Comparative Essay: Ancient Female Ruler

Ancient Female Ruler

Strayer University: HUM 111

Introduction The purpose of this paper is to compare two Ancient Rulers Tang Empress Wu Zetian also known as Empress Wu or as Wu Zhao with Pharaoh Hatshepsut. My first choice Tang Empress Wu Zetian was born in (625-705). She lived in China. My second choice Pharaoh Hatshepsut was born in (1479-1457 B.C.E) She lived in Egypt. These female rulers both accomplish a lot during their ruling. I chose to compare two female rulers because women have been fighting for equal opportunities since before time. As a woman in today’s society. I want to be a purpose and voice for the women who paved the way.

Two Ways Similar The two ways that Empress Wu and Pharaoh Hatshepsut were similar is they both were Ancient Ruler by the death of their husbands and proving to the country that females can be leaders. “One woman actually called herself emperor, Wu Zetian iëcPJJi^c (625-705), the only female emperor in Chinese history and probably the only one in the entire world to rule her own dynasty (known as the Zhou ^ dynasty, from 690 to 705) (Women Rulers in Imperial China, 2013)”. In fact, for about 20 years, Pharaoh Hatshepsut ruled New Kingdom Egypt. Pharaoh Hatshepsut is considered as the best female Pharaoh of all time in Egypt. Empress Wu became an Ancient Ruler by the death of her concubine emperor Taizong. In fact, the death of Taizong is when Empress Wu married his son, Gaozong. In 683 CE, Gaozong died and Empress Wu took control immediately. “She was the power behind the throne from Gaozong’s death in 683 CE until she proclaimed herself openly in 690 CE and ruled as emperor of China until a year before her death in 708 CE, at the age of 81” (Wu Zetian, 2016). Although Hatshepsut came from a different family her story was quite similar and interesting. She was married to Thutmose II. “She served as queen alongside her husband, Thutmose II, but after his death, claimed the role of pharaoh while acting as regent to her step-son, Thutmose III.” (Hatshepsut Biography, 2014). Hatshepsut being on throne help to boost the economics of Egypt.

Two Ways Different Although both Empress Wu and Pharaoh Hatshepsut were female rulers, there were some differences between them. The first way their different is by the rise of power. Empress Wu was a beautiful, smart, and people learned to respect her. She upholds an image as a female ruler so gracefully. “One example of her clout was in 666CE when she led a group of women to Mount Tai (an ancient ceremonial center), where they conducted rituals which traditionally were performed only by men” (Wu Zetian, 2016). On the other, Pharaoh Hatshepsut had a different approach on how people would respect and visually see her. “Visual representations of Hatshepsut range from depictions of her as a female king, physically female in form adorning pharaonic male accouterments,’ to images of her as a physically male king with a man’s chest and build” (Hatshepsut Biography, 2014). Secondly, the representation of negative actions. The only reason Hatshepsut served as a regent to her step-son, he was too young at the time. “Technically, Hatshepsut did not ‘usurp’ the crown, as Thutmose III was never deposed and was considered co-ruler throughout her life, but it is clear that Hatshepsut was the principal ruler in power” (Hatshepsut Biography, 2014). Empress Wu gave birth to a daughter who was supposedly strangled. “The baby was strangled in her crib and Wu claimed that Lady Wang had killed her because she was jealous. Wang was the last person seen in the room and had no alibi” (Wu Zetian, 2016). People believe that Empress Wu may have lied on Lady Wang, because she may have killed her own child.

Three Ways Culture Different These two rulers come from different cultures. Empress Wu is from the Chinese culture with Pharaoh Hatshepsut is Egyptian. First, both females, becoming a leader with power was an understatement. However, it was not normal for a woman to have such power and control over an entire country. First, in the Chinese culture rulers are known as queens and emperors, but Egyptians were known as Pharaohs or Kings. Secondly, religious for Chinese culture was extremely important. “Its emphasis on the respect for age, authority, and morality made Confucianism extremely popular among Chinese leaders and the artists they patronized. It embraced the emperor, the state, and the family in a single ethical system with a hierarchy that was believed to mirror the structure of the cosmos (Sayre, 2019). Egyptian’s culture belief was more about the ruler. “In the belief that the physical body was essential to the ka’s survival in the afterlife, the Egyptians developed a sophisticated process to preserve the body, mummification” (Sayre, 2019). Third, women were not ruling over a country in China or Egypt before both female rulers. Egyptian women restriction was as basic as the men compare to the Chinese culture. The Chinese culture endures their first Empress Wu to rule China.

Compare Modern Day Rulers I would compare female Empress Wu to my Grandmother, Bernice Hooks. She is a beautiful person inside and out. A strong, caring woman that can lead others into doing the right thing every time. The second ruler Pharaoh Hatshepsut I would compare to First Lady Michelle Obama, she is sweet, kind and will give you the shirt off your back. I feel that when her kindness is taking for granted, she will manage to keep calm and tell someone off with raising her voice.

Two things I have Learned In conclusion, Empress Wu and Pharaoh Hatshepsut were women making a difference in the world, not only history. Empress Wu was a smart, beautiful woman who became the first woman to rule in China. I learned that despite the odds continue to strive and believe. That is what Pharaoh Hatshepsut legacy was even though many tried to destroy it.



  1. Keith, McMahon (2013) Women Rulers in Imperial China p.179-218. Retrieved from
  2. Ancient History Encyclopedia Emily, Mark (2016) Wu Zetian Retrieved April 26, 2019
  3. Hatshepsut Biography, No Author, published in 2014 Retrieved April 26, 2019 Accessed April 26, 2019
  4. Sayre, H. M. (2019). The humanities: Culture, continuity & changeVolume 1 (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education pg. 89, pg. 230.

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