Camille's Heroine

La Paglia has found one in ancient Egypt:

Perhaps because a movie has yet to be made about her, Hatshepsut (as her name is generally spelled) remains little known. A Los Angeles psychic did tell singer Tina Turner, according to the latter's autobiography, that in a previous incarnation she had been Hatshepsut. The queen's grandly terraced mortuary temple, nestled beneath a cliff across the Nile from Luxor, was the scene in 1997 of a horrific massacre of 58 tourists by Islamic terrorists.

Hatshepsut, who ruled Egypt for two decades (circa 1473-1458 B.C.), was a member of the New Kingdom's illustrious 18th dynasty. The daughter of a pharaoh, Thutmose I, she married her half-brother, Thutmose II, with whom she had a daughter. (Incest was the modus vivendi of Egyptian royalty, who were viewed as living gods.) When her brother's young son by another wife succeeded him as Thutmose III, Hatshepsut stepped in as regent and wielded power aggressively on her own.

She insisted she was not just queen, but pharaoh - the only example of this curiosity of gender in 3,000 years of Egyptian history. Her sculptures show her sporting female breasts yet wearing the masculine royal kilt, striped head cloth and even the pharaoh's ceremonial tie-on beard. She became "His Majesty."