Hatshepsut and Ramses the Great

Essential Quesions

What important contributions were made during the reign of Pharaoh Hatshepsut?

Who was Pharaoh Ramses II and why was he important?

Ramses the Great

From a young age, Ramses was trained as a ruler and a fighter. Made an army captain at age 10, he began military campaigns even before he became pharaoh. During his reign, Ramses greatly increased the size of his kingdom.

Many people consider Ramses the last great Egyptian pharaoh. He accomplished great things, but the pharaohs who followed could not maintain them. Both a great warrior and a great builder, he is known largely for the massive monuments he built. The temples at Karnak, Luxor, and Abu Simbel stand as 3,000-year- old symbols of the great pharaoh's power.

The temple at Abu Simbel is especially known for the huge statues carved out of the sandstone cliffs at the temple's entrance. These 66-foot-tall statues show Ramses as pharaoh. Nearby are some smaller statues of his family.



Abu Simbel

Activity 2: Ramses the Great? You Decide!

Read some of the events during Ramses the Great's rule and decide whether it is great or not so great. After use the evidence to evaluate his greatness.

Ramesses the Great.pptx.pdf

Discussion Questions

  • What were Ramses' great achievements?

  • What were Ramses' not-so-great achievements?

  • Do you think Ramses is worthy of the title "the great?" Why or why not?


Hatshepsut was born in 1506 and was the daughter of Thutmose I, the pharaoh of Egypt. When she was twelve, her father died and her husband, and half-brother, Thutmose II became pharaoh. Three years later, her husband died and her nephew Thutmose III should have become pharaoh, but he was too young to rule Egypt. Hatshepsut became the regent of Egypt, which is someone who runs the kingdom temporarily until the child was old enough to rule themselves. However, Hatshepsut decided that she too should be pharaoh.

To gain control of Egypt Hatshepsut must have had the support of the army and priests. She created an elaborate story of her birth that told the people that she was divine and chosen by her father and the gods to rule Egypt. She also changed the way she was depicted. She built statues and other monuments to herself wearing the traditional royal clothes of pharaohs and wearing men's clothes, crowns, and even a false beard.

Evidence also shows that Hatshepsut was an extremely effective pharaoh. She is known as one of the great builders of Ancient Egypt. She restored and built many new temples. These massive building projects show she had an effective government, loyal civil servants, and great wealth to spend so much time and money organizing and paying for these building projects. Her most famous temple is Djeser-Djeseru which means holiest of holies, was built into a mountainside and is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.

Hatshepsut's reign was relatively peaceful with no wars, but she did lead raids against Nubia or Canaan. However, she restored and strengthened Egypt's trade networks with the Phoenicians and Punt. She brought luxury goods from these kingdoms such as gold, panther skins, frankincense, myrrh, incense, ebony, ivory, and more. This made Egypt into one of its most wealthy periods in history.

After ruling Egypt for 22 years, Hatshepsut died. Twenty years after her death, someone tried to remove any memory of her from history. Statues of her were destroyed, her name removed from temple walls, and all memory of her erased from Egyptian history. This attack wasn't just historical, but also religious. Egyptians believed a person's spirit lasted so long as their name was carved into stone. So, this was also an effort to destroy her spirit as well. Her legacy was forgotten until around 200 years ago, archaeologists and historians could reconstruct her story. Hatshepsut was the most successful female ruler in the ancient world and is recognized as one of Egypt's greatest pharaohs.

Discussion Questions

  • Hatshepsut faced many challenges being a female ruler in a civilization ruled by men. How did she overcome this challenge?

  • What did Hatshepsut accomplish as pharaoh?

  • Do you think Hatshepsut is worthy of "the great" title like Ramses? Why or why not?

  • Who do you think was a better ruler, Hatshepsut or Ramses? Why?

Activity 3: What are the similarities and differences between Hatshepsut and Ramses the Great?

Using the information from this lesson, answer the questions in a thinking map. Complete this assignment digitally or on paper. It will be collected in your portfolio.

Extension Activities