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existing on monuments, temple walls, tombs, commemorative stelæ, statues, papyri, etc., concerning the various acts and personages of the great ruling family of the dynasty.
From this mass of evidence, various histories have been reconstructed of these kings. The most generally accepted one affirms that Thotmes I. was the father of Thotmes II. and of Queen Hatshepsut, whom he associated with himself in the government; that Hatshepsut then married her brother Thotmes II., with whom she reigned until his death, after which she declared co-regent with herself a young prince Thotmes, afterwards Thotmes III.
The evidence concerning the place of this third Thotmes in the family is contradictory. One statue calls him the brother of Hatshepsut, while a second statue, together with a tomb inscription, refer to him as the son of Thotmes II. His mother was a woman of low birth, named Aset. The simplest explanation would seem to be that this son, born of a slave mother, was the only surviving heir of Thotmes II.
It is certain that in the many monuments still existing from that age, we have evidence of three different Thotmes; and that from their midst looms the commanding figure of one woman, a dominating personality that fills the scene and reveals to modern eyes the most brilliant and interesting of the queens of antiquity.
THE DAUGHTER OF THOTMES I.
W ONU 30-31
King of the North and South, Ka-Ma
Ra, Son of the Sun, KHNUM-AMEN“ HATSHEPSUT. The Horus of Gold ; “ Bestower of years; Goddess of risings;
Conqueror of all Lands; Lady of both “ Lands; Vivifier of hearts; Chief
Spouse of Amen; The Mighty
“ One.” Such were the stately titles assumed by this remarkable princess when she ascended the throne of her fathers, titles which were never before or after taken by a woman,
The Princess Hatshepsut was the heiress daughter of Thotmes I. and of Queen Aahmes. If she ever had brothers of her own, they had died as children, as had also her elder sister, Khebit-neferu. This left the young Hatshepsut sole heiress, with no one but a half-brother to claim a share of the crown. The youthful prince, Thotmes II., was the son of Thotmes I. by a mother of only half royal lineage, Mut-nefert. To this half-brother, Hatshepsut was united. The marriage of Thotmes to his strong-minded sister, who was destined to overshadow him completely in later years, occurred either just before or just after the death of their father Thotmes I. Shortly before this event, the king associated his daughter with himself in the government of the kingdom.'
The coronation ceremonies took place a few weeks later, and the joint reign of Hatshepsut and Thotmes II. appears to have lasted about thirteen years. There is little doubt that Hatshepsut, with her stronger character, had the management of the kingdom chiefly in her own hands, even during the lifetime of her husband.
No son was born of this union, their family consisting of two daughters only, Neferu-Ra, and Meryt-Ra. Some thirteen years after his accession, Thotmes II. died, leaving his consort the great ruler of Egypt. The claim of Thotmes III. to a share of the crown was an undeniable one, or the queen would never have consented to associate with her reign a man who was the son of a slave; nor would she have united to him her heiress daughter. Thotmes was, however, proclaimed joint sovereign, and his marriage with the queen's young daughter took place.
He was probably a mere youth at the time, and Hatshepsut constituted herself practically sole monarch of the kingdom, and held the reins of government, it may be presumed, until the day of her death.
Her own reign is entirely overlapped by those of her co-regents, Thotmes I., II., III. ; and it may have been for this reason that the Pharaohs of the Ramesside family, two hundred years later, did not regard her as a legitimate monarch. Nevertheless, her rule was so vigorous a one, that not only her husband's reign, but also the early years of the nephew who afterwards became so great a king, are quite submerged in the brilliant reign of the queen.
Much has been said of the “usurpation ” of the throne by Hatshepsut, and of the illegal treatment of her nephew;
· Noted by de ROUGÉ, later proved by NAVILLE's excavation of Temple of Deir el-Bahari. 2 P.'s H.E., vol. II, 75, 79.
these accusations hardly seem justified, however, when the facts are recalled. Hatshepsut was by birth the rightful heiress, and, according to Egyptian law, had precedence of the male members of the family. Her abilities had been so pronounced, that her father had raised her to the throne while she was still very young. She was many years older than her nephew, and exercised only her legitimate prerogatives when she declined to lay down the sceptre in favour of a mere youth, who was, moreover, not of full royal birth.
Neither does it seem reasonable to suppose that Thotmes himself could have resented her rule as bitterly as he is said to have done; he would, of course, be aware of all these facts, and must have realised that his aunt, even if not following precedent in thus claiming sole control of the government, was at least within her own rights. Hatshepsut had indeed ascended the throne of her fathers as its unquestioned inheritor. The high lineage of “ solar blood” had been bequeathed her by her mother Queen Aahmes, who was the daughter of Amen-hetep I. and Aah-hetep II. ; and the grand-daughter of the famous Nefertari. On her mother's side, therefore, there was no trace of blemish; but this was not the case with Hatshepsut's father, Thotmes I., whose mother Senseneb was a woman of humble origin, (See table, page 53.)
The high spirit of the queen could in no wise brook the thought of this plebeian blood in her veins, and upon her accession to power she set herself to remedy the defect.
Entirely undaunted by the facts of the matter, this able princess had recourse to a miracle, the details of which she proclaimed and perhaps herself believed ; at all events, she recorded it on the walls of her great temple at Deir el-Bahari, and there is even evidence which shows that it was accepted by her people as divine truth. A recognition of her claim occurs in the inscription of a contemporary official, who declares that “Egypt bowed its head before this blessed offspring of the god, sprung from his loins."l
The miracle set forth by Hatshepsut concerned the god Amen, who, pondering on the mixed marriages of his children, the Egyptian monarchs, which had lessened their royal claims, determined to restore the race and purify the solar line by creating a child of his own, who should be born of the queen-mother Aahmes.
The story of her miraculous birth and early life are related in minute detail by the sculptures of the queen's temple. Amen, becoming incarnate in the person of Hatshepsut's earthly father, Thotmes I., appeared to Aahmes "in a flood of light and perfume.” The royal daughter of the god was born in due time, provided by the gods with several Kas, or ghostly doubles of herself, and received the name of Hatshepsut.
She was then presented to Amen and Horus, who baptized her, pouring water over her head and saying, “Thou art pure as thy double." Amen then embraced his daughter and gave her the emblems of sovereignty.
After this, the princess, accompanied by her father Thotmes, started on a journey to the various sanctuaries of the land, by which ceremony she symbolically took possession of her kingdom. Hatshepsut's description of herself at this period is as follows:
“ It came to pass that her Majesty was increased above "all things, beautiful to look at above all things, her voice
was that of a god, her frame was that of a god, she did
everything like a god, her spirit was like a god. It came " to pass that her Majesty was a beautiful maiden. “Her Majesty started for the land of the North, following " her father, the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Aahkheper-ka-Ra, living eternally. She went to her mother “Hathor, the princess of Thebes ; Buto, the lady of Tep; " Amen, the lord of the thrones of the two lands; Tum,
" Inscription of Anna.