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Hatchepsut: The Female Pharaoh Paperback – July 1, 1998

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Hatchepsut: The Female Pharaoh + Daughters of Isis: Women of Ancient Egypt (Penguin History)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; 1st ed edition (July 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140244646
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140244649
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #362,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Egyptian Queen Hatchepsut, who died in 1482 B.C. after more than 20 years of peaceful rule, proclaimed herself pharaoh during her reign. She depicted herself, in temple paintings, as a man who hunted, fished and even sported the pharaoh's hallmark false beard. Was she, then, as many historians have speculated, a cross-dresser or merely power-hungry and eager to outshine the half-brother whom she married, King Tuthmosis II? There's absolutely no evidence to suggest she "came out" as a transvestite, concludes English archeologist Tyldesley, and the fact that Hatchepsut retained her female name "suggests that she did not see herself as wholly, or even partially, male." In this highly conjectural biography, Hatchepsut emerges as a conformist queen consort who, once her husband died, blossomed as a pragmatic ruler, bringing Egypt an oasis of stable government, impressive architectural restoration and adventurous foreign trade and exploration from Phoenicia to Sinai. This biography will be of interest primarily to specialists. Illustrated.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

An absorbing scholarly biography, based on a meticulous review of the archaeological record, of a remarkable woman who ruled as pharaoh for 20 years in Egypt's Eighteenth Dynasty (c. 1490 b.c.). Although an important pharaoh whose rule was notable for internal order and other significant achievements, Hatchepsut has suffered, Tyldesley (Archaeology/Liverpool Univ.) argues, from an unjust obscurity, born mostly from her enemies' determined efforts to obliterate her memory and from a consequent paucity of archaeological evidence about her. The daughter of Tuthmosis I and widowed by her half-brother and husband, Tuthmosis II, Hatchepsut became queen regent for the infant Tuthmosis III, whose mother was a member of the royal harem. As Tyldesley relates, Hatchepsut was a model regent at first, but in the seventh year of the reign she became pharaoh, assuming the title King of Egypt (there was no term for queen) and taking on the symbolic masculine aspects of her role, including the traditional false beard. Tyldesley contends that, contrary to a common interpretation, Hatchepsut's behavior was not that of an obsessed power-grabber, but of a typical pharaoh; she allowed Tuthmosis III to obtain the traditional pharaonic military education, she ruled with him as co-regent, and her long rule was characterized by economic prosperity and extensive monument-building, the traditional preoccupations of New Kingdom monarchs. Tyldesley argues that evidence of military conquest during Hatchepsut's reign is slender and questionable, but asserts that there were solid achievements in the realms of trade and exploration. The author speculates on the relationship between the queen and Senenmut, one of several brilliant administrators who made her reign possible. Finally, Tyldesley concludes that Hatchepsut died a natural death (in contrast to arguments that Tuthmosis III orchestrated her death). Tyldesley works closely from surviving texts and fragmentary monuments to recreate vividly an outstanding woman of the ancient past. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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A very recommendable book with easy to read text.
P. E. Van Heeswijck
This book provides a valuable reassessment of the reign of Hatchepsut - and places her firmly as one of Egypt's great monarchs and certainly the greatest female King.
At the same time as she displays a scholar's caution in weighing evidence and interpretation, Tyldesley writes a very readable book.
Nom de Guerre

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I am big fan of Tyldesley, having read her other book 'Daughters of Isis', a study of women in ancient Egypt. She is a very well researched scholar who stays to the tradition of stating all the possible interpretations of her data.Overall I found her writing to be easy to read, but as a classics minor I sometimes forget most people are not familiar with the minute details of the Egyptian civilization. With this in mind, some might find her many references to other dynasties and kingdoms to be a little bit confusing. As most of this book is based on archeological reasearch it is almost impossible to consider this a biography. Those expecting firm facts about Hatchepsut's life will be dissapointed. Tyldesley manages to debate the many facts known to us and she compiles them into concise chapters. I recommend this book to anyone who has already been exposed to Ancient Egypt in some form. For those people who have yet to get their feet wet - read 'Daughters of Isis' first.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Nom de Guerre on April 7, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Joyce Tyldesley's Hatchepsut: The Female Pharaoh is more than a good introduction to the title figure from ancient Egyptian history. The book is, in a way, Hatshepsut's biography; however it is quite honest about the amount of evidence that survives today--very little--and therefore does not pretend that some sort of definitive and personal narrative of the Pharaoh's life is possible. Instead of giving a year-by-year account of Hatshepsut and her life, the book presents and examines its subject in terms of historiography. Tyldesley discusses previous theories and extant evidence in a frank manner while offering her own interpretations, which tend to legitimize Hatshepsut's reign (and are sometimes quite compelling). Because there is so little evidence and the subject of Hatshepsut, a woman who ruled Egypt as a Pharaoh, is so easily entangled is people's own ideas about gender and power, all these interpretations--including Tydesley's--involve a degree of bias. This was particularly the case when scholars argued from silence, constructing their own ideas about Hatshepsut based on the logic of contemporary gender roles but in the absence of tangible facts. To address such interpretations by previous scholars, Tyldesley has had to put forth arguments in this same vacuum. She recognizes that interpretation without corroborating evidence is fundamentally problematic, and, when it comes to such difficult topics, she makes a laudable effort to be honest about how just what is and is not firm fact, and to give previous scholars their due credit. Overall, then, the book does an excellent job of problematizing the study of Hatshepsut--of showing what we know, what we assume (and why), and what is still wholly mystery.Read more ›
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
A wonderful piece concerning the life and times of the great Hatchepsut, "Hatchepsut: The Female Pharaoh" gives every possible and credible view concerning its subject. The enigma of Senenmut is discussed, as well as what may have motivated Hatchepsut to make the unprecedented move of assuming the role of Pharaoh. The possible vengence of Thutmose III is covered in all its aspects, and I for one found it compelling that there is evidence he didn't start destroying her monuments until at least twenty years after her death; Joyce also examines why he may have waited so long. The plates are wonderful and compliment well the attempts at reconstructing what Hatchepsut may have looked like. Possible canidates for her still missing mummy are considered at length, especiall the displeasing (for me) but oddly logical choice of the mummy in the newly discovered KV60. I urge you to find out for yourself.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
`Had Hatchepsut been born a man, her lengthy rule would almost certainly be remembered for its achievements: its stable government, successful trade missions, and the impressive architectural advances which include the construction of the Deir el-Bahri temple on the west bank of the Nile at Luxor, a building which is still widely regarded as one of the most beautiful in the world. Instead, Hatchepsut's gender has become her most important characteristic, and almost all references to her reign have concentrated not on her policies but on the person relationship and power struggles which many historians have felt able to detect within the claustrophobic early 18th Dynasty Theban royal family.'
Egypt was of course a male-dominated society, but for being so, it produced many strong women, including Hatchepsut, Cleopatra, and Nefertiti. The latter two are far more famous, having been renowned as well more for their gender and gender-attributes (the beauty of their physical form) than for any political or social achievements they might have made (although Cleopatra's foray into Roman politics most likely would have assured her fame).
Hatchepsut took on the outward aspects of male dress and iconography when assuming the power of Pharoah -- while Cleopatra has always been described as 'Queen' Cleopatra, it is perhaps more correct to refer to Hatchepsut as a 'King', a Pharoah, which is a male term with no real feminine equivalent in the language. She even wore a false beard in the manner of Pharoahs of the time to play the role of ruler.
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