Tausret: Forgotten Queen and Pharaoh of Egypt

Tausret: Forgotten Queen and Pharaoh of Egypt

Tausret: Forgotten Queen and Pharaoh of Egypt

Tausret: Forgotten Queen and Pharaoh of Egypt

Synopsis

One of only a few women who ruled ancient Egypt as a king during its thousands of years of history, Tausret was the last pharaoh of the 19th dynasty (c. 1200 BCE), the last ruling descendent of Ramesses the Great, and one of only two female monarchs buried in Egypt's renowned Valley of the Kings. Though mentioned even in Homer as the pharaoh of Egypt who interacted with Helen at the time of the Trojan War, she has long remained a figure shrouded in mystery, hardly known even by many Egyptologists. Nevertheless, recent archaeological discoveries have illuminated Tausret's importance,her accomplishments, and the extent of her influence. Tausret: Forgotten Queen and Pharaoh of Egypt combines distinguished scholars whose research and excavations have increased our understanding of the life and reign of this great woman. This lavishly illustrated book utilizes recent discoveries to correctly position Tausret alongside famous rulingqueens such as Hatshepsut and Cleopatra, figures who have long dominated our view of the female monarchs of ancient Egypt. Tausret brings together archaeological, historical, women's studies, and other approaches to provide a scholarly yet accessible volume that will be an important contribution tothe literature of Egyptology - and one with appeal to both scholars and anyone with an interest in ancient Egypt culture.

Excerpt

Until very recently the name of the ancient Egyptian queen Tausret (Ta-Usret “The Powerful One” and also spelled Tausert, Taousert, Twosret, Tawosret, etc.) was known only to trained Egyptologists and to lovers of ancient Egyptian culture who read deeply in the history and archaeology of this great civilization of the past. Today, as marked by this book, the situation is changing quickly. Once a truly forgotten queen, whose name meant nothing in comparison to those of Hatshepsut and Cleopatra VII, recent research has led to a greater understanding of the times and reign of this woman who ruled her country at the time of Homer’s Troy—as queen, as regent, and then as pharaoh.

Ancient Egyptian religious beliefs dictated that the pharaoh was the “son of the sun god” and that the person of the living king also represented the god Horus. Because of this theological underpinning of Egyptian monarchical ideology, at least from the religious perspective, female pharaohs theoretically could not exist. This was usually evident in practice, but over the more than three thousand years of Egyptian history a very few women—through circumstances or personal power or ambition—did ascend the throne and rule as pharaohs. Sometimes this situation occurred at the end of dynastic lines when male heirs were absent or when they were infirm or underage. Nevertheless, the importance of these female rulers is evident, and their reigns were all the more important for their situation at pivotal times of dynastic transition or change. Thus, Cleopatra VII is as well known for the events and policies of her own reign as for the fact that she ruled at the end of the Ptolemaic dynasty and the beginning of Roman rule . . .

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