Tetisheri, the grand matriarch of the famous 18th Dynasty, is one of those many women who have been neglected by history in favor of the men who killed people and razed empires to the ground. Raping and pillaging makes for good narratives; how much better fed people were, how happy people were with their rulers, or how well they got along with their spouses, are all simply backdrop to the important explosions and special effects. Unfortunately, history is written by the victors and “if it bleeds, it leads,” so we are left with the history we have.
What little we know of Tetisheri is mostly a result of her grandson Ahmose I, evictor of the Hyksos, who erected the last pyramid ever built for a queen at Abydos for her. She was a commoner, seeming to come out of the sands of the Western desert and into the lives of the pharaohs. Tetisheri was the primary wife of Senakhtenre Ahmose, and through him stabilized the political situation in Egypt, evicted the Hyksos , advised and guided four pharaohs, and founded the Bloodline of one of the glorious highlights of Egyptian history including Akhenaten and Tut (this Bloodline was also intimately involved with all the Exoduses (Exodi?)).
Tetisheri infiltrated the Egyptian royal family as an Egyptian part of the Minoan Pivot which was highlighted by the eruption at Thera ~1550 BC. She directed four different pharaohs, a dynasty change, and the gods only know how many pharaohs, queens, and others who shaped Egypt are descended from her.
The Man Who Would Be Pharaoh
Senakhtenre Ahmose was the son of one of the dozens of Intefs running around Upper Egypt trying to see who was going to be pharaoh next. Tetisheri saw a man she could mold into a pharaoh, and set herself to work (I hate to speculate about the feelings of goddesses, but every indication shows she found a man she could love). She birthed him over a dozen children, and together they charted a path which guided him successfully to the crown.
After becoming pharaoh of Upper Egypt, the next logical step for Senakhtenre Ahmose was becoming the pharaoh of Lower Egypt, reuniting the two kingdoms again (it’s an old family recipe, but those are often the best). The problem with that goal was the Hyksos were ruling Lower Egypt, and they had some gods on THEIR side, so were not about to listen to a pharaoh guided by a goddess disguised as a commoner (admittedly, this was a new strategy by homo divinus, so the Hyksos may not have gotten the memo yet). And when two gods reach an impasse which they cannot resolve, that is usually the time that homo sapiens start dying.
So Senakhtenre Ahmose being the good pharaoh he is, straps on his armor and head North with his army to fight the Hyksos (notice how ancient leaders traveled with their armies, fought alongside them, and often were the most capable fighters? that stopped a while back). One of Senakhtenre Ahmose biggest challenges is he was sandwiched between the Hyksos in the North, and the Kingdom of Kush in the South. The Hyksos, OTOH, had a supply chain going back to their original homeland of Canaan to support them. Senakhtenre Ahmose was determined to become pharaoh of Upper and Lower Egypt and didn’t want a two front war (those are NEVER a good idea, much like a war in Afghanistan), so that left Kush out and the Hyksos in.
The problem is the Hyksos are good fighters and brought brand new (gifted them indirectly by homo divinus) technology to Egypt in the horse, the chariot, new armor, new helmets, new bow, essentially an entirely new way to fight wars. This is what allowed the Hyksos to contribute to the end of the Middle Kingdom and the Second Intermediate Period. Senakhtenre Ahmose was a good man and a good pharaoh, but he wasn’t a good warrior, which is why his reign ended abruptly.
Keepin’ It In the Family
Next up, Seqenenre Tao takes over as pharaoh and heads North to fight the Hyksos (this is a recurring theme for both Tetisheri and her daughter Ahhotep who is Seqenenre Tao’s sister/wife (I do my best not to dwell on the ickiness of these Egyptian royal familial relationships, no good will come of that). He received taunts from the Hyksos pharaoh Apepi (AKA Apophis) about quieting the southern hippos in their pool, and off to war they went (no elderberries needed)! Unfortunately for Seqenenre Tao, the Hyksos were still better, he got taken captive and executed, his body sent back as warning to stop.
So Seqenenre Tao’s son, Kamose gets HIS turn to be pharaoh . Kamose packs up his army, says goodbye to his grandmother Tetisheri, his mother/aunt Ahhotep, and his wife Ahhotep (some people think both Ahhoteps are different women, some people think they are the same woman, I’d really rather try to think about the subject any longer than absolutely necessary, which doesn’t produce any answer to that question). Kamose demonstrates that he has learned the lessons from the mistakes his father and his brother made. Kamose is successful for several years against the Hyksos, until he intercepts a spy bearing a message from the Hyksos to Kush asking to sandwich Kamose between them. Not wanting a two front war, Kamose pivots (not a Pivot, because he is only human), declares victory over the Hyksos, and heads back home.
After securing his western desert flank, Kamose for some reason decides to attack Kush. He armies up, sails south for a few years, and proceeds to demonstrate that while he had figured out how to fight Hyksos, he still had a lot to learn about fighting Nubians from Kush. Kamose became the third man Tetisheri loved to leave and never return alive.
Fourth Time’s the Charm
Ahhotep and Seqenenre Tao had ANOTHER son [Ahmose in the wings (this is one of the reasons those pharaohs fathered lots of children, they often didn’t last long). Unfortunately, Ahmose wasn’t old enough yet to lead the army from his chariot, so a pause was instituted while Ahmose was allowed to grow up. The Hyksos didn’t do this willingly, but Tetisheri and Ahhotep had been successfully running their kingdom for a while, still had a strong army which had worn down their surrounding enemies. If advantage could have been taken, it would have been, but there was no taking advantage of THESE ladies. So during this interbellum period, Tetisheri and Ahhotep prepared a plan for expel the Hyksos and primed Ahmose to execute that plan.
When Ahmose came of age, once again Tetisheri and Ahhotep watched a man they loved sail off to war. This time, victory was theirs. The Hyksos were cut off from their Canaanite allies, beseiged in their capital of Avaris, and finally conquered. Ahmose was now pharaoh of Upper and Lower Egypt, the first in centuries, his grandfather avenged. The hidden goddess Tetisheri had executed a Divine Pivot for Egypt successfully from within, a new strategy carrying a new subtlety for homo divinus.
Tetisheri received the last pyramid built for a queen in Egypt as part of the final pyramid complex built in Egypt by her grandson Ahmose (this complex was built at Abydos which had one of the various dynasties during the Second Intermediate Period, a very mysterious dynasty *cough* homo divinus). Not only were these the last pyramids, but they were the ONLY pyramids built in nearly half a ner (300 years) and FIVE dynasties. This is a stamp of finality on the previous Plan and announcement of the Pivot which homo divinus had made. While pyramids had gone out of style a while earlier, they still carried an impressive message. That pyramid medium was used to deliver to the world the new message and new direction shown by secret goddess Tetisheri.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed.