, Hatshepsut was acknowledged as king, with her stepson as her permanent junior partner.

1 Gradual Rise in Power

Hatshepsut selected advisers who were personally loyal to her and led her nation into a time of prosperity throughout her reign, which lasted from 1479 to 1458 BC. Her rise from queen regent to pharaoh was gradual. She took on the trappings and symbols of a male ruler, such as wearing kingly attire. She also took part in military and trade expeditions. Hatshepsut restored monuments and built temples. Both of these activities were important ways for pharaohs to show their piety and ensure they would be remembered by future generations.

Elizabeth Jarnagin teaches comparative religion. She writes on a range of topics and holds degrees in journalism and religion. Jarnagin's writing has appeared in "Masterplots II: Christian Literature" and "Great Events from History: The 19th Century" as well as the magazine "Science and Spirit" and numerous Texas newspapers.