Ancient Egypt 3500 years ago - a land ruled by the all-powerful female king, Hatshepsut. Ambitious, ruthless and worldly: a woman who established Amun as the chief god of Egypt, bestowing his Priesthood with unprecedented riches and power. This is a story of vision and obsession, of mighty projects and heartbreaking failures - the story of a woman possessed by the desire for power and the need to love.
Ancient Egypt 3500 years ago - a land ruled by the all-powerful female king, Hatshepsut. Ambitious, ruthless and worldly: a woman who established Amun as the chief god of Egypt, bestowing his Priesthood with unprecedented riches and power.
This is a story of vision and obsession, of mighty projects and heartbreaking failures - the story of a woman possessed by the desire for power and the need to love.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
April 01, 2004
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Hatshepsut: Daughter of Amun by Moyra Caldecott
The boy, Men-kheper-Ra, looking small and nervous, was seated on his huge throne, almost dwarfed by it. The red crown of the Northern Territories and the white crown of the Southern, fitted together, were balanced precariously on his head. Usually they fitted snugly, but the new Master of the Royal Vestments, recently appointed by Hatshepsut, claimed that he was growing so rapidly that a larger crown was called for. This was the first time he had worn it. It was too large, too uncomfortable, and made him look ridiculous.
Hatshepsut was not yet on the other throne, and this made him uneasy. The hall was filling up with the nobles and officials. His personal attendants, those whom Hatshepsut had not replaced recently, seemed nervous too and clustered as close as they could to each other and to the stepped stone mound on which the two thrones were mounted. Why had she not joined him? Was she ill? Was he going to have to manage this whole ceremonial occasion by himself? Sweat began to trickle down his forehead. He couldn't wipe it away because already the insignia of kingship were in place and he dared not move. The crook and flail, almost too heavy for him, had to be held at just the right angle across his chest.
The foreign princes were entering now to take their places in the great hall. He tried to remember the words he had been taught to say on such occasions. He had attended many before, but Hatshepsut had always presided and his bored mind had been free to wander where it willed.
He heard a faint tinkle and jangle to one side of him and managed to move his eyes without moving his head, wondering if it were the arrival of his stepmother-aunt at last, but from the wrong direction. It was his mother, Ast, heavily overdressed in tasteless jewellery, kept just out of whisper range by protocol, trying to get nearer him to tell him not to fidget.
The most important thing in Men-kheper-Ra's life at this moment was to keep still and somehow ignore the sweat drops that were setting up an itch as they moved down his face.
Ast, satisfied that her son was now as motionless as a statue, turned her attention back to the scene before her. Light was shafting down from the high slit windows, picking out in gleams and shimmers the gold collars of the nobles and the barbaric splendours of the foreign princes. There was a continual flow of movement as each individual or group entered the hall, prostrated themselves before the child-king, and then found their correct place to stand. All eyes alternated between the empty throne and the door through which the Regent was expected to come.
Ast became more and more uneasy. She noticed that behind the colonnade that surrounded the throne chamber there seemed to be more royal guards than usual. She narrowed her eyes and strained to see who was who in the crowds. Men-kheper-Ra's own guards were not present. Why? Men-kheper-Ra's own advisors, tutors, secretaries, scribes, were not present. Why? And only a handful of his personal attendants. Suddenly Ast was very frightened indeed and wondered if her son was about to be assassinated. But surely not in front of all these foreign princes? Whatever the internal troubles of Egypt, the Pharaoh must always appear strong, authoritative, invincible to outsiders.
At last, when the suspense was becoming unbearable and the foreign princes had been kept waiting almost to the point of insult, a fanfare of trumpets announced the arrival of Hatshepsut.
In the total silence that followed the blast, she strode in with her entourage of favourite noblemen following behind.
Stunned, the crowd momentarily forgot to fall to the ground. Every eye was opened wide, every throat expelled a gasp.
The female Regent of the Two Lands was dressed as a male king, with ceremonial beard, short kilt, bare chest, royal collar and bracelets - and double crown.