temple of amon

Hatshepsut

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.

the winged Goddess Nut, flanked by the Two Eyes, represented kneeling upon a shrine, holding the ‘Ankh’ (Life) in Her hands, and spreading Her wings in protection.
Detail from the coffin of Harwa, “Doorkeeper in the Temple of the God Amon” at 'Uaset’-Thebes, VII century BCE. Now in the Field Museum of Chicago…

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)

plaster cast restored in colour (1825, British Museum) of the relief represented on the south wall of the Forecourt of the Temple of Amon, Khnum, Horus, and Ramses II, Lower Kush/Nubia (50 km south of Aswan, now called Beit Wali):
the southern war of King Ramses II (in the first few years of His reign) against the kushite rebels.
King Ramses II standing in His War Chariot with drawn bow, charges the Kushites who flee before Him.
Behind the King are represented two of His sons, the Royal Princes Amonherwenemef (another name of Amonherkhepshef, above) and Khaemwaset (below)

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 Sethi I (wearing the Nemes with the Uraeus) kneeling and offering a statuette of Maat (that is the offering of righteousness and truth) to the God Ptah.
Great Temple of the God Amon-Ra at ‘Ipet-sut’ (Karnak), 'Uaset’-Thebes, interior wall of the Hypostyle Hall, detail from the north wing of the vestibule

detail from the Great Temple of Amon-Ra at ‘Ipet-sut’ (Karnak), 'Uaset’-Thebes:
in the middle, the Solar Orb (representing Horus of Behdet) with the Two Uraei and the 'Ankh’-signs; below, the hieroglyphs “nb pt” whose meaning is “the Lord of the Sky” (referred to Horus of Behdet as Solar Orb).
At left and at right, two images of Horus in His form of sacred falcon wearing the Double Crown and standing upon the Uraeus

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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)

the standard of the Tenth Nome of Lower Egypt, “Black Bull” (Km-wr)/Athribites, whose capital city is Athribi (’Ḥwt-t3-ḥrj-jb’), with a sacred bull and the hieroglyph ’km’ (“black”, I 9 of the Gardiner’s Sign List, representing a crocodile skin with spines).
Detail from the north wall of the Red Chapel of Hatshepsut in the Great Temple of the God Amon-Ra at ‘Ipet-Sut’ (Karnak), 'Uaset’-Thebes

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plaster cast restored in colour (1825, British Museum) of the relief represented on the south wall of the Forecourt of the Temple of Amon, Khnum, Horus, and Ramses II, Lower Kush/Nubia (50 km south of Aswan, now called Beit Wali):
scene related to the end of the southern war of King Ramses II (in the first few years of His reign) against the kushite rebels.
King Ramses II enthroned in a shrine (topped by a row of uraei) receiving the tributes from the Kushites (to the left, not visible here); the King is represented  holding the ‘Ankh’ (Life) and the white mace, wearing a composite Blue Crown with the Solar disk, the two feathers, ram’s horns, and uraei.
To the left,
(in the upper register) the son of Ramses II, the Royal Prince Amonherwenemef (another name of Amonherkhepshef, at right); and the Viceroy of Kush, Amenemopet (at left);
(in the lower register) two fan-bearers and the vizier

a double representation of the “Horus name” of King Ramses II:

K3-nḫt-mrj-M3ˁt , whose meaning is “Victorious Bull, Beloved of Maat”

The God Horus is represented in His form of sacred falcon (wearing the Double Crown) perched on the top of the palace facade (the ‘serekh’) where is inscribed the Horus-name of the King; behind Him, the Solar Orb with the Uraeus (wearing the White Crown, and with an hanging 'Ankh’).
Detail from the ceiling of the Hypostyle Hall of the Great Temple of the God Amon-Ra at 'Ipet-Sut’ (Karnak), 'Uaset’-Thebes

hieroglyphs from the enclosure of King Thutmosi III located in the Court between the Fifth and the Sixth Pylons of the Great Temple of Amon-Ra at ‘Ipet-Sut’ (“Karnak”):

“Amon-Ra the Lord of the Sky, the King of the Gods”
(Jmn-Rˁ nb pt nsw Nṯrw)

To the right, the two feathers of the Crown of Amon-Ra: the two feathers of the Crown of Amon-Ra are a pair of falcon tail feathers, and they are a symbol of the Two Lights that are the Two Eyes identified in the material world with the Sun and the Moon; and moreover they are also a symbol of the Two Maat-Goddesses