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Ramesses II ( egy, rꜥ-ms-sw meaning "Ra is the one who bore him", ''Rīʿa-məsī-sū'', ; ) was the third
pharaoh Pharaoh ( , ; cop, , Pǝrro) is the common title now used for the monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. ...

pharaoh
of the
Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt The Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt (notated Dynasty XIX), also known as the Ramessid dynasty, is classified as the second Dynasty of the Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a of , concentrated along the lower reaches of the , situated in the ...
. He is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the
New Kingdom New is an adjective referring to something recently made, discovered, or created. New or NEW may refer to: Music * New, singer of K-pop group The Boyz Boyz or The Boyz may refer to: Music Bands *The Boyz (German band), a German boy band of th ...
, itself the most powerful period of
Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional char ...

Ancient Egypt
. The name ''Ramesses'' is pronounced variously .
Other spellings Other often refers to: * Other (philosophy), a concept in psychology and philosophy Other or The Other may also refer to: Film and television * The Other (1913 film), ''The Other'' (1913 film), a German silent film directed by Max Mack * The Othe ...
include Rameses and Ramses; in grc-koi, Ῥαμέσσης, Rhaméssēs. He is known as Ozymandias in Greek sources ( grc-koi, Οσυμανδύας, translit=Osymandýas), from the first part of Ramesses's
regnal name A regnal name, or regnant name or reign name, is the name used by monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, for life or until abdication, and therefore the ...
, , "The
Maat Maat or Maʽat (Egyptian Egyptian describes something of, from, or related to Egypt. Egyptian or Egyptians may refer to: Nations and ethnic groups * Egyptians, a national group in North Africa ** Egyptian culture, a complex and stable culture ...

Maat
of is powerful, Chosen of Ra". He is also called Ramesses the Great. His successors and later Egyptians called him the "Great Ancestor". At age fourteen, he was appointed
prince regent George IV (George Augustus Frederick; 12 August 1762 – 26 June 1830) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland There have been 12 British monarchs There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union A polit ...
by his father,
Seti I Menmaatre Seti I (or Sethos I in Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its popu ...
.Putnam (1990) Most Egyptologists today believe he assumed the throne on 31 May 1279 BC, based on his known accession date of III
Season of the Harvest The Season of the Harvest or Low Water was the third and final season of the lunar and civil Egyptian calendars. It fell after the Season of the Emergence (') and before the spiritually dangerous intercalary month (Egypt), intercalary month ('), a ...
, day 27. The early part of his reign was focused on building cities, temples, and monuments. He established the city of
Pi-Ramesses Pi-Ramesses (; Ancient Egyptian Ancient Egypt was a civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratification, a form of government, and symbol A ...
in the
Nile Delta The Nile Delta ( ar, دلتا النيل, or simply , ) is the delta Delta commonly refers to: * Delta (letter) (Δ or δ), a letter of the Greek alphabet * River delta, a landform at the mouth of a river * D (NATO phonetic alphabet: "Delta"), ...
as his new capital and used it as the main base for his campaigns in
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...
. He led several military expeditions into the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
, reasserting Egyptian control over
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
. He also led expeditions to the south, into
Nubia Nubia () (Nobiin Nobiin, or Mahas, is a Northern Nubian languages, Nubian language of the Nilo-Saharan languages, Nilo-Saharan language family. "Nobiin" is the genitive case, genitive form of ''Nòòbíí'' ("Nubian") and literally means "(lan ...

Nubia
, commemorated in inscriptions at Beit el-Wali and
Gerf Hussein The temple of Gerf Hussein (in Ancient Egypt: Per Ptah, or 'House of Ptah') was dedicated to pharaoh Ramesses II Ramesses II ( egy, rꜥ-ms-sw meaning "Ra is the one who bore him", ''Rīʿa-məsī-sū'', ; ) was the third pharaoh ...

Gerf Hussein
. He celebrated an unprecedented thirteen or fourteen
Sed festival The Sed festival (''ḥb-sd'', Egyptian language#Egyptological_pronunciation, conventional pronunciation ; also known as Heb Sed or Feast of the Tail) was an ancient Egyptian ceremony that celebrated the continued rule of a pharaoh. The name is ta ...
s during his reign—more than any other pharaoh. Estimates of his age at death vary; 90 or 91 is considered most likely. On his death, he was buried in in the
Valley of the Kings The Valley of the Kings ( ar, وادي الملوك ; ), also known as the Valley of the Gates of the Kings ( ar, وادي أبواب الملوك ), is a valley A valley is an elongated low area often running between hills or mountai ...
; his body was later moved to a royal cache where it was discovered in 1881, and is now on display in the
Egyptian Museum The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, known commonly as the Egyptian Museum or the Cairo Museum, in Cairo, Egypt, is home to an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities. It has 120,000 items, with a representative amount on display an ...

Egyptian Museum
.


Campaigns and battles

Early in his life, Ramesses II embarked on numerous campaigns to restore possession of previously held territories lost to the
Nubia Nubia () (Nobiin Nobiin, or Mahas, is a Northern Nubian languages, Nubian language of the Nilo-Saharan languages, Nilo-Saharan language family. "Nobiin" is the genitive case, genitive form of ''Nòòbíí'' ("Nubian") and literally means "(lan ...

Nubia
ns and
Hittites The Hittites () were an Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing first a kingdom in Kussara before 1750 BC, then the Kanesh or Nesha kingdom (c. 1750–1650 BC), and next an empire centered on Hattusa Hattusa (also ...

Hittites
and to secure Egypt's borders. He was also responsible for suppressing some Nubian revolts and carrying out a campaign in
Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībiyā), officially the State of Libya ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībiyā), is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to Egypt–Libya border, th ...

Libya
. Though the
Battle of Kadesh The Battle of Kadesh or Battle of Qadesh took place between the forces of the under and the under at the city of on the , just upstream of near the modern . The battle is generally dated to 1274 BC from the , and is the earliest battle i ...
often dominates the scholarly view of Ramesses II's military prowess and power, he nevertheless enjoyed more than a few outright victories over Egypt's enemies. During his reign, the Egyptian army is estimated to have totaled some 100,000 men: a formidable force that he used to strengthen Egyptian influence.R. Gabriel, ''The Great Armies of Antiquity'', 6.


Battle against Sherden sea pirates

In his second year, Ramesses II decisively defeated the
Sherden The Sherden (Egyptian language, Egyptian: ''šrdn'', ''šꜣrdꜣnꜣ'' or ''šꜣrdynꜣ'', Ugaritic: ''šrdnn(m)'' and ''trtn(m)'', possibly Akkadian language, Akkadian: ''še–er–ta–an–nu''; also glossed “Shardana” or “Sherdanu”) a ...
sea pirates who were wreaking havoc along Egypt's Mediterranean coast by attacking cargo-laden vessels travelling the sea routes to
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
. The Sherden people probably came from the coast of
Ionia Ionia (; Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and the period (). Ancient ...
, from southwest
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
or perhaps, also from the island of
Sardinia Sardinia ( ; it, Sardegna ; sc, Sardigna or ) is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , ...

Sardinia
. Ramesses posted troops and ships at strategic points along the coast and patiently allowed the pirates to attack their perceived prey before skillfully catching them by surprise in a sea battle and capturing them all in a single action. A
stele A stele ( ),Anglicized plural steles ( ); Greek plural stelai ( ), from Greek , ''stēlē''. The Greek plural is written , ''stēlai'', but this is only rarely encountered in English. or occasionally stela (plural ''stelas'' or ''stelæ''), ...

stele
from
Tanis Tanis; egy, ḏꜥn.t ; ar, صان الحجر, Ṣān al-Ḥaǧar; ; cop, ϫⲁⲛⲓ or or is the Greek name for ancient Egyptian ''ḏꜥn.t'', an important archaeological site in the north-eastern Nile Delta The Nile Delta ( ar, د ...
speaks of their having come "in their war-ships from the midst of the sea, and none were able to stand before them". There probably was a naval battle somewhere near the mouth of the Nile, as shortly afterward, many Sherden are seen among the pharaoh's body-guard where they are conspicuous by their horned helmets having a ball projecting from the middle, their round shields, and the great Naue II swords with which they are depicted in inscriptions of the Battle of Kadesh. In that sea battle, together with the Sherden, the pharaoh also defeated the
Lukka The term Lukka lands (sometimes Luqqa lands), in Hittite language Hittite (natively / "the language of Kültepe, Neša", or ''nešumnili'' / "the language of the people of Neša"), also known as Nesite (''Nešite'' / Neshite, Nessite), was a ...
(L'kkw, possibly the people later known as the
Lycians Lycians is the name of various peoples who lived, at different times, in Lycia Lycia (Lycian language, Lycian: 𐊗𐊕𐊐𐊎𐊆𐊖 ''Trm̃mis''; el, Λυκία, ; tr, Likya) was a geopolitical region in Anatolia in what are now the Pro ...
), and the Šqrsšw (
Shekelesh The Sea Peoples are a purported seafaring confederation that attacked ancient Egypt and other regions of the Eastern Mediterranean, East Mediterranean prior to and during the Late Bronze Age collapse (1200–900 BCE).. Quote: "First coined in ...
) peoples.


First Syrian campaign

The immediate antecedents to the Battle of Kadesh were the early campaigns of Ramesses II into
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
. His first campaign seems to have taken place in the fourth year of his reign and was commemorated by the erection of what became the first of the
Commemorative stelae of Nahr el-Kalb The commemorative stelae of Nahr el-Kalb are a group of over 20 inscriptions and rock relief File:S10.08 Abu Simbel, image 9503.jpg, 320px, Two of the reliefs at the Abu Simbel temples, before relocation A rock relief or rock-cut relief ...
near what is now
Beirut Beirut ( ; ar, بيروت, ) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Lebanon. , Greater Beirut has a population of 2.2 million, which makes it the List of largest cities in the Levant region by population, third-largest city in ...

Beirut
. The inscription is almost totally illegible due to weathering. In the fourth year of his reign, he captured the Hittite vassal state of the Amurru during his campaign in Syria.


Second Syrian campaign

The Battle of Kadesh in his fifth regnal year was the climactic engagement in a campaign that Ramesses fought in Syria, against the resurgent Hittite forces of Muwatallis. The pharaoh wanted a victory at Kadesh both to expand Egypt's frontiers into Syria, and to emulate his father Seti I's triumphal entry into the city just a decade or so earlier. He also constructed his new capital,
Pi-Ramesses Pi-Ramesses (; Ancient Egyptian Ancient Egypt was a civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratification, a form of government, and symbol A ...
. There he built factories to manufacture weapons, chariots, and shields, supposedly producing some 1,000 weapons in a week, about 250 chariots in two weeks, and 1,000 shields in a week and a half. After these preparations, Ramesses moved to attack territory in the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
, which belonged to a more substantial enemy than any he had ever faced in war: the
Hittite Empire The Hittites () were an Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing first a kingdom in Kussara before 1750 BC, then the Kanesh or Nesha kingdom (c. 1750–1650 BC), and next an empire centered on Hattusa Hattusa (also ...

Hittite Empire
. Ramesses's forces were caught in a Hittite ambush and outnumbered at Kadesh when they counterattacked and routed the Hittites, whose survivors abandoned their chariots and swam the Orontes river to reach the safe city walls. Ramesses, logistically unable to sustain a long siege, returned to Egypt.The Battle of Kadesh in the context of Hittite history
100 Battles, ''Decisive Battles that Shaped the World'', Dougherty, Martin, J., Parragon, pp. 10–11.


Third Syrian campaign

Egypt's sphere of influence was now restricted to
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
while
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
fell into Hittite hands. Canaanite princes, seemingly encouraged by the Egyptian incapacity to impose their will and goaded on by the Hittites, began revolts against Egypt. In the seventh year of his reign, Ramesses II returned to Syria once again. This time he proved more successful against his Hittite foes. During this campaign he split his army into two forces. One force was led by his son,
Amun-her-khepeshef Amun-her-khepeshef (died ca. 1254 BC; also Amonhirkhopshef, Amun-her-wenemef and Amun-her-khepeshef A to distinguish him from later people of the same name) was the firstborn son of Pharaoh Pharaoh ( , ; cop, , Pǝrro) is the common ti ...
, and it chased warriors of the tribes across the
Negev The Negev or Negeb (; he, הַנֶּגֶב; ar, ٱلنَّقَب ') is a desert upright=1.5, alt=see caption, Sand dunes in the Rub' al Khali ("Empty quarter") in the United Arab Emirates">Rub'_al_Khali.html" ;"title="Sand dunes in th ...

Negev
as far as the
Dead Sea The Dead Sea ( he, יָם הַמֶּלַח lit. Sea of Salt; ar, البحر الميت , lit. ''the Dead Sea'',The first article ''al-'' is unnecessary and usually not used. or Buhayrat, Bahret or Birket Lut, ''lit.'' "Lake/Sea of Lot") is a ...

Dead Sea
, capturing
Edom Edom (; Edomite Edom (; Edomite: 𐤀𐤃𐤌 ''’Edām''; he, אֱדוֹם ''ʼÉḏōm'', lit.: "red"; akk, 𒌑𒁺𒈠𒀀𒀀 ''Uduma'') was an ancient kingdom in Transjordan located between Moab to the northeast, the Arabah Th ...

Edom
- Seir. It then marched on to capture
Moab Moab ''Mōáb''; Assyrian: 𒈬𒀪𒁀𒀀𒀀 ''Mu'aba'', 𒈠𒀪𒁀𒀀𒀀 ''Ma'ba'', 𒈠𒀪𒀊 ''Ma'ab''; Egyptian Egyptian describes something of, from, or related to Egypt. Egyptian or Egyptians may refer to: Nations and et ...
. The other force, led by Ramesses, attacked
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
and
Jericho Jericho ( ; ar, أريحا ' ; he, יְרִיחוֹ ') is a city in the . It is located in the , with the to the east and to the west. It is the administrative seat of the and is governed by the . In 2007, it had a population of 18,346. ...

Jericho
. He, too, then entered Moab, where he rejoined his son. The reunited army then marched on ,
Damascus )), is an adjective which means "spacious". , motto = , image_flag = Flag of Damascus.svg , image_seal = Emblem of Damascus.svg , seal_type = Seal , m ...

Damascus
, on to
Kumidi Kamid el-Loz, also spelled Kamid al-Lawz, is located in West . Its population numbers several thousand, mostly , people. History In 1838, noted ''Kamid el-Lauz'' as a village in the . The ancient name of the site is thought to be Kumidi.Jens K ...
, and finally, recaptured Upi (the land around Damascus), reestablishing Egypt's former sphere of influence.


Later campaigns in Syria

Ramesses extended his military successes in his eighth and ninth years. He crossed the Dog River ( Nahr al-Kalb) and pushed north into Amurru. His armies managed to march as far north as Dapur, where he had a statue of himself erected. The Egyptian pharaoh thus found himself in northern Amurru, well past
Kadesh Qadesh, Qedesh, Qetesh, Kadesh, Kedesh, Kadeš and Qades come from the common Semitic root "Q-D-Š", which means "sacred." Kadesh and variations may refer to: Ancient/biblical places * Kadesh (Syria) or Qadesh, an ancient city of the Levant, on o ...
, in
Tunip Tunip was a city-state A city-state is an independent sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French Frenc ...
, where no Egyptian soldier had been seen since the time of
Thutmose III Thutmose III (variously also spelt Tuthmosis or Thothmes) was the sixth pharaoh Pharaoh ( , ; cop, , Pǝrro) is the common title now used for the monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is ...

Thutmose III
, almost 120 years earlier. He laid siege to the city before capturing it. His victory proved to be ephemeral. In year nine, Ramesses erected a stele at
Beth Shean Beit She'an ( he, בֵּית שְׁאָן '), also known as Beisan ( ar, بيسان ), and historically known as Scythopolis (''Σκυθόπολις'' in Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancien ...

Beth Shean
. After having reasserted his power over Canaan, Ramesses led his army north. A mostly illegible stele near
Beirut Beirut ( ; ar, بيروت, ) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Lebanon. , Greater Beirut has a population of 2.2 million, which makes it the List of largest cities in the Levant region by population, third-largest city in ...

Beirut
, which appears to be dated to the king's second year, was probably set up there in his tenth. The thin strip of territory pinched between Amurru and Kadesh did not make for a stable possession. Within a year, they had returned to the Hittite fold, so that Ramesses had to march against
Dapur The siege of Dapur occurred as part of Pharaoh Ramesses II's campaign to suppress Galilee and conquer Syria (region), Syria in 1269 BC. He described his campaign on the wall of his mortuary temple, the Ramesseum in Thebes, Egypt. The inscriptions s ...
once more in his tenth year. This time he claimed to have fought the battle without even bothering to put on his
corslet A corslet is defined by the Oxford English Dictionar ...
, until two hours after the fighting began. Six of Ramesses's youthful sons, still wearing their side locks, took part in this conquest. He took towns in
Retjenu Retjenu ('' rṯnw; Reṯenu, Retenu''), was an ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a of , concentrated along the lower reaches of the , situated in the place that is now the country . Ancient Egyptian civilization followed and coalesced ...
, and
Tunip Tunip was a city-state A city-state is an independent sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French Frenc ...
in Naharin, later recorded on the walls of the Ramesseum. This second success at the location was equally as meaningless as his first, as neither power could decisively defeat the other in battle.


Peace treaty with the Hittites

The deposed Hittite king,
Mursili III Mursili III, also known as Urhi-Teshub, was a king of the Hittites who assumed the throne of the Hittite empire (New Kingdom) at Tarhuntassa upon his father's death around 1272 BC. He was a cousin of Tudhaliya IV and Queen Maathorneferure. Biogra ...
, fled to Egypt, the land of his country's enemy, after the failure of his plots to oust his uncle from the throne. Ḫattušili III responded by demanding that Ramesses II extradite his nephew back to . This demand precipitated a crisis in relations between Egypt and Hatti when Ramesses denied any knowledge of Mursili's whereabouts in his country, and the two empires came dangerously close to war. Eventually, in the twenty-first year of his reign (1258 BC), Ramesses decided to conclude an agreement with the new Hittite king, Ḫattušili III, at Kadesh to end the conflict. The ensuing document is the earliest known
peace treaty A peace treaty is an agreement Agreement may refer to: Agreements between people and organizations * Gentlemen's agreement, not enforceable by law * Trade agreement, between countries * Consensus, a decision-making process * Contract, enforceab ...
in world history. The peace treaty was recorded in two versions, one in
Egyptian hieroglyphs Egyptian hieroglyphs () were the formal writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent ...
, the other in Hittite, using
cuneiform script Cuneiform is a - that was used to write several languages of the . The script was in active use from the early until the beginning of the . It is named for the characteristic wedge-shaped impressions (: ) which form its . Cuneiform was origi ...

cuneiform script
; both versions survive. Such dual-language recording is common to many subsequent treaties. This treaty differs from others, in that the two language versions are worded differently. While the majority of the text is identical, the Hittite version says the Egyptians came suing for peace and the Egyptian version says the reverse. The treaty was given to the Egyptians in the form of a silver plaque, and this "pocket-book" version was taken back to Egypt and carved into the temple at
Karnak The Karnak Temple Complex, commonly known as Karnak (, which was originally derived from ar, خورنق ''Khurnaq'' "fortified village"), comprises a vast mix of decayed temples A temple (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical lan ...

Karnak
. The treaty was concluded between Ramesses II and Ḫattušili III in year 21 of Ramesses's reign (c. 1258 BC). Its 18 articles call for peace between Egypt and Hatti and then proceeds to maintain that their respective deities also demand peace. The frontiers are not laid down in this treaty, but may be inferred from other documents. The Anastasy A
papyrus Papyrus ( ) is a material similar to thick paper that was used in ancient times as a writing surface. It was made from the pith of the papyrus plant, ''Cyperus papyrus'', a wetland sedge. ''Papyrus'' (plural: ''papyri'') can also refer to a do ...

papyrus
describes
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
during the latter part of the reign of Ramesses II and enumerates and names the
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3 ...
n coastal towns under Egyptian control. The harbour town of Sumur, north of
Byblos Byblos ( ar, جبيل ''Jubayl'', locally ''Jbeil''; gr, Βύβλος; phn, 𐤂𐤁𐤋 (GBL) , (probably ''Gubal'') is a city in the Mount Lebanon Governorate of Lebanon Lebanon (), officially known as the Lebanese Republic,''Republic ...

Byblos
, is mentioned as the northernmost town belonging to Egypt, suggesting it contained an Egyptian garrison. No further Egyptian campaigns in Canaan are mentioned after the conclusion of the peace treaty. The northern border seems to have been safe and quiet, so the rule of the pharaoh was strong until Ramesses II's death, and the waning of the dynasty. When the King of Mira attempted to involve Ramesses in a hostile act against the Hittites, the Egyptian responded that the times of intrigue in support of Mursili III, had passed. Ḫattušili III wrote to
Kadashman-Enlil II Kadašman-Enlil II, typically rendered d''ka-dáš-man-''dEN.LÍLThe replacement of the masculine determinative m by the divine one d is a distinction of Kassite monarchs after Nazi-Maruttaš. in contemporary inscriptions, meaning “he believes in ...
,
Kassite The Kassites () were people of the ancient Near East The ancient Near East was the home of early civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratificatio ...
king of
Karduniaš__NOTOC__ Karduniaš, also transcribed Karduniash, Karaduniyaš, Karaduniše, Kurduniash) is a Kassite term used for the kingdom centered on Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Babil'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ...
(
Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Babil'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bavel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babili'' *Kassite The Kassites ...

Babylon
) in the same spirit, reminding him of the time when his father,
Kadashman-Turgu Kadašman-Turgu, inscribed ''Ka-da-aš-ma-an Túr-gu'' and meaning ''he believes in Turgu'', a Kassite deity, (1281–1264 BC short chronology The short chronology is one of the chronologies of the Near Eastern Bronze and Early Iron Age, which f ...
, had offered to fight Ramesses II, the king of Egypt. The Hittite king encouraged the Babylonian to oppose another enemy, which must have been the king of
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
, whose allies had killed the messenger of the Egyptian king. Ḫattušili encouraged Kadashman-Enlil to come to his aid and prevent the Assyrians from cutting the link between the Canaanite province of Egypt and Mursili III, the ally of Ramesses.


Campaigns in Nubia

Ramesses II also campaigned south of the
first cataract of the Nile The Cataracts of the Nile are shallow lengths (or whitewater rapids) of the Nile River, between Khartoum and Aswan, where the surface of the water is broken by many small boulders and stones jutting out of the river bed, as well as many rocky i ...
into
Nubia Nubia () (Nobiin Nobiin, or Mahas, is a Northern Nubian languages, Nubian language of the Nilo-Saharan languages, Nilo-Saharan language family. "Nobiin" is the genitive case, genitive form of ''Nòòbíí'' ("Nubian") and literally means "(lan ...

Nubia
. When Ramesses was about 22, two of his own sons, including
Amun-her-khepeshef Amun-her-khepeshef (died ca. 1254 BC; also Amonhirkhopshef, Amun-her-wenemef and Amun-her-khepeshef A to distinguish him from later people of the same name) was the firstborn son of Pharaoh Pharaoh ( , ; cop, , Pǝrro) is the common ti ...
, accompanied him in at least one of those campaigns. By the time of Ramesses, Nubia had been a colony for 200 years, but its conquest was recalled in decoration from the temples Ramesses II built at Beit el-Wali (which was the subject of epigraphic work by the
Oriental InstituteOriental Institute may refer to a number of university faculties, departments, and institutes of Oriental studies: ;United States * Oriental Institute (Chicago), part of the University of Chicago ;United Kingdom * Faculty of Oriental Studies, Oxfor ...
during the Nubian salvage campaign of the 1960s),
Gerf Hussein The temple of Gerf Hussein (in Ancient Egypt: Per Ptah, or 'House of Ptah') was dedicated to pharaoh Ramesses II Ramesses II ( egy, rꜥ-ms-sw meaning "Ra is the one who bore him", ''Rīʿa-məsī-sū'', ; ) was the third pharaoh ...

Gerf Hussein
and
Kalabsha New Kalabsha is a promontory located near Aswan in Egypt. It houses several important temples, structures, and other remains that have been relocated here from the site of Old Kalabsha ('' ar, Bab al-Kalabsha'', "Gate of Kalabsha", grc, Ταλμ ...
in northern Nubia. On the south wall of the Beit el-Wali temple, Ramesses II is depicted charging into battle against tribes south of Egypt in a war chariot, while his two young sons, Amun-her-khepsef and Khaemwaset, are shown behind him, also in war chariots. A wall in one of Ramesses's temples says he had to fight one battle with those tribes without help from his soldiers.


Campaigns in Libya

During the reign of Ramesses II, the Egyptians were evidently active on a stretch along the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...

Mediterranean
coast, at least as far as
Zawyet Umm El Rakham Zawyet Umm El Rakham ( arz, زاوية أم الرخم lit. "the resthouse of the mother of vultures") is an archaeological site located on the North coast of Egypt 20 km to the west of Marsa Matruh, and about 300 km to the west of Ale ...
. Although the exact events surrounding the foundation of the coastal forts and fortresses is not clear, some degree of political and military control must have been held over the region to allow their construction. There are no detailed accounts of Ramesses II's undertaking large military actions against the Libyans, only generalised records of his conquering and crushing them, which may or may not refer to specific events that were otherwise unrecorded. It may be that some of the records, such as the
Aswan Aswan (, also ; ar, أسوان, ʾAswān ; cop, Ⲥⲟⲩⲁⲛ, Souan ) is a city in the south of Egypt Egypt ( ; ar, مِصر ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country spanning the North Africa, northeast ...

Aswan
Stele of his year 2, are harking back to Ramesses's presence on his father's Libyan campaigns. Perhaps it was
Seti I Menmaatre Seti I (or Sethos I in Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its popu ...
who achieved this supposed control over the region, and who planned to establish the defensive system, in a manner similar to how he rebuilt those to the east, the Ways of Horus across Northern .


Sed festival

After reigning for 30 years, Ramesses joined a select group that included only a handful of Egypt's longest-lived rulers. By tradition, in the 30th year of his reign Ramesses celebrated a jubilee called the
Sed festival The Sed festival (''ḥb-sd'', Egyptian language#Egyptological_pronunciation, conventional pronunciation ; also known as Heb Sed or Feast of the Tail) was an ancient Egyptian ceremony that celebrated the continued rule of a pharaoh. The name is ta ...
. These were held to honour and rejuvenate the pharaoh's strength. Only halfway through what would be a 66-year reign, Ramesses had already eclipsed all but a few of his greatest predecessors in his achievements. He had brought peace, maintained Egyptian borders, and built great and numerous monuments across the empire. His country was more prosperous and powerful than it had been in nearly a century. Sed festivals traditionally were held again every three years after the 30th year; Ramesses II, who sometimes held them after two years, eventually celebrated an unprecedented thirteen or fourteen.


Building activity and monuments

Ramesses built extensively throughout Egypt and Nubia, and his
cartouche Image:Birth and Throne cartouches of pharaoh Seti I, from KV17 at the Valley of the Kings, Egypt. Neues Museum.jpg, upalt=A stone face carved with coloured hieroglyphics. Two cartouches - ovoid shapes with hieroglyphics inside - are visible at the ...

cartouche
s are prominently displayed even in buildings that he did not construct. There are accounts of his honor hewn on stone, statues, and the remains of palaces and
temples A temple (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the R ...

temples
—most notably the
Ramesseum The Ramesseum is the Temples of a Million years, memorial temple (or mortuary temple) of Pharaoh Ramesses II ("Ramesses the Great", also spelled "Ramses" and "Rameses"). It is located in the Theban Necropolis in Upper Egypt, on the west of the Nil ...

Ramesseum
in western Thebes and the rock temples of
Abu Simbel Abu Simbel (also Abu Simbal, Ebsambul or Isambul; ar, أبو سنبل, Abū Sinbal or ar, أبو سمبل, Abū Simbal) is a village in the Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a tra ...

Abu Simbel
. He covered the land from the
Delta Delta commonly refers to: * Delta (letter) (Δ or δ), a letter of the Greek alphabet * River delta, a landform at the mouth of a river * D (NATO phonetic alphabet: "Delta"), the fourth letter of the modern English alphabet * Delta Air Lines, an Ame ...

Delta
to
Nubia Nubia () (Nobiin Nobiin, or Mahas, is a Northern Nubian languages, Nubian language of the Nilo-Saharan languages, Nilo-Saharan language family. "Nobiin" is the genitive case, genitive form of ''Nòòbíí'' ("Nubian") and literally means "(lan ...

Nubia
with buildings in a way no monarch before him had. He also founded a new capital city in the Delta during his reign, called
Pi-Ramesses Pi-Ramesses (; Ancient Egyptian Ancient Egypt was a civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratification, a form of government, and symbol A ...
. It previously had served as a summer palace during Seti I's reign. His memorial temple, known today as the Ramesseum, was just the beginning of the pharaoh's obsession with building. When he built, he built on a scale unlike almost anything before. In the third year of his reign, Ramesses started the most ambitious building project after the
pyramids A pyramid (from el, πυραμίς ') is a structure whose outer surfaces are triangular and converge to a single step at the top, making the shape roughly a pyramid in the geometric sense. The base of a pyramid can be trilateral, quadrilater ...
, which were built almost 1,500 years earlier. The population was put to work changing the face of Egypt. In Thebes, the ancient temples were transformed, so that each one of them reflected honour to Ramesses as a symbol of his putative divine nature and power. Ramesses decided to eternalize himself in stone, and so he ordered changes to the methods used by his masons. The elegant but shallow reliefs of previous pharaohs were easily transformed, and so their images and words could easily be obliterated by their successors. Ramesses insisted that his carvings be deeply engraved into the stone, which made them not only less susceptible to later alteration, but also made them more prominent in the Egyptian sun, reflecting his relationship with the sun deity, . Ramesses constructed many large monuments, including the archaeological complex of Abu Simbel, and the
mortuary temple 300px, Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut Mortuary temples (or funerary temples) were temples A temple (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin w ...
known as the Ramesseum. He built on a monumental scale to ensure that his legacy would survive the ravages of time. Ramesses used art as a means of propaganda for his victories over foreigners, which are depicted on numerous temple reliefs. Ramesses II erected more colossal statues of himself than any other pharaoh, and also usurped many existing statues by inscribing his own
cartouche Image:Birth and Throne cartouches of pharaoh Seti I, from KV17 at the Valley of the Kings, Egypt. Neues Museum.jpg, upalt=A stone face carved with coloured hieroglyphics. Two cartouches - ovoid shapes with hieroglyphics inside - are visible at the ...

cartouche
on them.


Pi-Ramesses

Ramesses II moved the capital of his kingdom from Thebes in the Nile valley to a new site in the eastern Delta. His motives are uncertain, although he possibly wished to be closer to his territories in Canaan and Syria. The new city of Pi-Ramesses (or to give the full name, '' Pi-Ramesses Aa-nakhtu'', meaning "Domain of Ramesses, Great in Victory")Kitchen (2003), p. 255. was dominated by huge temples and his vast residential palace, complete with its own zoo. In the 10th century AD the Bible exegete Rabbi
Saadia Gaon Sa'adiah ben Yosef Gaon ( ar, سعيد بن يوسف الفيومي ''Saʻīd bin Yūsuf al-Fayyūmi''; he, סעדיה בן יוסף אלפיומי גאון; alternative English Names: Rabbeinu Sa'adiah Gaon ("our Rabbi heSaadia Gaon"), often ...
, believed that the biblical site of Ramesses had to be identified with
Ain Shams Ain Shams (also spelled Ayn or Ein - ar, عين شمس, , cop, ⲱⲛ ⲡⲉⲧ ⲫⲣⲏ) is a suburb The Swedish suburbs of Husby/Kista/Akalla are built according to the typical city planning of the Million Programme. A suburb (or subu ...
. For a time, during the early 20th century, the site was misidentified as that of
Tanis Tanis; egy, ḏꜥn.t ; ar, صان الحجر, Ṣān al-Ḥaǧar; ; cop, ϫⲁⲛⲓ or or is the Greek name for ancient Egyptian ''ḏꜥn.t'', an important archaeological site in the north-eastern Nile Delta The Nile Delta ( ar, د ...
, due to the amount of statuary and other material from Pi-Ramesses found there, but it now is recognised that the Ramesside remains at Tanis were brought there from elsewhere, and the real Pi-Ramesses lies about 30 km (18.6 mi) south, near modern
Qantir Qantir (Khatana-Qantir) is a village in Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is on ...
. The colossal feet of the statue of Ramesses are almost all that remains above ground today. The rest is buried in the fields.


Ramesseum

The temple complex built by Ramesses II between
QurnaQurna may refer to; * Kurna, three village areas near the Theban Hills in Egypt * al-Qurnah, a city in Iraq * Battle of Qurna, fought in, Qurna, Iraq * Lake Kournas, a village and a lake in Crete, Greece * West Qurna Field, an oil field near Qurna, ...
and the desert has been known as the
Ramesseum The Ramesseum is the Temples of a Million years, memorial temple (or mortuary temple) of Pharaoh Ramesses II ("Ramesses the Great", also spelled "Ramses" and "Rameses"). It is located in the Theban Necropolis in Upper Egypt, on the west of the Nil ...

Ramesseum
since the 19th century. The Greek
historian A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the stu ...
Diodorus Siculus Diodorus Siculus, or Diodorus of Sicily ( grc-gre, Διόδωρος Σικελιώτης ;  1st century BC), was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern ...
marveled at the gigantic temple, now no more than a few ruins. Oriented northwest and southeast, the temple was preceded by two courts. An enormous pylon stood before the first court, with the royal palace at the left and the gigantic statue of the king looming up at the back. Only fragments of the base and torso remain of the
syenite Image:Nepheline-syenite-2005.jpg, Leucocratic variety of nepheline syenite from Sweden (särnaite) Syenite is a coarse-grained Intrusion, intrusive igneous rock with a general composition similar to that of granite, but deficient in quartz, which, ...

syenite
statue of the enthroned pharaoh, high and weighing more than . Scenes of the great pharaoh and his army triumphing over the Hittite forces fleeing before Kadesh are represented on the pylon. Remains of the second court include part of the internal facade of the pylon and a portion of the Osiride portico on the right. Scenes of war and the alleged rout of the Hittites at Kadesh are repeated on the walls. In the upper registers, feast and honor of the phallic deity Min, god of fertility. On the opposite side of the court the few Osiride pillars and columns still remaining may furnish an idea of the original grandeur. Scattered remains of the two statues of the seated king also may be seen, one in pink granite and the other in black granite, which once flanked the entrance to the temple. Thirty-nine out of the forty-eight columns in the great
hypostyle hall In architecture, a hypostyle () hall has a roof which is supported by columns. Etymology The term ''hypostyle'' comes from the ancient Greek ὑπόστυλος ''hypóstȳlos'' meaning "under columns" (where ὑπό ''hypó'' means below or under ...

hypostyle hall
(41 × 31 m) still stand in the central rows. They are decorated with the usual scenes of the king before various deities. Part of the ceiling, decorated with gold stars on a blue ground, also has been preserved. Ramesses's children appear in the procession on the few walls left. The sanctuary was composed of three consecutive rooms, with eight columns and the
tetrastyle A portico is a porch A porch (from Old French ''porche'', from Latin ''porticus'' "colonnade", from ''porta'' "passage") is a room or gallery located in front of an entrance of a building. A porch is placed in front of the facade of a bui ...
cell. Part of the first room, with the ceiling decorated with astral scenes, and few remains of the second room are all that is left. Vast storerooms built of mud bricks stretched out around the temple.Skliar (2005). Traces of a school for scribes were found among the ruins. A temple of
Seti I Menmaatre Seti I (or Sethos I in Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its popu ...
, of which nothing remains beside the foundations, once stood to the right of the hypostyle hall.


Abu Simbel

In 1255 BC, Ramesses and his queen
Nefertari Nefertari, also known as Nefertari Meritmut, was an Egyptian queen and the first of the Great Royal Wives (or principal wives) of Ramesses the Great.Dodson, Aidan and Hilton, Dyan. ''The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt''. Thames & H ...
had traveled into
Nubia Nubia () (Nobiin Nobiin, or Mahas, is a Northern Nubian languages, Nubian language of the Nilo-Saharan languages, Nilo-Saharan language family. "Nobiin" is the genitive case, genitive form of ''Nòòbíí'' ("Nubian") and literally means "(lan ...

Nubia
to inaugurate a new temple, the great
Abu Simbel Abu Simbel (also Abu Simbal, Ebsambul or Isambul; ar, أبو سنبل, Abū Sinbal or ar, أبو سمبل, Abū Simbal) is a village in the Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a tra ...

Abu Simbel
. It is an ego cast in stone; the man who built it intended not only to become Egypt's greatest pharaoh, but also one of its deities. The great temple of Ramesses II at Abu Simbel was discovered in 1813 by the Swiss Orientalist and traveler
Johann Ludwig Burckhardt Johann Ludwig (also known as John Lewis, Jean Louis) Burckhardt (24 November 1784 – 15 October 1817) was a Swiss traveller, geographer and orientalist. Burckhardt assumed the moniker ''Sheikh Ibrahim Ibn Abdallah'' during his travels in Arabia ...

Johann Ludwig Burckhardt
. An enormous pile of sand almost completely covered the facade and its colossal statues, blocking the entrance for four more years. The
Padua Padua ( ; it, Padova ; vec, Pàdova) is a city and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a Administrative division, local administrative division of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and function The pro ...
n explorer
Giovanni Battista Belzoni Giovanni Battista Belzoni (; 5 November 1778 – 3 December 1823), sometimes known as The Great Belzoni, was a prolific Italian explorer Exploration is the act of searching for the purpose of discovery of information Information can b ...

Giovanni Battista Belzoni
reached the interior on 4 August 1817.Siliotti (1994).


Other Nubian monuments

As well as the temples of Abu Simbel, Ramesses left other monuments to himself in Nubia. His early campaigns are illustrated on the walls of the
Temple of Beit el-Wali The Temple of Beit el-Wali is a rock-cut ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization of Ancient history, ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile, Nile River, situated in the place that is now the country Eg ...
(now relocated to
New Kalabsha New Kalabsha is a promontory located near Aswan in Egypt. It houses several important temples, structures, and other remains that have been relocated here from the site of Old Kalabsha ('' ar, Bab al-Kalabsha'', "Gate of Kalabsha", grc, Ταλμ ...
). Other temples dedicated to Ramesses are Derr and
Gerf Hussein The temple of Gerf Hussein (in Ancient Egypt: Per Ptah, or 'House of Ptah') was dedicated to pharaoh Ramesses II Ramesses II ( egy, rꜥ-ms-sw meaning "Ra is the one who bore him", ''Rīʿa-məsī-sū'', ; ) was the third pharaoh ...

Gerf Hussein
(also relocated to New Kalabsha).


Colossal statue

The colossal statue of Ramesses II dates back 3,200 years, and was originally discovered in six pieces in a temple near
Memphis Memphis is the name of: *Memphis, Egypt , alternate_name = , image = , alt = , caption = Ruins of the pillared hall of Ramesses IIat Mit Rahina , map_type = Egypt , map_alt = , map_size = , reli ...
. Weighing some , it was transported, reconstructed, and erected in Ramesses Square in Cairo in 1955. In August 2006, contractors relocated it to save it from exhaust fumes that were causing it to deteriorate. The new site is near the future
Grand Egyptian Museum The Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM; ''al-Matḥaf al-Maṣriyy al-Kabīr''), also known as the Giza Museum, is an archaeological museum under construction in Giza, Egypt. When inaugurated, the GEM will be considered the largest archaeological museu ...
.


Tomb KV7

Originally Ramesses II was buried in the tomb
KV7 Tomb KV7 in the Valley of the Kings The Valley of the Kings ( ar, وادي الملوك ; ), also known as the Valley of the Gates of the Kings ( ar, وادي أبواب الملوك ), is a valley A valley is an elongated low area o ...

KV7
in the
Valley of the Kings The Valley of the Kings ( ar, وادي الملوك ; ), also known as the Valley of the Gates of the Kings ( ar, وادي أبواب الملوك ), is a valley A valley is an elongated low area often running between hills or mountai ...
, but because of looting, priests later transferred the body to a holding- area, re-wrapped it, and placed it inside the tomb of queen
Ahmose Inhapy Ahmose-Inhapy or Ahmose-Inhapi (referred to as Anhapou by Maspero) was a princess and queen of the late Seventeenth dynasty of Egypt, 17th Dynasty and early Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt, 18th Dynasty. Life She was probably a daughter of Pharaoh Se ...
. Seventy-two hours later it was again moved, to the
tomb A tomb ( grc-gre, τύμβος ''tumbos'') is a repository for the remains of the dead. It is generally any structurally enclosed interment space or burial chamber, of varying sizes. Placing a corpse into a tomb can be called ''immuremen ...
of the high priest
Pinedjem II Pinedjem II was a High Priests of Amun at Thebes, High Priest of Amun at Thebes in Ancient Egypt from 990 BC to 969 BC and was the ''de facto'' ruler of the south of the country. He was married to his sister Isetemkheb D (both children of Menkheper ...
. All of this is recorded in hieroglyphics on the linen covering the body of the coffin of Ramesses II. His mummy was eventually discovered in inside an ordinary wooden coffin and is now in
Cairo Cairo ( ; ar, القاهرة, al-Qāhirah, , Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northern Afro-Asiatic language spoken in E ...

Cairo
's
National Museum of Egyptian Civilization The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC) is a large museum ( ) in the ancient city of Fustat, now part of Cairo Cairo ( ; ar, القاهرة, al-Qāhirah, , Coptic: ⲕⲁϩⲓⲣⲏ) is the capital and largest city of Egypt. T ...
(until 3 April 2021 it was in the
Egyptian Museum The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, known commonly as the Egyptian Museum or the Cairo Museum, in Cairo, Egypt, is home to an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities. It has 120,000 items, with a representative amount on display an ...

Egyptian Museum
). The pharaoh's mummy reveals an
aquiline nose An aquiline nose (also called a Roman nose or hook nose) is a human nose with a prominent Nasal bridge, bridge, giving it the appearance of being curved or slightly bent. The word ''aquiline'' comes from the Latin word ''aquilinus'' ("eagle-like" ...
and strong jaw. It stands at about .
Gaston Maspero Sir Gaston Camille Charles Maspero (23 June 1846 – 30 June 1916) was a French Egyptologist Egyptology (from ''Egypt'' and Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλά ...

Gaston Maspero
, who first unwrapped the mummy of Ramesses II, writes, "on the temples there are a few sparse hairs, but at the poll the hair is quite thick, forming smooth, straight locks about five centimeters in length. White at the time of death, and possibly auburn during life, they have been dyed a light red by the spices (henna) used in embalming...the moustache and beard are thin...The hairs are white, like those of the head and eyebrows...the skin is of earthy brown, splotched with black... the face of the mummy gives a fair idea of the face of the living king." In 1975,
Maurice Bucaille Maurice Bucaille (; 19 July 1920 in Pont-l'Évêque, Calvados – 17 February 1998) was a France, French medical doctor and author. He was the senior surgeon in French study on mummy of Pharaoh. In 1973, Bucaille was appointed family physician to K ...
, a French doctor, examined the mummy at the Egyptian Museum, Cairo Museum and found it in poor condition. French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing succeeded in convincing Egyptian authorities to send the mummy to France for treatment. In September 1976, it was greeted at Paris–Le Bourget Airport with full military honours befitting a king, then taken to a laboratory at the Musée de l'Homme. The mummy was forensically tested by Professor Pierre-Fernand Ceccaldi, the chief forensic scientist at the Criminal Identification Laboratory of Paris. Professor Ceccaldi determined that: "Hair, astonishingly preserved, showed some complementary data — especially about pigmentation: Ramesses II was a redhead, ginger haired 'cymotrichous, cymnotriche leukoderma, leucoderma'." The description given here refers to a fair-skinned person with wavy ginger hair. Subsequent microscopic inspection of the roots of Ramesses II's hair proved that the king's hair originally was red, which suggests that he came from a family of redheads. This has more than just cosmetic significance: in ancient Egypt people with red hair were associated with the deity Set (deity), Set, the slayer of Osiris, and the name of Ramesses II's father, Seti I, means "follower of Seth". During the examination, scientific analysis revealed battle-wounds, old fractures, arthritis and poor circulation. Ramesses II's arthritis is believed to have made him walk with a hunched back for the last decades of his life.Bob Brier, ''The Encyclopedia of Mummies'', Checkmark Books, 1998, p. 153. A 2004 study excluded ankylosing spondylitis as a possible cause and proposed diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis as a possible alternative, which was confirmed by more recent work. A significant hole in the pharaoh's mandible was detected. Researchers observed "an abscess by his teeth (which) was serious enough to have caused death by infection, although this cannot be determined with certainty". After being irradiated in an attempt to eliminate fungi and insects, the mummy was returned from Paris to Egypt in May 1977. In April 2021 his mummy was moved from the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities to the
National Museum of Egyptian Civilization The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC) is a large museum ( ) in the ancient city of Fustat, now part of Cairo Cairo ( ; ar, القاهرة, al-Qāhirah, , Coptic: ⲕⲁϩⲓⲣⲏ) is the capital and largest city of Egypt. T ...
along with those of 17 other kings and 4 queens in an event termed the Pharaohs' Golden Parade.


Tomb of Nefertari

The tomb of the most important Queen consort, consort of Ramesses was discovered by Ernesto Schiaparelli in 1904. Although it had been looted in ancient times, the tomb of
Nefertari Nefertari, also known as Nefertari Meritmut, was an Egyptian queen and the first of the Great Royal Wives (or principal wives) of Ramesses the Great.Dodson, Aidan and Hilton, Dyan. ''The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt''. Thames & H ...
is extremely important, because its magnificent wall-painting decoration is regarded as one of the greatest achievements of Art of Ancient Egypt, ancient Egyptian art. A flight of steps cut out of the rock gives access to the antechamber, which is decorated with paintings based on chapter seventeen of the Book of the Dead. This astronomical ceiling represents the heavens and is painted in dark blue, with a myriad of golden five-pointed stars. The east wall of the antechamber is interrupted by a large opening flanked by representation of Osiris at the left and Anubis at the right; this in turn leads to the side chamber, decorated with offering-scenes, preceded by a vestibule in which the paintings portray Nefertari presented to the deities, who welcome her. On the north wall of the antechamber is the stairway down to the burial-chamber, a vast quadrangular room covering a surface-area of about , its astronomical ceiling supported by four pillars, entirely decorated. Originally, the queen's red granite sarcophagus lay in the middle of this chamber. According to religious doctrines of the time, it was in this chamber, which the ancient Egyptians called the Golden Hall, that the regeneration of the deceased took place. This decorative pictogram of the walls in the burial-chamber drew inspiration from chapters 144 and 146 of the Book of the Dead: in the left half of the chamber, there are passages from chapter 144 concerning the gates and doors of the kingdom of Osiris, their guardians, and the magic formulas that had to be uttered by the deceased in order to go past the doors.


Tomb KV5

In 1995, Professor Kent Weeks, head of the Theban Mapping Project, rediscovered Tomb KV5. It has proven to be the largest tomb in the Valley of the Kings, and originally contained the mummified remains of some of this king's estimated 52 sons. Approximately 150 corridors and tomb chambers have been located in this tomb as of 2006 and the tomb may contain as many as 200 corridors and chambers. It is believed that at least four of Ramesses's sons, including Meryatum, Sety,
Amun-her-khepeshef Amun-her-khepeshef (died ca. 1254 BC; also Amonhirkhopshef, Amun-her-wenemef and Amun-her-khepeshef A to distinguish him from later people of the same name) was the firstborn son of Pharaoh Pharaoh ( , ; cop, , Pǝrro) is the common ti ...
(Ramesses's first-born son) and "the King's Principal Son of His Body, the Generalissimo Ramesses, justified" (i.e., deceased) were buried there from inscriptions, Ostracon, ostraca or canopic jars discovered in the tomb.Tyldesley (2000), pp. 161–62. Joyce Tyldesley writes that thus far : no intact burials have been discovered and there have been little substantial funeral debris: thousands of potsherds, faience ''ushabti'' figures, beads, amulets, fragments of Canopic jars, of wooden coffins ... but no intact sarcophagi, mummies or mummy cases, suggesting that much of the tomb may have been unused. Those burials which were made in KV5 were thoroughly looted in antiquity, leaving little or no remains.


Recent discoveries

In December 2019, a red granite royal bust of Ramesses II was unearthed by an Egyptian archaeological mission in the village of Mit Rahina in Giza. The bust depicted Ramesses II wearing a wig with the symbol "Ka" on his head. Its measurements were 55 cm (21.65 in) wide, 45 cm (17.71 in) thick and 105 cm (41.33 in) long. Alongside the bust, limestone blocks appeared showing Ramesses II during the Sed festival, Heb-Sed religious ritual. "This discovery is considered one of the rarest archaeological discoveries. It is the first-ever Ka statue made of granite to be discovered. The only Ka statue that was previously found is made of wood and it belongs to one of the kings of the 13th dynasty of ancient Egypt which is displayed at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square," said archaeologist Mostafa Waziri.


Death and legacy

The Egyptian scholar Manetho (third century BC) attributed Ramesses a reign of 66 years and 2 months. By the time of his death, aged about 90 years, Ramesses was suffering from severe dental problems and was plagued by arthritis and Atherosclerosis, hardening of the arteries. He had made Egypt rich from all the supplies and bounty he had collected from other empires. He had outlived many of his wives and children and left great memorials all over
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
. Nine more pharaohs took the name Ramesses in his honour.


In popular culture

Ramesses is the basis for Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem "Ozymandias".
Diodorus Siculus Diodorus Siculus, or Diodorus of Sicily ( grc-gre, Διόδωρος Σικελιώτης ;  1st century BC), was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern ...
gives an inscription on the base of one of his sculptures as: "King of Kings am I, Osymandias. If anyone would know how great I am and where I lie, let him surpass one of my works." This is paraphrased in Shelley's poem. The life of Ramesses II has inspired many fictional representations, including the historical novels of the French writer Christian Jacq, the ''Ramsès'' series; the graphic novel ''Watchmen'', in which the character of Adrian Veidt uses Ramesses II to form part of the inspiration for his alter-ego, Ozymandias (Watchmen), Ozymandias; Norman Mailer's novel ''Ancient Evenings'', which is largely concerned with the life of Ramesses II, though from the perspective of Egyptians living during the reign of Ramesses IX; and the Anne Rice book ''The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned'' (1989), in which Ramesses was the main character. In ''The Kane Chronicles'' Ramesses is an ancestor of the main characters Sadie and Carter Kane. Ramesses II is one of the characters in the video game ''Civilization 5''. The East Village, Manhattan, East Village underground rock band The Fugs released their song "Ramses II Is Dead, My Love" on their 1968 album ''It Crawled into My Hand, Honest''.


As the pharaoh of the Exodus

In entertainment and media, Ramesses II is one of the more popular candidates for the Pharaoh of the Exodus. He is cast in this role in the 1944 novella ''The Tables of the Law'' by Thomas Mann. Although not a major character, Ramesses appears in Joan Grant's ''So Moses Was Born'', a first-person account from Nebunefer, the brother of Ramose, which paints a picture of the life of Ramose from the death of Seti, replete with the power play, intrigue, and assassination plots of the historical record, and depicting the relationships with Bintanath, Tuya (queen), Tuya,
Nefertari Nefertari, also known as Nefertari Meritmut, was an Egyptian queen and the first of the Great Royal Wives (or principal wives) of Ramesses the Great.Dodson, Aidan and Hilton, Dyan. ''The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt''. Thames & H ...
, and Moses. In film, Ramesses is played by Yul Brynner in Cecil B. DeMille's classic ''The Ten Commandments (1956 film), The Ten Commandments'' (1956). Here Ramesses is portrayed as a vengeful tyrant as well as the main antagonist of the film, ever scornful of his father's preference for Moses over "the son of [his] body". The animated film ''The Prince of Egypt'' (1998) also features a depiction of Ramesses (voiced by Ralph Fiennes, for both the speaking and the singing), portrayed as Moses' adoptive brother, and ultimately as the film's villain with essentially the same motivations as in the earlier 1956 film. Joel Edgerton played Ramesses in the 2014 film ''Exodus: Gods and Kings''. Sérgio Marone plays Ramesses in the 2015–2016 Brazilian telenovela series ''Os Dez Mandamentos'' ( en, 'Moses and the Ten Commandments').


See also

* List of pharaohs * Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt family tree


References

Notes Bibliography * * * * * * * * * * * * Translations and (in the 1999 volume below) notes on all contemporary royal inscriptions naming the king. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * The Epigraphic Survey, Reliefs and Inscriptions at Karnak III: The Bubastite Portal, Oriental Institute Publications, vol. 74 (Chicago): University of Chicago Press, 1954


Further reading

* * Hasel, Michael G. 1998. ''Domination and Resistance: Egyptian Military Activity in the Southern Levant, 1300–1185 BC.'' Probleme der Ägyptologie 11. Leiden: Brill Publishers. * Hasel, Michael G. 2003. "Merenptah's Inscription and Reliefs and the Origin of Israel" in Beth Alpert Nakhai (ed.), ''The Near East in the Southwest: Essays in Honor of William G. Dever'', pp. 19–44. Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research 58. Boston: American Schools of Oriental Research. * * James, T. G. H. 2000. ''Ramesses II''. New York: Friedman/Fairfax Publishers. A large-format volume by the former Keeper of Egyptian Antiquities at the British Museum, filled with colour illustrations of buildings, art, etc. related to Ramesses II


External links


Egypt's Golden Empire: Ramesses II






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Newly discovered temple

Full titulary of Ramesses II including variants
{{DEFAULTSORT:Ramesses 02 Ramesses II, 13th-century BC Pharaohs Pharaohs of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt 1213 BC deaths 1300s BC births Ancient Egyptian mummies Egyptian Museum Seti I