Did Hatshepsut Inherit Djeser-Djeseru?
Claire Ollett [+]
University of Liverpool
Hatshepsut directed substantial resources to the monumental development of the sacred landscape at Thebes: the divine temples of Karnak and Luxor, her cult temple at Deir el Bahari, and the development of religious festivals. This paper will investigate the mechanisms and communication strategies that she developed to legitimise her kingship within this sacred, monumental landscape. This process of legitimisation included a programme of royal self-presentation. Utilising a three-fold methodology, which encompasses an examination of architectural context, iconographic programme and textual composition, this royal self-presentation can be analysed to form a theoretical reflection on the meaning and functionality of the monuments themselves and the landscape as a whole. The issue of self-presentation is particularly relevant in the case of Hatshepsut as her reign as king was unusual and her legitimacy uncertain: first she was a female ruling within a predominantly male dynastic framework and second, and perhaps more importantly, there was already a legitimate king on the throne. This chapter presents elements of the integrated three-fold analysis, with a specific focus on the cult temple of Djeser-djeseru at Deir el Bahari: a temple built to Hatshepsut's specifications and the epitome of the integration and symbiosis of monument and landscape. It will consider various research questions relating to accessibility and audience, whilst seeking to elucidate the motivations that lay behind the development of this functioning and interactive environment, in an attempt to establish whether there was a specific personal agenda. It also considers the connectivity and inter-relationships at play within the landscape, across the broader landscape of Thebes, and Egypt as a whole, and presents some current working hypotheses.