Tauseret (c. 1220–1188 BCE)

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Tauseret (c. 1220–1188 bce)

Wife of Egyptian pharaoh Seti II and briefly the ruler of the country in her own right (1196–1188 bce). Name variations: Tausert; Twosret. Born around 1220 bce; died in 1188 bce; sister-wife of Seti II, king of Egypt; children: (stepson) Siptah.

The last legitimate member of the royal family of the brilliant 19th Dynasty of Egypt, Tauseret may have first enjoyed a joint rule with her brother-husband Seti II but then apparently attempted to assume the rulership of Egypt upon her husband's death. She constructed a large funerary temple for herself at ancient Thebes and a tomb in the Valley of the Kings, where no other woman of her dynasty was buried. For a time she was regent on behalf of her stepson, the young Siptah, who then ruled briefly by himself. Afterwards, she again ruled alone as a female pharaoh, but only for a short time. Her tomb was usurped by the founder of the 20th Dynasty, so she may have been overthrown. Indeed, the last years of the 19th Dynasty were remembered by the Egyptians for their breakdown of law and order.

Barbara S. Lesko , Department of Egyptology, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island