April 22, 2012

Ramses V and Ramses VI Pharaohs 1145-1133 BC

Ramses V
Usermaatre
Dynasty 20
1145-1141 BC

Ramses VI
Nebmaatre Mery amun 
Dynasty 20
1141-1133 BC

Ramses V and Ramses VI
On the evidence of a fragmentary hieratic papyrus in Turin, there appears to have been a civil war raging during Ramses V's short four- year reign. Workmen stopped digging his tomb (KV 9) in the Valley as they were 'idle from fear of the enemy'. An ostrakon records that the king was buried in Year 2 of Ramses VI, which is curious since he should normally have been buried no more than 70 days into the new reign. Possibly Ramses V died during the reign of his brother Ramses VI, but does this therefore indicate that they ruled jointly or, more probably in light of the civil war, that Ramses V was usurped by his brother and held captive until his death? Ramses V's mummy was found in the tomb of Amenhotep II (KV 35). It has a much larger than usual embalmer's incision on its left side for extracting the viscera. Lesions on the face suggest that the king suffered from smallpox.

Relief of Horus and Amun in Ramesses V's KV9 tomb
Ramses VI enjoyed an eight-year reign, longer than either of his two brothers. It seems that during this time Egypt's long-distance contacts and suzerainty over much of the Near East were drastically reduced. The turquoise mines in Sinai were abandoned and the eastern frontier pulled back from Palestine to the edge of the eastern Delta.

Having usurped his predecessor's tomb in the Valley (KV 9), Ramses VI extended it considerably. It culminated in a large painted and vaulted burial hall. The grievously battered mummy of Ramses VI was found in KV 35 (Amenhotep II) in 1898. Of all the royal mummies, it was the one most savagely attacked by the tomb robbers, the head and torso having been hacked to pieces with an axe. The priests had piously rewrapped the pieces on a board in an effort to make it resemble human form. When Elliot Smith examined it in 1905 he found portions of at least two other bodies included within the wrappings: a woman's right hand and the mutilated right hand and forearm of another man. Where the king's neck should have been were his separate left hip bone and part of his pelvis.

The end of the 20th Dynasty, with the last of the pharaohs bearing the name Ramesses, is very obscure. These kings fall mainly into two groups, those related to Ramses III and those to Ramses VI. Despite the grandeur of the name, none of them had any ancestral connection with their great predecessor, Ramses II.

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