Merneptah or Merenptah (reigned July or August 1213 BC – May 2, 1203 BC) was the fourth pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt. He ruled Egypt for almost ten years, from late July or early August 1213 BC until his death on May 2, 1203 BC, according to contemporary historical records.[2] He was the thirteenth son of Ramesses II,[3] only coming to power because all his older brothers had died, including his full brother Khaemwaset or Khaemwase. By the time he ascended to the throne, he was probably around seventy years old. His throne name was Ba-en-re Mery-netjeru, which means "The Soul of Ra, Beloved of the Gods". He is the first king of Egypt to be identified as "pharaoh", when the term previously used for the royal palace began to be used as the title for the king by his contemporaries.

Merneptah was probably the fourth child of Isetnofret I, the second great royal wife of Ramesses II. Merneptah was married to Queen Isetnofret II, his great royal wife. She likely was his full sister and she bore the same name as their mother. One of their sons, Prince Sety-Merenptah, would succeed him as Seti II. They also were the parents of Prince Merenptah and a daughter, Twosret, who would become the great royal wife and queen of Seti II and, ultimately, pharaoh in her own right.

It is presumed that Merneptah also was married to a secondary queen, Takhat. It is possible that they were the parents of the usurper, Amenmesse.

See also