King Ramses II Essay, Research Paper
Ramses II Usermaatre Setepenre,third ruler of the 19th Dynasty,was born about 1303 B.C in the Eastern Nile Delta, following the death of his grandfather King Ramses I and Father Sethi I, was one of the longest reigning pharaohs of ancient Egypt.He reigned 67 years (roughly from 1290 to 1224 B.C), during the early part of his reign, Ramses fought to regain the territory in Africa and Western Asia that Egypt had held during the 15th and 16th centuries B.C in the beginning as coregent with his father, and lived for more than 80 years, which was very rare in those days.During his life he made quite a reputation as a builder and a warrior, but also as a ladies man.He had 5 or 6 main wives, mostly of all being Nefertari, but is known to have over 100 children with all of his wives.In Ancient Egypt people seems to have made fun of this fact.
Ramses II is, however, best known for all the buildings he had constructed in his name across the country.Especially the monumental temples of Karnak and Abu Simbel , and his mortuary temple The Ramesseum give evidence of his love for Grandeur.In all of his monuments he had his name cartouche and texts engraved so deep that no successor would be able to remove it.
Ramses? energetic building activities led to a degrading of Egyptian art as far as the engraving of texts and images on temple walls was concerned, for he demanded the monuments to be erected with greater speed than usual.Otherwise carefully engraved texts and images with many beautiful details were now made superficially, a practice was unfortunately continued by his successors.
His most famous military engagement is the battle of Kadesh against the Hittites, which took place Northern Syria, with whom the Egyptians had been struggling for many years.He seems to have escaped by pure luck, as his main force?the pharaoh himself commanding?was ambushed by the Hittites, and was only saved just in time by reinforcements while while retreating.Both sides claimed the victory of this battle, but it seems more likely to have ended in a status quo.Ramses II recorded his victory on several monuments, showing him slaying the Hittites in person.The problems between the Egyptians and the Hittites were finally settled several years later when Ramses married a Hittite princess.
After he died, Ramses was buried in the famous royal necropolis of the Valley of the Kings, located in the hills on the west bank of the Nile River near modern of Luxor.However, the mummy of Ramses II was not found on location in his tomb, but was discovered in 1881 among many other royal mummies in th so-called Royal Cache in Deir el-Bahri on the Theban west bank.According to a hieroglyphic text found on the mummy it was removed from the actual royal tomb for safety reasons by Egyptian priests in the 10th year of the reighn of king Pinodjem after robbers violated the burial.Though the text stated it was placed together with the body of his father, Seti, in the tomb of Amenhotep I , it was apparently later moved again to it?s final resting place in the royal cache.The mummy is now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
Ramses II has recently gained prominence among Egyptologists following th 1995 discovery of this pharaohs family mausoleum, the largest tomb ever found in Egypt in which the sons of Ramses II were buried.It should be open to the public about a year from now, when excavations and restorations are complete.Reportedly, Ramses II had as many as 100 children of whom about 50 of his 52 sons are thought to buried there.
It is hoped that the study of the artifacts, hieroglyphics and information from the mummies can be used to confirm wheather Ramses II is indeed the pharaoh in the bible of the Hebrew?s enslavement and exodus.
Monuments of other pharaohs before him whose policies he deferred with, and replacing them with his likeness.Coupled with his pride, it is highly unlikely that inscriptions depicting his humiliation by revolting slaves would have escaped being erased or destroyed.This and the unaccounted for dismal decline of the Egyptian empire a mere 10 years after the death of Ramses II are somewhat a mystery, that is hoped that this latest excavation will unearth.
Other points of interest is Ramses II?s chief queen, the beautiful Nefertari.She died in the 24th year of his reign, and was placed in a beautifull decorated tomb in the Valley of the Quenns in Western Thebes.She bore his successor , Mernepth, and also Khaewaset, a priest and an antiquarian who did much to retore and repair many of Egypt?s monuments and to whom we are indebted to for his acts thousands of years ago.Nefertari also bore the great pharoah?s first born son, Amen-hir-khopshef, within whom the answer as to weather he is thye pharaoh of the exodus story lays.The figure Nefertari stands next to Ramses II in the great statues at the Luxor Temple, and also at the outcropped temple at Abu Simbel to whom the pharaoh dedicated ?for whose sake (Nefertari) the very sun does shine?.