The Great Pharaoh of the 19th Dynastyby Rit Nosotro First Published:: 2003
Years ago when the pharaohs still ruled Egypt and God’s call was clear,
there arose a great ruler. Not just any ruler, but one whose story has been
passed down through history and whose name has been heard by almost all. His
name was Ramses II, the son of Seti I and Queen Tuya, third king of the 19th
Dynasty. One day to become known to all as Ramses the Great.
Ramses became co-ruler beside his father when he was still very young traveling around with his father to learn his future place as pharaoh. In 1290 B.C, after his father’s death, Ramses took the throne and immediately went to work on his new position as Pharaoh. Ramses mother Tuya stepped down from her role as queen and took on the new role as King’s mother, in which she acted as his advisor. His first act being to wage war on the Syrians, which included what would today be known as the famous Battle of Kadesh. The battle that would decide who had control over Syria. Ramses lead an army of 20,000 men while trying to maintain his empire against the Hittites. Unfortunately Ramses tactics were not as well planned as he thought and he was forced to retreat. Unhindered by his loss Ramses went to work again this time building his empire up through architecture. During his Reign Ramses built several impressive structures such as the Ramesseum, a temple built to himself, and two magnificent temples at Nubia, carved into the cliff side of Abu Simbel. He also completed the building of the great hypostyle hall at Karnak, Thebes.
His political status was quite impressive, but as far as his personal life went it was just as impressive. Ramses the Great had 200 wives and concubines, 96 sons and 60 daughters. Out of all the rulers of Egypt Ramses probably had one of the largest families, and chances are he probably had many more sons and daughters that he never knew about. Ramses' wives included Nefertari, Queen Istnofret, his two daughters, Binthanath and Merytamon, and the Hittite princess, Maathornefrure. Probably his favorite queen was Nefertari, who is probably the most well known due to her magnificent tomb in the Valley of Queens and her temple at Abu Simbel. Nefertari was Ramses first wife at the age of fifteen and provided him with his first male heir, Amunherkhepseshef. However in those days one-third of all children did not live past the age of fifteen, so obtaining a crown prince was not always easy. Twelve of Ramses oldest sons died before he did. Though Nerferati was the chief queen it was actually Isetnofret, another principal queen yet less favored then Nerferati, who produced the one that would inherit the throne, his son Merenptah.
Ramses died at the age of ninety-six, quite old for those day and people of his status, and was buried in the famous Valley of Kings. However, his body was moved several times as protection from tomb raiders until it came to rest inside the tomb of High Priest Pinudjem II. Ramses actual tomb was probably the largest tomb in area. It covered an area of 8,800 feet and it is supposed that construction on it began during the second year of his reign. After the death of Ramses II thus ended the last climax of Egypt’s imperial power. Ramses was an impressive ruler and his kingdom prospered greatly during his reign. He was also noted as being an excellent soldier despite the results of the Battle of Kadesh. It is said that Ramses was popular and looked upon, “as a model of what a king should be” (qtd. in King Ramses II: Prosperity During his Reign). It is obvious as to why Ramses II was known as Ramses the Great.
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