Monday, 10 February 2014

Rare wooden statue of Egyptian female "King" Hatshepsut discovered

Queen Hatshepsut was one of a few female Pharaohs that ever ruled in ancient Egypt. Of the female Pharaohs, her reign is one of the most well-known, second to Cleopatra and the longest. In her honor, her temple still stands today. This artifact gives archaeologists a vast array of knowledge.
Hatshepsut was born in the fifteenth century BC. She had two brothers and a half-brother who were in line to become Pharaoh. Her full brothers died very young, which put her half-brother in line for the throne. His name was Tuthmose II, named after their father. A female Pharaoh was unheard of during these times, which is why she was initially overlooked to become queen. She eventually became ruler due to a lot of different factors.
Prior to her reign, she led the country while her half-brother and husband Tuthmose II were still alive (yes, she was married to her half-brother.) Although he was still considered king during this time, he was too ill to act the part. He ruled for three to four years before his death.
This is being called the most important discovery in the Valley of the Kings since King Tutankhamun.

Egyptologists have speculated for years that one of the mummies in a 1903 find was that of Queen Hatshepsut, ruler from between 1503 and 1482 BC, when Egypt was at its most powerful.
After a few years as regent, Hatshepsut ascended to the throne beside her nephew, and became a full co-ruler. The concept of divine kingship in ancient Egypt has its roots in religious myth, which defined the roles of both kings and queens. Principal among these myths was the story of Isis and Osiris, in which the latter was one of the mythical divine rulers of Egypt and the former was his consort. Osiris was killed and dismembered by his brother Seth, after which Isis collected the pieces of her husband’s body and brought Horus, the son of her union with Osiris, to take revenge on his uncle Seth and take over the throne of the Two Lands. The identification of the king with the god Horus and the masculine principle of fertility, symbolized by a bull, meant that the king’s role could not adequately be fulfilled by a woman. In ancient Egypt, the king was always associated with male images, such as the bull and the falcon, while his queen was identified with the vulture goddess Nekhbet. Thus a woman, according to religious dogma, could not take the office of pharaoh. 

However, the king could not rule alone, but had to have a woman as his counterpart. Without Isis, the kingship could not function; thus queenship was a counterpart and balance to kingship, with its own well-defined mythical and ritual roles. The two offices were intertwined, and mutually dependent, but fundamentally different and not interchangeable.

When Hatshepsut took the kingship, she had to create a new story of her divine birth from the god, which would be shown on her temples in order to convince the people that she was actually chosen by the god. She had herself depicted in the traditional male garments of the pharaoh, with all of the usual kingly iconography.


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