Senemut, kneeling fugure

Senemut, kneeling fugure


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Senenmut: Greatest of the Great

I was the greatest of the great in the whole land. I was the guardian of the secrets of the King in all his places a privy councillor on the Sovereign's right hand, secure in favour and given audience alone&hellip I was one upon whose utterances his Lord relied, with whose advice the Mistress of the Two Lands was satisfied, and the heart of the Divine Consort was completely filled. 1

Amongst Hatchepsut's loyal supporters there is one who stands out with remarkable clarity. Senenmut, Steward of the Estates of Amen, Overseer of all Royal Works and Tutor to the Royal Heiress Neferure, played a major bureaucratic role throughout the first three-quarters of Hatchepsut's reign. As one of the most active and able figures of his time, Senenmut occupied a position of unprecedented power within the royal administration his was the organizational brain behind Hatchepsut's impressive public building programme, and to him has gone the credit of designing Djeser-Djeseru, one of the most original and enduring monuments of the ancient world. And yet, in spite of a comprehensive list of civic duties successfully accomplished, it has almost invariably been Senenmut's private life which has attracted the attention of scholars and public alike. In effect, Senenmut's considerable achievements have not merely been blurred as we might expect by the passage of time, they have been distorted and almost effaced by a host of preconceptions and speculations concerning Senenmut's character, his motivation and even his sex life. 2 The traditional tale of Senenmut, a classic rags-to-riches romance with a moral ending warning the reader against the twin follies of over-ambition and greed, is generally told as follows:

Senenmut, the highly talented and fiercely ambitious son of humble parents, started his career in the army where his natural abilities soon became apparent. Driven by a burning desire to shake off his lowly origins, he rose rapidly through the ranks before quitting the army to join the palace bureaucracy. Here, once again, his remarkable skills soon became apparent and Senenmut enjoyed accelerated promotion to become a high-grade civil servant. As it became obvious that there was no immediate heir to the throne, the royal court started to buzz with intrigues and plotting. Senenmut now took the calculated decision to link his future totally with that of Hatchepsut. He became the female king's most loyal supporter within the palace as he worked ruthlessly and efficiently to ensure that, against all the odds, her reign would succeed. When his gamble paid off, and Hatchepsut finally secured her crown, Senenmut was amply rewarded for his loyalty. He was showered with a variety of secular and religious titles including the prestigious Stewardship of the Estates of Amen, a position which allowed him free access to the vast wealth of the Karnak temple. His most publicized role was, however, that of tutor to the young princess Neferure.

Our hero's golden future seemed assured. He had amassed great personal wealth, and had started to build himself a suitably splendid tomb in the Theban necropolis. His position at court appeared unassailable. Not only did he have effective control over the state finances, he was a close personal friend of the royal family and a major influence in the life of the heiress-presumptive to the Egyptian throne. Most important of all, he was Hatchepsut's lover, dominating the passive queen to the extent that she, dazzled by his charm and ignorant of his true nature, became totally dependent upon his judgement. From his unprecedented position of power, Senenmut was able to exert great influence over the land. Effectively, Senenmut was ruler of Egypt.

Unfortunately, in best story-book tradition, Senenmut did not remain content with his lot. Caught in the grip of an uncontrollable avarice and corrupted by a false sense of his own importance, he started to take advantage of his exalted position, plundering the royal coffers for his own ends and permitting himself privileges hitherto reserved for the pharaoh. Showing great daring he abandoned his traditional T-shaped Theban tomb and, diverting the royal workmen away from their official task, started to excavate, in secret, a new tomb within the precincts of Hatchepsut's own mortuary temple. Eventually Senenmut committed his most heinous crime of all: he ordered that his own name and image be hidden behind the inner doors of Djeser-Djeseru.

Inevitably Nemesis struck and the betrayal of trust came to light. Hatchepsut's revenge was swift and furious, as befits a volatile woman deceived. Senenmut was instantly stripped of all his privileges and disappeared in mysterious circumstances. His unused tombs were desecrated, his monuments were vandalized and his reliefs and statues were defaced in a determined attempt to erase both the name and memory of Senenmut from the history of Egypt. However, in her impulsive destruction of her lover, Hatchepsut effectively destroyed herself. Bereft of Senenmut's guidance and unable to function alone, she rapidly lost her grip on the crown, and within two years of Senenmut's fall, Tuthmosis III was sole Pharaoh of Egypt.

Fig. 7.1 The damaged figure of Senenmut from Tomb 353

So much for the popularly accepted biography of Senenmut which, with innumerable variations, was for a long time accepted as a true account of the spectacular rise and sudden fall of Hatchepsut's greatest supporter. 3 Any reader could choose whether to believe in Superman-Senenmut, the dashing hero and devoted lover, or Svengali-Senenmut, the cunning manipulator and malevolent power behind the throne either way, it was always Senenmut's dominant relationship with the queen that was important his actual achievements were a relatively insignificant part of their joint story. Recently, however, there has been a growing awareness that the cloud of suppositions which has almost invariably hovered around any discussion of Hatchepsut and her court has spread to engulf Senenmut, obscuring him from the cold light of objective assessment. A review of the known facts about Senenmut, uncoloured as far as possible by prejudgements and assumptions, presents us with a less dramatic but equally fascinating portrait of an atypical 18th Dynasty man.

Archaeological evidence confirms that Senenmut hailed from Armant (ancient luny), a medium-sized town lying approximately fifteen miles to the south of Thebes. Armant had originally been the capital town of the Theban province it was later to become well known for its Ptolemaic buildings and its Bucheum, the necropolis of the sacred Buchis bulls. The discovery of the shared tomb of Ramose and Hatnofer, Senenmut's parents, confirms that Senenmut was not of particularly high birth. Within his tomb Ramose, Senenmut's father, was given the non-specific epithet &lsquoThe Worthy&rsquo, a polite but somewhat meaningless appellation invariably used for the respected dead. His mother, Hatnofer, daughter of a woman named Sitdjehuty, was simply identified as &lsquoMistress of the House&rsquo, a very general title awarded to married women. The ancient Egyptians did not suffer from any sense of false modesty. They felt that their official titles were an important part of the personality, and it was customary for all ranks and decorations, no matter how trivial, to be recorded for posterity. An Egyptian would only have considered omitting a lowly or unimportant title from his parent's tomb if it had been superseded by a more prestigious accolade. We must therefore assume that Ramose and Hatnofer, with their rather modest epithets and undistinguished tomb, did not play a prominent role in public life.

However, it would be entirely incorrect to assume that Senenmut sprang from lowly peasant stock. We know that Senenmut was an able and well-educated administrator, and from this we may deduce that his father and grandfathers before him were members of the literate upper-middle classes. Education was always the key to professional advancement in ancient Egypt, and never was it more important than during the 18th Dynasty when the expanding empire created a constant demand for bureaucrats to maintain the vast civil service. The rather vague title of &lsquoscribe&rsquo, which could be applied to any literate Egyptian regardless of occupation, was a prestigious accolade to be accepted with pride. Literacy was, however, by no means widespread, and only the more privileged of middle- and upper-class boys &ndash possibly five per cent of the total population were educated. Most people remained illiterate and unable to gain the foothold in the professions which would allow them to advance up the social pyramid. Their lack of mobility was reinforced by custom which demanded that sons should follow the trade or profession of their father, and by the tradition of marriage within the same family. To modern western eyes, accustomed to the idea of advancement through education, this acceptance of a static society may appear strange. However, in the ancient world, it was generally accepted that one had to be content with one's lot. As St Paul wrote, &lsquoLet each man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.*

Senenmut must, therefore, have belonged to the top ten per cent of the population. He was probably the scion of one of the families which formed the literate provincial classes and from which a talented son could rise to national prominence. Such meteoric rises were by no means common in Egypt, but they were certainly not unknown. The Pharaoh Ay, successor to Tutankhamen, who ruled Egypt 250 years after Hatchepsut, seems to have come from a family who first became prominent in the southern city of Akhmim, while thirty years after Ay's reign the family of the great King Ramesses II had their origins in a comparative backwater of the Eastern Nile Delta.

We know that Senenmut came from a typically large Egyptian family he had at least three brothers named Amenemhat, Minhotep and Pairy and at least two sisters, Ahhotep and Nofret-Hor. For a long time it was assumed, on the basis of a mistranslation, that Senenmut also had a fourth brother named Senimen. Senimen's existence is not open to doubt he was a contemporary court official who rose to succeed Senenmut as tutor to Princess Neferure, who was depicted in Senenmut's Tomb 71 (but not in Tomb 353 where Senenmut's true siblings were shown together with their parents), and who was buried in Theban Tomb 252 which makes no mention of any family link with Senenmut. However, we now know that Senimen was the son of a woman named Seniemyah, not Hatnofer and, while it is possible that the two were half-brothers, there is no evidence to show that this was actually the case. 4

Nor is there any evidence to suggest that Senenmut ever married there is no mention of a wife or children in either of his tombs. If he did remain single, he must have been an oddity, one of the few bachelors living unwed in a country where married life and the fathering of many children was viewed as the ideal. Given the constant emphasis placed on family life, and the particular need for a son to perform the funeral rites of his dead parents, we might expect Senenmut to have married at the start of his career, and therefore to have been either divorced or widowed before he came to national prominence as a single man. However, had Senenmut ever been widowed, we would expect to find a reference to his dead wife within his tomb. Did his later involvement with the queen prevent him from referring to the fact that he had ever been married, no matter how briefly? It certainly is tempting to draw a parallel with the court of the English Queen Elizabeth I, albeit over 3,000 years later and in a different land, where, in turn, the Earl of Leicester and his stepson the Earl of Essex, both favourites of the queen, found it prudent to keep their inconvenient wives hidden in the country, away from the queen's unforgiving gaze.

Our meagre information about Senenmut's early life comes from the joint tomb of Ramose and Hatnofer. Careful excavation has shown that Ramose, aged about sixty, predeceased his wife and was buried in a relatively humble grave. This suggests that his children did not at the time of his death have the means to give their father a more splendid interment, as tradition decreed that it was a son's duty to bury his father in the best manner possible. When Hatnofer died of old age, during Year 6 or 7 of Hatchepsut's reign, Senenmut was in a far better position to provide for his mother's funeral. He had already chosen the site for his own final resting place and he decided to bury his mother on the same hillside, just below his own tomb. Here a relatively simple chamber was cut into the rock, and the expensively mummified body of Hatnofer was interred in a wooden anthropoid coffin together with a gilded mask, canopic jars and a selection of traditional grave-goods suitable for a woman. Ramose was then resurrected from his more lowly resting place, hastily re-bandaged, placed in a painted anthropoid coffin and re-united with his wife.

Hatnofer's tomb was also home to two further coffins housing the badly mummified remains of three anonymous women and three unknown children. The discoverers of the tomb saw these six bodies as the grisly evidence that Senenmut' immediate family had been struck by sudden catastrophe:

. that eight persons of the same family or group should have died so nearly at the same time that they could be buried together on one occasion is certainly extraordinary, but seems, nevertheless, to be what actually happened. 5

It actually seems far more likely that these bodies represent members of Senenmut's immediate family who had previously been buried nearby their decayed wrappings and disarticulated skeletons encrusted with mud suggest that they too had been retrieved from less impressive cemeteries. The re-burial of private individuals, while not common, was certainly not unknown at this time, and Senenmut's filial devotion would have met with general approval. Clearly, the parents of the few upwardly mobile children were able to enjoy the posthumous benefits of their offsprings' success.

There were three major career paths open to the educated and ambitious 18th Dynasty male: the army, the priesthood and the civil service. It is always possible that Senenmut chose to join the army, and a badly damaged fragment of what appears to be autobiographical text within his tomb (Tomb 71) lends some credence to this idea. The text, which includes the words &lsquocapture&rsquo and &lsquoNubia&rsquo, is positioned next to images of running soldiers. However, the remainder of the inscription is virtually unreadable and is therefore open to a variety of interpretations. His lack of military titles in later life, and his father's lack of any military titles, perhaps indicates that Senenmut selected a vocation more obviously suited to his organizational skills. The priesthood and the bureaucracy were very closely linked at this time, and it seems sensible to deduce that Senenmut rose to prominence as a local administrator working either for the royal bureaucracy or the temple, before being seconded to state administration at Thebes. Given Senenmut's subsequent plethora of Amen-based titles (for example, Overseer of Amen's Granaries, Storehouses, Fields, Gardens, Cattle and Slaves Controller of the Hall of Amen Overseer of the Works of Amen, etc.), the suggestion that he began his career as an administrator in the temple of Amen at Karnak appears entirely reasonable.

Our first concrete sighting of Senenmut, dating to the period before Hatchepsut's accession, finds him already busy at the palace with a variety of prestigious appointments including steward of the property of Hatchepsut and Neferure and tutor to the young princess. Unfortunately, we have no means of knowing when Senenmut had started his illustrious royal career. Our only clue is provided by a shrine built at the Gebel Silsila this informs us that Senenmut was already &lsquoSteward of the God's Wife and Steward of the King's Daughter&rsquo at the time of construction. These two tantalizingly anonymous ladies have been tentatively identified as Queen Ahmose and Princess Hatchepsut, indicating that Senenmut was in royal service during the reign of Tuthmosis I, but it is perhaps more likely that the two women are Queen Hatchepsut and Princess Neferure, and therefore that Senenmut was initially appointed either by Tuthmosis II or during the early part of Hatchepsut's regency following the death of Tuthmosis II.

Gebel Silsila, forty miles to the north of Aswan, was both the location of sandstone quarries and a cult centre for the worship of the Nile in flood. Senenmut's shrine, which is of uncertain use and which has been variously described as a grotto, cenotaph, temple and tomb, is one of a number of such edifices built on the West Bank by the highest-ranking civil servants of the 18th Dynasty, including Hapuseneb, the first Prophet of Amen and architect of Hatchepsut's burial chamber, and Neshi, the leader of Hatchepsut's celebrated expedition to Punt. The monument therefore serves to emphasize Senenmut's prominent role amongst the great and the good (and the influential) of his time.

Senenmut's shrine (Shrine 16) is situated high on the cliff and faces east, towards the Nile. It was almost certainly designed to be reached from the river at the time of high water. The shrine consists of a framed doorway, cut into the sandstone cliff, leading into a square room housing a seated statue of Senenmut, cut from the living rock. The walls originally displayed a series of sunk relief scenes and inscriptions. These are now badly damaged, although the flat ceiling still shows traces of its original colourful pattern. Although most of the Gebel Silsila shrines incorporate a fairly consistent funerary emphasis in their texts and scenes, Senenmut'S shrine omits the customary earthly and funerary feasts and includes instead a depiction of Hatchepsut being embraced by the crocodile-headed god Sobek and Nekhbet, the vulture goddess of Upper Egypt, shown as a woman wearing a feathered vulture headdress. As other commentators have observed, &lsquothe peculiar status of Senenmut and the relationship between him and his monarch no doubt account for these unusual features&rsquo. 6

&hellip I was promoted before the companions, knowing that I was distinguished with her they set me to be chief of her house, the palace, may it live, be prosperous and be healthy, being under my supervision, being judge in the whole land, Overseer of the Granaries of Amen, Senenmut&hellip 7

Following Hatchepsut's rise to power, Senenmut dropped a number of his lesser titles, including that of tutor to Neferure, acquired a clutch of more prestigious accolades (such as Overseer of the Granaries of Amen and Overseer of all the Works of the King [Hatchepsut] at Karnak), and settled into his principal post as Steward of Amen. Although, as far as we are aware, he never held the title of First Prophet of Amen, arguably the most powerful position that a non-royal Egyptian could aspire to, the stereotypical and self-congratulatory propaganda text quoted above confirms the wide range of his official duties. Titles in ancient Egypt were not necessarily indicative of actual employment, but rather served to place a man in the social hierarchy for example, the exact duties of the &lsquoSandal-bearer of the King&rsquo or the &lsquoRoyal Washerman&rsquo are unknown, but it is highly unlikely that they involved the performance of undignified personal services for the monarch, as both posts were held by men of rank and breeding. Winlock's intriguing suggestion that, in addition to his obvious public duties, Senenmut had &lsquoheld more intimate ones like those of the great nobles of France who were honoured in being allowed to assist in the most intimate details of the royal toilet at the king's levees&rsquo 8 appears very unlikely. Winlock based this remarkable conclusion on the fact that Senenmut bore what we now assume to be the purely honorary titles of &lsquoSuperintendent of the Private Apartments&rsquo, &lsquoSuperintendent of the Bathroom&rsquo, and &lsquoSuperintendent of the Royal Bedroom&rsquo.

Senenmut's plethora of epithets should, therefore, be taken as an indication of his general importance rather than a precise listing of his actual duties, and the exact amount of time that he was actually required to devote to his official posts remains unclear. His range of titles does, however, suggest that he might by now have been a relatively elderly man. As the average life expectancy for a high-ranking court official was between thirty and forty-five years, any official who lived past forty years could reasonably expect to become a much venerated and much decorated elder statesman, if only because death had removed almost all his contemporary competitors. The longer that Senenmut lived, and of course the longer that he continued in the queen's favour, the more titles he could expect to acquire. Thus we find Ineni, an equally long-serving statesman, rejoicing in the titles of:

Hereditary Prince, Count, Chief of all Works in Karnak the double silver-house was in his charge the double gold house was on his seal Sealer of all contracts in the House of Amen Excellency, Overseer of the Double Granary of Amen. 9

Unofficially, Senenmut seems to have acted as the queen's right-hand-man and general factotum. The rapid increase in his personal wealth at this time is obvious. Not only was Senenmut now rich enough to bury his mother with appropriate pomp, he was also able to start constructing his own magnificent tomb, acquire a quartzite sarcophagus and build his Silsila shrine.

In the absence of any contemporary written description of Senenmut, we must turn to his surviving images in an attempt to find clues to his character. What did the queen see when she turned to look at her faithful servant? Possibly not what modern observers have seen when studying Senenmut's somewhat unprepossessing physiognomy:

Whatever first attracted Great Royal Wife Hatchepsut to Senenmut, it certainly was not his good looks&hellip. portraits show a pinch-featured man with a pointed high-bridge nose and fleshy lips that seem pursed with a weak chin tending to jowliness and eyes that might be judged a bit shifty and with deep creases or wrinkles about the cheeks, nose and mouth, and under the jaw. 10

Winlock was also struck by Senenmut's &lsquoaquiline nose and nervously expressive, wrinkled face. As for the wrinkles, they surely were the feature by which Senmut was known&rsquo. 11 However beauty, or in this case a shifty eye, wrinkles and a tendency towards &lsquojowliness&rsquo, lies as always in the eye of the beholder, and others have been prepared to take a kinder view of his features:

The profile has the imperious outline of the Tuthmoside family. A slight fullness of the throat, with two strokes of the brush suggesting folds, the sparingly executed lines around the eyes, and a reversed curve from the eyes past nose and mouth indicate in masterful fashion the sagging plump features of the aging man of affairs. 12

Each of these descriptions has been based on our four surviving ink sketches of Senenmut's face. Three of these portraits are on ostraca now housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, while the fourth has survived undamaged on the wall of Tomb 353. All four show Senenmut in profile, with a single eye and eyebrow facing forwards in the conventional Egyptian style. His rather rounded face and double chin certainly suggest a man used to enjoying the finer things in life, while his crows&rsquo feet and wrinkles confirm that he was no longer in the first flush of youth when the sketches were made. The striking similarity between these less-than-flattering sketches suggests that all four may be actual depictions of Senenmut, drawn by people who actually knew him. In contrast, our other more formal images of Senenmut, his statues and his tomb illustrations, are merely conventional representations of a &lsquogreat Egyptian man&rsquo with little or no attempt at accurate portrayal.

&hellip Grant that there may be&hellip made for me many statues from every kind of precious hard stone for the temple of Amen at Karnak and for every place wherein the majesty of this god proceeds&hellip 13

At least twenty-five hard stone statues of Senenmut have survived the ravages of time. This is an extraordinarily large number of statues for a

Fig. 7.2 Sketch-portrait of Senenmut from the wall of Tomb 353

private individual no other New Kingdom official has left us so many clear indications of his exalted rank and, as we must assume that most, if not all, were the gift of the queen, his highly favoured status. In ancient Egypt, statues were not simply designed to beobjets d'art, intended to enhance rooms or beautify gardens. All images were automatically invested with magical or religious powers, and they were commissioned so that they could replace either living people or gods within the temple and the tomb. It seems likely, given his links with Amen, that the majority of Senenmut's statues would have been placed in the courtyard of the great temple of Amen at Karnak, although Senenmut appears to have dedicated statues of himself in most of the major temples around Thebes. Within the temple the statues would have been positioned in ranks facing the sanctuary, ensuring that the living Senenmut received the benefits of their proximity to the god.

The artistic inventiveness of the Senenmut figures confirms the innovative nature and general technical excellence of small-scale sculpture throughout Hatchepsut's reign. They depict Senenmut in his various roles, most typically holding the infant Neferure in his arms, a pose designed to stress Senenmut's importance rather than his tender feelings towards his young charge. Some show him squatting with the child's body wrapped in, and almost obscured by, his cloak, while one shows Senenmut sitting with Neferure &ndash stiff and unchild-like &ndash held at right angles in his lap, a position hitherto reserved for women nursing children. The majority of the remaining statues show Senenmut kneeling to present a religious symbol such as a sistrum or a shrine. At least one statue, a 1.55 m (5 ft 1 in) high granite representation of Senenmut presenting a sistrum to the goddess Mut, originally housed in the temple of Mut at Karnak, was so admired by its subject that it was reproduced in black diorite on a smaller scale, presumably so that it could be placed in a less public shrine and used for private worship.

Not all contemporary representations of Senenmut were intended to flatter, as crude graffiti from an unfinished Middle Kingdom tomb show. This chamber, situated in the cliffs above Deir el-Bahri, was used as a resting place by the gangs of workmen engaged in building Hatchepsut's mortuary temple. Here the builders idled away their rest breaks by doodling and scribbling on the walls. Included amongst the doodles are a number of mildly pornographic scenes including depictions of naked, well-endowed young men. One sketch shows a tall, fully clothed, unnamed male who has variously been identified as both Senenmut and Hatchepsut, and who is apparently being approached by a smaller naked male with an improbably large erection. Although it is possible that the two figures represent entirely separate and unconnected doodles, they are close enough together for us to speculate whether Senenmut/Hatchepsut is about to become the subject of a homosexual encounter.

Homosexual intercourse for pleasure in ancient Egypt is not well attested. Instead, homosexuality was generally regarded as a means of gaining revenge on a defeated enemy. By implanting his semen the aggressor not only humiliated his victim by forcing him to take the part of a woman, but also gained a degree of power over him. If Senenmut is really being approached in this way, he is about to be thoroughly degraded. No disgrace ever attached to the aggressor performing the homosexual rape the shame belonged entirely to the victim. Thus, in the New Kingdom story which tells of the seduction of the young god Horus by his uncle Seth, it is Horus who feels the shame of a woman. Seth is merely acting like any red-blooded male:

Now when evening had come a bed was prepared for them and they lay down together. At night Seth let his member become stiff, and he inserted it between the thighs of Horus. And Horus placed his hand between his thighs, and caught the semen of Seth. 14

By catching the semen before it enters his body and subsequently throwing it into the marsh, Horus has effectively thwarted his uncle's evil plan to discredit him in the eyes of other males. Later, with the help of his mother, he is able to turn the tables on Seth. He sprinkles his own semen over the lettuces growing in the palace garden which he knows that Seth will eat. When the two gods are called to give an account of their deeds, although Seth claims to have done &lsquoa man's deed&rsquo to Horus, the semen of Horus is discovered within Seth's own body and Seth is totally humiliated.

Nearby on the tomb wall (Fig. 7.3) are shown a couple, naked but for their idiosyncratic headgear, who are indulging in a form of sexual

Fig. 7.3 Hatchepsut and Senenmut? Crude graffito from a Deir el-Bahri tomb

intercourse which has modestly been described as &lsquoa method of approach from the rear&rsquo. 15 As Manniche has noted:

Intercourse from behind (&lsquodog fashion&rsquo)&hellip seems to have been rather popular in Egypt, to judge from the number of extant representations of the position, the man most frequently standing, with the woman bending over. Whether any of these examples indicate anal intercourse cannot be determined from the representations alone, but it seems rather unlikely in that no practical purpose would have been served&hellip 16

The more dominant male figure sports what has been described as an overseer's leather cap, but which may actually be a bad haircut, while his larger and curiously androgynous companion has a dark female pubic triangle but no breasts. She is wearing what has been identified as a royal headdress without the uraeus, and is generally acknowledged to represent Hatchepsut. The whole scene has been interpreted, some might say over-interpreted, as a contemporary political parody intended to highlight the one way in which Hatchepsut could never be a true king &ndash she could never dominate a man in the way that she is now being dominated. 17 Senenmut is shown quite literally taking his queen for a ride.

Hatchepsut is by no means the first woman in a position of authority to be insulted by this type of graffiti. The deep-rooted feeling that any female who rejects her traditional submissive role is both unfeminine and unnatural has often led to wild charges of wanton behaviour fired at dominant women. Accusations of sexual lust and impropriety are perhaps the only way in which less powerful and therefore, it has been argued, emasculated and frustrated men can attack their more powerful mistresses. Nor is this type of assault the prerogative of men. Women who have not themselves breached social boundaries are often the first to condemn those who have and, as women well know, an attack on a woman's reputation is the most damaging attack of all. Certainly the influential females of history &ndash women who have dominated in a man's world &ndash have consistently attracted prurient speculation concerning their sexual behaviour. These women, who range from Cleopatra of Egypt via Semiramis of Assyria and Livia of Rome to Catherine the Great of Russia, were routinely accused of sexual promiscuity of the grossest and most vivid kind.

It seems that only by making a deliberate feature of her virtue and chastity, often maintained under the most difficult of conditions, can a powerful woman hope to avoid tales of her sexual depravity becoming her main contribution to her country's history. Thus Odysseus's faithful Penelope, Shakespeare's &lsquomost unspotted lily&rsquo Elizabeth I and Joan of Arc, &lsquothe Maid of Orleans&rsquo, all strong women, deliberately made purity one of their main attributes. We should therefore not be surprised to find that Hatchepsut's subjects, unused to the idea of a strong female ruler, were prepared to speculate on the relationship between the female king and Senenmut, her servant and their immediate boss. Humour would have been the only weapon that the workmen could use to attack their superiors, and it would perhaps be attaching too much importance to what appears to be a casual scribble, were we to assume that it signifies anything other than a crude attempt to depict Hatchepsut in her rightful female place: being dominated by a man.

Fig. 7.4 Senenmut worshipping at Djeser-Djeseru

Nevertheless, the suggestion that Senenmut and Hatchepsut were more than just good friends is worthy of serious consideration. An intimate relationship with the queen would account for the rapid rise in Senenmut's fortunes and would explain why Senenmut chose to defy tradition and remain unmarried. It is certainly tempting to see Senenmut's unprecedented privileges, such as burial within the confines of Djeser-Djeseru and the linking of their two names within Tomb 353, as Hatchepsut's tacit acknowledgement of Senenmut's role as her morganatic partner, if not her consort. Queens, however great, are not immune from normal human feelings, and at times Hatchepsut may have found her position to be an intolerably lonely one. A trusted companion may have helped to ease the burden of state.

In theory, Hatchepsut and Senenmut, both unattached individuals, would have been free to enjoy an open sexual relationship without public censure. Dynastic Egypt was not an unduly prudish society and Hatchepsut, as king, would have been at liberty to choose her own partners just as other New Kingdom monarchs were free to fill their harems with the women of their choice. And yet Hatchepsut, firstly as a woman and secondly as a king with a rather tenuous claim to the throne, was in a very difficult position. Throughout her reign she en-deavoured to emphasize her unique royal position as the daughter, wife and sister of a king. The enormous gulf which separated the divine pharaoh from the people is hard for us to understand but would have been very real to Hatchepsut. Marriage or a permanent alliance with a commoner would have compromised and damaged her position, making the aura of divinity with which she chose to cloak herself appear more transparent to those around her.

Senenmut is generally credited with being the political force behind Hatchepsut's assumption and exercise of kingship. While this assessment cannot be proved, it is probably correct. 18

If Hatchepsut and Senenmut were not lovers, did they enjoy anything other than a purely professional relationship? Did Senenmut control Hatchepsut by the power of his personality? And if so, was he directly responsible for Hatchepsut's unprecedented decision to seize power? As Gardiner has noted: &lsquoIt is not to be imagined&hellip that even a woman of the most virile character could have attained such a pinnacle of power without masculine support.&rsquo 19 Senenmut was one of Hatchepsut's most loyal servants at this time, and it is clear that he must have approved of her claim to the throne since he continued to work for the new regime. The suggestion that he masterminded the accession is far less feasible it is an idea based less on the available archaeo-historical evidence (nil) than on the twin assumptions that Senenmut was a manipulative person and that Hatchepsut, possibly due to her femininity, was incapable of controlling her own destiny. It is certainly difficult to equate the strong and mature Hatchepsut of the Deir el-Bahri temple with the timid and passive Trilby or the childish Lady Jane Grey, and it seems impossible that any intelligent woman could have been persuaded to take such a momentous step against her will. Winlock, believing Senenmut and Hatchepsut to have been kindred souls and acknowledging that Hatchepsut's gender did not necessarily preclude intelligence, has summarized the situation:

&hellip the only question is whether it was through infatuation for her [Hatchepsut] that Sen-Mut followed her in a course of her own designing, or whether through ambition for himself he was encouraging her to break with the customs of her people. 20

It is clear that Senenmut's main strengths lay in his abilities as an organizer, administrator and accountant. In modern times there is a tendency to laugh at desk-bound civil servants their work is seen as dull, repetitive and unnecessary, and those unfortunate enough to be employed as clerks or accountants are often perceived as boring, faceless nonentities. In ancient Egypt nothing could be further from the truth. The scribe enjoyed the most enviable of employments as, exempt from the need to perform degrading manual labour in the hot sun, he revelled in his exalted position. The importance of the efficient civil servant in a developing state should never be underestimated. Construction work in Egypt, without the benefits of modern machinery, was a lengthy and labour-intensive business requiring the coordination of vast numbers of workmen and their associated back-up facilities such as food, water, accommodation and equipment, and a tried and tested administrator would have been of great value to the queen.

The extent of his creative talents is perhaps more open to question. Senenmut is often credited with building all of Hatchepsut's monuments, although there is no evidence that he was actually an architect, and he himself is often rather vague when referring to his precise role in these operations. Nevertheless, he appears to have had a hand in various construction projects in and around Thebes. His main architectural achievements must remain the overseeing of Djeser-Djeseru and the erecting of the obelisks at Karnak. However, the unique astronomical ceiling in his Tomb 353 (discussed in further detail below), and the eclectic variety of texts and ostraca included in Tomb 71 (ranging from plans of the tomb itself through various calculations to the Story of Sinuhe), certainly suggests that Senenmut was a cultured and well-rounded man with a wide range of interests extending far beyond his official duties.

Thanks to his role as Overseer of Works at Deir el-Bahri, Senenmut was able to ensure that his connection with the queen and her monument was preserved for eternity. Over sixty small representations of Senenmut, either kneeling or standing with outstretched arms, have been discovered concealed within the temple. These images had been carved on walls normally covered by the wooden doors of shrines and statue niches, so that they would have been completely hidden from public gaze while the doors were opened for worship. The accompanying short inscriptions make it clear that Senenmut is engaged in worshipping both the god Amen and his mistress Hatchepsut &lsquoon behalf of the life, prosperity and health of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Maatkare living forever&rsquo.

In Egyptian art, the image could always serve as a substitute for the person or thing being represented. Therefore, by placing his image near the god's sanctuary, Senenmut was actually placing himself in close proximity to the god, and was receiving unspecified benefits from this close association. However, being near to the gods was purely a royal prerogative, a privilege allowed only to the king who served as high priest of every Egyptian deity. Because he appeared to be usurping royal privileges, and because it was hitherto unheard of for a non-royal person to be included in any royal temple, many egyptologists deduced that Senenmut had commissioned the carving without obtaining the permission of the queen. This theory fitted with the then-current view of Senenmut as a devious and scheming manipulator, and has remained surprisingly popular despite the translation of a badly damaged text, also from the Deir el-Bahri mortuary temple, in which Senenmut states that he had royal permission to carve his image within the sacred precincts and indeed within every Egyptian temple. This text is worth quoting at length:

Giving praise to Amen and smelling the ground to the Lord of the gods on behalf of the life, prosperity and health of the King [i.e. Hatchepsut] of Upper and Lower Egypt, Maatkare, may he live forever, by the Hereditary Prince and Count, the Steward of Amen, Senenmut, in accordance with a favour of the King's bounty which was extended to this servant in letting his name be established on every wall, in the following of the King, in Djeser-Djeseru [Deir el-Bahri], and likewise in the temples of the gods of Upper and Lower Egypt. Thus spoke the King. 21

This bold proclamation of royal authority was carved on the reveals of the doorway leading into the north-west offering hall of the temple, and was available for all who were exalted enough to enter the temple precincts to read. It confirms what common sense suggests, that the queen must have known about the &lsquosecret&rsquo images. Senenmut would have experienced a great deal of difficulty in keeping scores of illicit carvings hidden and, given that a powerful man like Senenmut must have had many enemies, it seems inconceivable that no word of this treachery would have reached Hatchepsut's ears. An alternative theory, that Senenmut not only carved his images in secret, but also lied about receiving royal approval for his action, is more convoluted and perhaps less easy to accept. We now know that Senenmut was not the only 18th Dynasty official to include his own image within a royal monument. Neshi, Viceroy of Kush under Tuthmosis III, had himself depicted in the act of praying on the reveals of some of the doorways in the temples of Hatchepsut and Tuthmosis III at Buhen. Although Buhen, lying beyond the southern border of Egypt, was far enough away from the court to allow a certain amount of variation from standard Egyptian practices, it is interesting that Neshi did not suffer in any way for his impertinence.

May the king give an offering: a thousand of bread, beer, cattle and fowl&hellip that they may grant abundance and he may be purified, for the Ka of the Steward of Amen, Senenmut the justified. 22

Senenmut was wealthy enough to provide himself with two funerary monuments on the West Bank at Thebes Tomb 71, the &lsquofirst tomb&rsquo, conspicuously sited on top of the Sheikh Abd el-Gurna hill, and Tomb 353, the &lsquosecond tomb&rsquo, hidden beneath the precincts of Djeser-Djeseru. Historians have consistently placed great emphasis on these two tombs, concluding that it was his presumption in building secretly within the precincts of the Deir el-Bahri temple which finally turned Hatchepsut against Senenmut. It is therefore worth considering the art and architecture of these two very different monuments in some detail. 23

Senenmut selected a (then) little used area of the Theban necropolis for his first tomb, securing a highly desirable, and highly visible, location on the brow of the hill now known as the Sheikh Abd el-Gurna. His choice of site was to prove well judged. He was soon joined by two of his illustrious contemporaries, the steward Amenhotep (Tomb 73) and the royal tutor Senimen (Tomb 252), and several lesser-ranking officials quickly followed suit, making Gurna one of the most popular private cemeteries on the West Bank during the reigns of Hatchepsut and Tuthmosis III. Senenmut's own tomb ultimately served as a focal point for a number of less important burials, and clearance of the hillside below Tomb 71 in the 1930s revealed a scattering of subsidiary inhumations an unknown woman in a cheap wooden coffin wearing a scarab inscribed for the &lsquoGod's Wife Neferure&rsquo, an unknown male wrapped in reed matting, a boy named Amenhotep who may have been Senenmut's much younger brother, a male singer named Hormose who was buried with his lute beside him, two anonymous human bodies in anthropoid coffins and the bodies of a horse and an ape, each mummified and in its own coffin.


National Anthem Protest History

The practice of using the national anthem as a stage for political and social protest is far from new. Long before kneeling, or “taking a knee” replaced it, simply refusing to stand during the national anthem became a common manner of protesting against the military draft during World War I. In the years before World War II, refusal to stand for the anthem was used as a protest to the growth of dangerously aggressive nationalism. Even then, the act was highly controversial, often resulting in violence. While no law has ever required it, the tradition of performing the national anthem before sporting events began during World War II.

Beginning in the late 1960s, many college athletes and other students used their refusal to stand for the national anthem as a show of opposition to the Vietnam War and a rejection of nationalism. Then as now, the act was sometimes criticized as an implicit show of support for socialism or communism. In July 1970, a federal judge ruled that forcing civilians to stand during “symbolic patriotic ceremonies” against their will violated the freedom of speech provision of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

During the same period, the Civil Rights Movement gave rise to more widely publicized anthem protests. During the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Black American runners Tommie Smith and John Carlos, after winning gold and bronze medals, famously looked down—instead of looking at the U.S. flag—while raising black-gloved fists on the awards podium during the national anthem. For displaying what became known as the Black Power salute, Smith and Carlos were banned from further competition for breaking the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) rules against mixing politics with athletics. A similar medal award ceremony protest in the 1972 Summer Olympics saw Black American runners Vincent Matthews and Wayne Collett banned by the IOC. In 1978, the IOC adopted Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter, officially banning all athletes from staging political protests on the field of play, in the Olympic Village, and during medal and other official ceremonies.


Parallel Lives, Also BC Afterglows In AD

Before long [Hat]she[psut] will put aside all pretence and declare herself as the

first ruler of the land, duly (though bizarrely) adding a manly beard to her statues.

King Solomon will enter the land at her request and will greatly assist her as Senenmut (Senmut), her multi-tasking Steward, her quasi-royal consort, and her (you name it) – Senenmut being, according to some “the real power behind the throne”.

Essential here is my identification of Hatshepsut with King Solomon’s “Queen of Sheba”:

Hatshepsut’s progression from Israel, Beersheba, to woman-ruler of Egypt

The following sequence (i-v) is basically how I see the extraordinary progression of the career of Hatshepsut Maatkare, from

  1. a princess in King David’s realm, beginning in the king’s old age, through vicissitudes and desolation, and rebellion in the kingdom of Israel, to become
  2. the Queen of Beersheba, appointed there by her maternal ‘grandfather’, Tolmai of (southern) Geshur (“Gezer”), who would succeed Amenhotep I as ruler of Egypt and Ethiopia, as Thutmose I, to her
  3. visit and marriage to King Solomon in Jerusalem at the height of his wisdom and power, to her
  4. subsequent marriage in Egypt to Thutmose II, whom she would succeed as
  5. woman-ruler of Egypt and Ethiopia alongside her ‘nephew’ Thutmose III.

and my identification (in the same article) of Hatshepsut’s quasi-royal Steward, Senenmut, with King Solomon himself.

The following article provides us with an excellent account of the wise King Solomon and his “encyclopedic knowledge”: https://www.cardus.ca/comment/article/solomon-the-scholar/

Solomon’s own intellectual investments certainly paid off. His knowledge and wisdom far surpassed the leading sages and scholars of his day. Whether it was the sons of the East who were celebrated for the sciences and sagacity, or the Egyptians who were legendary for their knowledge of medicine, geometry, mathematics, astronomy and gnomic wisdom, Solomon was smarter and wiser still. He even topped a formidable list of “Who’s Who” among the great intellectuals in the ancient world. In verse 31 we read that Solomon was wiser than all men—better than the best and brighter than the brightest. This included such notables as the learned Levitical priests Ethan and Heman, and the more enigmatic Calcol and Darda, both sons of Mahol (a family with smart genes, evidently) who were prominent for their erudite contributions. If these men were renowned, Solomon was more so. Solomon’s fame was widespread, not just at home in Jerusalem, Judah or Israel, but in the surrounding nations, or as we might say today, globally. Note that this acclaim is not attributed to a pagan thinker, or to a secularist, if you will, but rather to an Israelite, to a person of faith, to a man of God.

If we were to update the point to the present, perhaps we might say that Solomon’s intellectual reputation would exceed Ox-Bridge, the Ivies, and Canada’s most celebrated institutions (not to mention other worldwide notables). He would be considered smarter than the best in the West and wiser than the academics in Asia. Shouldn’t there be a few persons or institutions of Christian persuasion with a comparable reputation today?

The boast about Solomon’s scholarship was not an empty one. Solomon was not only a prolific writer and composer, but he also possessed encyclopedic knowledge of the natural world. Of the 3,000 proverbs he composed, 375 of them are preserved for us in the Old Testament book of Proverbs that makes the fear of God the prerequisite for wisdom and knowledge. Also, Solomon’s grand total of 1005 songs include Psalm 72, which tackles kingly politics, and Psalm 127, which addresses the subjects of providence and parenting. Solomon’s number one hit, of course, was the Song of Songs, a lovely lyrical meditation on the holy meaning of marriage and sexuality that simultaneously symbolizes the ardent nature of God’s love for His people.

Solomon was shrewd to express his ideas in the influential genres of maxims and music. After all, our lives and the world are very much governed by proverbs, since apt and timely thoughts frequently fix our notions and determine our conduct (says Matthew Henry). As we read in Proverbs 15:1, for example, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” These are good words to believe in and to live by. And as Plato noted, rhythm and melody insinuate themselves in a life-shaping way into the innermost parts of the soul. Music has this mysterious ability to inscribe itself deep in our hearts. …. How smart it is, then, to devote considerable energy to the transformative republics of letters and lyrics in which Solomon’s own contributions are nothing short of astounding.

If this was not enough, Solomon was also an accomplished natural philosopher or scientist whose knowledge of trees, plants and animals is highlighted in verse 33. If we combine Solomon’s compositional achievements with his extensive knowledge of dendrology and botany, as well as zoology, ornithology, entomology and ichthyology, then we can see why it would be appropriate to acknowledge him, anachronistically so, as a true “Renaissance man.” Indeed, Solomon was the ancient world’s polymath par excellence.

Solomon’s prodigious efforts had a goal—shalom, or peace. His labour was devoted to securing the common good of the surrounding nations, and he worked especially hard to procure the well-being of his own people. As 1 Kings 4:25 memorably recalls, “Judah and Israel lived in safety, from Dan even to Beersheba, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, all the days of Solomon.” As if he were a new Adam, Solomon embodied the original cultural mandate of Genesis 1, which is constitutive of human identity as God’s image and likeness. On this foundation, Solomon’s fruitful labours illustrate for us the deep meaning and permanent nobility of the tasks of education, learning and culturemaking. If we could ask God for anything at all, shouldn’t we beseech him to restore a profound understanding of this abiding purpose in us?

Solomon’s efforts were not without recognition. As we have already seen, Solomon was internationally famous for his knowledge and wisdom. He was a veritable “tourist attraction” (as Walter Brueggemann says), for commoners and kings alike came from all over the world to obtain his insights. As the world’s centerpiece of culture and scholarship, many strangers came to Solomon where they were exposed, not only to Solomon’s knowledge and wisdom, but also to Yahweh—Solomon’s God.

His most famous guest, of course, was the Queen of Sheba. In the account of her visit in 1 Kings 10, we read that the Queen spoke with Solomon about all that was in her heart, and Solomon himself answered all her questions. As the texts states, he explained everything to her. I wish I could have overheard that conversation.

Upon hearing his wisdom and observing his prosperity, the Queen was overwhelmed. There was no more spirit left in her. Though skeptical of the things she had heard about Solomon at first, she came to believe that not even half of his magnificence had been reported to her. She proceeded to bless Solomon’s servants and subjects who attended to him and heard his teachings daily. Most importantly, she blessed God who had blessed Solomon and enabled him to become Israel’s wise, just, and righteous king. The Queen’s visit shows that the quest for truth and wisdom can ultimately lead to its divine source, demonstrating the evangelistic or missional potential of education and scholarship pursued avidly in God.

So, if Solomon were Senenmut, as I am firmly maintaining, then we would hardly expect the latter to have been any sort of ‘dumbbell’. Nor was he. The word “genius” is frequently applied to Senenmut, as regards his administration, his architecture, literature, and so on.

We read about his grand status in Egypt. “Senenmut did not underestimate his own abilities”: https://www.gardenvisit.com/biography/senenmut

Senenmut (or Senmut or Sen-En-Mut) held the titles of ‘Overseer of the Gardens of Amun’, ‘Steward of Amun’, ‘Overseer of all Royal Works’ and ‘Tutor to the Royal Heiress Neferure’. His dates are uncertain but he advised Queen Hatshepsut on many topics and is generally credited with the design of her mortuary temple at Deir el Bahri (Djeser-Djeseru). …. his tomb has the earliest astronomical ceiling. …. Over 25 other statues of the man described as ‘greatest of the great’ survive. They show him holding Neferure, or kneeling for an act of worship with outstretched arms. Without evidence, it has long been suggested that he was Hatshepsut’s lover. The influence of Hatshepsut’s temple garden is undocumented but as Gothein wrote ‘Here stands out for the very first time in the history of art a most magnificent idea – that of building three terraces, one above the other, each of their bordering walls set against the mountain-side, and made beautiful with pillared corridors, the actual shrine in a cavity in the highest terrace which was blasted out of the rock’. [See Marie-Luise Gothein on Egyptian gardens] Senenmut’s dates are unknown but Hatshepsut reigned from 1479–1458 BC [sic] and Senemut is reported to have been about 50 in the 16th year of her reign … and no event in his life is recorded after this date ….

Senemut did not underestimate his own abilities:

He says: “I was the greatest of the great in the whole land
one who heard the hearing alone in the privy council, steward of [Amon],
Senemut , triumphant.”
“I was the real favorite of the king, acting as one praised of his lord
every day, the overseer of the cattle of Amon, Senemut.”
“I was ‘… of truth, not showing partiality with whose injunctions
the Lord of the Two Lands was satisfied attached to Nekhen, prophet
of Mat, Senemut .”
“I was one who entered in [love], sand came forth in favor, making
glad the heart of the king every day, the companion, and master of .the
palace, Senemut .”
“I commanded … in the storehouse of divine offerings of Amon
every tenth day the overseer of the storehouse of Amon, Senemut .”
“I conducted … of the gods every day, for the sake of the life,
prosperity, and health of the king overseer of the … of Amon, Senemut.”
“I was a foreman of foremen, superior of the great, … [overseer] of
all [works] of the house of silver, conductor of every handicraft, chief of
the prophets of Montu in Hermonthis, Senemut .”
“I was one I… to whom the affairs of the Two Lands were [reported
that which South and North contributed was on my seal, the labor of
all countries … was [under] my charge.”
“I was one, whose steps were known in the palace a real confidant
of the king, his beloved: overseer of the gardens of Amon, Senemut.”

Senenmut could also boast: “… now, I have penetrated into every writing of the priests and I am not ignorant of (everything) that happened from the first occasion in order to make flourish my offerings” (Urk. IV 415.14–16 Morenz 2002, p. 134).46”

“An aspect of Senenmut’s originality was his invention of a number of composite devices, or cryptograms”. We read about this in Hatshepsut, from Queen to Pharaoh (ed. By Catharine H. Roehrig, Renée Dreyfus, Cathleen A. Keller), pp. 117-118:

An aspect of Senenmut’s originality was his invention of a number of composite devices, or cryptograms. Two of these appear on two block statues from Karnak that depict Senenmut and the King’s Daughter, Neferure … incised near the head of the princess …. The first cryptogram shows a flying vulture, with a protective wedjat eye superimposed on its body, grasping a set of ka arms in its talons. It faces a striding male figure with a composition was and ankh device instead of a head and holding a tall was sceptre and an ankh sign in the usual manner of Egyptian divinities. (The was symbolised power, the ankh eternal life). These cryptograms have been interpreted as standing for Hatshepsut’s prenomen (Maatkare) and nomen (Khenemet Amun Hatshepsut), respectively … and thus as constituting new ways of writing the king’s cartouches on the statue. Senenmut stresses their originality in an additional text inscribed on both statues on the left of the princess’s head: “Images which I have made from the devising of my own heart and from my own labor they have not been found in the writing of the ancestors”.

The most common device associated with Senenmut, however, is the uraeus cryptogram, which takes the form of a cobra crowned with bovine horns and a solar disc rearing up form a pair of ka arms …. This emblem was initially interpreted as a rebus rendering of the kingly Horus name of Hatshepsut, Wosretkaw, … and subsequently as a rebus of her prenomen: Maat (the cobra) + ka + Re (the sun disk) = Maatkare.’ …. Alternatively, it has been understood … as referring to the harvest god- dess Renenutet, Mistress of Food, who takes the form of the cobra, guardian of the granary from rodent predators (ka here meaning “provisions” or “food”).” As recent scholars have noted, it quite likely referred to both the king and the goddess. ….


Contents

Although contemporary records of her reign are documented in diverse ancient sources, Hatshepsut was thought by early modern scholars as only having served as a co-regent from about 1479 to 1458 BC, during years seven to twenty-one of the reign previously identified as that of Thutmose III. [11] Today Egyptologists generally agree that Hatshepsut assumed the position of pharaoh. [12] [13]

Hatshepsut was described as having a reign of about 21 years by ancient authors. Josephus and Julius Africanus both quote Manetho's king list, mentioning a woman called Amessis or Amensis who has been identified (from the context) as Hatshepsut. In Josephus' work, her reign is described as lasting 21 years and nine months, [14] while Africanus stated it was twenty-two years. At this point in the history records of the reign of Hatshepsut end, since the first major foreign campaign of Thutmose III was dated to his 22nd year, which also would have been Hatshepsut's 22nd year as pharaoh. [15]

Dating the beginning of her reign is more difficult, however. Her father's reign began in either 1526 or 1506 BC according to the high and low estimates of her reign, respectively. [16] The length of the reigns of Thutmose I and Thutmose II, however, cannot be determined with absolute certainty. With short reigns, Hatshepsut would have ascended the throne 14 years after the coronation of Thutmose I, her father. [17] Longer reigns would put her ascension 25 years after Thutmose I's coronation. [16] Thus, Hatshepsut could have assumed power as early as 1512 BC, or, as late as 1479 BC.

The earliest attestation of Hatshepsut as pharaoh occurs in the tomb of Ramose and Hatnofer, where a collection of grave goods contained a single pottery jar or amphora from the tomb's chamber—which was stamped with the date "Year 7". [18] Another jar from the same tomb—which was discovered in situ by a 1935–36 Metropolitan Museum of Art expedition on a hillside near Thebes — was stamped with the seal of the "God's Wife Hatshepsut" while two jars bore the seal of "The Good Goddess Maatkare." [19] The dating of the amphorae, "sealed into the [tomb's] burial chamber by the debris from Senenmut's own tomb," is undisputed, which means that Hatshepsut was acknowledged as king, and not queen, of Egypt by Year 7 of her reign. [19]

Trade routes Edit

Hatshepsut re-established the trade networks that had been disrupted during the Hyksos occupation of Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, thereby building the wealth of the Eighteenth Dynasty. She oversaw the preparations and funding for a mission to the Land of Punt. This trading expedition to Punt was during the ninth year of Hatshepsut's reign. It set out in her name with five ships, each measuring 70 feet (21 m) long, bearing several sails [ dubious – discuss ] and accommodating 210 men that included sailors and 30 rowers. [ citation needed ] Many trade goods were bought in Punt, notably frankincense and myrrh.

Hatshepsut's delegation returned from Punt bearing 31 live myrrh trees, the roots of which were carefully kept in baskets for the duration of the voyage. This was the first recorded attempt to transplant foreign trees. It is reported that Hatshepsut had these trees planted in the courts of her mortuary temple complex. Egyptians also returned with a number of other gifts from Punt, among which was frankincense. [20] Hatshepsut would grind the charred frankincense into kohl eyeliner. This is the first recorded use of the resin. [21]

Hatshepsut had the expedition commemorated in relief at Deir el-Bahari, which is also famous for its realistic depiction of the Queen of the Land of Punt, Queen Ati. [22] Hatshepsut also sent raiding expeditions to Byblos and the Sinai Peninsula shortly after the Punt expedition. Very little is known about these expeditions. Although many Egyptologists have claimed that her foreign policy was mainly peaceful, [22] it is possible that she led military campaigns against Nubia and Canaan. [23]

Building projects Edit

Hatshepsut was one of the most prolific builders in Ancient Egypt, commissioning hundreds of construction projects throughout both Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. Arguably, her buildings were grander and more numerous than those of her Middle Kingdom predecessors. Later, pharaohs attempted to claim some of her projects as theirs. She employed the great architect Ineni, who also had worked for her father, her husband, and for the royal steward Senenmut. During her reign, so much statuary was produced that almost every major museum with Ancient Egyptian artifacts in the world has Hatshepsut statuary among their collections for instance, the Hatshepsut Room in New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art is dedicated solely to some of these pieces.

Following the tradition of most pharaohs, Hatshepsut had monuments constructed at the Temple of Karnak. She also restored the original Precinct of Mut, the great ancient goddess of Egypt, at Karnak that had been ravaged by the foreign rulers during the Hyksos occupation. It later was ravaged by other pharaohs, who took one part after another to use in their own pet projects. The precinct awaits restoration. She had twin obelisks, at the time the tallest in the world, erected at the entrance to the temple. One still stands as the tallest surviving ancient obelisk on Earth the other has broken in two and toppled. The official in charge of those obelisks was the high steward Amenhotep. [24]

Another project, Karnak's Red Chapel, or Chapelle Rouge, was intended as a barque shrine and originally may have stood between her two obelisks. It was lined with carved stones that depicted significant events in Hatshepsut's life.

Later, she ordered the construction of two more obelisks to celebrate her 16th year as pharaoh one of the obelisks broke during construction, and a third was therefore constructed to replace it. The broken obelisk was left at its quarrying site in Aswan, where it still remains. Known as the Unfinished Obelisk, it provides evidence of how obelisks were quarried. [25]

Hatshepsut built the Temple of Pakhet at Beni Hasan in the Minya Governorate south of Al Minya. The name, Pakhet, was a synthesis that occurred by combining Bast and Sekhmet, who were similar lioness war goddesses, in an area that bordered the north and south division of their cults. The cavernous underground temple, cut into the rock cliffs on the eastern side of the Nile, was admired and called the Speos Artemidos by the Greeks during their occupation of Egypt, known as the Ptolemaic Dynasty. They saw the goddess as akin to their hunter goddess, Artemis. The temple is thought to have been built alongside much more ancient ones that have not survived. This temple has an architrave with a long dedicatory text bearing Hatshepsut's famous denunciation of the Hyksos that James P. Allen has translated. [26] The Hyksos occupied Egypt and cast it into a cultural decline that persisted until a revival of her policies and innovations. This temple was altered later, and some of its inside decorations were usurped by Seti I of the Nineteenth Dynasty in an attempt to have his name replace that of Hatshepsut.

Following the tradition of many pharaohs, the masterpiece of Hatshepsut's building projects was a mortuary temple. She built hers in a complex at Deir el-Bahri. It was designed and implemented by Senenmut at a site on the West Bank of the Nile River near the entrance to what now is called the Valley of the Kings because of all the pharaohs who later chose to associate their complexes with the grandeur of hers. Her buildings were the first grand ones planned for that location.

The complex's focal point was the Djeser-Djeseru or "the Holy of Holies," a colonnaded structure of perfect harmony built nearly one thousand years before the Parthenon. Djeser-Djeseru sits atop a series of terraces that once were graced with lush gardens. Djeser-Djeseru is built into a cliff face that rises sharply above it. Djeser-Djeseru and the other buildings of Hatshepsut's Deir el-Bahri complex are significant advances in architecture. Another one of her great accomplishments is the Hatshepsut needle [27] (also known as the granite obelisks).

Official lauding Edit

Hyperbole is common to virtually all royal inscriptions of Egyptian history. While all ancient leaders used it to laud their achievements, Hatshepsut has been called the most accomplished pharaoh at promoting her accomplishments. [28] This may have resulted from the extensive building executed during her time as pharaoh, in comparison with many others. It afforded her many opportunities to laud herself, but it also reflected the wealth that her policies and administration brought to Egypt, enabling her to finance such projects. Aggrandizement of their achievements was traditional when pharaohs built temples and their tombs.

Women had a relatively high status in Ancient Egypt and enjoyed the legal right to own, inherit, or will property. A woman becoming pharaoh was rare, however only Sobekneferu, Khentkaus I and possibly Nitocris preceded her. [29] Nefernferuaten and Twosret may have been the only women to succeed her among the indigenous rulers. In Egyptian history, there was no word for a "queen regnant" as in contemporary history, "king" being the ancient Egyptian title regardless of gender, and by the time of her reign, pharaoh had become the name for the ruler. [ citation needed ] Hatshepsut is not unique, however, in taking the title of king. Sobekneferu, ruling six dynasties prior to Hatshepsut, also did so when she ruled Egypt. Hatshepsut had been well-trained in her duties as the daughter of the pharaoh. During her father's reign she held the powerful office of God's Wife. [ citation needed ] She had taken a strong role as queen to her husband and was well experienced in the administration of her kingdom by the time she became pharaoh. There is no indication of challenges to her leadership and, until her death, her co-regent remained in a secondary role, quite amicably heading her powerful army—which would have given him the power necessary to overthrow a usurper of his rightful place, if that had been the case. [ citation needed ]

Hatshepsut assumed all the regalia and symbols of the Pharaonic office in official representations: the Khat head cloth, topped with the uraeus, the traditional false beard, and shendyt kilt. [28] Many existing statues alternatively show her in typically feminine attire as well as those that depict her in the royal ceremonial attire. After this period of transition ended, however, most formal depictions of Hatshepsut as pharaoh showed her in the royal attire, with all the Pharaonic regalia, and some previously feminine depictions were carved over to now be masculine. [30]

She also named herself Maatkare, or “Truth is the Soul of the Sun God.” This name emphasized the Pharaoh Maatkare Hatshepsut’s connection to one of the many evolutions of Amun while referencing a Pharaoh's responsibility to maintain “ma’at,” harmony, through respecting tradition. [31]

Moreover, the Osirian statues of Hatshepsut — as with other pharaohs — depict the dead pharaoh as Osiris, with the body and regalia of that deity. All the statues of Hatshepsut at her tomb follow that tradition. The promise of resurrection after death was a tenet of the cult of Osiris.

One of the most famous examples of the legends about Hatshepsut is a myth about her birth. In this myth, Amun goes to Ahmose in the form of Thutmose I and awakens her with pleasant odors. At this point Amun places the ankh, a symbol of life, to Ahmose's nose, and Hatshepsut is conceived by Ahmose. Khnum, the god who forms the bodies of human children, is then instructed to create a body and ka, or corporal presence/life force, for Hatshepsut. Heket, the goddess of life and fertility, and Khnum then lead Ahmose along to a lioness' bed where she gives birth to Hatshepsut. [ citation needed ] Reliefs depicting each step in these events are at Karnak and in her mortuary temple.

The Oracle of Amun proclaimed that it was the will of Amun that Hatshepsut be pharaoh, further strengthening her position. She reiterated Amun's support by having these proclamations by the god Amun carved on her monuments:

Welcome my sweet daughter, my favorite, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Maatkare, Hatshepsut. Thou art the Pharaoh, taking possession of the Two Lands. [32]

Furthermore, on Khnum's potter's wheel, she is depicted as a little boy to further cement her divine right to rule. [31]

Hatshepsut claimed that she was her father's intended heir and that he made her the heir apparent of Egypt. Almost all scholars today view this as historical revisionism or prolepsis on Hatshepsut's part, since it was Thutmose II — a son of Thutmose I by Mutnofret — who was her father's heir. Moreover, Thutmose I could not have foreseen that his daughter Hatshepsut would outlive his son within his own lifetime. Thutmose II soon married Hatshepsut and the latter became both his senior royal wife and the most powerful woman at court. Biographer Evelyn Wells, however, accepts Hatshepsut's claim that she was her father's intended successor. Once she became pharaoh herself, Hatshepsut supported her assertion that she was her father's designated successor with inscriptions on the walls of her mortuary temple:

Then his majesty said to them: "This daughter of mine, Khnumetamun Hatshepsut—may she live!—I have appointed as my successor upon my throne. she shall direct the people in every sphere of the palace it is she indeed who shall lead you. Obey her words, unite yourselves at her command." The royal nobles, the dignitaries, and the leaders of the people heard this proclamation of the promotion of his daughter, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Maatkare—may she live eternally. [33]

Hatshepsut died as she approached what we would consider middle age given typical contemporary lifespans in her twenty-second regnal year. [34] The precise date of Hatshepsut's death—and when Thutmose III became the next pharaoh of Egypt—is consideredYear 22, II Peret day 10 of her reign, as recorded on a single stela erected at Armant [35] or 16 January 1458 BC. [36] This information validates the basic reliability of Manetho's king list records since Hatshepsut's known accession date was I Shemu day 4 [37] (i.e., Hatshepsut died nine months into her 22nd year as king, as Manetho writes in his Epitome for a reign of 21 years and nine months). No contemporary mention of the cause of her death has survived. In June 2007, there was a discovery made in the Valley of the Kings. A mummy was discovered in the tomb of Hatshepsut's royal nurse, Sitre-In. A tooth fragment found in a jar of organs was used to help identify the body to be Hatshepsut's. [38] If the recent identification of her mummy is correct, however, the medical evidence would indicate that she suffered from diabetes and died from bone cancer which had spread throughout her body while she was in her fifties. [3] [39] It also would suggest that she had arthritis and bad teeth. [3]
However, in 2011, the tooth was identified as the molar from a lower jaw, whereas the mummy from KV20 was missing a molar from its upper jaw, thus casting doubt on the supposed identification. [40]

Hatshepsut had begun constructing a tomb when she was the Great Royal Wife of Thutmose II. Still, the scale of this was not suitable for a pharaoh, so when she ascended the throne, preparation for another burial started. For this, KV20, originally quarried for her father, Thutmose I, and probably the first royal tomb in the Valley of the Kings, was extended with a new burial chamber. Hatshepsut also refurbished her father's burial and prepared for a double interment of both Thutmose I and her within KV20. Therefore, it is likely that when she died (no later than the twenty-second year of her reign), she was interred in this tomb along with her father. [41] During the reign of Thutmose III, however, a new tomb (KV38), together with new burial equipment, was provided for Thutmose I, who then was removed from his original tomb and re-interred elsewhere. At the same time, Hatshepsut's mummy might have been moved into the tomb of her nurse, Sitre In, in KV60. It is possible that Amenhotep II, son to Thutmose III by a secondary wife, was the one motivating these actions in an attempt to assure his own uncertain right to succession. Besides what was recovered from KV20 during Howard Carter's clearance of the tomb in 1903, other funerary furniture belonging to Hatshepsut has been found elsewhere, including a lioness "throne" (bedstead is a better description), a senet game board with carved lioness-headed, red-jasper game pieces bearing her pharaonic title, a signet ring, and a partial shabti figurine bearing her name. In the Royal Mummy Cache at DB320, a wooden canopic box with an ivory knob was found that was inscribed with the name of Hatshepsut and contained a mummified liver or spleen as well as a molar tooth. There was a royal lady of the twenty-first dynasty of the same name, however, and for a while, it was thought possible that it could have belonged to her instead. [42]

In 1903, Howard Carter had discovered a tomb (KV60) in the Valley of the Kings that contained two female mummies, one identified as Hatshepsut's wetnurse and the other unidentified. In the spring of 2007, the unidentified body was finally removed from the tomb by Dr. Zahi Hawass and brought to Cairo's Egyptian Museum for testing. This mummy was missing a tooth, and the space in the jaw perfectly matched Hatshepsut's existing molar, found in the DB320 "canopic box". [43] [44] [45] Her death has since been attributed to a benzopyrene carcinogenic skin lotion found in possession of the Pharaoh, which led to her having bone cancer. Other members of the queen's family are thought to have suffered from inflammatory skin diseases that tend to be genetic. It is likely that Hatshepsut inadvertently poisoned herself while trying to soothe her itchy, irritated skin. [46] [47]

Toward the end of the reign of Thutmose III and into the reign of his son, an attempt was made to remove Hatshepsut from certain historical and pharaonic records — a damnatio memoriae. This elimination was carried out in the most literal way possible. Her cartouches and images were chiseled off some stone walls, leaving very obvious Hatshepsut-shaped gaps in the artwork.

At the Deir el-Bahari temple, Hatshepsut's numerous statues were torn down and in many cases, smashed or disfigured before being buried in a pit. At Karnak, there even was an attempt to wall up her obelisks. While it is clear that much of this rewriting of Hatshepsut's history occurred only during the close of Thutmose III's reign, it is not clear why it happened, other than the typical pattern of self-promotion that existed among the pharaohs and their administrators, or perhaps saving money by not building new monuments for the burial of Thutmose III and instead, using the grand structures built by Hatshepsut.

Amenhotep II, the son of Thutmose III, who became a co-regent toward the end of his father's reign, is suspected by some as being the defacer during the end of the reign of a very old pharaoh. He would have had a motive because his position in the royal lineage was not so strong as to assure his elevation to pharaoh. He is documented, further, as having usurped many of Hatshepsut's accomplishments during his own reign. His reign is marked with attempts to break the royal lineage as well, not recording the names of his queens and eliminating the powerful titles and official roles of royal women, such as God's Wife of Amun. [48]

For many years, presuming that it was Thutmose III acting out of resentment once he became pharaoh, early modern Egyptologists presumed that the erasures were similar to the Roman damnatio memoriae. This appeared to make sense when thinking that Thutmose might have been an unwilling co-regent for years. This assessment of the situation probably is too simplistic, however. It is highly unlikely that the determined and focused Thutmose—not only Egypt's most successful general, but an acclaimed athlete, author, historian, botanist, and architect—would have brooded for two decades of his own reign before attempting to avenge himself on his stepmother and aunt. According to renowned Egyptologist Donald Redford:

Here and there, in the dark recesses of a shrine or tomb where no plebeian eye could see, the queen's cartouche and figure were left intact . which never vulgar eye would again behold, still conveyed for the king the warmth and awe of a divine presence. [49]

The erasures were sporadic and haphazard, with only the more visible and accessible images of Hatshepsut being removed had it been more complete, we would not now have so many images of Hatshepsut. Thutmose III may have died before these changes were finished and it may be that he never intended a total obliteration of her memory. In fact, we have no evidence to support the assumption that Thutmose hated or resented Hatshepsut during her lifetime. Had that been true, as head of the army, in a position given to him by Hatshepsut (who was clearly not worried about her co-regent's loyalty), he surely could have led a successful coup, but he made no attempt to challenge her authority during her reign, and her accomplishments and images remained featured on all of the public buildings she built for twenty years after her death.

Tyldesley hypothesis Edit

Joyce Tyldesley hypothesized that it is possible that Thutmose III, lacking any sinister motivation, may have decided toward the end of his life to relegate Hatshepsut to her expected place as the regent—which was the traditional role of powerful women in Egypt's court as the example of Queen Ahhotep attests—rather than pharaoh. Tyldesley fashions her concept as, that by eliminating the more obvious traces of Hatshepsut's monuments as pharaoh and reducing her status to that of his co-regent, Thutmose III could claim that the royal succession ran directly from Thutmose II to Thutmose III without any interference from his aunt.

The deliberate erasures or mutilations of the numerous public celebrations of her accomplishments, but not the rarely seen ones, would be all that was necessary to obscure Hatshepsut's accomplishments. Moreover, by the latter half of Thutmose III's reign, the more prominent high officials who had served Hatshepsut would have died, thereby eliminating the powerful religious and bureaucratic resistance to a change in direction in a highly stratified culture. Hatshepsut's highest official and closest supporter, Senenmut, seems either to have retired abruptly or died around Years 16 and 20 of Hatshepsut's reign, and was never interred in either of his carefully prepared tombs. [50] According to Tyldesley, the enigma of Senenmut's sudden disappearance "teased Egyptologists for decades" given "the lack of solid archaeological or textual evidence" and permitted "the vivid imagination of Senenmut-scholars to run wild" resulting in a variety of strongly held solutions "some of which would do credit to any fictional murder/mystery plot." [51] In such a scenario, newer court officials, appointed by Thutmose III, also would have had an interest in promoting the many achievements of their master in order to assure the continued success of their own families.

Presuming that it was Thutmose III (rather than his co-regent son), Tyldesley also put forth a hypothesis about Thutmose suggesting that his erasures and defacement of Hatshepsut's monuments could have been a cold, but rational attempt on his part to extinguish the memory of an "unconventional female king whose reign might possibly be interpreted by future generations as a grave offence against Ma'at, and whose unorthodox coregency" could "cast serious doubt upon the legitimacy of his own right to rule. Hatshepsut's crime need not be anything more than the fact that she was a woman." [52] Tyldesley conjectured that Thutmose III may have considered the possibility that the example of a successful female king in Egyptian history could demonstrate that a woman was as capable at governing Egypt as a traditional male king, which could persuade "future generations of potentially strong female kings" to not "remain content with their traditional lot as wife, sister and eventual mother of a king" and assume the crown. [53] Dismissing relatively recent history known to Thutmose III of another woman who was king, Sobekneferu of Egypt's Middle Kingdom, she conjectured further that he might have thought that while she had enjoyed a short, approximately four-year reign, she ruled "at the very end of a fading [12th dynasty] Dynasty, and from the very start of her reign the odds had been stacked against her. She was, therefore, acceptable to conservative Egyptians as a patriotic 'Warrior Queen' who had failed" to rejuvenate Egypt's fortunes. [2] In contrast, Hatshepsut's glorious reign was a completely different case: she demonstrated that women were as capable as men of ruling the two lands since she successfully presided over a prosperous Egypt for more than two decades. [2] If Thutmose III's intent was to forestall the possibility of a woman assuming the throne, as proposed by Tyldesley, it was a failure since Twosret and Neferneferuaten (possibly), a female co-regent or successor of Akhenaten, assumed the throne for short reigns as pharaoh later in the New Kingdom.

"Hatshepsut Problem" Edit

The erasure of Hatshepsut's name—whatever the reason or the person ordering it—almost caused her to disappear from Egypt's archaeological and written records. When nineteenth-century Egyptologists started to interpret the texts on the Deir el-Bahri temple walls (which were illustrated with two seemingly male kings) their translations made no sense. Jean-François Champollion, the French decoder of hieroglyphs, was not alone in feeling confused by the obvious conflict between words and pictures:

If I felt somewhat surprised at seeing here, as elsewhere throughout the temple, the renowned Moeris [Thutmose III], adorned with all the insignia of royalty, giving place to this Amenenthe [Hatshepsut], for whose name we may search the royal lists in vain, still more astonished was I to find upon reading the inscriptions that wherever they referred to this bearded king in the usual dress of the Pharaohs, nouns and verbs were in the feminine, as though a queen were in question. I found the same peculiarity everywhere. [54]

The "Hatshepsut Problem" was a major issue in late 19th century and early 20th century Egyptology, centering on confusion and disagreement on the order of succession of early 18th Dynasty pharaohs. The dilemma takes its name from confusion over the chronology of the rule of Queen Hatshepsut and Thutmose I, II, and III. [55] In its day, the problem was controversial enough to cause academic feuds between leading Egyptologists and created perceptions about the early Thutmosid family that persisted well into the 20th century, the influence of which still can be found in more recent works. Chronology-wise, the Hatshepsut problem was largely cleared up in the late 20th century, as more information about her and her reign was uncovered.

Archaeological discoveries Edit

The 2006 discovery of a foundation deposit including nine golden cartouches bearing the names of both Hatshepsut and Thutmose III in Karnak may shed additional light on the eventual attempt by Thutmose III and his son Amenhotep II to erase Hatshepsut from the historical record and the correct nature of their relationships and her role as pharaoh. [56]

Sphinx of Hatshepsut with unusual rounded ears and ruff that stress the lioness features of the statue, but with five toes – newel post decorations from the lower ramp of her tomb complex. The statue incorporated the nemes headcloth and a royal beard two defining characteristics of an Egyptian pharaoh. It was placed along with others in Hatshepsut's mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahri. Thutmose III later on destroyed them but they were reassembled by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Date: 1479–1458 BC. Period: New Kingdom. 18th Dynasty. Medium: Granite, paint. [57]

These two statues once resembled each other, however, the symbols of her pharaonic power: the Uraeus, Double Crown, and traditional false beard have been stripped from the left image many images portraying Hatshepsut were destroyed or vandalized within decades of her death, possibly by Amenhotep II at the end of the reign of Thutmose III, while he was his co-regent, in order to assure his own rise to pharaoh and then, to claim many of her accomplishments as his.

The image of Hatshepsut has been deliberately chipped away and removed – Ancient Egyptian wing of the Royal Ontario Museum

Dual stela of Hatshepsut (centre left) in the blue Khepresh crown offering wine to the deity Amun and Thutmose III behind her in the hedjet white crown, standing near Wosret – Vatican Museum. Date: 1473–1458 BC. 18th Dynasty. Medium: Limestone. [58]

This Relief Fragment Depicting Atum and Hatshepsut was uncovered in Lower Asasif, in the area of Hatshepsut's Valley Temple. It depicts the god Atum, one of Egypt's creator gods, at the left, investing Hatshepsut with royal regalia. Date: 1479–1458 BC. 18th Dynasty. Medium: Painted limestone. [59]

Hieroglyphs showing Thutmose III on the left and Hatshepsut on the right, she having the trappings of the greater role — Red Chapel, Karnak

A Fallen obelisk of Hatshepsut – Karnak.

Life-sized statue of Hatshepsut. She is shown wearing the nemes-headcloth and shendyt-kilt, which are both traditional for an Egyptian king. The statue is more feminine, given the body structure. Traces of blue pigments showed that the statue was originally painted. Date: 1479–1458 BC. Period: New Kingdom. 18th Dynasty. Medium: Indurated limestone, paint. Location: Deir el-Bahri, Thebes, Egypt. [60]

A kneeling statue of Hatshepsut located at the central sanctuary in Deir el-Bahri dedicated to the god Amun-Re. The inscriptions on the statue showed that Hatshepsut is offering Amun-Re Maat, which translates to truth, order or justice. This shows that Hatshepsut is indicating that her reign is based on Maat. Date: 1479–1458 BC. Period: New Kingdom. 18th Dynasty. Medium: Granite. Location: Deir el-Bahri, Thebes, Egypt. [61]

Left – Knot Amulet. Middle – Meskhetyu Instrument. Right – Ovoid Stone. On the knot amulet, Hatshepsut's name throne name, Maatkare, and her expanded name with Amun are inscribed. The Meskhetyu Instrument was used during a funerary ritual, Opening of the Mouth, to revive the deceased. On the Ovoid Stone, hieroglyphics was inscribed on it. The hieroglyphics translate to "The Good Goddess, Maatkare, she made [it] as her monument for her father, Amun-Re, at the stretching of the cord over Djeser-djeseru-Amun, which she did while alive." The stone may have been used as a hammering stone. [62]

Kneeling figure of Queen Hatshepsut, from Western Thebes, Deir el-Bahari, Egypt, c. 1475 BC. Neues Museum

Art Edit

The feminist artwork for The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago features a place setting for Hatshepsut. [63]

Television Edit

  • Farah Ali Abd El Bar portrayed her in the Discovery Channel documentary, Secrets of Egypt's Lost Queen. portrayed her in the 2009 TV adaptation of Horrible Histories (written by Terry Deary).
  • The Woman Who Would Be King by Kara Cooney, 2014
  • She is depicted as a direct ancestor, and the original recipient of the powers, of the titular protagonist of The Secrets of Isis in the series' opening credit sequence
  • Hend Sabri played her in the Egyptian movie “El Kanz” (The treasure) 2017

Music Edit

  • A reincarnated Hatshepsut is the subject of the Tina Turner song "I Might Have Been Queen".
  • Musician Jlin names a song after Hatshepsut on her 2017 album Black Origami.
  • Rapper Rapsody names a song after Hatshepsut on her 2019 album Eve.

Literature Edit

Hatshepsut has appeared as a fictional character in many novels, including the following:


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Hatshepsut as the Biblical Queen of Sheba

Before long [Hat]she[psut] will put aside all pretence and declare herself as the first ruler of the land, duly (though bizarrely) adding a manly beard to her statues.

King Solomon will enter the land at her request and will greatly assist her as Senenmut (Senmut), her multi-tasking Steward, her quasi-royal consort, and her (you name it) – Senenmut being, according to some “the real power behind the throne”.

Essential here is my identification of Hatshepsut with King Solomon’s “Queen of Sheba”:

Hatshepsut’s progression from Israel, Beersheba, to woman-ruler of Egypt

The following sequence (i-v) is basically how I see the extraordinary progression of the career of Hatshepsut Maatkare, from

  • a princess in King David’s realm, beginning in the king’s old age, through vicissitudes and desolation, and rebellion in the kingdom of Israel, to become
  • the Queen of Beersheba, appointed there by her maternal ‘grandfather’, Tolmai of (southern) Geshur (“Gezer”), who would succeed Amenhotep I as ruler of Egypt and Ethiopia, as Thutmose I, to her
  • visit and marriage to King Solomon in Jerusalem at the height of his wisdom and power, to her
  • subsequent marriage in Egypt to Thutmose II, whom she would succeed as
  • woman-ruler of Egypt and Ethiopia alongside her ‘nephew’ Thutmose III.

and my identification (in the same article) of Hatshepsut’s quasi-royal Steward, Senenmut, with King Solomon himself.

The following article provides us with an excellent account of the wise King Solomon and his “encyclopedic knowledge”: https://www.cardus.ca/comment/article/solomon-the-scholar/

Solomon’s own intellectual investments certainly paid off. His knowledge and wisdom far surpassed the leading sages and scholars of his day. Whether it was the sons of the East who were celebrated for the sciences and sagacity, or the Egyptians who were legendary for their knowledge of medicine, geometry, mathematics, astronomy and gnomic wisdom, Solomon was smarter and wiser still. He even topped a formidable list of “Who’s Who” among the great intellectuals in the ancient world. In verse 31 we read that Solomon was wiser than all men—better than the best and brighter than the brightest. This included such notables as the learned Levitical priests Ethan and Heman, and the more enigmatic Calcol and Darda, both sons of Mahol (a family with smart genes, evidently) who were prominent for their erudite contributions. If these men were renowned, Solomon was more so. Solomon’s fame was widespread, not just at home in Jerusalem, Judah or Israel, but in the surrounding nations, or as we might say today, globally. Note that this acclaim is not attributed to a pagan thinker, or to a secularist, if you will, but rather to an Israelite, to a person of faith, to a man of God.

If we were to update the point to the present, perhaps we might say that Solomon’s intellectual reputation would exceed Ox-Bridge, the Ivies, and Canada’s most celebrated institutions (not to mention other worldwide notables). He would be considered smarter than the best in the West and wiser than the academics in Asia. Shouldn’t there be a few persons or institutions of Christian persuasion with a comparable reputation today?

The boast about Solomon’s scholarship was not an empty one. Solomon was not only a prolific writer and composer, but he also possessed encyclopedic knowledge of the natural world. Of the 3,000 proverbs he composed, 375 of them are preserved for us in the Old Testament book of Proverbs that makes the fear of God the prerequisite for wisdom and knowledge. Also, Solomon’s grand total of 1005 songs include Psalm 72, which tackles kingly politics, and Psalm 127, which addresses the subjects of providence and parenting. Solomon’s number one hit, of course, was the Song of Songs, a lovely lyrical meditation on the holy meaning of marriage and sexuality that simultaneously symbolizes the ardent nature of God’s love for His people.

Solomon was shrewd to express his ideas in the influential genres of maxims and music. After all, our lives and the world are very much governed by proverbs, since apt and timely thoughts frequently fix our notions and determine our conduct (says Matthew Henry). As we read in Proverbs 15:1, for example, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” These are good words to believe in and to live by. And as Plato noted, rhythm and melody insinuate themselves in a life-shaping way into the innermost parts of the soul. Music has this mysterious ability to inscribe itself deep in our hearts. …. How smart it is, then, to devote considerable energy to the transformative republics of letters and lyrics in which Solomon’s own contributions are nothing short of astounding.

If this was not enough, Solomon was also an accomplished natural philosopher or scientist whose knowledge of trees, plants and animals is highlighted in verse 33. If we combine Solomon’s compositional achievements with his extensive knowledge of dendrology and botany, as well as zoology, ornithology, entomology and ichthyology, then we can see why it would be appropriate to acknowledge him, anachronistically so, as a true “Renaissance man.” Indeed, Solomon was the ancient world’s polymath par excellence.

Solomon’s prodigious efforts had a goal—shalom, or peace. His labour was devoted to securing the common good of the surrounding nations, and he worked especially hard to procure the well-being of his own people. As 1 Kings 4:25 memorably recalls, “Judah and Israel lived in safety, from Dan even to Beersheba, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, all the days of Solomon.” As if he were a new Adam, Solomon embodied the original cultural mandate of Genesis 1, which is constitutive of human identity as God’s image and likeness. On this foundation, Solomon’s fruitful labours illustrate for us the deep meaning and permanent nobility of the tasks of education, learning and culturemaking. If we could ask God for anything at all, shouldn’t we beseech him to restore a profound understanding of this abiding purpose in us?

Solomon’s efforts were not without recognition. As we have already seen, Solomon was internationally famous for his knowledge and wisdom. He was a veritable “tourist attraction” (as Walter Brueggemann says), for commoners and kings alike came from all over the world to obtain his insights. As the world’s centerpiece of culture and scholarship, many strangers came to Solomon where they were exposed, not only to Solomon’s knowledge and wisdom, but also to Yahweh—Solomon’s God.

His most famous guest, of course, was the Queen of Sheba. In the account of her visit in 1 Kings 10, we read that the Queen spoke with Solomon about all that was in her heart, and Solomon himself answered all her questions. As the texts states, he explained everything to her. I wish I could have overheard that conversation.

Upon hearing his wisdom and observing his prosperity, the Queen was overwhelmed. There was no more spirit left in her. Though skeptical of the things she had heard about Solomon at first, she came to believe that not even half of his magnificence had been reported to her. She proceeded to bless Solomon’s servants and subjects who attended to him and heard his teachings daily. Most importantly, she blessed God who had blessed Solomon and enabled him to become Israel’s wise, just, and righteous king. The Queen’s visit shows that the quest for truth and wisdom can ultimately lead to its divine source, demonstrating the evangelistic or missional potential of education and scholarship pursued avidly in God.

So, if Solomon were Senenmut, as I am firmly maintaining, then we would hardly expect the latter to have been any sort of ‘dumbbell’. Nor was he. The word “genius” is frequently applied to Senenmut, as regards his administration, his architecture, literature, and so on.

We read about his grand status in Egypt. “Senenmut did not underestimate his own abilities”: https://www.gardenvisit.com/biography/senenmut

Senenmut (or Senmut or Sen-En-Mut) held the titles of ‘Overseer of the Gardens of Amun’, ‘Steward of Amun’, ‘Overseer of all Royal Works’ and ‘Tutor to the Royal Heiress Neferure’. His dates are uncertain but he advised Queen Hatshepsut on many topics and is generally credited with the design of her mortuary temple at Deir el Bahri (Djeser-Djeseru). …. his tomb has the earliest astronomical ceiling. …. Over 25 other statues of the man described as ‘greatest of the great’ survive. They show him holding Neferure, or kneeling for an act of worship with outstretched arms. Without evidence, it has long been suggested that he was Hatshepsut’s lover. The influence of Hatshepsut’s temple garden is undocumented but as Gothein wrote ‘Here stands out for the very first time in the history of art a most magnificent idea – that of building three terraces, one above the other, each of their bordering walls set against the mountain-side, and made beautiful with pillared corridors, the actual shrine in a cavity in the highest terrace which was blasted out of the rock’. [See Marie-Luise Gothein on Egyptian gardens] Senenmut’s dates are unknown but Hatshepsut reigned from 1479–1458 BC [sic] and Senemut is reported to have been about 50 in the 16th year of her reign … and no event in his life is recorded after this date ….

Senemut did not underestimate his own abilities:

He says: “I was the greatest of the great in the whole land
one who heard the hearing alone in the privy council, steward of [Amon],
Senemut , triumphant.”
“I was the real favorite of the king, acting as one praised of his lord
every day, the overseer of the cattle of Amon, Senemut.”
“I was ‘… of truth, not showing partiality with whose injunctions
the Lord of the Two Lands was satisfied attached to Nekhen, prophet
of Mat, Senemut .”
“I was one who entered in [love], sand came forth in favor, making
glad the heart of the king every day, the companion, and master of .the
palace, Senemut .”
“I commanded … in the storehouse of divine offerings of Amon
every tenth day the overseer of the storehouse of Amon, Senemut .”
“I conducted … of the gods every day, for the sake of the life,
prosperity, and health of the king overseer of the … of Amon, Senemut.”
“I was a foreman of foremen, superior of the great, … [overseer] of
all [works] of the house of silver, conductor of every handicraft, chief of
the prophets of Montu in Hermonthis, Senemut .”
“I was one I… to whom the affairs of the Two Lands were [reported
that which South and North contributed was on my seal, the labor of
all countries … was [under] my charge.”
“I was one, whose steps were known in the palace a real confidant
of the king, his beloved: overseer of the gardens of Amon, Senemut.”

Senenmut could also boast: “… now, I have penetrated into every writing of the priests and I am not ignorant of (everything) that happened from the first occasion in order to make flourish my offerings” (Urk. IV 415.14–16 Morenz 2002, p. 134).46”

“An aspect of Senenmut’s originality was his invention of a number of composite devices, or cryptograms”. We read about this in Hatshepsut, from Queen to Pharaoh (ed. By Catharine H. Roehrig, Renée Dreyfus, Cathleen A. Keller), pp. 117-118:

An aspect of Senenmut’s originality was his invention of a number of composite devices, or cryptograms. Two of these appear on two block statues from Karnak that depict Senenmut and the King’s Daughter, Neferure … incised near the head of the princess …. The first cryptogram shows a flying vulture, with a protective wedjat eye superimposed on its body, grasping a set of ka arms in its talons. It faces a striding male figure with a composition was and ankh device instead of a head and holding a tall was sceptre and an ankh sign in the usual manner of Egyptian divinities. (The was symbolised power, the ankh eternal life). These cryptograms have been interpreted as standing for Hatshepsut’s prenomen (Maatkare) and nomen (Khenemet Amun Hatshepsut), respectively … and thus as constituting new ways of writing the king’s cartouches on the statue. Senenmut stresses their originality in an additional text inscribed on both statues on the left of the princess’s head: “Images which I have made from the devising of my own heart and from my own labor they have not been found in the writing of the ancestors”.

The most common device associated with Senenmut, however, is the uraeus cryptogram, which takes the form of a cobra crowned with bovine horns and a solar disc rearing up form a pair of ka arms …. This emblem was initially interpreted as a rebus rendering of the kingly Horus name of Hatshepsut, Wosretkaw, … and subsequently as a rebus of her prenomen: Maat (the cobra) + ka + Re (the sun disk) = Maatkare.’ …. Alternatively, it has been understood … as referring to the harvest god- dess Renenutet, Mistress of Food, who takes the form of the cobra, guardian of the granary from rodent predators (ka here meaning “provisions” or “food”).” As recent scholars have noted, it quite likely referred to both the king and the goddess. ….


Stone kneeling figure of Chalchiuhtlicue

This stone sculpture represents Chalchiuhtlicue, the Mexica water goddess. Chalchiuhtlicue means “she of the jade skirt” in Nahuatl, the language spoken by the Mexica.* She was associated with the spring water, rivers and lakes, and also with birth. According to an Mexica creation myth there were four suns (or worlds) before the present one. Chalchiuhtlicue presided over the fourth one, which was destroyed by floods and its people turned into fishes.

Kneeling Figure of Chalchiuhtlicue, c. 1325-1521 C.E., Aztec, granite, 30 x 18 cm, Mexico © Trustees of the British Museum

Female figurines, kneeling or standing, are a recurring theme in Mexica sculpture. Most of them have distinctive characteristics that identify them as fertility goddesses. They are always represented as young women and they wear a variety of headdresses. In some cases, like in this example, their hair is arranged in two large tassels on both sides of the head. Other fertility deities, such as the maize goddesses, wear a large rectangular headdress made of rigid bark paper and ornamented with rosettes. Here, Chalchiuhtlicue wears the traditional shawl (quechquemitl), also trimmed with tassels, over a long skirt. Her eyes were probably made of shell, like in many other Mexica sculptures.

This piece was acquired by William Bullock, a famous collector of Mexican antiquities, in 1823 and exhibited at the Egyptian Hall, in Piccadilly.

The image of the goddess Chalchiuhtlicue figures prominently in the codices as a beautiful young woman representing the purity and preciousness of water. She is invariably painted blue, signaling her role in mythology as the wife, mother or sister of Tlaloc, the Rain God. She is associated with spring water used to irrigate the fields and, as the patron saint of fishermen, with lakes and rivers. She also plays an important role in birth ceremonies. Each figure wears a headband adorned with large ear tassels, as well as a tasseledquechquemitl (shoulder cape) over a long skirt.

*The people and culture we know as “Aztec” referred to themselves as the Mexica (pronounced Me-shee-ka).

Suggested Readings:

C. McEwan, Ancient Mexico in the British (London, The British Museum Press, 1994).

M. E. Miller and K. Taube, An illustrated dictionary of the Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya (London, Thames and Hudson, 1997).


Biography of Aaron Douglas

Aaron Douglas, the father of Black American art, told his wife in 1925 that through his work he would upend the notion that you have to be white to be truly beautiful. He said: “It takes lots of training or a tremendous effort to down the idea that thin lips and straight nose is the apogee of beauty.” His body of work went some way to realizing this aim and in 1963 president JFK welcomed him into the White House in honor of his achievements.


The True Story of the Freed Slave Kneeling at Lincoln’s Feet

We live in a moment of literally falling heroes. The Emancipation Memorial in Washington, D.C.—a statue erected in 1876, funded by money donated by former slaves, and designed and commissioned by whites—features Abraham Lincoln towering over a kneeling and shirtless African American man with broken shackles around his wrists . Considerable ink has been spilled discussing Lincoln’s mixed legacy on race and slavery as well as the speech Frederick Douglass delivered at the memorial’s dedication.

Yet the story of the other figure in the Emancipation Memorial controversy has been largely overlooked, just as it was in his own day. The crouching Black man is modeled on a real person: Archer Alexander, who lived from around 1813 to 1880. I am proud to be the inaugural holder of the Archer Alexander Distinguished Chair in the Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis. As far as I know, I am the sole holder of a chaired academic position in the United States named after a fugitive slave other than Frederick Douglass.

Alexander’s fame came after his death, commemorated in the cool curves of bronze that bear his likeness in the Emancipation Memorial, and in his memorialization by his benefactor, William Greenleaf Eliot. As we say the names of George Floyd and Eric Garner and Breonna Taylor, we should say his name, too—and listen to his voice.

What we know about Alexander comes mainly from an 1885 biography by Eliot, an idealistic white New England reformer, Unitarian minister, and founder of Washington University. Eliot wrote in part to explain his own moderate pro-Union stance in St. Louis during the war years, a place in which he was known as the “conservative radical.” Missouri was a simmering stew of North and South, and its residents learned to tread carefully around the “slave question.”

It isn’t clear how the two met. Alexander was fleeing his master, a Mr. Hollman, in neighboring St. Charles County, in the spring of 1863. He had overheard Hollman conspiring to blow up a bridge used by the Union Army, and when Alexander notified authorities, he knew he had to leave. He fled to the city, where greater anonymity afforded cover from slave catchers. Eliot sheltered Alexander under the military protection of the provost-marshal and tried to buy his freedom from Hollman. But the enraged Hollman refused to sell his escaped laborer, claiming that “he didn’t mean to play into the hands of any Yankee Abolitionist.” Instead, he sent Southern sympathizers, including a city policeman, to kidnap the fugitive and jail him. Eliot, drawing on his own social connections and the powers of the Union Army, secured his release, bought him a new set of clothes, and secreted him across the river to Alton, Illinois, until the change in Missouri’s emancipation laws took effect. After the war, Alexander remained employed in the Eliot household for the rest of his life.

There was much more to Alexander’s life besides his relationship with Eliot. He was married to a woman enslaved west of St. Louis, with whom he had 10 children. Though we don’t know much about his personal life, the experiences of other African Americans allow us to piece together the myriad loyalties and affiliations available to Alexander. It is likely he had ties to local Black communities that were emerging in the 1840s, to networks of African American ministers like John Berry Meachum, who opened a school for African American children at the First Baptist Church. When the school grew to over 300 pupils, local authorities moved swiftly to close it down and accused Meachum of stirring up trouble. Instead, five more schools opened in Black churches around the city. Missouri then passed a stringent literacy law in 1847 that forbade any school teaching of Black students and also banned the holding of Black church services without the presence of a white constable or police officer. In response, Meachum created a new school on a barge in the Mississippi River, beyond the reach of state jurisdiction. Students daily commuted by skiff out to the Freedom School.

African Americans, like other migrants to the American West, built worlds for themselves when and where they could. The silence of the fugitive slave, the stillness and nakedness of the figure of Archer Alexander on the Emancipation Memorial, may well reflect the fragments of African American life that whites were able to see, but they should not be mistaken for empty space or lack of a voice. Eliot represented Alexander’s opportunity for protection from enslavement, but Alexander also offered Eliot a way to preserve his growing commitments to racial justice and religious liberalism. They promised one another expansive visions of society that could only be glimpsed—and maybe still are only seen—as partial and unfinished.

When Eliot visited the sculptor Thomas Ball, in his Italian studio in 1869, he spied a statue created after Lincoln’s death featuring the president and an “ideal figure of a slave wearing a liberty cap.” He inquired whether Ball might be interested in creating something similar for the Freedmen’s Memorial Society, but he requested two changes. First, rather than “receiving the gift of freedom passively,” Eliot requested that the slave be “helping to break the chain that had bound him.” Second, he forwarded a photograph of Archer Alexander: Rather than an ideal slave, he wanted the visage of his longtime employee.

Eliot nursed Alexander in his last days, paying for his expenses and ensuring proper medical care. After Alexander’s death, Eliot presided at his funeral at the African Methodist Church and paid his burial expenses.

To be sure, Eliot was a white elite man of his times. His memoir of Alexander is deeply racist, the language he uses painfully patronizing. Both he and Alexander navigated the murky waters toward a future they could not see or even fully imagine. But is our situation any less cloudy? Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and a neighborhood association of young African Americans want the Emancipation Memorial removed some of Archer Alexander’s descendants think it is important to leave it in place, while others (including the eldest daughter of Muhammad Ali, who was a distant descendent of Alexander) find it offensive. Prominent politicians have also weighed in, in far more predictable ways. But it is the deep ambivalence among African Americans and the pain revealed therein that exposes the unfinished business of our racial politics.

Here were no impartial judges, no unprejudiced witnesses, to observe or record the facts. Right-minded men could hardly tell where the lines of right and wrong crossed each other. Living in St. Louis the whole time and long before, and knowing many of those engaged in the strife on either side, I thought I saw both sides as they really were, but, in truth, I saw neither. The complications of action and motive, both right and wrong, were past finding out. One thing, however, is sure: that the right prevailed at last.

Alexander’s response remains troubling. When Eliot showed him a photograph of the monument after its installation and told him that he would be forever remembered alongside Abraham Lincoln, the elderly man apparently “laughed all over.” Eliot’s recounting continues: “He presently sobered down and exclaimed, ‘Now I’se a white man! Now I’se free! I thank the good Lord that he has ’livered me from all my troubles, and I’se lived to see this.’”

The minister took this response as sincere joy and gratitude. But was it mockery? Bitterness? Or some other emotion that Alexander could not express within the vexed bounds of his relationship to his white benefactor? Whether we move statues or keep them in place, our history in all its complexity needs to remain in plain sight. We cannot lock it behind walls or barricade it with cement. We need to move through that place of pain until the statues themselves become irrelevant.

Laurie Maffly-Kipp is the Archer Alexander distinguished professor at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis. Her most recent book is Setting Down the Sacred Past: African American Race Histories, 1780–1920.


Watch the video: The Kneeling Statue of Senenmut