Search This Blog

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Ramesses II

Ramesses II was the third king of the 19th dynasty of Ancient Egypt. He is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire. His successors and later Egyptians called him the "Great Ancestor". Dubbed Rameses the Great by the Egyptologists of the 19th century, his reign from 1279 to 1213 BC marked the last peak of Egypt’s imperial power. However, his reputation in part can be attributed to his flair for self-publicity.

Ramesses is remembered principally for the colossal statues he commissioned and for his huge building program.

One of the four external seated statues of Ramesses II at Abu Simbel. By Hajor 

Ramesses, born around 1303 BC, was made captain of the army by his father Seti I. aged just ten.
He was appointed regent four years later.

Becoming king in his early 20s, Ramesses expanded his empire, leading an army north to recover the lost provinces his father had failed permanently to conquer east of the Mediterranean (the location of the modern Israel, Lebanon and Syria). He also led expeditions to the south, into Nubia, part of which is now in northern Sudan.

During Ramesses's reign, the Egyptian army may have included about 100,000 men, a force that he used to strengthen Egyptian influence over neighboring lands.

In Kadesh, Syria, Ramesses was fed false information by two captured enemy spies, which saw the Egyptian pharaoh and his small corps of household troops surrounded by some 2,500 enemy Hittite chariots. He was saved by reinforcements and although he had failed to take Kadesh, Ramesses had a long poem about his proud last stand carved on temple walls in Egypt.

The Battle of Kadesh is generally dated to 1274 BC and is the earliest battle in recorded history for which details of tactics and formations are known. It is believed to have been the largest chariot battle ever fought, involving between 4,500 and 5,600 chariots in total.

Ramses II at Kadesh

The Hittite Mursili III fled to Egypt, after being usurped as king by his  uncle, Hattusili III. When Ramesses refused to return Hattusili's  nephew back to Hatti, the two empires came close to war. Eventually, in 1258 BC, Ramesses decided to make an agreement with Hattusili III, to end the conflict. The document they agreed is the earliest known peace treaty in world history.

Tablet of treaty between Hattusili III of Hatti and Ramesses II . Picture taken by deror avi 

Ramesses II built six temples in Nubia including Abu Simbel, whose image of his face cut into the rocky sides of the Nile Valley may have inspired the vast depictions of American presidents at Mount Rushmore.

Ramesses' building projects included the Great Hypostyle Hall, with its roof supported by columns, at Thebes – part of modern-day Luxor – and his own funerary temple, known as the Ramesseum, across the Nile from Luxor.

He established the city of Pi-Ramesses in the Nile Delta as his new capital and used it as the main base for his campaigns in Syria. According to the latest estimates, the city was spread over about 18 km2 (6.9 sq mi) or around 6 km (3.7 mi) long by 3 km (1.9 mi) wide., Ramesses himself lived there surrounded by gardens and orchards.

Ramesses kept a harem of 100 women and had more than 100 children. The most important and famous of Ramesses' Queen consorts was discovered in 1904. The tomb of Nefertari is extremely important, because its magnificent wall painting is regarded as one of the greatest examples of ancient Egyptian art.

Tomb wall depicting Nefertari

Experts say he understood that visibility was central to the success of his reign, and built bombastic structures to project his strength as a leader.

Ramesses II lived to about 90. He was originally buried in the Valley of the Kings but his mummy, which has the face of an old man with a long, narrow face, striking nose and large jaw, was moved to the nearby Deir elBahari to thwart looters. Still with its hair, some skin and teeth, it was rediscovered in 1881 and is kept in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum.

Mummy of Ramesses II. By Wolfman12405 -  Wikipedia

Nine subsequent pharaohs took the name Rameses, as it was seen as an honor to be descended from him.

Ramesses II is one of the more popular candidates for the Pharaoh of the Exodus. He is cast in this role in Thomas Mann's 1944 novella Das Gesetz ("The Law") .

Ramesses was portrayed by Yul Brynner in Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 biblical movie classic The Ten Commandments.

Source Daily Mail

No comments:

Post a Comment