April 20, 2012

Ramses IV Pharaoh 1151-1145 BC

Ramses IV
Heqamaatre
Dynasty 20
1151-1145 BC

As Ramses III's long reign of 31 years came to an end, so did the greatness of the Egyptian pharaohs. The exact relationships of the subsequent kings bearing the name Ramses is at times obscure; certainly Ramses IV, V, VI and VIII appear to have been sons of Ramses III (although, as noted, many of his sons had died young), while Ramses VII seems to have been a son of Ramses VI.

Relief of Ramesses IV at the Temple of Khonsu in Karnak

Ramses IV
Ramses IV succeeded to the throne in about 1151 BC. The identity of his mother - probably either Queen Isis or Queen Titi - is still uncertain, but we do know that he made Tentopet his chief wife (she lies buried in Tomb 74 in the Valley of the Queens). The new king's first task was to bury his father in the Valley of the Kings. Within four days of the ceremony - as ostraka from the workmen's village of Deir el- Medina record - the customary gifts had arrived there and the workmen could look forward to a new commission to cut Ramses IV's tomb.

Several inscribed stele in the Wadi Hammamat record the activities of large expeditions sent by Ramses IV to obtain good stone for statues. One group, of 8368 men, included 2000 soldiers, indicative of the amount of policing of the workforce required rather than any defence against attack. Expeditions to the turquoise mines at Serabit el-Khadim in Sinai were also recorded and as far south in Nubia as the fort at Buhen, almost to the Second Cataract. Despite all his endeavours and good works for the gods, and his prayer to Osiris - recorded on a stele of Year 4 at Abydos - that 'thou shalt give me the great age with a long reign [as my predecessor]', Ramses IV reigned for only six years.

Limestone ostracon depicting Ramesses IV smiting his enemies
The tomb of Ramses IV lies just outside the earlier main group in the Eastern Valley of the Kings. It has brightly coloured and detailed wall paintings. The large sarcophagus box and its lid, largely intact, still stand in the burial hall. As indicated by its low number, KV 2, the tomb has been open since antiquity; Coptic graffiti cover the walls near the entrance. Like its companion Ramesside tombs it is unfinished, but an interesting papyrus preserved in Turin gives its plan. A puzzling feature was the series of four narrow box-like lines the architect had drawn around the sarcophagus in the burial chamber, the 'house of gold'. Their meaning became abundantly clear when Tutankhamun's burial chamber was opened in 1923 and the four great gold-covered wooden shrines enclosing his sarcophagus were revealed. The mummy of Ramses IV was found in the royal cache in Amenhotep II's tomb (KV 35) in 1898.

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