Ramses II, also known as Ramses the Great, is one of the most famous and powerful pharaohs in Egyptian history. His reign, which lasted nearly 67 years, is marked by impressive achievements in the fields of architecture, literature and international relations.
The historical context of the reign of Ramses II
Ramesses II ascended the throne in 1279 BC. J.-C., succeeding his father Seti I. His reign coincides with the XIXedynasty of the New Kingdom, a period of renewal and prosperity for Egypt. Ramses II inherited an already powerful and prosperous empire, and he strove to maintain and expand it throughout his reign.
Conquests and international relations
During the reign of Ramesses II, Egypt conducted several military campaigns to consolidate and expand its territory. Wars against the Hittites, Libyans and Nubians were fought successfully, securing Egyptian supremacy in the region. One of the most famous moments of these campaigns is the Battle of Kadesh, where Ramses II faced the Hittite army and managed to repel his opponents.
Beyond military conquests, Ramesses II also sought to maintain strong diplomatic relations with neighboring kingdoms. The peace treaty signed with the Hittites is one of the earliest examples of an international treaty in history, ending years of conflict and establishing a lasting peace between the two powers.
The builder and the architectural achievements
Ramses II is also famous for his grandiose architectural achievements. Among the most famous monuments built during his reign are the temple of Abu Simbel, the temples of Luxor and Karnak, as well as the new capital, Pi-Ramesses. These structures bear witness to the artistic genius and ambition of Ramesses II, who wished to leave a lasting legacy for future generations.
Family life and inheritance
Ramesses II had a complex family life, with several wives and many children. His main wife, Nefertari, remained an important figure throughout his reign, and she is depicted in several monuments, such as the Abu Simbel temple. The question of succession was crucial for Ramses II, who outlived several of his heirs before designating his thirteenth son, Merenptah, to succeed him on the throne.
Religion and the royal cult
Religion played a central role in the life of Ramses II, as for all Egyptian pharaohs. He was considered a living god, intermediary between gods and humans. Ramses II attached great importance to the cult of Amun-Re, the main god of the Egyptian pantheon, and had many temples dedicated to this god and other Egyptian deities built and restored.
The longevity and end of the reign of Ramesses II
Ramesses II's reign was unusually long for its time, spanning nearly 67 years. He outlived most of his contemporaries and saw several generations of his own family grow up. Ramses II died at the ripe old age of around 90, leaving behind a powerful and prosperous empire. His mummy, discovered in 1881, reveals that he was a tall man of robust appearance.
The legacy of Ramses II
The legacy of Ramesses II is undeniably impressive. His military, architectural and cultural achievements left a lasting mark on Egyptian history and helped to strengthen Egypt's power and fame in the ancient world. The monuments he built testify to his greatness and ambition, and are still admired today by tourists and scholars around the world.
The link between Ramses II and Moses according to religious accounts
Religious accounts, especially those in the Judeo-Christian tradition, point to a connection between Ramses II and Moses, although the historical evidence for this connection is subject to debate among scholars. According to the Bible, Moses was a Hebrew prophet who led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and into the Promised Land. The reigning pharaoh at this time is often identified as Ramesses II, due to his longevity and the grandeur of his reign.
In the biblical story, Moses is rescued from the waters of the Nile by Pharaoh's daughter and raised into the Egyptian royal family. Later, he is called by God to free the Israelites from slavery and guide them to freedom. Ramses II, as Pharaoh, would have been the adversary of Moses, initially refusing to free the Israelites and facing the ten plagues sent by God to punish Egypt. It was only after the tenth plague, the death of the firstborn, that Ramesses II would finally have consented to let the Israelites go.
Although this story is fundamental to the Judeo-Christian religious tradition, the historical and archaeological evidence for this connection between Ramses II and Moses is thin, and many scholars believe that the identification of Ramses II as the Pharaoh of the Exodus is largely based on guesswork. Nonetheless, the legend of Moses and Ramses II continues to capture the popular imagination, providing a fascinating account of the struggle between a man of faith and a mighty king.
📋 LIST OF EGYPTIAN SOVEREIGNS 📋
Sekhemre-Khutaouy Amenemhat-/Sobekhotep I/Sekhemkare Amenemhat-Senbef/Sekhemkare Amenemhat V/Ameny-Qemaou/Hotepibre Qémaou-Sa-Hornejhéritef/Ioufeni/Séânkhibrê Amény-Antef-Amenemhat (or Amenemhat VI)/Semenkarê Nebnoun/Sehotepibrê Sousekhtaouy
Sekhaenre Yakbim/Nebuuserre Yaammou/Khauserre Qareh
Semqen/Aper-Anat/Sakir-Har/Khyan/Apophis I/Apophis II?/Khamoudy
/Sekhemre-Sementaouy Djehouty/Sekhemre-Sousertaouy Sobekhotep VIII
1st Persian Dynasty
Thirty-first dynasty (Achaemenid)
2nd Persian Dynasty