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View Diary: Feminisms: Women in History (186 comments)

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  •  Great topic! (15+ / 0-)

    I guess one of my favorites is the female pharoah, Hatshepsut.  She was the first and most successful female pharoah of Egypt and reigned for 21 years (as regent and co-ruler).

    I have no idea whether she was an admirable person or not.  I'm always struck by how talented a woman had to be to succeed in such a patriarchal society.

    One interesting thing about her - they tried to erase her from history.  From wikipedia:

    After her death, many of her monuments were defaced or destroyed. Replacing the names on older monuments with the name of the current ruler was a common practice of pharaohs, but in some cases this is thought to have been an act of damnatio memoriae—condemning a person by erasing him or her from recorded existence.[19] Egyptologists have differing views on who defaced Hatshepsut's monuments and their possible motivations including resentment for the belief that a female Pharaoh was against Ma'at.

    The traditional belief is that Thutmose III was responsible, and view the act as revenge for being denied the throne for so long. However, researchers such as Charles Nims and Peter Dorman have examined these erasures and found that those which can be dated were done after the forty-second year of Thutmose's reign, while Donald B. Redford suggests a more sympathetic and complex motivation: Thutmose's need to demonstrate his legitimacy. Redford notes that:

       Here and there, in the dark recesses of a shrine or tomb where no plebeian eye could see, the queen's cartouche and figure were left intact ... which never vulgar eye would again behold, still conveyed for the king the warmth and awe of a divine presence.[20]

    Of interest on this topic is the recent discovery of nine golden cartouches bearing the names of both Hatshepsut and Thutmose III near the obelisk at Hatshepsut's temple in Luxor. Further study may shed additional light on the question of their relationship and the eventual attempt to erase Hatshepsut from the historical record.

    I read somewhere that we actually know quite a lot about Hatshepsut because they tried to erase her.  They took down her monuments and reused the stone, turning it backwards and painting on the back.  A lot of the painting was preserved because it was protected from the elements.

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