Sunday, February 18, 2007

Maat-Ka-Ra: Truth is the Genius of the Sun God

Guarding Egypt's past

As I've blogged before, it looks like the mummy of Hatshepsut, the princess who rose to queen, took on manly garb to become a Pharaoh (Son of Ra...), finally becoming a God/Goddess, has been found. Dr. Zahi Hawass, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt, has been coy about the announcement, milking it for all it's worth (frankly, who can blame him):

...Hawass prepares to unveil a number of new discoveries that are sure to shine a bright light on the darkest reaches of history going back 5,000 years...He'll announce that Egyptologists have found the long-lost mummy of Queen Hatshepsut, who ruled from 1473 B.C. and is among just a few women to assume the powerful role of pharaoh. He's reluctant to discuss details of the search, which has gone on for decades, other than to say that last year he ordered an examination of six unidentified female mummies in Cairo's renowned Egyptian Museum...Seems she's been right under his nose the whole time.

Dr. Hawass has a good website, including his research into Hatshepsut.

Tour Egypt also has a good article:

...Hatshepsut carried five royal names, three of which were never granted to any other queen, neither before or afterwards. These were the "Horus Name", "Golden Horus Name" and the "Two Ladies" (Upper and Lower Egypt). The name of "King of Upper and Lower Egypt," was used by other queens. "Son of Ra Known as Hatshepsut" or "Maat-Ka-Ra" (Truth is the genius of the Sun God), was bestowed upon her by Amon himself. Some princesses of the 17th dynasty have previously been named so. Both "Maat-Ka-Ra" and "Hatshepsut" were depicted inside a cartouche...

Sometimes depictions of the starry night graced the inside of coffin lids of royalty, so that in death, you would stare into the Cosmos. From Maatkara, here is the prayer to Nut (Goddess of the Sky) inside Hetshepsut's sarcophagus:

Oh my mother Nut, stretch thyself over me, that thou mayest place me among the imperishable stars which are in thee, and that I may not die.

Yes, Hetshepsut--you little androgynous mover and shaker--in many ways, you have not died. Your great monuments and works were not lost during the proscription (destruction and erasure of history instituted by Thutmose III). Your smashed statues were found and reassembled, your works properly credited. For many years, scholars thought those who would erase you had committed the final sacrilege, destroying your body. But now it seems your priests were loyal. Your journey through time continues.

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