April 18, 2012

Ramses II Pharaoh 1279-1212 BC

Ramses II
(meryamun) Usermaatre
Dynasty 19
1279-1212 BC

Ramses II Pharaoh Biography 1279-1212 BC
Ramses II, who acceded to power at the age of 25, can rightly be said to merit his popular title, 'Ramses the Great'. During his long reign of 67 years, everything was done on a grand scale. No other pharaoh constructed so many temples or erected so many colossal statues and obelisks. No other pharaoh sired so many children. Ramesses' 'victory' over the Hittites at Kadesh was celebrated in one of the most repeated Egyptian texts ever put on record. By the time he died, aged more than 90, he had set his stamp indelibly on the face of Egypt.

Giant statue of Ramesses II in Memphis
As a young prince, Ramses was imbued with the military tradition established by his grandfather, after whom he was named. From his earliest years all hopes for the new dynasty were pinned on him. At the age of ten he was recognized as 'Eldest King's Son' by title (despite there being no other, his elder brother having died long before), and by his mid-teens he is found associated with Seti as a diminutive figure in the reliefs of the Libyan campaigns at Karnak. Ramses was allowed to participate in Seti's subsequent campaigns against the Hittites in Syria.

The young prince rode well in harness alongside his experienced father, learning his trade of statecraft. Ramses is often found referred to in inscriptions, overseeing the cutting of obelisks from the granite quarries at Aswan, involved in Seti's great building projects, and also inaugurating his own (smaller) temple to Osiris at Abydos. Many inscriptions of up-and-coming young men attest to Seti's keen and acute eye in spotting the high flyers, who were to grow up alongside Ramses and serve him well in his turn (although he outlived most of them).

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