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A biography of ramses the second an egyptian king

Seti provided him with a kingly household and harem, and the young prince accompanied his father on his campaigns, so that when he came to sole rule he already had experience of kingship and of war.

It is noteworthy that Ramses was designated as successor at an unusually young age, as if to ensure that he would in fact succeed to the throne. He ranked as a captain of the army while still only 10 years old; at that age his rank must surely have been honorific, though he may well have been receiving military training. Each of its four quarters had its own presiding deity: Amon in the west, Seth in the south, the royal cobra goddess, Wadjetin the north, and, significantly, the Syrian goddess Astarte in the east.

A vogue for Asian deities had grown up in Egypt, and Ramses himself had distinct leanings in that direction. The first public act of Ramses after his accession to sole rule was to visit Thebesthe southern capital, for the great religious festival of Opetwhen the god Amon of Karnak made a state visit in his ceremonial barge to the Temple of Luxor. He also took the opportunity to appoint as the new high priest of Amon at Thebes a man named Nebwenenef, high priest of Anhur at nearby This Thinis.

In the fourth year of his reign, he led an army north to a biography of ramses the second an egyptian king the lost provinces his father had been unable to conquer permanently.

The first expedition was to subdue rebellious local dynasts in southern Syria, to ensure a secure springboard for further advances.

He halted at Al-Kalb River near Beirutwhere he set up an inscription to record the events of the campaign; today nothing remains of it except his name and the date; all the rest has weathered away. The next year the main expedition set out.

  • The next year the main expedition set out;
  • His son Merneptah became pharaoh after he died;
  • Likewise, it was incumbent on the new Pharaoh it make a display of force if he was to keep the peace during his reign;
  • Retrieved September 6, 2007.

Its objective was the Hittite stronghold at Kadesh. Following the coastal road through Palestine and Lebanon, the army halted on reaching the south of the land of Amor, perhaps in the neighbourhood of Tripolis. The main force then resumed its march to the Orontes, the army being organized in four divisions of chariotry and infantry, each consisting of perhaps 5,000 men. Crossing the river from east to west at the ford of Shabtuna, about 8 miles 13 km from Kadesh, the army passed through a wood to emerge on the plain in front of the city.

Two captured Hittite spies gave Ramses the false information that the main Hittite army was at Alepposome distance to the north, so that it appeared to the king as if he had only the garrison of Kadesh to deal with.

Ramesses II

It was not until the army had begun to arrive at the camping site before Kadesh that Ramses learned that the main Hittite army was in fact concealed behind the city. Ramses at once sent off messengers to hasten the remainder of his forces, but, before any further action could be taken, the Hittites struck with a force of 2,500 chariots, with three men to a chariot as against the Egyptian two.

The leading Egyptian divisions, taken entirely by surprise, broke and fled in disorder, leaving Ramses and his small corps of household chariotry entirely surrounded by the enemy and fighting desperately.

Fortunately for the king, at the crisis of the battle, the Simyra task force appeared on the scene to make its junction with the main army and thus saved the situation. The result of the battle was a tactical victory for the Egyptians, in that they remained masters of the stricken field, but a strategic defeat in that they did not and could not take Kadesh.

Neither army was in a fit state to continue action the next day, so an armistice was agreed and the Egyptians returned home. In the eighth or ninth year of his reign, he took a number of towns in Galilee and Amor, and the next year he was again on Al-Kalb River. It may have been in the 10th year that he broke through the Hittite defenses and conquered Katna and Tunip—where, in a surprise attack by the Hittites, he went into battle without his armour—and held them long enough for a statue of himself as overlord to be erected in Tunip.

In a further advance he invaded Kode, perhaps the region between Alexandretta and Carchemish.

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Nevertheless, like his father before him, he found that he could not permanently hold territory so far from base against continual Hittite pressure, and, after 16 years of intermittent hostilities, a treaty of peace was concluded in 1258 bce, as between equal great powers, and its provisions were reciprocal.

The wars once over, the two nations established friendly ties. Letters on diplomatic matters were regularly exchanged; in 1245 Ramses contracted a marriage with the eldest daughter of the Hittite king, and it is possible that at a later date he married a second Hittite princess. Apart from the struggle against the Hittites, there were punitive expeditions against EdomMoaband Negeb and a more serious war against the Libyanswho were constantly trying to invade and settle in the delta; it is probable that Ramses took a personal part in the Libyan war but not in the minor expeditions.

Rameses II

The latter part of the reign seems to have been free from wars. Nine kings of the 20th dynasty 1190—1075 bce called themselves by his name; even in the period of decline that followed, it was an honour to be able to claim descent from him, and his subjects called him by the affectionate abbreviation Sese. At Abydos he built a temple of his own not far from that of his father; there were also the four major temples in his residence city, not to mention lesser shrines.

In Nubia Nilotic Sudan he constructed no fewer than six temples, of which the two carved out of a cliffside at Abu Simbelwith their four colossal statues of the king, are the most magnificent and the best known. The larger of the two was begun under Seti I but was largely executed by Ramses, while the other was entirely due to Ramses.

  1. This latter is crowned by a bas relief representing two images of the king worshiping Ra Harakhti, whose statue stands in a large niche. People could see for themselves a wonder from a lost civilization, and admire the skill of artists who created the image, one of the largest pieces of Egyptian sculpture in the British Museum.
  2. Verlag Philipp von Zabern, pp.
  3. Rameses himself was in the van, leading the Amon division with the Ra division about a mile and a half behind. By contrast, in Ramesses II's version of events, the Pharaoh fictitiously states—just a day after his narrow escape from death in battle—that "the cowardly Hittite king sent a letter to the Egyptian camp pleading for peace.
  4. Ramesses returned home to enjoy his personal triumph, which was to be retold many times in prose, as an epic poem and in relief carving[s].
  5. The wars once over, the two nations established friendly ties. Ramesses II's second-born son, Ramesses B—sometimes called Ramesses Junior—became the crown prince from Year 25 to Year 50 of his father's reign after the death of Amen-her-khepesh.

In addition to the construction of Per Ramessu, his most notable secular work so far as is known included the sinking of a well in the eastern desert on the route to the Nubian gold mines.

His first and perhaps favourite queen was Nefertari ; the smaller temple at Abu Simbel was dedicated to her. She seems to have died comparatively early in the reign, and her fine tomb in the Valley of the Queens at Thebes is well known.

In addition to the official queen or queens, the king possessed a large harem, as was customary, and he took pride in his great family of well over 100 children. The best portrait of Ramses II is a fine statue of him as a young man, now in the Egyptian Museum of Turin; his mummypreserved in the Egyptian Museum at Cairois that of a very old man with a long narrow face, prominent nose, and massive jaw.

Ramses II must have been a good soldier, despite the fiasco of Kadesh, or else he would not have been able to penetrate so far into the Hittite empire as he did in the following years; he appears to have been a competent administrator, since the country was prosperous, and he was certainly a popular king.

Some of his fame, however, must surely be put down to his flair for publicity:

  1. They decided to fly Ramesses II's mummy to Paris for examination. He halted at Al-Kalb River near Beirut , where he set up an inscription to record the events of the campaign; today nothing remains of it except his name and the date; all the rest has weathered away.
  2. He was named after his grandfather Ramses I. Grajetzki 2005 The writer Terence Gray stated in 1923 that Ramesses II had as many as 20 sons and 20 daughters but scholars today believe his offspring numbered almost a hundred in total.
  3. In the 1960s and 1970s, several scholars such as George Mendenhall [6] associated the Israelite's arrival in Canaan more closely with the Hapiru mentioned in the Amarna letters which date to the reign of Amenhotep III and Akhenaten and in the Hittite treaties with Ramesses II.
  4. His name is found everywhere on monuments and buildings in Egypt and he frequently usurped the works of his predecessors and inscribed his own name on statues which do not represent him. Over the ensuing years, Ramesses II would return to campaign against the Hittites and even achieved several spectacular victories at a time of Hittite weakness due to a dispute over Muwatallis' succession to briefly capture the cities of Tunip, where no Egyptian soldier had been seen since the time of Thutmose III almost 120 years previously, and even Kadesh in his Eighth and Ninth Years.