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 monuments destroyed or usurped, her place in history systematically obliterated. At last, in this dazzling work of archaeological and historical sleuthing, Joyce Tyldesley rescues this intriguing figure from more than two thousand years of oblivion and finally restores the female pharaoh to her rightful prominence as the first woman in recorded history to rule a nation.
Was she, then, as many historians have speculated, a cross-dresser or merely power-hungry and eager to outshine the half-brother whom she married, King Tuthmosis II? There's absolutely no evidence to suggest she "came out" as a transvestite, concludes English archeologist Tyldesley, and the fact that Hatchepsut retained her female name "suggests that she did not see herself as wholly, or even partially, male." In this highly conjectural biography, Hatchepsut emerges as a conformist queen consort who, once her husband died, blossomed as a pragmatic ruler, bringing Egypt an oasis of stable government, impressive architectural restoration and adventurous foreign trade and exploration from Phoenicia to Sinai. This biography will be of interest primarily to specialists.