April 19, 2012

Ramses III Pharaoh Biography 1182-1151 BC

Ramses III
(heqaiunu)
Usermaatre Meryamun 
1182-1151 BC
Ramses III was the last of the great pharaohs on the throne of Egypt. He ruled at a time when the outside world of the Mediterranean was in turmoil - it saw the Trojan War, the fall of Mycenae and a great surge of displaced people seeking new homes, a tidal wave that was to break upon the shores of Egypt during his reign.

Ramses III Statue
The first four years of Ramesses' reign seem to have been quiet ones. He no doubt sought to consolidate his position and continued his father Setnakhte's efforts to stabilize the country. There were no problems in the south, in Nubia, since that had now more or less achieved the status of a subdued colony. The first sign of trouble came in Year 5 with an attack from the west. The Libyans, coupled with two other tribes, the Meshwesh and the Seped, endeavoured to force their way out of their deserts into the fertile lands of the western Delta. The Egyptian army was more than a match for them and they were annihilated, those not slain becoming slaves in Egypt. For a while the states bordering Egypt had learnt their lesson, not to meddle with pharaoh.

In Year 8 the bubbling cauldron of the Middle East boiled over, no doubt exacerbated by several bad harvest years as well as the general upset of nomads trying to settle. As the Great Harris Papyrus records: 'The foreign countries plotted on their islands, and the people were dislodged and scattered by battle all at one time and no land could stand before their arms.

' This was not a small skirmish but a major folk movement by people sufficiently desperate and well armed to be able to destroy Egypt's age-old enemy, the Hittite empire. This mass of people was in fact a confederation of which the names are listed, the Peleset (i.e. Philistines), Tjelcer (possibly connected with the Teucri of the Troad), Shekelesh (possibly Silcels from Sicily), Weshesh (of uncertain origin), and the Denyen or Dardany (who could be the Danaoi of Homer's Iliad). Together, the confederation made up the 'Sea Peoples'.

Queen Tuya
Queen Tuya
Seti’s wife outlived her husband by many years. When Ramses II became king, she appeared as the queen-mother on the fagade at the temple of Abu Simbel. Statues of her were placed in her son’s mortuary temple, the Ramesseum, and in his newly founded city, Piramesse in the Delta. She died, a grand old lady, probably in her sixties in Year 22 or early 23 of Ramesses’ reign, about 1258 BC, and was buried in a large tomb in the Valley of the Queens (QV 80). Reclearance of the tomb in 1972 produced a canopic jar lid with a delightful portrait of her petite features.

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