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Ramesses II: The Divine Warrior who Built Ancient Egypt

Ramesses II: The Great Pharaoh who Shaped Ancient EgyptIn the annals of ancient Egypt, one pharaoh stands out as a towering figure, both in terms of his military prowess and his architectural achievements. Ramesses II, also known as Ramesses the Great, ruled over Egypt for an astonishing 66 years, from 1279 to 1213 BC.

In this article, we will delve into the early life and military achievements of Ramesses II, as well as explore his building projects and divine status. Ramesses II’s Early Life and Military Achievements

Rise to Power and Military Campaigns

From his early days as Prince Regent to the illustrious reign that awaited him, Ramesses II had a path destined for greatness. Born as the son of the pharaoh Seti I, he ascended to the throne at a tender age.

Like his father, Ramesses was a formidable warrior. He embarked on numerous military campaigns to protect Egypt’s borders and expand its influence.

His campaigns against the Hittites, Syrians, Libyans, and Nubians showcased his strategic brilliance and unparalleled leadership skills.

The Battle of Kadesh

One of the most significant military events in Ramesses II’s reign was the Battle of Kadesh. Fought against the Hittite Empire, it was a momentous clash that would shape the course of ancient history.

Ramesses, accompanied by his mighty army, set out to reclaim the city of Kadesh. The battle was fierce and fraught with peril, but Ramesses emerged as the victor.

Although the outcome of the battle remains debated, a peace treaty was eventually signed, ensuring the stability of Egypt’s borders. Ramesses II’s Building Projects and Divine Status

The Ramesseum and Other Temples

Ramesses II was not just a military conqueror; he was also a patron of the arts and architecture. His building projects exemplify his commitment to leaving a lasting legacy.

The Ramesseum, his renowned mortuary temple, served as a symbol of his power and devotion to the gods. Alongside it, Ramesses commissioned other grand temples, such as Abu Simbel and Luxor, showcasing the opulence and architectural finesse of ancient Egypt.

Ramesses II as a Living God

In the eyes of his subjects, Ramesses II was more than just a mortal ruler; he was perceived as a living god. The belief in his divine birth and his association with various deities cemented his status as both God and King.

Colossal statues, such as the famous colossi at Abu Simbel, perpetuated the idea of Ramesses as a divine figure. Through these monumental structures, he sought to immortalize himself in the annals of time.


As we delve into the life and achievements of Ramesses II, we begin to unravel the grandeur and influence of one of Egypt’s most renowned pharaohs. His military exploits and architectural masterpieces awe and inspire both historians and visitors to this day.

Ramesses II’s reign marked a remarkable chapter in Egypt’s ancient history, leaving an indelible imprint on the world.

Death and Legacy of Ramesses II

Burial and Family

The death of Ramesses II marked the end of an era, but his legacy continued to live on. After his passing in 1213 BC, his body was carefully preserved through mummification and laid to rest in the Valley of the Kings.

In 1881, his mummy was discovered by archaeologist Gaston Maspero in a hidden cache inside the Deir el-Bahri mortuary temple. Today, it can be viewed in the Cairo Museum, where it stands as a testament to the pharaoh’s once-mighty presence.

Ramesses II’s family played a significant role in the continuation of his dynasty. It is estimated that he had over 100 children, including numerous sons who would become pharaohs themselves.

One of the most notable offspring was Merneptah, who succeeded Ramesses II and ruled Egypt for about a decade. Merneptah’s reign marked the end of the prosperous period initiated by his father, as Egypt faced internal challenges and external threats from invading forces.

Influence and Achievements

Ramesses II left behind a remarkable legacy that extended beyond his lifetime. The prosperity and stability he achieved during his reign had a profound impact on the future of Egypt.

The success of his military campaigns secured Egypt’s borders and ensured the safety and prosperity of its citizens. His reign was a time of economic growth, as trade flourished and Egypt became a dominant power in the region.

Ramesses II was not only a military leader but also a master of propaganda and self-aggrandizement. He skillfully utilized art and architecture to elevate his status and solidify his place in history.

His ambitious building projects, such as the temples of Abu Simbel and Luxor, served as monuments to his power and piety. These grand structures were not just architectural marvels but also powerful symbols of his reign and the might of Egypt.

The impact of Ramesses II’s reign extended far beyond Egypt’s borders. His diplomatic efforts and military campaigns were instrumental in expanding Egypt’s influence and forging alliances with neighboring kingdoms.

His rule brought stability to the region, minimizing conflicts and paving the way for cultural and economic exchanges. Ramesses II’s legacy as a statesman and conqueror cannot be underestimated.

Ramesses II’s influence extended even into the realm of religion. His association with the deities and his divine status set a precedent for future pharaohs, who sought to emulate his god-like qualities.

The notion of the pharaoh as both a mortal ruler and a divine being became firmly entrenched in the Egyptian consciousness. The colossal statues at Abu Simbel, depicting Ramesses II in all his glory, continue to inspire awe and reverence for the pharaoh’s divine power.

In conclusion, Ramesses II’s death marked the end of a remarkable chapter in Egyptian history. His burial in the Valley of the Kings and the subsequent discovery of his mummy provide valuable insights into his life and reign.

Ramesses II’s extensive family and the succession of his sons ensured the continuation of his dynasty. His influence and achievements in the realms of politics, military, and religion have left an indelible impact on ancient Egypt and the world at large.

The prosperity and stability he fostered during his reign set a high standard for future pharaohs, and his grand architectural projects continue to inspire wonder and admiration. Ramesses II’s legacy as one of Egypt’s greatest pharaohs is firmly etched in the annals of history.

In conclusion, Ramesses II, also known as Ramesses the Great, was a pharaoh of unparalleled achievements and influence. His early life was marked by military triumphs, including the famous Battle of Kadesh, where he showcased his strategic brilliance.

Ramesses II’s grand building projects, such as the Ramesseum and Abu Simbel, exemplify his architectural finesse and immortalize his divine status. Even in death, Ramesses II’s legacy lives on, as his mummy serves as a testament to his once-mighty presence.

His reign left an indelible mark on ancient Egypt, with a prosperous period of stability and success. The importance of his rule, influence, and achievements cannot be overstated, as they set the stage for future pharaohs and shaped the history of Egypt for centuries to come.

Ramesses II truly earned his place as one of the most influential leaders in ancient Egypt and a remarkable figure of human history.

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