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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

37

The King-Queen of Egypt

In all antiquity, history records only one woman who successfully calculated a systematic rise to power during a time of peace: Hatshepsut, meaning “the Foremost of Noble Women,” an Egyptian king of the Eighteenth Dynasty who ruled during the fifteenth century BC and negotiated a path from the royal nursery to the very pinnacle of authority. It is not precise to call Hatshepsut a queen, despite the English understanding of the word; once she took the throne, Hatshepsut could only be called a king.

The new Lapham's Quarterly has an interesting piece on Hatshepsut, if you're looking to brush up on some Egyptology this morning. ("And all mornings.")



37 Comments / Post A Comment

Vera Knoop

Good old Hattie!

beatrix

Thank you! I'm so excited!@l

teaandcakeordeath

Brushing up on Egyptology was fun.

Questions:

1) Did anyone else feel like this was a 1500BC Why Women Still Cant Have It All?

2) So how do you please a statue?

katherinerine

@teaandcakeordeath To me it read like it was written by a college student bent on shocking their audience with the mention of newfound "scandalous" adult things. Masturbation! Incest! BOOBIES!!!!

teaandcakeordeath

@katherinerine
Ha, true. Though I do love some sensationalized historical smut.

Did you KNOW that people in the past had SEX? (And presumably boobies)

katherinerine

@teaandcakeordeath I'm sorry, that's not possible. I invented sex with my boyfriend in college. It's really fun, though, you should try it.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@katherinerine You should patent that shit, because other people might catch on... YOU'LL BE A GAZILLIONAIRE

teaandcakeordeath

@katherinerine
I'm impressed! I look forward to reading your biography in 2000 years.

Inconceivable!

Oh fab, I am a sucker for Egyptology, and Hatshepsut was the best. I saw her mummy--or what they think is her mummy, anyway--in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo a few years ago. It was a weird fangirl moment for me.

Es
Es

@Inconceivable! Me too! Every time the tour guide mentioned her it was always as 'HatshepsutTheFemaleKing' - all one word.

kickupdust

ooh this is great!

fondue with cheddar

At the very moment I read the name Hatshepsut, someone sneezed. I almost said "Hatshepsut" instead of "bless you" because it just sounds appropriate.

whizz_dumb

@a whole thing of candy beans (formerly jen325) Plus, "bless you" is religious/spiritual so I usually say "salud" but I think saying "Hatshepsut" after someone sneezes is pretty great. It's so similar to "gazuntite"! You are really on to something here.

fondue with cheddar

@whizz_dumb Yeah, I'm not religious but I grew up saying "bless you" so it's sort of ingrained. I'm on board with making "Hatshepsut" the new thing. It also kind of sounds like a sneeze.

Es
Es

@a whole thing of candy beans (formerly jen325) I'm definitely starting doing that. Bets on how many people will say 'what?' and how many will just assume they've misheard?

fondue with cheddar

@Es I imagine there would be a pretty fair amount of both.

whizz_dumb

@Es "HAACHOOO!"

"Hatshepsut"

"Are you mocking me!?"

Ophelia

I wish Hatshepsut wasn't such a mouthful, or I'd totally name a kid that.

Megasus

@Ophelia Hattie for short?

whizz_dumb

@Ophelia I wanted to name my kitten Hatshepsut but for similar reasons I went with Nefertiti. She is definitely an Egyptian Goddess with her tabby black lines extending from her eyes.

Lucienne

DOES THIS MEAN WE CAN TALK ABOUT MARA, DAUGHTER OF THE NILE?

A book I haven't reread since I learned what Orientalism was, but before that it was the greatest thing ever, right? Like, Scarlett O'Hara in ancient Egypt.

Antonius Block

@Lucienne YES! I think I was 13 the last time I read that book, but dangerous double agent intrigue in ancient Egypt was my jam. And I definitely remember swooning over Sheftu.

Lucienne

@Antonius Block Yes, Sheftu was smokin'.

Super Nintendo Chalmers

@Lucienne ABSOLUTELY! The grave-robbing scene where he gets trapped in the dark had me on the edge of my 12 year-old seat.

Also it is super interesting to me that the ideas about Hatshepsut-as-tyrant in that book were totally informed by the Egyptological thinking at the time, which was totally informed by the rigid gender roles contemporary with that thinking. Like OF COURSE a female pharaoh would have been The Worst because we can't have women in positions of political power. That's just WACKY.

bocadelperro

@Lucienne AHAHA i found that book in a forgotten corner of my grade school library, and I thought I was the only one who read it! I haven't thought about it in years. Time for a re-read!

New Hoarder

I love Egyptology stuff, but I am bummed because this is all I can read on The Hairpin today. Website is broken due to Instagram again. =-(

Megasus

Hatshepsut was a freaking boss. Who cares if she had to be called King and wear the men's ceremonial clothing? SHE STILL HELD ALL THE CARDS.

Slapfight

@Megano! She's my favorite! My art history teacher spoke about her with such energy and enthusiasm I'm pretty sure no one forgot any details.
Except I have now, 11 years later.

Megasus

@Slapfight I learned about her myself, so there is lots of stuff I still remember. Like, after she died, they basically destroyed all her monuments and everything she worked on. I can't remember why though, but that's what made a lot of people think she was the worst for a really long time.

the ninth tailor

@Megano! It isn't very clear why! Current thought is that they were destroyed either by her stepson or his son, iir my last Egyptology course c, several decades after her death, for their own political reasons. Which isn't a very exciting answer, but at least we're moving away from taking for absolute granted that it couldn't have been about anything other than her being a woman.

Megasus

@the ninth tailor Yeah after I posted that I remembered something to that effect. They were all about destroying the works of dead monarchs if there were powerful enough factions who didn't like them. It didn't necessarily mean it was because she was a woman.

TARDIStime

@Megano!
If my recollection of Yr 12 ancient history is correct, I believe that yes, it was definitely a big thing for most new monarchs to destroy any cool stuff the previous rulers had built.
I can't remember which Pharaoh it was, though, who went so far as to actually deface monuments left by the previous Pharaohs and change their faces to look like his face, as well as having his name carved over the previous Pharaoh's name. Seriously, it is KILLING ME that I can't remember.

the ninth tailor

@TARDIStime Ramesses II totally did that! It worked, too: look how famous he still is, and it took centuries for modern archaeologists to figure out what he'd done. (Ramesses is also the one who was so proud of his nose that he ordered his priests to do their best to preserve it during mummification, since breaking the nose is an unavoidable part of the process. What they ended up doing was stuffing it with cardamom pods to give it its shape back, desperately confusing the people who found his body later.)

Probs

I remember I impressed a 9th grade teacher when we were looking at a sculpture of Hatshepsut with a beard and I made some sort of strap-on reference. It was manmade, but the lady's beard was still big, dig? She had the swinginest beard in all the land.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Probs I feel like I should high-five you after that? I don't know, in the spirit of the swinging beard?

Probs

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose I like internet high fives, they are cool with me. I will imagine it is a swingin' beard-five (high-beard?)

TARDIStime

@Probs
That's awesome! I love when teachers have a sense of humour about flippant sex-related remarks in the classroom instead of sending you to the principal's office for a lecture on "sex as a Seriously Unfunny Business".
Props for the wit, Probs!

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