Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Lost Queen – Case Solved

Probably no one noticed or even cared that the Mummy of Queen Hatshepsut has been identified and the cause of death determined, but for buffs of Egyptian History this was a momentous occasion because it answered questions that have lingered for 3500 years. For those not familiar with the situation the cast of characters is fascinating. First there is Thutmose I, Pharaoh and father of Hatshepsut, Thutmose II her half brother, Senemut, the Architect and tutor of her daughter Neferure, and Hatshepsut's step son Thutmose III.

This is a family that actually seemed to get along rather well and with the death of Thutmose I, he was succeeded by his son Thutmose II who was not royal since the succession in ancient Egypt was through the maternal line. Therefore, Hatshepsut succeeded her father as ruler and married her half brother who became Thutmose II. But at this point things became a little muddled. Thutmose II did not live long after succeeding to the throne although he did father Neferure with Hatshepsut. He also fathered a boy via a lesser wife who became Thutmose III.

How Thutmose II died has always been a mystery since he was a young man. Senemut the Architect came onto the scene either shortly before or after the death of Thutmose II. But Senemut was very close to Hatshepsut – so close as to raise eyebrows and open the question of paternity for Neferure and speculations regarding the death of Thutmose II. Furthermore, the boy fathered by Thutmose II was taken from his mother and raised by Hatshepsut as her own son. At the death of his father Thutmose III became the new ruler and Hatshepsut became Regent. She and Senemut embarked on a building program that gave Egypt many of the great buildings that symbolize the greatness of Ancient Egypt. This included the great Temple of Karnak as well as her magnificent tomb which stands today as the greatest built outside of the Pyramids.

The relationship between Thutmose III and Hatshepsut is unknown but it is known that she reigned with him as regent for only a short time, then she became Pharaoh and ruler of Egypt, dressing like a man and wearing the false beard symbolizing her status. Hatshepsut ruled Egypt for at least 20 years but the mystery deepens at this point because Thutmose III vanishes and surfaces years later as a mighty warrior and a great general. Thutmose III is known today as “the Egyptian Napoleon. He led a huge army that greatly extended the Egyptian Empire and its wealth. At any point after his maturity he could have overthrown Hatshepsut as the usurper of his throne – he didn’t. Why is unknown but it is known that at her death he assumed the throne as Pharaoh and married his half sister Neferure – or at least that is speculated. Years after he assumed the throne but certainly during his lifetime, every statue and indication that she ever existed was systematically obliterated.

So the mystery has always been what role did Senemut play? What happened to Neferure? Why didn’t Thutmose III over throw his step-mother? Who and why was every vestige of Hatshepsut’s existence obliterated and by whom? There has always been a hint of scandal and possibly murder. But with the recent verification of the Mummy of Hatshepsut and the tomb of Neferure things have finally come into focus.

Hatshepsut was the darling of her father Thutmose I but was the only living child of of his at his death. She dutifully married her half brother Thutmose II and bore him a child -- Neferure. However, the Mummy of Thutmose II shows that he suffered from a genetic skin disease which undoubtedly either killed him or led to his untimely but natural death through other related disease. At his death his son Thutmose III was a very young child and not capable of ruling but some one had to run the country so Hatshepsut tried ruling as Regent but that was clearly too clumsy of an arrangement. So Thutmose III was apparently sent off to become a soldier while his step-mother ruled.

There is no doubt but that this arrangement suited Thutmose III because there is no indication whatsoever of problems between him and his step-mother during her lifetime. Hatshepsut allowed Senemut to tutor Neferure but with recent writings it seems he was never more than just a courtier who served a purpose and nothing beyond that. Queen Hatshepsut seems to have died a natural death brought on by a ruptured abscessed tooth. At her death Thutmose III returned a highly regarded General, married Neferure, and assumed his throne. Neferure apparently died shortly after the marriage and there is evidence that her tomb was at one time occupied.

During her lifetime Hatshepsut raised her daughter like a Prince and she is shown wearing the scalp-lock usually associated with the Crown Prince. It is believed she was grooming Neferure to succeed her as Queen. Nevertheless, the succession went peacefully and Thutmose III succeeded to the throne and married Neferure. Apparently at some point there was some question of legitimacy because he was not descended from Hatshepsut but was merely a stepson so it was he who years later ordered the destruction of her memory. However, this destruction was half-hearted and only happened to major edifices, so it is unlikely it was done through hate.

So after all of these years, Hatshepsut is shown as a kindly stepmother who could have killed her rival but did not. Her stepson is shown as dutiful son who succeeded her an only reacted to circumstances in his decision to obliterate her memory and not from any malice toward her. There was no murder, no malice, and no hatred behind the destruction of her memort -- it simply became a political necessity.


Elleisa said...

So why wasn't Neferure crowned? Because weren't women considered equal to men of the same class? And women were the ones who carried the royal blood?

Royce said...

Nefure died -- hence she was not crowned. However, while women in Egypt had many rights and were in fact equal to men, they really weren't in line for the crown. Hatshepsut was first the regent for Thutmosis III, then co-ruler, and finally Pharoah but that created an uproar at the time. But since Thutmosis had also been crowned she manager to keep the issues under control. Clearly she had a good relationship with her stepson and the erasure of her images had to do with the conflicting claims of victory.

Anonymous said...

Was Neferure ever inlove with Thutmose 3.And if they were did they ever have kids.Or did she die before having sex with him.

Royce said...

No Neferure did not have children. She did marry Thutmose 3 as expected but she died shortly after the marriage. Cause of death unknown although given the history of this family it is unlikely she was "disposed" of because she was the one who gave legitimacy to Thutmose 3 as pharaoh. The history shows this was a loving family unlike many royal families. Hatshepsut always had a loving relationship with her stepson. It can be speculated that Senmut approached Thutmose to overthrow Hatshepsut because shortly after visiting Thutmose at his military headquarters, Senmut disappears. But his disappearance appears to have been orchestrated by Hatshepsut not Thutmose.

hatshepsut0071 said...

What I am about to write is not a joke in this blog., In a first place ZAHI HAWAS look like a chicken without a head looking for my Mummy He had a reality show, looking for my body, to retire with a Big Bang. Read the first part of the article by the Washington post publish on December 22, 2007 in which the reporter criticize what happened, also that he did not had a DNA to compare the findings, and he never reported the final results of the DNA studies. also was reported why he is so reluctant to share the results? Over the years, many reputable teams of Scientist have applied to the Egyptian authorities to test the DNA of famous Egyptian mummies at not avail. So far, the science show in the discovery channels "Secrets of Egypt's Los Queen" the findings HAS NEVER gmail.comBEEN PUBLISH IN A REPUTABLE PEER-REVIEWED SCIENTIFIC JOURNAL...THE GOLD STANDARD OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH WORLDWIDE...
NEFERU- RE died when she was 5 years old, and yes, she Sen-Mut daughter, and yes I was kill by THUTMOSE III, and I was never mummified.

Royce said...

Mr 71 -- I agree that a DNA test would answer a lot of questions and that these should be performed. But the Egyptian authorities haven't been cooperative. Still there are other sources that indicate that Hapshepsut and Thutmose III had a good relationship and that the defacing of her images were political and half hearted. The issues with Neferure are not clear and indeed you may be right in that she died a child. There has been speculation that she married Thutmose but died shortly afterward. What ever the case it is irrelevant to the larger story. Senmut as a lover has also been speculated but what ever the case it seems clear that Hapshepsut eliminated him for some reason.

Nely Emiliani said...

I have memories since I was Avery little child of who I was, and a regression done by Prof. Leo sprinkle PHD in 1974, confirm who I was... I was HATSHEPSUT and my memories are very clear of who was the man I love, who were my childrens, NEFERU-RE, was SEN-MUT's daughter and HATSHEPSET was THUTMOSE II... He was my beloved brother and he was very good to me... Our father the great MAAT before he died talk to him and told him that he knew that I was in love with SEN-MUT, and he did not wanted for me to live withouth love... I became SEN-MUTS the nite before me marrying THUTMOSE II. With the full knowledge of THUTMOSE II... What no one expected was that I became pregnant with SEN-MUT's and the cobra of ISIS was pushing THUTMOSEII to kill my child if he was a boy or a girl. BUT as he promise. He will not! And he keep his words that is why on the day of NEFERU'S birth. SEN-MUT was beside me and I make him great nurse of NEFERU RE, for him to be able to race our child... And yes! I found SEN-MUT in this live, and still love hims as if was yesterday, I found HAPUSENEB, Neferu-bity, my father and my daughter HATSHEPSET, and other love ones... If you will like to talk to me email me P.s. I wrote to the MUSEUM in CAIRO and told them, they know that that is not my body... That is QUEEN ATI from PUNT... And yes, I was kill by THUTMOSEII, and he killed SEN-MUT, Nehesi, THESI, SENEMEN and THUTY...they were killed five years earlier then me... and all because he could not become PHAROAH until I married him. And I would not, I try to kill him for killing my Beloved one SEN-MUT... And I stab him and he almost died, that is why he order my death.

Nely Emiliani said...

But how do you can say that that is Hatshepsut body when they refuse to do any DNA test, I can asure you that that is not my body, and I can a sure you that that it is the body of Queen ATI from PUNT., she was very sick with pain in her bones when SEN-MUT brought her from PUTN, and that was the reason she came for treatment. But she died, and she was my very good friend...
Once I told THUTMOSE II that the child that ISIS was carrying probably is not his son, and on 3/20012 was publish that the DNA test done THUTMOSE II and THUTMOSE III. DOSE NOT MATCH!,
I cannot believe History Channel, Discovery Channel, Plus all magazine are misliding the public, including the Cairo MUSEUM.