One of the most famous kings in history, Ramses II was the third ruler of the 19th dynasty in Ancient Egypt. His legend as a Pharaoh has given him the title of Ramses the Great, and he is often considered to be the most powerful Pharaoh of all time.
The Life of The Pharaoh Ramses II
Also known as Ramesses II or Ozymandias in Greek, Ramses II was born of the previous Pharaoh Seti I and his Queen Tuya. He became Prince Regent at the age of fourteen. Historians have debated over his exact age at his ascension to the throne but the general range is somewhere in his late teens.
The early years of his reign as king were focused mainly on building and establishing many temples, cities and monuments. His interest in architecture led to the construction of more monuments than any other Egyptian king in history. The most famous of these monuments is the one at Abu Simbel, a site of great attraction nowadays.
As a king he went on numerous campaigns, many of them aimed towards recapturing territories his ancestors had held before and to secure his country’s borders. His main base for the campaigns was the city of Pi-Ramesses, his capital, which was established in the Nile Delta. These campaigns were marks of Ramses’ prowess as a great military leader even in his youth and only expanded on his already growing legend.
Trivia About The Pharaoh Ramses II
- He had an enormous family: two hundred wives and concubines, about one hundred sons and sixty daughters.
- Some of his wives were daughters of kings he had conquered or was seeking an alliance with.
- One of his sons, Prince Khaemwese, was a high priest of Ptah and a governor of Memphis.
- When he was about 22, he took two of his sons with him on a number of his campaigns.
- Ramses II never won the Battle of Kadesh. His fame for it as king is because of the way he rallied his scattered troops, after suffering from a devastating Hittite ambush, and fought back until a stalemate was reached.
- He was the Pharaoh most responsible for the ending of the Amarna Period, a period in which many facets of the Egyptian culture were changed.
- Ramses ruled so long that, when he died, it sent Egypt into a state of shock. This was because many of them could not remember any other Pharaoh.
The Death and Legacy of The Pharaoh Ramses II
Ramses II ruled Ancient Egypt for somewhere over 65 years, outliving quite a number of his supposed heirs and becoming the second longest ruling king in Egyptian history. The exact cause of his death is unknown, but his body was buried in the Valley of the Kings. It was moved later then discovered in 1881, where it is now on display in the Cairo Museum. His 13th son Menataph took over the throne and the end of the 19th dynasty came at the end of his rule.
The legend of Ramses II is one that has gone on for millennia and will probably keep going. A legend as both a king and as a warrior, he had brought his country into peace and prosperity, the likes of which Egypt had not seen for over a century.