Queen Hatshepsut ruled as pharaoh over ancient Egypt from 1479-1458 BC. From what I can tell, she was a highly successful pharaoh, both in wartime activities early on in her reign and later in peacetime governance. That being said, becoming pharaoh was an almost entirely unprecedented role for a woman in ancient Egypt, and even being in power at all was an extremely rare occurrence in of itself. Was there ever any significant public resistance to Hatshepsut's reign during her lifetime?

(I am aware that after her death her successor, pharaoh Thutmose III, made an attempt to wipe her from the public records, but that was neither a popular movement, nor was it during her lifetime).

  • I don't think it counts as public resistance (more of a cultural thing), but Hatshepsut was commonly depicted as a man during her reign (with a full grown beard).
    – yannis
    Jul 15 '13 at 10:23
  • 7
    @YannisRizos I believe that it was Hatshepsut herself that commissioned most of that artwork. Wearing a false beard was actually an official part of the pharaoh's ceremonial dress (even the male pharaohs often wore it) so that would not necessarily have been an inaccurate portrayal.
    – Gwen
    Jul 15 '13 at 15:02

It is hard to prove a negative but we do not have any sources that mention any public resistance or open rebellion against Queen Hatshepsut's rule.

Marc Van de Mieroop in his Egypt textbook A History of Ancient Egypt writes that the New Kingdom period is probably the one of best documented period of Ancient Egypt. We have surviving accounts from not only the countless royal inscriptions, monuments, and public documents but also from a surprising number of auto-biographies and journals of citizens, the richly detailed official accounts of military actions, legal documents and letters written by private individuals (e.g., Deir el - Medina), and surviving diplomatic correspondence.

In all this evidence that Egyptologists have available we do not have any mention of a mass public resistance against Hatshepsut's rule. If the absence of such an incident from official records makes sense the lack of even a hint from private accounts of individuals will not. That so even when she usurped Thutmose III's rule and established herself as the "King".


During her father's reign she held the powerful office of God's Wife. She had taken a strong role as queen to her husband and was well experienced in the administration of her kingdom by the time she became pharaoh. There is no indication of challenges to her leadership and, until her death, her co-regent remained in a secondary role, quite amicably heading her powerful army—which would have given him the power necessary to overthrow a usurper of his rightful place, if that had been the case.

Today, we know Hatshepsut as a ruler famous for her many wars, restoration of ancient trade routes, and building projects.


  1. A History of Ancient Egypt (2011) Chapter 7, The Birth of Empire: The Early 18th Dynasty (ca. 1550-1390). Read specially, 7.2 and 7.5.
  2. Wikipedia (mentioned in links inline)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.