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This is the story of Hatshepsut, daughter to Pharaoh Thutmose I and wife to Pharaoh Thutmose II, her half brother. Upon the death of her husband, she became regent to his two-year-old son. But Hatshepsut was not satisfied with a mere regency....
From early on, Hatshepsut trusted her worth. She believed that she could be more than wife of Pharaoh, mother, Queen, and regent to Pharaoh. Hatshepsut held the honorific "God's Wife of Amun," a religious appointment that would help protect her status among noble women. However, Hatshepsut conceived of more. After her husband's death, she used her knowledge of the cult of Amun to shamelessly lay claim to a divine birth as daughter of Amun-Ra (who was king of the gods). Such maneuverings ensured her position as highest ranking priestess of the land and cleared the way for her to rule unopposed as King.
Hatshepsut believed in her right to rule. Her move from regent to Pharaoh took everyone by surprise, but Hatshepsut was a brilliant strategist. Through cunning, a little mystical play on reality, and results, she won over the skeptics (or had them replaced).
Hatshepsut brought peace and prosperity to Egypt. She funded exploration to open new trade routes (and to keep her army busy) and commissioned many impressive building projects that demonstrated great leaps in architectural style and grace. While battles were still fought, Hatshepsut did not have a policy of conquest. Her reign was relatively bloodless.
With power comes sacrifice. The life of a Pharaoh is full of ritual and repetition. Despite being the most powerful person in the land, Hatshepsut would have been rarely alone -- a slave to her role.
BEHIND THE VEIL
A life of power isn't always what it seems. Every private thought and feeling is hidden behind a public face. This song hints at Hatshepsut's alleged love affair with Senemut, a man of lesser birth who rose through the courts to become the chief steward and architect. This affair would not have been publicly celebrated but lived behind a veil of secrecy.
VALLEY OF THE KING
Hatshepsut's mortuary temple, Djeser-Djeseru, was an architectural wonder. Never before had a Pharaoh created a structure of such grace. It was built with a skill that would not be equaled in Egypt for a thousand years such that subsequent pharaohs sought the prestige of building near Hatshepsut's beautiful temple. So began the Valley of the Kings.
An ancient symbol of life.
After her death, Hatshepsut's shell (the body with no soul) would have been subject to many complex rituals to prepare it for the afterlife. The priests were responsible for keeping its living likeness so that her soul could recognize it in the underworld. Once there, she would come upon a lake of fire where the pure of heart could find refreshment and the impure their final death.
GOD OF THE UNDERWORLD
After successfully navigating the lakes of fire she would come before Osiris for the final judgement and rebirth. In ancient times, it was believed that upon rebirth, a Pharaoh would become one with the god Osiris.
Hatshepsut has been dead for 20 years. Her step son is now Pharaoh. His son, Thutmose III, is being groomed for the role. It is unknown why, but all public carvings that show Hatshepsut as Pharaoh are being systematically defaced. It is not until 1903 when her tomb is discovered that the story begins to come out. Would the world have been a different place had her success as ruler been known?
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