temple of amon


Queen (c. 1508 BCE–c. 1458 BCE)

Hatshepsut was the longest reigning female pharaoh in Egypt, ruling for 20 years in the 15th century B.C. She is considered one of Egypt’s most successful pharaohs.

The only child born to the Egyptian king Thutmose I by his principal wife and queen, Ahmose, Hatshepsut was expected to be queen. After the death of her father at age 12, Hatsheput married her half-brother Thutmose II, whose mother was a lesser wife — a common practice meant to ensure the purity of the royal bloodline. During the reign of Thutmose II, Hatshepsut assumed the traditional role of queen and principal wife.

Thutmose II died after a 15 year reign, making Hatshepsut a widow before the age of 30. Hatshepsut had no sons — only a daughter, Neferure — and the male heir was an infant, born to a concubine named Isis.

Since Thutmose III was too young to assume the throne unaided, Hatshepsut served as his regent. Initially, Hatshepsut bore this role traditionally until, for reasons that are unclear, she claimed the role of pharaoh. Technically, Hatshepsut did not ‘usurp’ the crown, as Thutmose III was never deposed and was considered co-ruler throughout her life, but it is clear that Hatshepsut was the principal ruler in power.

She began having herself depicted in the traditional king’s kilt and crown, along with a fake beard and male body. This was not an attempt to trick people into thinking she was male; rather, since there were no words or images to portray a woman with this status, it was a way of asserting her authority.

Under Hatshepsut’s reign, Egypt prospered. Unlike other rulers in her dynasty, she was more interested in ensuring economic prosperity and building and restoring monuments throughout Egypt and Nubia than in conquering new lands.

She built the temple Djeser-djeseru (“holiest of holy places”), which was dedicated to Amon and served as her funerary cult, and erected a pair of red granite obelisks at the Temple of Amon at Karnak, one of which still stands today. Hatshepsut also had one notable trading expedition to the land of Punt in the ninth year of her reign. The ships returned with gold, ivory and myrrh trees, and the scene was immortalized on the walls of the temple.

The queen died in early February of 1458 B.C. In recent years, scientists have speculated the cause of her death to be related to an ointment or salve used to alleviate a chronic genetic skin condition - a treatment that contained a toxic ingredient. Testing of artifacts near her tomb have revealed traces of a carcinogenic substance.

Late in his reign, Thutmose III began a campaign to eradicate Hatshepsut’s memory: He destroyed or defaced her monuments, erased many of her inscriptions and constructed a wall around her obelisks. While some believe this was the result of a long-held grudge, it was more likely a strictly political effort to emphasize his line of succession and ensure that no one challenged his son Amenhotep II for the throne.

detail of a column from the Great Temple of Amon at Tolkte (now called “Naga/Naqa”, to the east of the 6th cataract of the Nile), Meroë (Sudan):
on the lower register,
Queen/Kandake Amanitore (wearing the Double Crown) making adorations to Ra-Harakhty (falcon-headed and wearing the Solar disk);
on the upper register,
King NatakAmani (wearing the Solar disk with the two feathers, the “Crown of Amon”) making adorations to Amon-Ra (ram-headed, wearing the Solar disk with the two feathers)

detail from the coffin of PaankhenAmun, “Doorkeeper of the Temple of the God Amon” at ‘Uaset’-Thebes (ca. 945-715 BCE); now in the Museum of the Art Institute of Chicago…
The God Osiris in His form of personified 'Djed’-pillar wearing the Two Feathers Crown with the Solar disk, ram’s horns, and uraei, holding the Flail and the 'Heqa’-scepter and standing upon a shrine. He is flanked by the Two Eyes and by two images of the God Horus of Behdet in His form of sacred falcon wearing the Solar disk and spreading His wings in protection


King Ramses II offering wine before the God Khnum enthroned (ram-headed, wearing the ‘Atef’-Crown with two feathers) and the Goddess Sati (Sṯjt); in the middle, the altar with various offerings. Behind the King is represented the Goddess Anuki (ˁnqt) holding two staves with 'Heb-Sed’ signs (the symbol of the Royal Jubilee of the King).
Scene from the north wall of the Offering Hall of the rock-cut Temple of Amon, Khnum, Horus, and Ramses II, Lower Kush/Nubia (50 km south of Aswan, now called Beit el-Wali)

‘Ipet-Sut’ (“Karnak”), the highly sacred Precinct of the God Amon-Ra at 'Uaset’-Thebes:
the Second Pylon, view from “the Court of King Sheshonq I” (the Forecourt).
The Second Pylon was built by King Horemheb (ca. 1323 BCE), and it was the main gate to the Great Temple of Amon-Ra until the construction of the First Court (by King Sheshonq I) and of the First Pylon (by King Nectanebo I, ca. 380 BCE). To the right, the open papyrus column of the Kiosk of King Taharqa

detail from the throne of one of the colossal statues of King Ramses II located in front of the Pylon of the ‘Ipet-Resyt’ Temple of Amon (the “Temple of Luxor”):
the Nile-God Hapy in His two forms of Hapi of Upper Egypt (at left, with lilies) and Hapi of Lower Egypt (at right, with papyrus flowers) performing the sm3-t3wy, the ritual for the “Union of the Two Lands”.
On the top of the sm3-t3wy symbol, the cartouche with the name of King Ramses II as “Son of Ra”,
Rˁ-msj-sw-mrj-Jmn , “Ra is the one Who gave Him birth (Ramses), Beloved of Amon”,
flanked by the two Uraei and by the “Horus-name” of the King (represented twice),
K3-nḫt-mrj-M3ˁt , “The Strong Bull, Beloved of Maat”

the ‘Ipet-Resyt’ Temple of the God Amon at 'Uaset’-Thebes (the “Luxor Temple”):
the entrance-gate of the Pylon, flanked by two colossal votive statues of King Ramses II enthroned. To the left, one of the two obelisks of Ramses II (the other obelisk now is at the center of the Place de la Concorde in Paris). On the background, the First Court, “the Great Court of Ramses II”, and another colossal votive statue of King Ramses II

colossal red granite statue (H.5,4m) of the Nile-God Hapy wearing papyrus reeds on His head and bringing an offering table.
From the Temple of the God Amon-Gereb at Thonis-Herakleion, city next to Alexandria and sunken in the Mediterranean Sea during the VIII century CE.
ca. 380-250 BCE. Now in the Maritime Museum of Alexandria.

Underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio (left) oversees the arrival of the colossal statue of Hapy.
Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

the Eastern Temple of King Ramses II, called “The Temple of Amon-Ra-Harakhty Who hears the petitions”, located at the far eastern side of ‘Ipet-Sut’ (“Karnak”), the highly sacred precinct of the God Amon-Ra at 'Uaset’-Thebes:
the two colossal Osirian statues of King Ramses II in the Outer Hall of the Temple.
On the background, the “Chapel of the Hearing Ear”, that is the Contra Temple of King Thutmosis III located on the rear wall of the Festival Hall of King Thutmosis III (the 'Akhmenu’)