The Maat is Strong with This One

“The maat is strong with this one” is basically how you would describe a king in ancient Egypt. Much like a Jedi in Star Wars who is given the powers of the force to maintain peace and justice in the Galactic Republic, Kings in ancient Egypt were given the powers as a deity and were expected to uphold maat - truth, justice and cosmic order.

Ra has placed the king on the earth of the living for ever and eternity to judge between men to make the gods content, to make what is Right happen, to annihilate what is Wrong, to offer divine offerings to the gods and voice offerings to the blessed dead.
— University College London

Like how there are many different kind of Jedi’s, ranging from Anakin Skywalker(or more commonly known as Darth Vader) who used the force to attack people and make them submit to his will to Yoda who believes in using the force for good and not for violence, there are also many different kinds of kings who had ascended the throne in ancient Egypt. While the role of the king remained the same, every king chose to act out their reign differently. We can even see the vast differences between the reign of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III, who were mother and son who co-ruled at one point(well actually, he was her step-son which is important to note as this would have meant that they didn't spend a lot of time together before the death of Thutmose III!). While their reigns were incredibly different, they were both considered very successful rulers in their own right. 

Before we dive into the differences of their reign, let's start with a brief history of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III. Hatshepsut was the daughter of Thutmose I and after the death of her siblings, ended up being his only child. Without a son to inherit the throne, Thutmose I decided to name one of his stepsons, Thutmose II, the heir and married Hatshepsut to him. However, being a sickly man, Thutmose II only ruled for a few years before dying. This led to Thutmose III, probably about two or three years old at the time, ascending the throne. Due to his age, he was more of a figurehead than anything, causing Hatshepsut to become regent and rule Egypt in his place. A regent is someone who rules in the place of the king while he is unable to rule. Essentially what this means is that Hatshepsut had the power of the King, just not the title. She eventually managed to make herself co-king, an impressive feat at the time due to the fact that she was the only female to have ever taken the throne while their was a legitimate heir. After 22 years of rule, Hatshepsut died and Thutmose III took on the entire role and power of king.

Wow, so many names and so many Thutmose's, sometimes it's hard to keep track of the situation. Don't worry, we've got you guys covered. To help visualise the whole situation, here's a family tree!

Created by Ning Cheong, 03 March 2017

Created by Ning Cheong, 03 March 2017

How They Ruled

Much like Anakin and Luke, Hatshepsut and Thutmose III differed in their political ideologies and thus, the greatest achievements made during their reigns are a great testament to each of their political agendas.

Hatshepsut was more like Luke, whose aim was to restore the empire to the ideals of the old republic, free of conflict. She was a King who ruled peacefully, choosing to prioritise the forming of alliances, ensuring economic prosperity while building and restoring architecture through Egypt. Thus, this made her rule of Egypt one of the most successful to date.

Hatshepsut’s crowning moment was her expedition to Punt. While Punt had already been trading with Egypt during the time, expeditions there were very costly and put a huge strain on resources. In spite of this, Hatshepsut was able to launch her own expedition to Punt, one that was so large and extravagant, showing exactly how well the economy was doing during her reign. The ships returned with an abundance of wealth and resources, eventually being immortalised on the walls of the temple Djeser-djeseru(a special mortuary temple dedicated to Hatshepsut). Unlike many other rulers, Hatshepsut’s expedition was not militaristic in nature, rather trade oriented and indicated the kind of priorities Hatshepsut had for the Kingdom.

Σταύρος, Relief of Hatshepsut's expedition to the Land of Punt, 11 September 2008, CC BY 2.0

Σταύρος, Relief of Hatshepsut's expedition to the Land of Punt, 11 September 2008, CC BY 2.0

The loading of the ships very heavily with marvels of the country of Punt; … Never was brought the like of this for any king who has been since the beginning.
— Ancient Records of Egypt Volume II

Thutmose III on the other hand was more like Anakin, who initiated many galactic wars and was on the hunt for power, just minus the very villainous nature. He was known as a 'warrior king', choosing to implement expansionist policies and eventually creating the largest Egyptian dynasty of the time. He was a brilliant general who always won and excelled even in areas like administration and being a statesman. His crowning moment was his military campaigns. During his reign he managed to launch 16 military campaigns, conquering land in Palestine, Syria, Nubia and Mesopotamia. He eventually captured more than 300 cities, restoring Egypts power and making himself a hero amongst the Egyptians. His military successes were found on records that were transcribed onto the walls of the temple of Amun at Karnak. Thutmose III was regarded as a one of the greatest military kings of Egypt due to his transformation of Egypt into an international military superpower by expanding the land from Southern Syria to Nubia. With the spoils of war, Thutmose III funded the building of many beautiful temples around Egypt. The most significant was the expansion he added to the Karnak, the seventh Pylon, for which his first military campaign is recorded on the walls. 

How They Were Remembered

Their vastly different ruling styles eventually caused Hatshepsut and Thutmose III to be remembered and memorialised differently. 

 

Hatshepsut memorials were largely compromised during the reign of Thutmose III. After her death, Thutmose III demanded that any and all evidence of Hatshepsut’s rule be removed. One likely reason for this was that he did not want people to remember that they had a female rule while there was a viable male heir.In contrast, other sources has mentioned that Thutmose III could have destroyed Hatsheput's monuments so as to curse her to permanent death and impede her afterlife. However, what was left of Hatshepsut tended to depict her very masculinely, often with a beard and dressed in traditional male garb. This was likely due to the fact that they lacked the symbols to depict a female king and the masculine images could more easily be re-inscribed with the cartouches of Thutmose II or III. Her memorial temple, the Djeser-Djeseru (which translates to Splendour of Splendours), is located on the west bank of the Nile and known for its beauty and elegance. The walls which originally had her name and image were removed after her death and what was left was only very masculine inscriptions of her. One of the main features of the temple is known as the Punt colonnade, that depicts one of Hatshepsut greatest achievements. While she was arguably one of the most formidable women in Egyptian history, she was only discovered later on in history and there is much less information on her compared to other Kings. 

Thutmose III ,on the other hand, was very deeply embedded in the history of Egypt. He was memorialised and remembered as a national hero, revered for many years even after his death. His incredible successful military and administrative policies contained to live on centuries after his rule, being inscribed on detailed scarabs. Thutmose III had a perfect military track record and it came with an incredible wealth that caused a golden age that was never surpassed by any of his successors. Thus his accomplishments were memorialised on the walls of over 50 temples, the most important being the Karnak that was covered with the scenes of his war successes, from enemies he defeated to the spoils he obtained from the wars. He also commissioned royal artist to depict his extensive collection of flora and fauna from the Botanical Gardens on the walls. Thutmose III also designed a unique obelisk known as the Lateran obelisk, which ended up being the largest obelisk built at the Karnak. This obelisk contains vertical inscriptions as well as portraits of the many achievements of Thutmose III. 

Conclusion

While they might not have wielded light sabers, there are many parallels between the ideologies of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III with Star Wars. Undoubtedly, both rulers  used different methods to try to make the lives of their people better. Nonetheless, how do we exactly determine who was more successful?


Many of the truths that we cling to depend on our point of view.
— Obi-Wan Kenobi

The concept of Kingship is something that changes over time, no two kings will rule in the same way and the quality of their rule is subject to perspective and what each individual considers important qualities of a leader. 


Reference List:

Catherine, H. R. (2005). Hatshepsut From Queen To Pharaoh. The Metropolitian Museum of Art.

Dr Joyce Tyldesley. Hatshepsut and Thutmosis: A Royal Feud? From BBC(2017). Accessed 25 Febuary 2017 

Elizabeth B. WilsonThe Queen Who Would Be King. From Smithsonian.com September 2006. Accessed 25 Febuary 2017

Hayes, W. C. (1962). Egypt: internal affairs from Tuthmosis I to the death of Amenophis III (Vol. 10). CUP Archive.

Hilliard, K., & Wurtzel, K. (2009). Power and Gender in Ancient Egypt: The Case of Hatshepsut. Art Education, 62(3), 25-31. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20694765

Manuelian, P., & Loeben, C. (1993). New Light on the Recarved Sarcophagus of Hatshepsut and Thutmose i in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 79, 121-155. doi:10.2307/3822161

O'Connor, & Eric. H. (2009). Thutmose III: A New Biography. United States of America: The University Of Michigan Press .

Panagiotopoulos, D. (2006). Foreigners in Egypt in the Time of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III.

Simpson, W., & Simpson, W. (1963). Studies in the Twelfth Egyptian Dynasty: I-II. Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, 2, 53-63.

Teeter, E. (2006). Museum Review: Hatshepsut and Her WorldAmerican Journal of Archaeology,110(4), 649-653. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40025062

The Pharaoah: Thutmosis III. Accessed 25 Febuary 2017