Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Egyptian pharaoh Hatshepsut, whose name means ‘foremost of noble ladies’. She ruled Egypt from about 1479 - 1458 BC and some scholars argue that she was one of the most successful and influential pharaohs. When she came to the throne, Egypt was still recovering from a period of turbulence known as the Second Intermediate Period a few generations earlier. Hatshepsut reasserted Egyptian power by building up international trade and commissioned buildings considered masterpieces of Egyptian architecture. She also made significant changes to the ideology surrounding the pharaoh and the gods. However, following her death, her name was erased from the records and left out of ancient lists of Egyptian kings.

Play on BBC Sounds website


  • Elizabeth Frood 3 episodes
    Associate Professor of Egyptology at the University of Oxford
  • Kate Spence 4 episodes
    Lecturer in Egyptian Archaeology at the University of Cambridge
  • Campbell Price 2 episodes
    Curator of Egypt and Sudan at The Manchester Museum

Reading list

  • Karnak: Evolution of a Temple
    Elizabeth Blyth (Routledge, 2006) Google Books →
  • The Woman Who Would Be King
    Kara Cooney (Crown, 2014) Google Books →
  • Creativity and Innovation in the Reign of Hatshepsut
    Jose M. Galan, Betsy M. Bryan and Peter F. Dorman (eds.) (Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 2014)
  • A History of Ancient Egypt
    Marc Van De Mieroop (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011) Google Books →
  • Hatshepsut: From Queen to Pharaoh
    Catharine H. Roehrig, Renee Dreyfus and Cathleen A. Keller (Yale University Press, 2005) Google Books →
  • Hatshepsut: From Queen to Pharaoh
    Catharine Roehrig (ed.) (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005) Google Books →
  • Hatshepsut: The Female Pharaoh
    Joyce Tyldesley (Penguin, 1998) Google Books →
  • UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology
    Willeke Wendrich (ed.) (University of California, 2010)

Related episodes

Programme ID: b04n62jx

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04n62jx

Auto-category: 932 (Ancient Egypt)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In the early 15th century BC, a woman came to power in ancient Egypt.