Ancient Inspirations: The Eternal & Enduring, A speech by Queen Hatshepsut

ETERNITY AND EVERLASTINGNESS… without seam, without joining together! – Queen Hatshepsut.  

Photo Credit:

Fig. 1 Sphinx of Hatshepsut – decorations from the lower ramp of her tomb complex” Photo Credit:

Linking the theme of Women in Power from a previous post and the Ancient Inspirations series of quotes, below are excerpts from a speech carved upon stone by Queen Hatshepsut. It is taken from an inscription on the base of the standing obelisk erected by her at the temple of Karnak.

As mentioned in the earlier post, in her role as pharaoh in a female form she combined and employed the iconography of both male and female genders.  Drawing upon enduring sphinx iconography, here the pharaoh is depicted with unusual rounded ears and ruff that stress the lioness features of the statue, human face and divine/pharaonic beard (Fig. 1). Again in these lines of her speech, are similar joint references.  

“As I rule this land like the son of Isis [Horus], As I am mighty like the son of Nut [sky] (Nut’s son is Shu/air, see Fig. 2 below),

As Re rests in the evening bark, As he prevails in the morning bark…As sky endures, as his creation lasts…

So as regards these two great obelisks,

Wrought with electrum by my majesty for my father Amun [the Hidden One]…

In order that my name may endure in this temple…

For eternity and everlastingness, They are each of one block of hard granite, without seam, without joining together!

I am his daughter in very truth…On the Horus [son of Isis] throne of all the living, eternally like Re.”

From above to below: Nut (sky), Shu (air) & Geb (earth)

Fig. 2 From above to below
Nut (sky), Shu (air) & Geb (earth)

While changing cycles were recognized as evident in nature, the Ancient Egyptian worldview and orientation was toward alignment with the enduring and eternal. This ideology permeated their entire culture and is practically manifest in their art, architecture, the symbolic structure of the language itself, and written upon the myriad magnificent monuments they erected.

Lichtheim notes that the queen initially erected four obelisks, two of which disappeared and one which had fallen. The standing monument is shown in Fig. 3 at right (Photo Source: Uploaded by user via Holism in Ancient Egypt & Greece on Pinterest). The towers “whose summits would reach the heavens”, were described as made of pink granite from Aswan and adorned with electrum (white gold). The inscription reads “Wrought with fine electrum, they illuminate the Two Lands like Aten [the sun disk]” revealing they would certainly have shone with a brilliance  for all to behold!.

In her ultimate dedication to the Eternal Amun-Re, at Deir el-Bahri, Thebes, shown below is the magnificent funerary/temple complex of Pharaoh, Queen Hatshepsut of the 18th Dynasty. I loved the fact that this unusual image captures the perspective of the dramatic stairway, leading your feet to the upward entrance! For a close up of the pharaoh Hatshepsut in canonical kingly aspect click here.


Photo Source: via Holism in Ancient Egypt & Greece on Pinterest

Textual Source of Hatshepsut citations, Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, The New Kingdom, bracket inserts mine.

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