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Egypt: Rulers, Kings and Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt: Ramesses II


(Usermaatresetepenre)

1279-1213 B.C.

19th Dynasty


The son of Seti I and Queen Tuya was the third king of the 19th Dynasty. Called Ramesses the Great, he lived to be 96 years old, had 200 wives and concubines, 96 sons and 60 daughters. One son, Prince Khaemwese, was a high priest of Ptah, governor of Memphis, and was in charge of the restoration of the Pyramid of Unas. This son was buried in The Serapeum. Ramesses II outlived the first thirteen of his heirs. Ramesses was named co-ruler with his father, Seti I, early in his life. He accompanied his father on numerous campaigns in Libya and Nubia. At the age of 22 Ramesses went on a campaign in Nubia with two of his own sons. Seti I and Ramesses built a palace in Avaris where Ramesses I had started a new capital. When Seti I died in 1290 B.C., Ramesses assumed the throne and began a series of wars against the Syrians. The famous Battle of Kadesh is inscribed on the walls of Ramesses temple.

Ramesses' building accomplishments are two temples at Abu Simbel, the hypostyle hall at Karnak, a mortuary complex at Abydos, the Colossus of Ramesses at Memphis, a vast tomb at Thebes, additions at the Luxor Temple, and the famous Ramesseum. Among Ramesses' wives were Nefertari, Queen Istnofret, his two daughters, Binthanath and Merytamon, and the Hittite princess, Maathornefrure. Ramesses was originally buried in his tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Because of the widespread looting of tombs during the 21st Dynasty the priests removed Ramesses body and took it to a holding area where the valuable materials such, as gold-leaf and semi-precious inlays, were removed. The body was then rewrapped and taken to the tomb of an 18th Dynasty queen, Inhapi. The bodies of Ramesses I and Seti I were done in like fashion and all ended up at the same place. Amenhotep I's body had been placed there as well at an earlier time. Seventy-two hours later, all of the bodies were again moved, this time to the Royal Cache that was inside the tomb of High Priest Pinudjem II. The priests documented all of this on the linen that covered the bodies. This systematic looting by the priests was done in the guise of protecting the bodies from the "common" thieves.

Ramesses was followed to the throne by his thirteenth son, with his queen Istnofret,

Merenptah.

Major Sections on Ramesses II

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