Photographer's Note

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.

Ramesse II (nome originale: Usermaatra setepenra Ramesisu meriamun; Avaris, 1297 a.C. – Pi-Ramesse, 1 settembre 1213 a.C.) è stato un sovrano egizio.
Terzo monarca della XIX dinastia egizia, regnò in Egitto dal 1278 a.C. al 1213 a.C. Figlio di Seti I e sua moglie Tuya salì al trono dopo la scomparsa del fratello. Celebre l'incredibile prole (quasi 100 figli) e il numero di mogli, fra le quali figura la famosissima regina Nefertari. Combatté contro l'impero ittita, in quel tempo governato dal re Muwatalli II, nella celebre battaglia di Kadesh, uno degli scontri meglio documentati nel mondo antico. Infaticabile costruttore, diede forma a giganteschi monumenti, quali il tempio di Abu Simbel e il Ramesseum. Secondo alcune interpretazioni del racconto biblico è contro di lui che Mosè avrebbe scagliato le dieci piaghe d'Egitto al fine di liberare il proprio popolo dalla schiavitù.

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