the mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut (1479-1458 BCE) at Deir el-Bahri stands out as one of the most impressive.
The building was modeled after the mortuary temple of Mentuhotep II (c. 2061-2010 BCE),
the great Theban prince who founded the 11th Dynasty and initiated the Middle Kingdom of Egypt (2040-1782 BCE).
it was the most striking tomb complex raised in Upper Egypt and the most elaborate created since the Old Kingdom.
, an admirer of Mentuhotep II’s temple had her own designed to mirror it but on a much grander scale and,
just in case anyone should miss the comparison, ordered it built right next to the older temple.
Hatshepsut was always keenly aware of ways in which to elevate her public image and immortalize her name; the mortuary temple achieved both ends.
It would be an homage to the ‘second Menes’ but, more importantly, link Hatshepsut to the grandeur of the past while,
at the same time, surpassing previous monumental works in every respect. As a woman in a traditionally male position of power,
Hatshepsut understood she needed to establish her authority
and the legitimacy of her reign in much more obvious ways that her predecessors and the scale and elegance of her temple is evidence of this.
was the daughter of Thutmose I (1520-1492 BCE) by his Great Wife Ahmose. Thutmose I also fathered Thutmose II (1492-1479 BCE) by his secondary wife Mutnofret.
In keeping with Egyptian royal tradition, Thutmose II was married to Hatshepsut at some point before she was 20 years old. During this same time,
Hatshepsut was elevated to the position of God’s Wife of Amun, the highest honor a woman
could attain in Egypt after the position of queen and one which would become increasingly political and important.
Hatshepsut and Thutmose II had a daughter, Neferu-Ra, while Thutmose II fathered a son with his lesser wife Isis.
This son was Thutmose III (1458-1425 BCE) who was named his father’s successor. Thutmose II died while Thutmose III was still a child
and so Hatshepsut became regent, controlling the affairs of state until he came of age. In the seventh year of her regency, though, she broke with tradition and had herself crowned pharaoh of Egypt.