Course overview

Ancient Egypt demonstrates how even in a male-dominated society women did on occasion rise to the highest position in the land. In this course we will explore the women who not only held great influence but, on some occasions, effectively ruled Egypt. From the famous female pharaoh Hatshepsut to Cleopatra VII over a millennium later, we consider how these women came to power and served as some of the most prominent female figures of antiquity.

Course description

This course focuses across the entire span of ancient Egypt from its unification c3100 BCE to Cleopatra VII at 30 BCE. In a way suitable for both beginners to the subject and those with some knowledge of the topic, we will trace chronologically prominent women, especially those exercising royal power. The centre of course will be the exceptional female Pharaoh Hatshepsut. Hatshepsut progressed from royal wife to regent to a role where she was ruling the country as a female and then male pharaoh. We consider how she achieved this remarkable feat, how she justified, how her representations changed to a male pharaoh and why. We study the exceptional mortuary temple she builds in modern-day Luxor and consider changes made to its reliefs after her death. We conclude with perhaps the most famous female Egyptian of all time Cleopatra VII. By this time Egypt is intertwined with Rome, Cleopatra’s tactics to retain control of Egypt are legendary, we look at the primary evidence for the story behind the films and review a series of images of Cleopatra to challenge the Hollywood depiction.

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All of our digital content, teaching and learning activities and assessments are designed to be accessible so if you need any additional support you can discuss this with the education experts during your enrolment journey and we will do all we can to make sure you have optimal access.

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