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Hatchepsut: The Female Pharaoh

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  615 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
Queen - or, as she would prefer to be remembered King - Hatchepsut was an astonishing woman. Brilliantly defying tradition she became the female embodiment of a male role, dressing in men's clothes and even wearing a false beard. Forgotten until Egptologists deciphered hieroglyphics in the 1820's, she has since been subject to intense speculation about her actions and moti ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published January 29th 1998 by Penguin (first published 1996)
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Tamara Agha-Jaffar
Hatchepsut: The Female Pharaoh by Joyce A. Tyldesley is a documented research on the life of Hatchepsut, the female pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty. Tyldesley pieces together the available historical and archaeological evidence to detail the life and times of Hatchepsut. Unfortunately, there is much that has been lost to us as a result of tomb robbers, the pillaging of Egypt’s antiquities, and the systematic attempts to erase all evidence of Hatchepsut’s rule shortly after her demise.

Tyldesley’s sc
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
The problem with Hatchepsut, compared with the subject of another of Tyldesley’s biographies, Cleopatra, is that there just isn’t enough to go on. While Tyldesley does a good job at presenting the information we have about Hatchepsut, there just isn’t enough of it. Given the way the female pharaoh’s reign was hidden deliberately and by the misunderstanding of scholars and the pillaging of Egypt’s antiquities, I’m not sure if anyone can write a satisfying biography of Hatchepsut. Even where Tylde ...more
Feb 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Academics, scholars, undergraduates, amateur historians
Recommended to Iset by: No one
This is a non-fictional historical work detailing the life of Pharaoh Hatshepsut. Initial chapters describe the Hyksos invasion of the Second Intermediate Period, their defeat, and the establishment of the New Kingdom and 18th Dynasty under Pharaoh Ahmose I, and finally how the Tuthmosides came to the throne. After this, Tyldesley finally describes Hatshepsut's life as princess, queen and pharaoh - her monuments, military exploits, the famous expedition to Punt and her relationship with her trus ...more
Jan 31, 2014 marked it as to-read
Description: Egypt's Queen or, as she would prefer to be remembered, King Hatchepsut ruled over an age of peace, prosperity, and remarkable architectural achievement (c. 1490 b.c.). Had she been born a man, her reign would almost certainly have been remembered for its stable government, successful trade missions, and the construction of one of the most beautiful structures in the world, the Deir el-Bahri temple at Luxor.

After her death, however, her name and image were viciously attacked, her mo
Aug 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: History Lovers
Recommended to Lauralee by: No One
Hatchepsut has fascinated the popular imagination by cross-dressing as a man, donning a man's kilt, wearing a false beard, and claiming herself as a king rather than a queen. While Hatchepsut was definitely not the first nor the last female pharaoh, she is the most successful of the female kings. Her powers and success eclipsed the later more famous queen, Cleopatra VII. Tyldesley's unbiased biography highlights Hatchepsut's accomplishments to show that Egyptian women were capable of ruling as ...more
Victoria Adams
Sep 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Since I love ancient history I usually hunt through bookstore shelves for little known titles. Sometimes the dusty, cluttered and unorganized used bookshop can produce the most fascinating bits of wisdom. I can’t say precisely where I found this particular gem, however the pricing on the dust jacket tells me that is was most likely on one of those adventurous afternoons in a cavernous used bookshop.

Hatshepsut was born the eldest daughter of Thutmose I. According to royal Egyptian custom, she was
Jan 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a very good biography of Hatshepsut. Joyce Tyldesley starts off with detailed background information and gradually eases into Hatshepsut's reign. Her life and death are discussed in detail, along with different interpretations of the archaeological evidence that have been found.

It is comparatively difficult to find and understand information about a ruler who has been effaced from history by her successors, and there can never be a complete certainty about many things. So I appreciate t
You could tell the author had little subject matter to fill the pages of her book, although the person was interesting too little was recovered on her life to make for an interesting nonfiction biography. I would love to read a fictionalized account of her reign though.
good source for an ancient history task
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
She was King. The explanation of ma'at is one of the best I have ever seen. I have a tattoo of the hieroglyph. Ma'at is important. Ma'at has left the land. We could use more ma'at.
Jasmine Said
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. If you're a fan of Hatchepsut I recommend it.
Cristel Verhaegen
Aug 14, 2017 rated it liked it
had er meer van verwacht, zoals veel boeken over Hatsjepsoet niet echt objectief

This is a very well-written biography, I'll say that right away. The author is engaging, and explains things as clearly as she can to ground the reader into something they can relate to, in a culture very different than ours. We try to read as we can feel the events, rather than just dry names and numbers. Hatchepsut, after all, was one of Egypt's better kings, much to the contrast to the more famous, but failing

But unfortunately, what we can get out of the book is that historians hardly h
Oct 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Although I learned much about the female King, Hatchepsut, I often found this book to be a little to slow at times. Therefore, it was difficult to maintain my interest in it. Hatchepsut was the daughter of King Tuthmosis I, the sister and wife of Tuthmosis II, and the stepmother and mother-in-law of Tuthmosis III. Because her stepson was young when Tuthmosis II died, she acted as regent for her stepson. She took on the role of King and tried to validate her position by linking herself to the god ...more
Jun 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was an excellent biography. It was an also easy read, not dry and hard to follow like history books can be.

Tyldesley is great at setting the scene. The background she provided was excellent, and she laid out Hatchepsut and her world out vividly. I also like how she outlined the various trains of thought about Hatchepsut, and while she obviously disagreed with many of them, she doesn't go on the attack. She argues against the argument with evidence, not attacks. She seems to take a more neu
A fascinating, academic biography of Hatchepsut. The book starts with enough general information about the time period and the other Egyptian rulers that I was able to understand the context. This book does an excellent job telling both the story of the archaeological evidence (such as it is) as well as the story of the history of scholars and their own biases that affected their interpretations of the evidence. Hatchepsut is a tantalizing figure. How did this woman become not just a queen, but ...more
Mar 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Scholarly, accessible and aiming for objectivity. The book reads like an undergraduate essay or a book-length Wikipedia article. It isn't always very structured.

It's useful and comprehensive and I'd recommend it to any layperson with a strong interest in this pharaoh (i.e. people like myself) but not to people with just a passing interest. The book does not really bring Hatchepsut to life, and it fails to be vibrant and exciting. It's not pop science - but it would have been a more enjoyable rea
Karen Ireland-Phillips
Dec 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
The author's excellent work on the daily life of ancient Egyptian women piqued my interest in her biography of this queen (more usually spelled Hatshepsut) who ruled as a King. I was not disappointed - though it has the hallmarks of a scholarly work, and the narrative flags from time to time, it was overall a quite entertaining story about a woman who was omitted from the Kings List for reasons still unknown. Tyldesley thoroughly debunks the notion that Hatshepsut's younger brother, who ruled af ...more
Apr 17, 2014 added it
Shelves: history, grad-school
Reading about one of Egypt’s most mysterious pharaohs made me realize just how much we don’t know about her. The author pieces together as much of her life as she can but the evidence is scant. What is interesting however is that Hatchepsut’s story just reiterates that history is written by the victors, and the importance of examining instead of taking things at face value. Because people looked deeper into the ruins of history they were able to re-discover one of the most successful rulers of o ...more
Feb 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating story of a female pharoah who ruled for twenty years during Egypt's 18th Dynasty and even wore a beard on ceremonial occasions to look masculine. So it was not just Hillary Clinton who had to act like a man to run for President - this expectation goes way back in history. Ironically, Hachepsut's relics were all defaced or destroyed when her reign ended. Particularly fascinating for me was the fact that a three different clairvoyants have told me on three separate occasions that I w ...more
D.K. Cherian
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Joyce Tyldesley makes reading history fun. This is a non-fictional history book about one of the only female Pharaohs in Ancient Egypt. The book reveals the rise and fall of this unique individual by taking us through accounts of her beginnings that started at least 2 Pharaohs prior. And then Professor Tyldesley shows us her alliances and her politicking that propels Hatshepsut's rise to power. A definite must read!!
Glenn Robinson
Sep 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fascinating ruler of Ancient Egypt.....The woman who became King....One of the longest ruling Pharaohs of Egypt, she married the king at a very early age (who was her brother) and became Regent to her step son 2 years later when her husband died. She went on to rule for decades. She devoted much of her career to building public works up and down the Nile. The amount of knowledge that we have of Egypt over 4000 years ago is amazing.
Dec 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, egypt, feminism
Packed with details and citations yet remaining very readable and thoroughly enjoyable this can be considered one of the definative works of Hatchepsut. Tyldesley is a brilliant Egyptologist with a passion for her work which comes through in this book with how it is written and the obviously huge amounts of time that have gone into the research and final text. A must read and a brilliant example of how woman really can get to the top.
Carla Remy
Jul 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scholarly, of course, well-written. I have no complaints. It felt dry, but what could be expected? It's a bio of someone who lived so long ago, all there is is conjecture based on archeological remains. This was interesting in itself, but as I said, dry. I'm afraid I skimmed a few times. I suppose if I wanted juicy I'd turn to historical fiction. I prefer the facts, I enjoyed the "this is all we know" approach and the explanation of different analyses and discoveries.
Jul 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I went through an Egyptomania phase in high school, and thought I knew all there was to know about Hatchepsut. Turns out, most of what I knew was wrong, wrong wrong! The author painstakingly separates fact from myth and paints a picture of a much less dramatic female pharaoh.

It was a quick read.
Oct 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: history majors, those interested in Egyptology
Recommended to Amy by: professor
Tyldesley is an excellent researcher, but quite a bit of supposition is done on her part to assume what the King herself might have thought/felt/wanted. Nevertheless, the book is not pretentious, and it reads much easier and more enjoyable than most historical biographies. Cheers to Tyldesley for choosing the Pharaoh, a much tougher-and less cliche topic.
Jun 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
There really needs to be a "read part of it and then gave up" option or book shelf because try as I might I could not force myself to continue reading this book. It's just too dry and too devoid of actual facts to be compelling, which is a shame because I'm very interested in the material but it's so difficult to stay engaged when the writing is so flat.
May 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Though dated of course now due to the discovery of Hatshepsut's mummy, this book is still a fantastic and thorough biography of Hatshepsut, her influences, and her legacy. Very well researched. I've always enjoyed Tyldesley's books and enjoyed revisiting with this one. Highly recommended.
Nov 14, 2010 rated it it was ok
I started this a while ago and have been meaning to pick it up again.

Not terribly exciting - though quite informative. If I was an archaeologist Im sure it would have been gripping - since I wasn't I wished it had a bit less archaeological detail.
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fiction or not? 4 12 Jun 24, 2014 06:03AM  
I don't understand? 6 20 Jan 22, 2012 04:34PM  
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Joyce Tyldesley is a British archaeologist and Egyptologist, academic, writer and broadcaster.

Tyldesley was born in Bolton, Lancashire and attended Bolton School. In 1981, she earned a first-class honours degree in archaeology from Liverpool University, and a doctorate in Prehistoric Archaeology from Oxford in 1986. She is a Teaching Fellow at Manchester University where she is tutor and course or
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