King Ramses II
Ramses II , who
reigned for 67 years
the 19th dynasty of the
12th century BC,
was known as "Ramses the Great".
as one of Egypt's greatest warriors, but also as a peace-maker and for the
monuments he left behind all over Egypt. He was the first king in history
to sign a peace
treaty with his enemies, the Hittites, ending long years of wars and hostility.King
Ramses reigned for 67 years (1292Ė1225 B.C.). Under him Egypt acquired
unprecedented splendor. His empire extended from Syria to near the Fourth
Cataract of the
left monuments throughout Egypt. The principal ones are probably the
temple at Karnak, which he completed; the Rameseum, his mortuary temple,
at Thebes; the temple at Luxor; and the great rock temple at Abu Simbel
with four seated figures of the king on the facade. The period of his
rule was characterized by great luxury, increased slavery, and the
growth of a mercenary army, all of which led to the final decline of
Ramses II was born to Queen Tuy and his father Seti I. He was given the throne at the age of about 20 and ruled for 67 years. This allowed him to be the second longest-ruling Pharaoh. Successor to Harmhab and ruler of ancient Egypt during the XIX and XX dynasties King Ramses I was grandfather to Ramses The Great. This son of Seti, who was not heir to the throne but instead upsurped it, brought Egypt to unprecedented splendor during his long reign from 1292 B.C to 1225 B.C. Born about 1303 B. C. in the eastern Nile Delta, Ramses The Great was known as the Warrior King and Son of Ra, the sun god. A serious child, he was appointed co-ruler by his aging father and assumed the throne in 1297 B.C. at age 24. According to tradition Ramses II was the Pharaoh of Egypt in the biblical Exodus story. Married to Nefertari, whose tomb is considered the most beautiful in Egypt. Ramses The Great was an ambitious builder, a successful general and a popular ruler. He was believed to have sired 100 children during his life.
The Great marched 20,000 soldiers north into Syria to defend his empire against
Hittite invaders. His empire stretched from South Syria to the fourth cataract
of the Nile. Social life was luxurious for the upper classes during his reign
and Ramses The Great left many monuments to himself. Ramses duty was to preserve
the union of Upper and Lower Egypt which he did by defeating Egypts enemies and
honoring the gods.
II was a prolific ruler that fought to reclaim territory in Africa and Western
The Hittites and
Asia Minor were his main opponents or his main enemies.
During his fifth year as Pharaoh, he led a campaign known as the Battle of Kadesh. Ramses II tried to keep the newly acquired territory, today it is known
as Syria, but lost the battle along with one of his opponents - the Hittites.
Seen as a standstill, Ramses II pulled back and Kadesh remained with the
Hittites once more. Later, a treaty was signed, territory was divided, and
Ramses II agreed to marry the daughter of the Hittite King. During his duration
as Pharaoh, he attacked many of his enemies such as the Libyans and the Nubians
and also attacked Syria about half a dozen times. Although known for his
military might, Ramses II also lived a life of extreme wealth and in addition,
he had a need for divine architecture.
devoted a vast number of buildings like the new capital in the Nile delta. He
finished the columned great hall in the temple of Amon-re at Karnak. At Abu
Simbel he built the rock temple and took credit for many of his ancestor's
His love of architecture and power allowed him to erect more monuments and
temples than any other Pharaoh. Abu Simbel, probably Ramses IIís most
impressive structure was carved from a sandstone cliff that faced to the east.
This was located in ancient Nubia. Although Abu Simbel remains his most
famous structure, he had many more architectural projects. Among them, is
included the expansion of Luxor and Karnak. There he finished older
projects set forth by his father and erected many more monuments. It was
evident Ramses II wanted to leave a mark as a reminder of his great strength and
The tomb of Ramses II is located in the Valley of the Kings and remains empty.
After years or being looted and weathered, it remains destroyed. Great
amounts of effort are in progress with the hope of returning the tomb to a
somewhat presentable stage. Although the tomb remains empty, the mummy of
the Pharaoh has been found. Ramses IIís mummy is thought to be one of
the best-preserved mummies ever found.
In his tomb there were many jewels and a lot of gold. His favorite designed
shoes were there also along with his servants. There was a horse and one of his
5-6 wives that he had.
Two of Ramses II's projects, on the west bank of the Nile that cut deep into the cliffs at Abu Simbel, are perhaps the most famous. These temples, considered Ramses' greatest achievements, were erected in honor of Egypt's major gods and their local variants. After ordering the artisans to carve impressive images of him onto the facade and pillars of these temples, King Ramses' perception of himself changed forever. The temples' scenes of the gods were ordered to be re-carved to include the great king, and he gained eminence equal to that of his fellow gods.
The temple at Abu Simbel
the end, Abu Simbel became a temple dedicated to Ramses the Great, earning the
name "The House of Ramses, Beloved of Amun." Amazingly in the 1960's
the monument was dismantled and moved over 200 feet to higher ground where it
was reconstructed. This saved it from the rising waters of the Aswan Dam was
built to create Lake Nassar. The moving of this temple and the smaller temple
that RAMSES built for his favorite Queen, the beautiful Nefertari with took four
years. Completed with help from around the world, both financial and technical,
the final cost was more than 40 million US dollars.
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