Ramesses II made sure that his rule would be remembered for eternity by commissioning numerous temples and statues to be built in his name and he was equally prolific in his familial affairs. Ramesses was born into a life of privilege during the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt’s New Kingdom. The New Kingdom was a period when ancient Egypt was at the pinnacle of wealth and power, which was largely the result of military campaigns and colonization in Nubia and the Levant.

Ramesses II (1279-1213 BCE) was born around 1303 BC in Ancient Egypt. His father was the Pharaoh Sethi I and his mother Queen Tuya. Ramses grew up in the royal court of Egypt. He was educated and brought up to be a leader in Egypt. His father became Pharaoh when Ramses was around 5 years old. At that time, Ramses had an older brother who was prince of Egypt and in line to become the next Pharaoh. However, his older brother died when Ramses was around 14 years old. At the age of fifteen, Ramses was the Prince of Egypt. He also got married to his two main wives, Nefertari and Isetnofret. Nefertari would rule along side Ramses and would become powerful in her own right. As prince, Ramses joined his father in his military campaigns. By the age of 22 he was leading battles by  Ramses II had more than 200 wives and concubines. His favourite queen was most likely his first Royal Wife Nefertari. Her tomb QV66 is the most spectacular in the Valley of the Queens with magnificent wall painting decoration, regarded as one of the greatest achievements of ancient Egyptian art. Ramses II had well over 100 children. His age at the time of his death was around 90. He was buried in tomb KV7 in the Valley of the Kings. His mummy is today in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum. He was succeeded by his son Merneptah. Ramses II was in line to become Pharaoh of Egypt.   known to the Egyptians as Userma’atre’setepenre, which means 'Keeper of Harmony and Balance, Strong in Right, Elect of Ra’. He is also known also as Ozymandias and as Ramesses the Great. He was the third pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty (1292-1186 BCE) who claimed to have won a decisive victory over the Hittites at The Battle of Kadesh and used this event to enhance his reputation as a great warrior. In reality, the battle was more of a draw than a decisive victory for either side but resulted in the world's first known peace treaty in 1258 BCE.During his reign as pharaoh, Ramses II led the Egyptian army against several enemies including the Hittites, Syrians, Libyans, and Nubians. He expanded the Egyptian empire and secured its borders against attackers. Perhaps the most famous battle during Ramses' rule was the Battle of Kadesh. This battle is the oldest recorded battle in history. In the battle Ramses fought the Hittites near the city of Kadesh. Ramses led his smaller force of 20,000 men against the larger Hittite army of 50,000 men. Although the battle was indecisive (no one really won), Ramses returned home a military hero. Later, Ramses would establish one of the first major peace treaties in history with the Hittites. This helped to establish a peaceful northern border throughout the rest of Ramses' rule.Ramses II is also known as a great builder. He rebuilt many of the existing temples in Egypt and built many new structures of his own. Some of his most famous building achievements are described below.Ramesseum - The Ramesseum is a large temple complex that was located on the west bank of the Nile near the city of Thebes. It was the Mortuary Temple of Ramses II. The temple is famous for its giant statue of Ramses.Abu Simbel - Ramses had the temples of Abu Simbel built in the Nubian region of southern Egypt. At the entrance to the larger temple there are four huge statues of Ramses sitting down. They are each about 66 feet tall!Pi-Ramesses - Ramses also built a new capital city of Egypt called Pi-Ramesses. It became a large and powerful city under Ramses rule, but was later abandoned.Egypt had been troubled by the Sherden sea pirates who were attacking cargo-laden vessels travelling the sea routes to Egypt. In the second year of his reign, Ramses II deployed a clever strategy to capture them. He posted troops and ships at strategic points on the coast and allowed the pirates to attack their prey. Then he caught them by surprise in a sea battle eventually defeating them decisively and capturing them all.In 1275 BC, Ramses II started a military campaign to recover the lost provinces in the north. The last battle of this campaign was the famous Battle of Kadesh fought against the Hittite Empire under Muwatalli II at the city of Kadesh in 1274 BC, the fifth regnal year of Ramses II. It was the earliest well-recorded battle in history and probably the largest chariot battle ever fought involving perhaps 5,000–6,000 chariots.

Ramesses was the son of King Seti I (ruled ca. 1305-1290 BC) and his chief queen Tuy, making him the crown prince of Egypt. As a young crown prince, Ramesses was expected to learn the ways of the Egyptian government and religion, but also to be a fighting pharaoh. In that regard he truly excelled. The mighty Egyptian army easily ruled over the often quarrelling Canaanite city-states of the region, but had to contend with the equally powerful Hittite Empire known as Hatti for control over the northern Levant. The border dispute between the Egyptian and Hittite empires eventually came to a head during Ramesses II’s fifth year of rule when border skirmishes turned into full-scale war. 

Pharaoh Seti I imitated Thutmose III’s Horus name by using the same one, but adding -sankhtawy, “sustaining the Two Lands,” to it. His splendid mortuary temple at Abydos contain more than thirty Horus names, but they were probably only used in the specific rituals.Seti I. continued successfully with the politics of conquest, which Horemheb started with and also Ramesses I. was successful with it. The son of Ramesses I. - Seti I. fixed the borders of Egypt and even gained back a part of lost territories in Anatolia.Seti I. clearly showed that a new era started in Egypt, when he came to the throne. Egypt was under Ramesses dynasty rule in this new era, which disassociated from their predecessors from 18th dynasty and they tried to follow in tradition of the Middle Kingdom Pharaohs.The situation needed it - the Hittites became more and more dangerous in Asia and on the top of that a Bedouin tribe Shasu - supported just by the Hittites - took advantage of change of Pharaohs on Egyptian throne and seized around 20 fortresses along the Mediterranean coast.Seti I was aware of threatening danger and therefore he started a campaign promptly after his coronation to suppress and eliminate the rebels. Seti I. inherited combativeness after his father, which was his decoration as well. So he set out the way of Horus against the Shasu tribe. He began his way in Qantarah and continued further along the coast. He conquered back Rafah during the advancement. His army was better trained and organised, so it moved forward quickly. Shasu were defeated badly in every battle from Caru to Canaan and Seti I. gained the lost fortresses back.The Hittite King Muwatalli, who supported Shasu tribe, continued in closing various alliances against Egypt in spite of this indirect failure. A new coalition was established - the Hittites united with Amorites and Arameans this time. These two nations were better organised than the Bedouin tribe Shasu, so they were bigger danger for Egypt. But Seti I. proved his excellent sense for tactic, wedged between the two armies and defeated one after another. Encouraged by this victory Seti I. set out to the north and annexed Lebanon as well, which Kings surrendered to him without bigger resistance. Seti was welcomed by a cheering crowd, when he to Memphis (Mennefer). The victorious Pharaoh was followed by a huge army of captives and overwhelming booty.Seti I. had to face the threats from the Hittite ruler again in the third year of his reign. So he started a campaign again and it was again along the coast. He conquered the cities Akko a Tyr in the land of Amorites, then he broke deeper into the inland and got to Kadesh, the Hittite fortress that was considered as impregnable. It was right in front of this fortress, when the Egyptians fought against the Hittites for the first time. Seti I. won, but it hadn't been the crucial success yet. Finally both ruler agreed to sign a peace treaty, which accepted the river Orontes as a natural border between their lands.But Seti I. didn't enjoy the peace for long - the Libyans tried to get into Egypt from the west. Seti I. had to lead two campaigns to defeat their attempts for incursion. But the permanent peace - the Egyptians hoped for - didn't last for long. Seti had to face a rebellion of Nubians in the eighth year of his reign. The eastern half of the north wall is dedicated to Seti I's campaign in his first year as king. The rhetorical texts claim that pharaoh received a report that:"The Shasu-bedouin are plotting rebellion. Their chiefs have gathered together in the hills of Kharu.In response, Seti lead his army into Palestine across the north coast of the Sinai and into Gaza. This route was called "the Ways of Horus" by the Egyptians and it was a fortified military highway with a series of forts, each with a well. Recently, Egyptian archaeologists have discovered the site of the first and most important of these fortresses, the border town of Tcharu at the north-east corner of the Nile Delta.Egypt needed the wealth of the Land of Kush and couldn't tolerate any attempts of hostile activities. The campaign into Nubia lasted for several months. A stele was found near the fourth cataract that came from the eleventh year of Seti's reign. It is a proof of the advance of Egyptian army, which penetrated into African inland as well as the troops of Thutmose III. long before them.The wife of Seti I. was Tuya, who wasn't of royal ancestry - she was a daughter of chariots head commandant. The wise ruler tried to prevent the arguments around succession legitimacy, so Sethi I. appointed his son Ramesses II. his co-ruler in the eighth year of his reign to preserve the rule.Ramesses II. was 15 years old then and during the next 10 years of co-ruling he proved as an attentive and purposeful successor. He showed as an intelligent, lively and tough youth then, who could handled a weapon brilliantly and he could control a chariot as an experienced warrior.When Ramses was 25 years old his father died. Ramses II was crowned the pharaoh of Egypt in 1279 BC. He was the third pharaoh of the Nineteenth dynasty.

Nefertari, the Great Wife of Ramesses II  was granted one of the most spectacular tombs in the Valley of the Queens.Nefertari was Known as “Lady of Grace,” “Lady of All Lands,” “Wife of the Strong Bull,” “Great of Praises” and many other nicknames, Queen Neferati was one of the most iconic women of Ancient Egypt. Ramesses II, like other kings of Egypt, had a large harem of wives. However, at any time only one wife was given the honor of being his ‘chief queen.” Although he would take eight of these queens over his lifetime, Queen Nefertari was his first and most beloved. Her mummy and most of the treasures buried with her were destroyed by tomb robbers, but much of the wall painting has survived.

Ramesses II was the pharaoh who Moses freed the Israelite slaves from.He married Nefertari and Isetnofret while serving as the Prince of Egypt. Nefertari would eventually rule with Ramesses II.He had a temple complex built near Thebes, on the Nile’s west bank, called Ramesseum. It was Ramesses II’s Mortuary Temple and is famous today because of the giant Ramesses statue.Ramesses II had the Abu Simbel temples built in southern Egypt’s Nubian region. This temple is famous because of the four, 66 foot tall statues of a sitting Ramesses II at its entrance.Ramses had eight wives---including his younger sister and three daughters and numerous concubines, which included several Hittite princesses. “If he got tired of hunting and shooting he could wander through the garden and blow a kiss at one of the ladies.While Seti was still Pharaoh he selected a harem for his son. Ramses principal wife, the beautiful Nefertari, quickly produced a son. And not long afterwards his second favorite wife, Isntnofret, delivered another. More and more children followed. "Nefertari had the looks," Kitchen told National Geographic, "He was obviously proud of her, showing her off all the time. But I think Istnofert had the brains. It was her offspring that wielded the most power as Ramses aged.At the age of 20, Ramses took of his sons with him to campaign to quell down a minor revolt and lets them take part in a chariot charge. Ramses outlived 12 of his heirs and when he died his 13th son, Merneptah, took the throne in his sixties. Merneptah was a son of an Istnofret.Nefertari was Ramses first and favorite wife. He raised many statues to honor her. She often appeared with him at state and religious ceremonies. She may have traveled with Ramses on diplomatic missions and given him important advise. It is Nefertari of equal size who sits side by side with Ramses at Abu Simbel and Luxor. A dedication for Nefertari's statue at Abu Simbel reads, "Nefertari, for whose sake her very sun does shine!" In contrast, wives of other pharaohs were usually depicted as diminutive figures at the feet of their husbands.Little is known about Nefertari's early life. She is believed to have come from southern Egypt and may have been related to Queen Nefertiti. Nefertari bore Ramses five or seven children before she died in 1255 B.C. One painting of her shows her with cobras for earnings. In another Ramses callers her the "Possessor of charm, sweetness, and love.When Nefertari died during Year 24 of Ramses II's reign the Pharaoh produced the most beautiful tomb yet discovered in the Valley of the Queens. More or less intact today, the tomb features paintings of Nefertari in a sexy linen gown.The second principal wife is Isinofre, who is less well known. The influence of this queen is more detectable in the north of the country. She was a contemporary of her rival, and she could boast that she had borne the king his second son, diplomatically named Ramesses, and a favourite daughter, who was given the Canaanite name Bintanath, 'Daughter of the goddess Anath'. Isinofre was also the mother of the fourth in line to the throne,a prince named Khaemwise, who pursued a career in the priesthood of Memphis, and devoted himself to the study of hieroglyphs and antiquities. He also designed the Serapeum, the catacomb for the sacred Apis bulls in the desert at Saqqara. As a result of his interests and activities, Khaemwise has been described as the first Egyptologist in history.Ramsesseum is the mortuary temple of Ramses II. Built as an expression to his greatness, it has been desecrated and was scavenged for materials over the years and now lies mostly in ruins. It features painting of the pharaoh depicted as Osiris, the god of the afterlife, and murals of the Battle of Kadesh.Ramesses II completed and altered Sety I's unfinished decorative program on the walls and columns of the hypostyle hall. Battle scenes of the king were added to the hall's southern exterior wall, paralleling the military decoration of his father on the north wall. The girdle wall enclosing the temple on its southern and eastern ends, built by Thutmose III, was now adorned with deeply carved relief scenes and inscriptions.In the eastern section of Karnak, the king added a small shrine to the “unique” obelisk of Thutmose IV. The shrine, called “the temple of Amun-Ra, Ramesses, who hears prayers," consisted of a gateway and pillared hall with a central false door. Two lateral doors led to the object of veneration, the “unique” obelisk. A number of the column drums used for the hall were clearly taken from an earlier Thutmoside structure, and there is some evidence that there had been a shrine in this location previously. The chapel seems to have functioned similarly to a contra-temple, as it was accessible to the public who visited for oracular judgments. Further east, along the temple's east-west axis, Ramesses II added an entrance to eastern Karnak, marked by two red granite obelisks and a pair of red granite sphinxes.To the west of the Amun-Ra Temple's main gate, the second pylon, Pinedjem may have placed a line of 100 or more criosphinxes on stone pedestals. This sphinx avenue is traditionally assigned to Ramesses II, whose titles are inscribed on the small statuettes between the animals’ paws. A new theory, however, argues that the sphinxes, which stylistically appear to have been carved under Thutmose IV and Amenhotep III, stood at Luxor Temple in the 18th and 19th Dynasties. When Ramesses II modified that temple, he usurped the statues and rearranged them before his new court at Luxor. According to the theory, they were only moved to Karnak in the 21st Dynasty, when Pinedjem added his own name and inscriptions to the socles. The exact length and terminus of this avenue remain unknown, as it was later reorganized when new constructions changed the front of the temple in the 25th Dynasty, but it likely extended up to the (later) first pylon, or to a quay beyond.The Egyptians and Hittites challenged one another for control of the eastern Mediterranean. The Hittites had iron weapons, the Egyptians didn’t. In 1288 B.C., the fifth year of his reign, Ramses and his young sons mounted chariots and led an army of 20,000 men---a huge number at that time---to Syria for a "superpower showdown" against the Hittite king Muwatallis, whose a force was nearly twice as big as the Egyptian force.At stake was Kadesh, a fortress town in Syria that guarded the trade routes to the east (the Egyptians, and probably, the Hittites imported silk from China). Seti I, Ramses father, had captured the city, but when he returned to Egypt, the Hittites recaptured it. Ramses's army was surprised by an ambush from the Hittites outside of Kadesh and the Egyptian army scattered. According to an inscription of dubious merit, Ramses found himself abandoned but nevertheless mounted his chariot and led a charge and Egyptian reinforcements arrived and this time the Hittites were on the run. In reality the Egyptians were routed but neither side was able to gain territory on the other, so Ramses went home and raised a monument to declare his great victory. Ramses led military campaigns against the Hittites until he was in his 40s. After 15 years of fighting the Egyptians and Hittites signed a peace treaty that proved to be so cordial that the Hittite king Hattusilis III sent his eldest daughter,Maat-Hor-Nefersure to wed Ramses II in 1246 B.C. The marriage almost didn't come off because of a last minute argument between Ramses II and Hattusilis over the dowry.The marriage between Ramses and Maat-Hor-Nefersure ushered in a long period of peace and prosperity that lasted until Ramses' death. Ramses later married another one of Hattusilis's daughters. The Hitittes may have even sent craftsman to Egypt to make iron shields and weapons for the Egyptians.Ramses II spent a lot of time engaged in various military campaigns, but the most significant was against the rival Hittite kingdom. The Hittites, based in what is now Turkey, had recently expanded their own empire and conquered Egyptian outposts along the Mediterranean Sea. Seti I had fought for years to re-establish control, and now Ramses II would take that mantle.Soon after his reign began, Ramses secured an important victory against naval allies of the Hittites around the Nile Delta. He then managed to conquer Hittite-controlled Canaan, which is today's Israel and Syria. Finally, Ramses II was ready to attack the Hittites head on, which he did at the Battle of Kadesh around 1274 BCE. According to the accounts that Ramses later commissioned, the Hittites broke the Egyptian line and nearly destroyed the Egyptian army before Ramses himself called upon the Egyptian god Amun for help. Ramses then rallied the troops and pushed back the Hittites .According to the Egyptian accounts, the Hittites were defeated by them, and Ramesses II had gained a great victory. The story of this victory is most famously monumentalised on the inside of the temple of Abu Simbel. In this relief, the larger than life pharaoh is shown riding on a chariot and striking down his Hittite enemies. Indeed, this image succeeds in conveying the sense of power and triumph that Ramesses II aspired to achieve. Nevertheless, according to the Hittite accounts, it seems that the Egyptian victory was not so great after all, and that it was exaggerated by Ramesses II for the purpose of propaganda. What is clear, however, is that power relations in the ancient Near East were significantly changed after this battle. The first known peace treaty was signed between the Egyptians and the Hittites, and the Hittites were recognised as one of the region’s superpowers. This treaty would also set the stage for Egyptian-Hittite relations for the next 70 years or so.


Whatever the reason for the marriage it appears to have been a loving and successful one. Some see Nefertari as continuing the tradition of strong queens begun in the Eighteenth Dynasty. Nefertari carried the title God's Wife of Amun which gave the holder considerable independent wealth and power, and wore the elaborate head-dress of Ahmose-Nefertari, but we actually know very little about her activities as Queen. She played a fairly prominent role in state ceremonies for the first three years or so and then disappeared from the record for about eighteen years before appearing again to write a letter to the Queen of Hatti on the occasion of a treaty between the two countries that ended a long period of uneasy relations. 

Ramesses II did not have much control over his physical remains after his death. While his mummified body was originally buried in the tomb KV7 in the Valley of the Kings, looting by grave robbers prompted the Egyptian priests to move his body to a safer resting place. The actions of these priests have rescued the mummy of Ramesses II from the looters, only to have it fall into the hands of archaeologists. In 1881, the mummy of Ramesses II, along with those of more than 50 other rulers and nobles were discovered in a secret royal cache at Dier el-Bahri. Ramesses II’s mummy was identified based on the hieroglyphics, which detailed the relocation of his mummy by the priests, on the linen covering the body of the pharaoh. About a hundred years after his mummy was discovered, archaeologists noticed the deteriorating condition of Ramesses II’s mummy and decided to fly it to Paris to be treated for a fungal infection. Interestingly, the pharaoh was issued an Egyptian passport, in which his occupation was listed as ‘King (deceased)’.It seems that, apart from his extensive building activities and his famous residence city, Ramses' reputation as a great king in the eyes of his subjects rested largely on his fame as a soldier.In the fourth year of his reign, he led an army north to  recover the lost provinces his father had been unable to conquer permanently. The first expedition was to subdue rebellious local dynasts in southern Syria, to ensure a secure springboard for further advances. He halted at the Nahr al-Kalb near Beirut, where he set up an inscription to record the events of the campaign; today nothing remains of it except his name and the date; all the rest has weathered away.Its objective was the Hittite stronghold at Kadesh. Following the coastal road through Palestine and Lebanon, the army halted on reaching the south of the land of Amor, perhaps in the neighbourhood of Tripolis. Here Ramses detached a special task force, the duty of which seems to have been to secure the seaport of Simyra and thence to march up the valley of the Eleutherus River (Nahr el-Kebir) to rejoin the main army at Kadesh. The main force then resumed its march to the River Orontes, the army being organized in four divisions of chariotry and infantry, each consisting of perhaps 5,000 men.Crossing the river from east to west at the ford of Shabtuna, about eight miles from Kadesh, the army passed through a wood to emerge on the plain in front of the city. Two captured Hittite spies gave Ramses the false information that the main Hittite army was at Aleppo, some distance to the north, so that it appeared to the king as if he had only the garrison of Kadesh to deal with. It was not until the army had begun to arrive at the camping site before Kadesh that Ramses learned that the main Hittite army was in fact concealed behind the city. Ramses at once sent off messengers to hasten the remainder of his forces, but before any further action could be taken, the Hittites struck with a force of 2,500 chariots, with three men to a chariot as against the Egyptian two. The leading Egyptian divisions, taken entirely by surprise, broke and fled in disorder, leaving Ramses and his small corps of household chariotry entirely surrounded by the enemy and fighting desperately.Fortunately for the king, at the crisis of the battle, the Simyra task force appeared on the scene to make its junction with the main army and thus saved the situation. The result of the battle was a tactical victory for the Egyptians, in that they remained masters of the stricken field, but a strategic defeat in that they did not and could not take Kadesh. Neither army was in a fit state to continue action the next day, so an armistice was agreed and the Egyptians returned home. This battle is one of the very few from pharaonic times of which there are real details, and that is because of the king's pride in his stand against great odds; pictures and accounts of the campaign, both an official record and a long poem on the subject, were carved on temple walls in Egypt and Nubia, and the poem is also extant on papyrus.The failure to capture Kadesh had repercussions on Egyptian prestige abroad, and some of the petty states of South Syria and northern Palestine under Egyptian suzerainty rebelled, so that Ramses had to strengthen the northern edge of Egypt's Asiatic realm before again challenging the Hittites. In the eighth or ninth year of his reign, he took a number of towns in Galilee and Amor, and the next year he was again on the Nahr al-Kalb. It may have been in the 10th year that he broke through the Hittite defenses and conquered Katna and Tunip—where, in a surprise attack by the Hittites, he went into battle without his armour—and held them long enough for a statue of himself as overlord to be erected in Tunip. In a further advance he invaded Kode, perhaps the region between Alexandretta and Carchemish. Nevertheless, like his father before him, he found that he could not permanently hold territory so far from base against continual Hittite pressure, and, after 16 years of intermittent hostilities, a treaty of peace was concluded in 1258 BC, as between equal great powers, and its provisions were reciprocal.The wars once over, the two nations established friendly ties. Letters on diplomatic matters were regularly exchanged; in 1245 Ramses contracted a marriage with the eldest daughter of the Hittite king, and it is possible that at a later date he married a second Hittite princess. Apart from the struggle against the Hittites, there were punitive expeditions against Edom, Moab, and Negeb and a more serious war against the Libyans, who were constantly trying to invade and settle in the delta; it is probable that Ramses took a personal part in the Libyan war but not in the minor expeditions. The latter part of the reign seems to have been free from wars.

Ramses, the Hittites and the Battle of Kadesh,at stake was Kadesh, a fortress town in Syria that guarded the trade routes to the east (the Egyptians, and probably, the Hittites imported silk from China). Seti I, Ramses father, had captured the city, but when he returned to Egypt, the Hittites recaptured it. Ramses's army was surprised by an ambush from the Hittites outside of Kadesh and the Egyptian army scattered. According to an inscription of dubious merit, Ramses found himself abandoned but nevertheless mounted his chariot and led a charge and Egyptian reinforcements arrived and this time the Hittites were on the run. In reality the Egyptians were routed but neither side was able to gain territory on the other, so Ramses went home and raised a monument to declare his great victory.

Ramses II  ruled Egypt during 13th century B.C. and is regarded by many as the most powerful pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire due to which he is also known as Ramses the Great. He is famous for his exploits during the Battle of Kadesh, for building numerous monuments including Abu Simbel and for making Egypt prosperous and powerful during his reignThe Battle of Kadesh or Battle of Qadesh took place between the forces of the Egyptian Empire under Ramesses II and the Hittite Empire under Muwatalli II at the city of Kadesh on the Orontes River, just upstream of Lake Homs near the modern Syrian-Lebanese border.In the conventional Egyptian chronology,and is the earliest battle in recorded history for which details of tactics and formations are known. It is believed to have been the largest chariot battle ever fought, involving between 5,000 and 6,000 chariots in total.It seems that, apart from his extensive building activities and his famous residence city, Ramses’ reputation as a great king in the eyes of his subjects rested largely on his fame as a soldier.In the fourth year of his reign, he led an army north to recover the lost provinces his father had been unable to conquer permanently. When the Egyptian army was around 11km from Kadesh, Ramses II was informed that the Hittite army was far away at Aleppo. The main Hittite army was in fact concealed behind the city. Caught in an ambush, vastly outnumbered and with death staring at his face, Ramses II personally led a counterattack to drive the Hittite away from the Egyptian camp. The Hittites were ultimately forced to return back to the safe city walls. Ramses’ army returned to Egypt after an inconclusive battle the following day.Ramses II moved the capital of his kingdom from Thebes in the Nile valley to a new site in the eastern Delta called Pi-Ramesses. The reason for the shift in capital was most probably that it was much closer to the Egyptian vassal states in Asia and to the border with the hostile Hittite empire. Pi-Ramesses went on to become one of the largest cities in ancient Egypt and flourished for a century after the death of Ramses II. It had several huge temples and the lavish residential palace of the king. Numerous monuments were constructed during the reign of Ramses II including Abu Simbel, a lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari; and the mortuary temple Ramesseum, a place of worship dedicated to the pharaoh. Ramses II also erected more colossal statues of himself than any other pharaoh. It is to be noted that monuments of previous pharaohs were destroyed and their material was taken to complete projects of Ramses II. Also he had his own cartouche inscribed on many existing statues.Sed festivals were jubilees celebrated in ancient Egypt after a pharaoh had ruled for thirty years and then every three years after that. By tradition, Ramses was ritually transformed into a god in the Sed festival held in the 30th year of his reign. Unprecedented 14 sed festivals were held during the 66 year reign of Ramses II. He is considered the second longest reigning pharaoh of ancient Egypt after Pepi II Neferkare.Ramses II led several other military campaigns and enjoyed many outright victories. He was a famous warrior and popular ruler. He was able to secure peace with the Hittites and maintain Egyptian borders. Ramses II also built numerous monuments and Egypt became prosperous and powerful during his reign. Such was his impact that nine more pharaohs took the name Ramses in his honour. His name and his exploits on the battlefield were found everywhere in Egypt. The early part of his reign was focused on building cities, temples and monuments. He established the city of Pi-Ramesses in the Nile Delta as his new capital and used it as the main base for his campaigns in Syria. On the second campaign, Rameses found himself in some difficulties when attacking “the deceitful city of Kadesh”. This action nearly cost him his life. He had divided his army into four sections: the Amun, Ra, Ptah and Setekh divisions. Rameses himself was in the van, leading the Amon division with the Ra division about a mile and a half behind. He had decided to camp outside the city – but unknown to him, the Hittite army was hidden and waiting. They attacked and routed the Ra division as it was crossing a ford. Rameses II from the Ramesseum – his mortuary temple on the West bank at LuxorWith the chariots of the Hittites in pursuit, Ra fled in disorder – spreading panic as they went. They ran straight into the unsuspecting Amun division. With half his army in flight, Rameses found himself alone. With only his bodyguard to assist him, he was surrounded by two thousand five hundred Hittite chariots.At this point, the Hittites stopped to plunder the Egyptian camp – giving the Egyptians time to regroup with their other two divisions. They then fought for four hours, at the end of which time both sides were exhausted and Rameses was able to withdraw his troops.In the end neither side was victorious. And finally – after many years of war – Rameses was obliged to make a treaty with the prince of the Hittites. It was agreed that Egypt was not to invade Hittite territory, and likewise the Hittites were not to invade Egyptian territory. They also agreed on a defence alliance to deter common enemies, mutual help in suppressing rebellions in Syria, and an extradition treaty.Thirteen years after the conclusion of this treaty in the thirty-fourth year of his reign, Rameses married the daughter of the Hittite prince. Her Egyptian name was Ueret-ma-a-neferu-Ra: meaning ” Great One who sees the Beauties of Ra”.Although brave in battle, Rameses was an inept general – and I wonder how Thutmose III would have dealt with the Hittites. Maybe Rameses also pondered this because he spent the rest of his life bolstering his image with huge building projects. His name is found everywhere on monuments and buildings in Egypt and he frequently usurped the works of his predecessors and inscribed his own name on statues which do not represent him. The smallest repair of a sanctuary was sufficient excuse for him to have his name inscribed on every prominent part of the building. His greatest works were the rock-hewn temple of Abu Simbel, dedicated to Amun, Ra-Harmachis, and Ptah; its length is 185 feet, its height 90 feet, and the four colossal statues of the king in front of it – cut from the living rock – are 60 feet high. He also added to the temple of Amenhotep III at Luxor and completed the hall of columns at Karnak.Although he is probably the most famous king in Egyptian history, his actual deeds and achievements cannot be compared with the great kings of the 18th dynasty. He is, in my opinion, unworthy of the title ‘Great’. A show-off and propagandist, he made his mark by having his name, like a graffiti artist, inscribed on every possible stone. Whereas kings such as Thutmose III left a stronger and more dynamic Egypt, after Rameses death Egypt fell into decline. Luckily for Egypt, her prestige and pre-eminence as a world superpower was such that this process took a long time. Only one other king, Rameses III (1184 – 1153 BC), was able to temporarily halt this process.The king, realising his desperate position, charged the enemy with his small band of men. He cut his way through, slaying large numbers as he escaped. “I was,” said Rameses, “by myself, for my soldiers and my horsemen had forsaken me, and not one of them was bold enough to come to my aid.”At the age of 14, Ramesses was appointed Prince Regent by his father Seti I. He is believed to have taken the throne in his late teens and is known to have ruled Egypt from 1279 BC to 1213 BC.By the time of his death, Ramesses II was suffering from severe dental problems and was plagued by arthritis and hardening of the arteries.His mummy revealed an aquiline nose and a strong jaw. It stands at about 1.7 meters, or 5 feet and 7 inches.Microscopic inspection of the roots of Ramesses II’s left over hair proved that the pharaoh’s hair was originally red, which suggests that he came from a family of redheads. In ancient Egypt, people with red hair were associated wit the deity Seth, the slayer of Osiris, and the name of Ramesses II’s father, Seti I, means “follower of Seth.”The colossal statue of Ramesses II dates back 3,200 years, and was originally discovered in six pieces in a temple near Memphis. Weighing about 83 tons, it was transported, reconstructed and erected in Ramesses Square in Cairo in 1955.The first expedition was to subdue rebellious local dynasts in southern Syria, to ensure a secure springboard for further advances. He halted at Al-Kalb River near Beirut, where he set up an inscription to record the events of the campaign; today nothing remains of it except his name and the date; all the rest has weathered away.Its objective was the Hittite stronghold at Kadesh. Following the coastal road through Palestine and Lebanon, the army halted on reaching the south of the land of Amor.Ramses II died around the age of 90. He was buried in the Valley of the Kings, but his mummy was later moved to keep it hidden from thieves.

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