Research on the only female Egyptian pharaoh
For twenty years, despite opposition from the priesthood, Hat-Sep-Sut ascended to the throne as pharaoh to bring Egypt into a new golden age. Her name means Foremost of Noble Women and she somehow convinced the royal court that her right to rule was justified by her bloodine, more pure than the preferred male, her stepson, Thutmose III, age 10.
Records are misty (C1500 BC) so it’s impossible to gauge the political intrigues of the time so creative imagination has played a part in this historical account. When her husband Thutmose II died we can imagine that a lot of determination was required for a woman to assume power so she probably started out as Queen Regent. An established tradition from antiquity, acting on behalf of the boy successor until he was old enough to take the reins himself.
So supreme power would have been hers by right for a few years anyway, but somehow she became the Queen Pharaoh while the boy didn’t get a look in until she died, 20 years later.
He made up for lost time by becoming (the so called) Napoleon of ancient Egypt who expanded the borders and the treasury during a spectacular reign. My assumption for his lack of ambition is that he was more interested in soldiering than holding court in Karnak. Hatsepsut may have encouraged this and if they had a loving mother/son relationship, it could have suited them both.
But the story is about her and how she outmanoeuvred some powerful men using wile and a creative approach to the re-organization of a disrupted Egypt still reeling from an occupation by a foreign power.
Egypt was undeniably unified and mighty again afterwards, due to her unique rulership. She was famously proud of an expedition across the sea (Somalia region maybe – far, far away in those days) to bring back wonderful things from the land of Punt.
A RIVER THROUGH is a work of fiction in progress, built around these facts. You can read an except here