Friday, October 8, 2010

Pharaoah of Pharaohs; Ramses II

Egypt has always fascinated me for its Pyramids, the Spynx, Abu Simbal and of course for its Pharaohs, who were half gods and half mortals.
Though Cleopatra VII is my favourite but when it comes to good administration, long ruling, welfare of the common people, maintainance of law and order, then only one name comes to my mind. Its Pharaoh Ramses II, the second most longest ruler of Egypt.
He became a good King for his military strength, his memorable architectures and for display of his immense power and wealth.
Previously a fiction was written by me on a part of life of Queen Cleopatra but while describing Ramses II, no such imaginery matters has been incorporated.
The Dynasty of Pharaohs which started long before 3100 BC with its first recorded King Menes came to an end being a province of Rome at 30 BC.
Hope this article would be liked by you the reader.

Egypt, the most ancient civilization of the world, is a land of mystery and divinity. The Indus civilization consisting of Mahejodaro and Harapp, were considered to be the contemporary of Egyptian civilization. But when the Indus civilization are in ruins, the Egypt and its civilization still thrives and amusing the people world over.
The Egyptian civilization is more or less 5000 years old and during this time hundreds of rulers have ruled this land.
Pharaohs or the Kings who ruled Egypt were considered as half divine entities and half mortals. Some of the ancient Egyptian Kings has also been deitified and has taken the place of gods in Egypt.
During the period covering 3000 years, about seventy dynasties ruled Egypt.
Those Dynasties can be categorized as follows:
1. Predynastic Egypt,
2. Early Dynastic
3. Old Kingdom
4. First Intermediate
5. Middle Kingdom
6. Second Intermediate
7. New Kingdom
8. Third Intermediate
9. Late Period, and
10. Greek-Roman.
The first King of Egypt was Menes and he ruled the unified Egypt around 3100 BC.
The designation "Pharaoh" for the Egyptian King actually came from Greek language and it has also been used in the Old Testament. The root of the word Pharaoh is in the Egyptian word "Per-aa" which means "Big House" of Kings Palace. Later the principal resident of the Big House became known as Per-aa or Pharaoh!
The rule of Pharaoh from various dynasties which has started around 3100 BC has finally came to an end at 30 BC with the death of Cleopatra VII, the most famous Queen of Egypt, and fall of the Ptolemy Dynasty. Egypt became a Roman province to be ruled by Augustas Caesar.
During these long period some of the Egyptian Kings or Pharaohs were famous and some were infamous. Their period of ruling extended from just four months to four scores (80) of years.
Among those Pharaohs my favourite is Ramses II. He was also the second longest ruling Pharaoh of Egypt (1279 BC to 1212 BC), ruled Egypt for 67 years.

Ramses II:
Ramses II ruled during the 19th Dynasty (1279 to 1212 BC). He was the third ruler during this time period. Being powerful and ambitious, he had expanded Egypt's empire to a vast deal and had constructed many temples all of which over shadowed many of the others built before him. Although known for expansion and building structures, he also remains as an important Pharaoh to the Christians as he is said to the Pharaoh in Exodus in the Old Testament.

Ramses II was born to Queen Tuy and his father Seti I or Menmaatre Seti I. He ruled Egypt from 1290 to 1279 BC.
Ramses II was sworn into the throne at about the age of 20 and ruled for 67 years. This allowed him to be the Second longest ruling Pharaoh.
Ramses II had a "Harem" of wives but his special was Queen Nefartari. Historians presume that Ramses II had over one hundred children with all his wives.

Ramses II as a ruler:

Ramses II was a prolific ruler who faught to relcaim territories in Africa and Western Asia. The Hittites and Asia Minor were his main opponents or his main enemies.
During the fifth year as Pharaoh, he led a campaign which is known as the Battle of Kadesh, Ramses II tried to keep the newly acquired territory (which is known as Syria now a days) under his own control. But he lost the battle to one of his main opponents, the Hittites. Ramses II and his army found themself in a stand still and Ramses II has to pull back otherwise his defeat was imminent at the hands of the Hittites. He was an intelligent man and knew the practicalities of life.
He had foreseen that it would not be possible for him to keep the newly acquired territory for long under his direct rule. And Kardesh (Syria) would be under the control of the Hittites if he ever regained the possession. So he had negotiated a treaty to save his own life and that of his army. Later a treaty was signed. The Kardesh territory was divided and Ramses II, according to the terms of the treaty, agreed to marry the daughter of the Hittites King.
During his tenure as a Pharaoh, Ramses II had attacked many of his enemies such as the Libyans and Nubians and also attacked Syria (Kardesh) for almost half a dozen times.
Ramses II was the mightiest of the Pharaohs and were known for his military mights. But he had also lived a life of extreme wealth and in affition he showed his need for divine architecture.
He intented to be designate as an Egyptian god.
His love of architecture and power along with his desire to immortalize himself allowed him to create more monuments and temples than any other Pharaoh of Egypt.
Among the temples and architectures created by Ramses II, the most famous is the temple of Abu Simbal and its the most impressive structure which was carved from a sandstone cliff that faced the East.
Apart from the most famous Abu Simbal, Ramses II had many more architectural projects. Among them is included the expansion of Luxor and Karnak. There he finished older projects set forth by his father and created many more monuments.
From the activities of Ramses II it is evident that he wanted to leave a mark as a reminder of his great strength and wealth.

As a ruler Ramses II was a good Pharaoh who thought about the well being of the Egyptian people. Egypt has flourished during the ruling of Ramses II.


The tomb of Ramses II is located in the Valley of Kings and remained empty as a result of years of being looted and weathered and almost destroyed.
Great amounts of effort are in progress with the hope of returning the tomb to a somewhat presentable form.
Although the tomb remains empty the mummy of the Pharaohs has been found. Ramses II's mummy is thought to be one of the best preserved mummies ever found.

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