Hatshepsut – PAGE 1 – SOURCES

This is Page 1, Panel 4 of my “Greatest Queens of History: Hatshepsut” story, which has been scripted to be 30 pages. I spent a fair amount of time doing research on Egypt, the New Kingdom (18th Dynasty, which is approx 1550BC – 1292BC) and Hatshepsut herself, so I’ll list my sources below and what I had to consider when I put this picture together.

Note: Much of my visual sources are not from Hatshepsut’s reign itself, because her tomb and the tombs of Thutmose 1-3 has been grave robbed, and no funerary items from it survive. So when I draw on visual sources for this story, I tried to use sources from the same 18th Dynasty, A fair amount of it came from the tomb of King Tutankhamun, or Amenhotep III.

  • Hatshepsut and Thutmose II are depicted here as Pharaoh and Pharaoh’s Great Wife, both in ceremonial dress for this part of their coronation ceremony. The coronation ceremony is a long, ritualistic affair that takes days, and none of this is depicted here because we know very little about it. They ascended to the throne young, so they’re depicted as children here.
  •  Thutmose II is wearing the Pharaoh’s Nemes headdress, false beard and holding the symbolic crook and flail, while Hatshepsut is wearing the Great Wife’s vulture headdress. Both are also wearing the broad collar necklace, which like the headdresses is a ceremonial thing. Neither of them would have wandered the palace dressed in this manner on a normal day. Both would have worn eyeliner though.

Thutmose I and his mother. Wall painting from the upper Anubis chapel of Hatshepsut’s temple at Deir el-Bahri, early 18th Dynasty. Source: Roehrig, Catherine H. et al. “Hatshepsut: From Queen to Pharaoh”. PG 8.

King Tutankhamun’s death mask, which has the unusual double uraeus of a cobra and a vulture. Typically, it’s just a cobra.Source: Wikipedia

  • The two throne are based off the throne of Tutankhamun for Thutmose II, and the throne of Princess Sitamun, daughter (and eventual wife) of Amenhotep III. Both of these are funerary items, but it’s safe to assume that they were used in the Pharaoh’s life, though funerary items aren’t necessarily everyday items for Ancient Egyptians.

Replicas of Tutankhamun’s throne on the left, and Princess Sitamun’s throne on the right. Souce: Wikipedia

  • The throne is on a raised dais which has several steps, which can’t be seen here. The dais has a kiosk thing over it, which is depicted here – it should have cartouches of the Pharaoh’s name and scarab beetles on it, though we can’t know for sure.
  • The servant holding the ostrich feather fan has real hair. Servants were not allowed to shave their hair and wear wigs – that was reserved for the upper classes. Hatshepsut may well have been bald because she would have worn elaborate wigs.
  • The wall paintings are of waterlilies, which grow along the Nile River. Since the palace from Thutmose I’s time didn’t survive, we have little idea of what the throne room would have been like. It’s safe to assume that the walls are white-washed, and painted with images of Egyptian flora and fauna. In this instance, I thought it best to keep the throne room neutral, with references to the Nile (considered the source of all Egyptian life) rather than to any fauna, since different animals have different connotations in Egypt.

This is from the tomb of Nakht, which is known as Theban Tomb TT52, part of the Theben Necropolis. This appears to be an Egyptian official, and I copied the background from this tomb image. Source: Wikipedia

This is Page 1, Panel 3, showing the group of children from Thutmose I’s harem. To be honest, these children should all be naked, since it’s considered perfectly acceptable for Egyptian children of a certain age, whether male or female, to run around naked. I don’t feel comfortable depicting naked children though, so I thought I’d put generic clothes on them. The girls are wearing diadems and girdles, and both boys and girls have shaven heads with locks of hair on the side, which is to prevent lice.

Two young princesses, Nefrure and Nefrubiti, wearing elaborate sets of jewelry, including diadems and girdles. Painted reliefs from Hatshepsut’s temple at Deir el-Bahri, early 18th Dynasty. Source: Roehrig, Catherine H. et al. “Hatshepsut: From Queen to Pharaoh”. PG 202.

Visual Sources

  • Cooney, Kara. “The Woman Who Would be King: Hapshetsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt”. USA: Crown Publishers, 2014.
  • Hope, Colin A. “Gold of the Pharaohs”. Australia: Museum of Victoria, 1988.
  • Roehrig, Catherine H. et al. “Hatshepsut: From Queen to Pharaoh”. USA: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2006.
  • Galford, Ellen. “Hatshepsut: The Girl Who Became a Great Pharaoh”. United States: The National Geographic Society, 2005.
  • Shaw, Garry J. “The Daily Life of a Pharaoh”. Dr Gary J. Shaw. Al Rawi: Egypt’s Heritage Review, issue 5, 2013. Web. 7 Sep. 2017.

Famous Women: Rumiko Takahashi

For Women’s History Month, I’m going to give a blanket recommendation to the work of a remarkable female manga artist (Japanese comic artist), one whose work was paramount in starting the manga/anime movement in the west. Her name is Rumiko Takahashi, and for those in the community, she needs no real introduction. I first started reading her first published work “Urusei Yatsura” (Those Obnoxious Aliens) at the age of three, and since then has followed her through “Maison Ikkoku”, “Ranma 1/2”, “Inuyasha”, and her various short stories in “Rumic World”. I haven’t been following her latest work “Rin-ne”, but the aim of this post is to chart her influence on me as a manga artist.



Rumiko is somewhat unique in the manga publishing world. She’s a best-selling female manga artist who draws mostly for a male audience (though she has female fans too), and she draws in a gender-neutral style that nonetheless is skilled, expressive and interesting. Above all that, she started off in the genre of comedy, which is never easy to do. She’s since branched out into horror, dramady, action-adventure and small-scale domestic drama, but she’s flexible and malleable enough that I don’t doubt she’ll go on to tackle other genres. Overall, her work is highly-recognisable and has a very strong sense of personality – you’ll always be able to pick a Rumiko Takahashi story at a glance.



I also have to mention her female characters. As a manga artist who started in the 70s in a magazine aimed at teenage boys, I imagine she must have gotten her fair share of pressure from the editors to make her female characters sexually-appealing. There’s no doubt Rumiko’s women are that, but they’re also slyly subversive in their personalities and the way they’re depicted. For a country that is known for its shy, submissive women (at least in manga and anime), Takahashi’s women are frequently loud, violent and filled with character flaws. All of them are as interesting as her male characters, and while everyone’s character defects are played for laughs, it’s wonderful to see such gender parity – and they’ve been depicted that way right from the start.



All in all, Rumiko Takahashi has a unique voice, one that has remained unique and recognisable for the past thirty years (and counting). If you haven’t read her work, you really should. If being the world’s best-selling female comic book artist doesn’t convince you, then being a wonderful comic book artist certainly should.



I have a list of her work here, many of which have been translated into English. My #1 pick for the uninitiated would be “Maison Ikkoku”, since it’s a more down-to-earth story about a poor ronin (failed university student) who is trying to win the heart of a young widow. Conversely, you may try her more zany comedies, like the slapstick earthling-meets-alien “Urusei Yatsura,” or the gender-bending martial arts comedy “Ranma 1/2.” Those who prefer action-adventure and medieval Japan can read “Inuyasha”, or “Mermaid Forest if you like horror. Her short stories in “Rumic World” is also one of my favourites.


Spotlight On: The Crusades (Final – Part 8)

In 1291, the Crusader-held city of Acre fell to Muslim forces. It was the last stronghold of the Crusaders, and soon after all the smaller cities held by the Crusaders were abandoned. There would be no further major attempts by the Crusaders on the Holy Lands. The Crusader Spirit, with its fervent desire to reclaim the glorious city of Jerusalem (and gain some of that Muslim wealth as well), simply faded away. In place… was the Inquisition; as the Roman Church stopped persecuting Muslims and Jews so they can start persecuting suspected heretics. This was later to have unpleasant effects for the people living in a large land mass to the west of Europe.


Positive Effects of the Crusades
Medicine, Science, Mathematics, Art, Poetry, Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry… the list goes on. These were all the things brought back from the Islamic Empire that would later spearhead the Renaissance in Europe. Even things like chess and chivalry were not native to Europe (though chess was originally Indian). It was no mistake that the Renaissance first began in Venice, where the populace was generally more worldly, cosmopolitan and exposed to the sophistication of the Muslims through their trading networks. And it was through these trading networks that many other ideas and technologies arrived to Europe from China and Indian.

At first, the Venetians and the Knights Templars held these routes in an iron grip – even though their terms were dictated by the Muslim traders. After the Knights Templars were eliminated, they were replaced only by similar organisations, and trade to Europe flourished. This was because of Europe’s integration into the Silk Road, that expansive trade network (which includes both land and sea routes) stretching from one end of Eurasia to the other. It can be said that the Silk Road was civilisation’s first instance of globalisation. Along this road came silk, spices, paper, printing, banking, paper money, gunpowder, guns, the compass, the sternpost rudder, the lanteen sail, crossbows, advanced agricultural tools, the horse collar, the telescope, matches, chess, playing cards, spinning wheel, china, toothbrushes… and many other inventions. Through these cultural transmissions, Western Europe came to learn of other advanced civilisations to the east of the Islamic Empire, namely a country called Cathay (aka China).


Negative Effects of the Crusades
While the European states wanted to get in touch with these distant lands (not least to spread Christianity around to counter the Muslim “threat”), they were unable to do so through the Islamic Empire. The goods the nobles craved from India and China were all sold to them via Muslim terms, which at times could be quite steep. The European states needed to find new ways to Cathay and the Spice Islands, and it seemed that sailing west would be the only alternative. Or so a guy called Christopher Columbus believed. It is from then onwards that certain peoples had a nasty time at the receiving end of the Spanish Inquisition.

It must be said that the Crusades did not have much effect on the development of the Islamic Empire. However, the process in which Europe forged its own identity in the world stemmed directly from the Crusades; almost entirely on how they related to the Islamic Empire. To the Europeans, Christianity was the one true religion, and Europe was locked into an eternal struggle with the Evil Forces of Islam. The good, true denizens of Europe, with their Christian ways and white skin, were vastly superior to the cruel, vulgar Saracens with their brown and black skin. The one true bastian of faith, Europe, must henceforth set out on another Crusading mission – to spread the One True Word to the lands beyond the Muslim world, where people has not yet had the good fortune to hear the Word of Christ (if indeed they are PEOPLE, as there was genuine doubt during the Spanish Inquisition over whether American Indians were the same “creatures of God” as the Europeans).

This attitude was to have enormous consequences on the way Europe later saw itself and its place in the world. It reached its peak in the racist Imperialist foreign policies of France and Britain during the Industrial Revolution, and puttered out with the genocidal ideas of Adolf Hitler and his attempts at engineering the perfect Aryan race. And it can be said that even though there are no more thuggish Christian knights attacking Muslim cities (woah, wait a minute), the legacy of the Crusades were more far-reaching and devastating than it would initially seem. Luckily, the world has gone past that and the Crusades are now only a historical relic to be learned from, by both Christians, Muslims and and anyone with an interest in the subject.


This concludes the 8-part “The Crusades” series”.

Spotlight On: The Crusades (Part 7)

Subsequent Crusades
The 5th to the 8th Crusades were largely unsuccessful, except for the 6th Crusade, which was very unusual and worth mentioning separately. The reason for lumping the 5th-8th Crusade in the same category was because after the 4th Crusade, the spirit of the Crusaders were beginning to wane. Failure after failure to capture Jerusalem weighed heavy on the consciences of the Crusaders, and the travesty of the Fourth Crusade only compounded that. The technology and wealth absorbed from the Islamic Empire also meant that the Europeans were becoming more interested in this newly-acquired body of knowledge than they were in Holy Wars. Nevertheless, the Fifth Crusade started in 1215. By the end of the 13th Century, the 8th Crusade had already come and gone, and there would be no more Crusades (there was, however, the Inquisition).


The 5th, 7th and 8th Crusades
Preparations for the 5th Crusades began almost immediately after the 4th Crusade, and in 1217 the Crusaders set out for their destination: not Jerusalem, but Egypt. Part of the reason was the wealth of the Egyptian Sultanate – Egypt for a long time was one of the major seats of power in the Islamic Empire. The Crusaders also hoped to use Egypt as a base to launch an attack on Jerusalem. However, while the Crusaders managed to take the port of Damietta after a long siege, they were prevented from advancing up the Nile when the Sultan of Egypt flooded the lower-plains of the river. Damietta was retaken in the same year, and the Crusaders returned home having achieved nothing.


Louis IX

Louis IX


The 7th (1249 AD) and 8th Crusades (1270 AD) were led by the same King, Louis IX, later canonised as Saint Louis. St Louis achieved nothing much, but he deserved the canonisation as he was one of the few Crusader kings respected by both sides. Both of his Crusades centered around Eygpt, and both times he was repulsed. In the 7th Crusade, he was captured after surrendering at the Battle of Mansourah after some initial success, and eventually ransomed. The 8th Crusade was equally ill-fated. The Crusade never made it to its destination – Louis was sidetracked by rumours of a Muslim king wishing to revert to Christianity, and ended up being stranded in Tunis with his Crusader army. There, plagued by typhus, dysentry and plague, Louis died. He was succeeded by his nephew Prince Edward of England, but that was the end of the 8th Crusade.


The Sixth Crusade
The 6th Crusade was unusual, as it was led by a Crusader King who didn’t behave like a Crusader: Frederick II of Germany (Barbarossa’s grandson). Frederick II proved that not all Crusaders believed in violence against Saracens – this one actually tried diplomacy. This is not all that surprising for the King of Germany – as Germany owned more land and riches than any other Crusading state at the time, and was in contact with some Islamic states.

Frederick II was supposed to set sail on the 5th Crusade, but fell ill with Malaria and was unable to catch up with the rest of the Crusaders. Pope Gregory IX, who never liked Frederick much anyway, promptly excommunicated him. However, this did not deter him, and in 1228 he set off with a Crusader force to Egypt. He was promptly excommunicated by Gregory IX a second time, for setting off without orders from the Pope – but judging from Frederick’s actions, he didn’t care much. He may well have been the first atheist Crusader. However, some of his Crusaders were troubled about their excommunicated status, and refused to leave; resulting in Frederick arriving in Crusader-held Acre with less a force than he originally had. This probably influenced his choices.

Instead, he entered into negotiations with the Sultan of Egypt, Al-Kamil, who knew Frederick personally anyway. Amazingly enough, Al-Kamil granted Frederick II the cities of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Nazareth; also the castles of Montfort and Toron, and a corridor running from Jerusalem to Jaffa. Thus, Frederick II crowned himself King of Jerusalem without even striking a blow. However, Jerusalem was very vulnerable as it was not won by waging war, and was in 1244 reclaimed by Muslim troops.

Despite Frederick’s success, all the Crusader states hated what he did. His actions were certainly maverick. They blamed the failure of the Fifth Crusade on him, and despised the fact that he negotiated with the Saracens instead of attacking them on sight (like a “real” Crusader would). I for one believe Frederick II was the greatest of all Crusader Kings – here was someone who believed in realpolitiks instead of religious fanaticism. I smile whenever I think of the way this particular Crusader King couldn’t give a damn about the religious pretensions of Europe at the time.


To Be Continued…

Spotlight On: The Crusades (Part 6)

The Fourth Crusade
The Fourth Crusade is undoubtedly the most ignominious of all Crusades – this one never even made it to the Holy Lands.

In August 1198, Pope Innocent III ordered a new Crusade. The Pope fancied the Church the true leader of the Crusades, and that should have been true if he weren’t widely ignored. France and England was busy with the 100 year war, and while the Pope had set March 1199 as the date of the Crusade, it wasn’t until November 1199 that something resembling an army got together. These Crusaders gathered at Venice, and being (once again) the splintered and squabbling force they always were, the Pope quickly lost control of what the Crusaders were supposed to be doing. The Venetians now saw a chance to manipulate the Crusaders for their own economic and political gains.

In 1200, Venice was the richest city in Europe, due to its trading links with the Islamic Empire and throughout the Mediterranean. It was also on poor terms with the Byzantine Empire. When the Crusaders arrived, the Doge (ruler) of Venice negotiated with the French and decided the Crusaders will be sent to the Holy Land on Venetian ships, thus eliminating the long and excruciating overland march. Unfortunately, the Crusaders lacked the money for the service – the Pope had to impose a highly unpopular income tax to raise the money in the first place, and now it wasn’t even enough to get the Crusaders to Palestine.

The Venetians decided the Crusaders can sack the Christian city of Zara for payment – the city had been lost for 15 years to the Byzantine Empire. The Crusaders had no choice but to comply – they had already run up enormous bills during their stay in Venice. At the same time, an exiled prince, Alexius IV, arrived in Venice from the Byzantine Empire, seeking help in overthrowing the current Byzantine Emperor on the throne. He promised the Crusaders money to pay for the ships – and promised the Venetians trading and political benefits should he be placed on the Byzantine throne.

And so, that was how the Crusaders became consumed by greed. They first sacked Zara, which caused Pope Innocent III to excommunicate all of them. That was unfortunate for the Crusaders, but it also gave them even more reason to attack Constantinople, since as religious status went, things couldn’t get any worse. In 1203, the Crusaders jointly attacked Constantinople with the Venetians, sacking the city and restoring Alexius IV to the Byzantine throne. However, Alexius IV had difficulty in paying off the Venetians AND the Crusaders, and the poor behaviour of the Crusaders in Constantinople (looting, raping and a burning of a mosque which also torched half the city) irritated the locals. Soon, the locals rebelled, which gave the Crusaders reason to attack the city and make off with everything of value. It was the worst looting Constantinople had ever experienced. Constantinople was the richest Christian city in the world as it was once the stronghold of the Eastern Roman Empire, and now it had been crippled by the Crusaders so badly it would never recover. It later fell to the Ottoman Empire which turned it into one of the greatest Muslim cities.


Legacy of the Fourth Crusade
After the sacking of Constantinople, the Crusaders returned home with their booty, persuading even the Pope to revoke their excommunicated status. Not a single thought of the Holy Land passed through the minds of these Crusaders.

The Fourth Crusade showcased a turning point in the history of Christian Europe. With the riches previously looted from the Islamic Empire and now the Byzantine Empire, the Crusaders were clearly now more interested in booty than they were in Holy Wars. One could defend the Fourth Crusade on the grounds that it was a victory for the Latin Papacy – if you believe the Crusades were Christianity’s gallant defense against the spread of Islam in the first place. This may have been true of the First Crusade, but not any of the subsequent ones. The pure travesty of the Fourth Crusade proved what the Crusades essentially were – a sham wrapped in layers of religious pretensions. The Crusaders (and Venetians) who attacked Constantinople knew exactly what they were doing – they were doing it for money and greed. This will become the main motivating factor for all later Crusades.


To Be Continued…