- During the reign of Ramses II, the Egyptian economy, administration, army and culture flourished, and after his death everything would begin to fall, making him the last great pharaoh of Egypt.
Ramses II was one of the most outstanding and remembered rulers of Ancient Egypt. Under his command, flourished and reached the most prestigious level elements such as the economy, administration, culture or army. He was born in 1303 BC. His parents were Seti I and Queen Tui; his grandfather was Pharaoh Ramses I. During his childhood he lived in Luxor together with his brothers. There he was educated to be the future heir as well as teachings such as astronomy, mathematics, geometry and even religion.
When he was 10 years old he was named heir to the throne as well as commander in chief of the army. When he reached the age of 16 he continued his political education thanks to the approach to Seti I. He began to participate in war campaigns and one of his greatest hobbies was born, the construction of buildings, thanks to the supervision of the constructions of Abidos.
Face of Ramses II
He married Nefertari when he was 17 years old, with whom he had his first son called Amonherunemef. But not only did he have one wife, but he took several in the years to come. As second wife he took Isetnefret, with whom he had a son named Ramses. As third wife he had his sister Hentmire, to preserve the purity of the royal blood. He then married one of the daughters he had had with Nefertari, Merytamon. Finally he married Bentanat, daughter of Isetnefret.
Seti I died in June 1279 BC. Rameses II, who was 24 years old at that time, would be named Pharaoh of Upper and Lower Egypt and Sun of the Nine Arches. His first measures focused on maintaining peace within Egypt. For this he made it clear to the priests of the god Amon that he would exercise all powers, appointing as high priest a person of confidence, Nebumenef.
He began to carry out great constructions such as the temple of Luxor dedicated to Amon-Ra and the beginning of the construction of the Rameseum on the hill Sheikh abd el Gurnah. In order to do so, he needed refreshment areas, especially water. So he began to drill wells. Thanks to this, he also managed to get gold from the south ready to finance the constructions.
The next step he took was to try to expand the borders to where they were at the time of Tutmosis. This led to a confrontation with the king of Hatti, Muwattali, which would last almost 20 years. In order to strengthen his power, he made a firm stand in the territories of Libya and Nubia and managed to reach Byblos. Muwattali established an alliance with the rulers of Asia Minor and Syria. Finally they fought in the famous battle of Qadesh in 1295 BC. Although it was not clear who had been the victor, Ramses proclaimed himself as such. Muwattali, seeing the defeat, established an alliance with one of Egypt’s greatest allies, Benteshina of Amurru.
Ramses II in the battle of Qadesh
Thanks to this triumph, Ramses will dedicate himself to reconquer the old frontiers in Asian and African lands. There were revolts in places like Canaan but they were quickly suffocated. On the Asian side they reached the Orontes River. Also, thanks to the confrontation between the successors of those territories, he managed to take the port of Ascalon and Jaffa and was able to penetrate more and more into Syria. After completing this part of the conquest, he decided to march to reoccupy his territories in Africa.
After a few years of peace, revolts arise again in the Asian areas, so the confrontation between Egypt and Hatti resurfaces. At that time, Babylon allied with the Hittites, so there were new military confrontations that gave victory to the Egyptians. These clashes would end with the signing of a peace treaty between Ramses II and King Hattusil of Hatti, marking the border on the Orontes River. Another of the points that was specified in the treaty was the mutual help in case of being attacked.
The size of the territory governed by Ramses II was immense, so he ordered to build a new city in the area of Tanis which he would call Per-Ramses, making it the capital, leaving Thebes, former capital, away from the political environment. In this way he managed to remove the power of the priests of Amun-Ra who resided in the city of Thebes.
His construction work began again, enlarging the city of Memphis and building temples such as Abu-Simbel, one dedicated to Ptah, Hathor, Ptahtatenen and Ramses himself and another to Nefertari and Hathor. Egypt prospered enormously in the economic and cultural spheres.
On the 33rd anniversary of his reign, he decided to marry the firstborn of King Hattusil, Mathorneferure. In addition, Hattusil offered her a second daughter, who became his concubine. In this way peace would be maintained with the king of Hatti.
During the last years of his reign, peace was interrupted when the people from Europe began to exert pressure. In addition, there would be the flight of the Jewish people led by Moses and Aaron.
He died at the age of 90, in 1213 BC. According to some studies, it is believed that he died of a cavity that caused a blood infection. Because of his long life and the death of several of his children, including his favorite, Khaem-uaset, his son Mineptah came to the throne. After his death, Egypt’s power began to decline.