Pharaoh Ramses II

Very early in Ramses II's reign , probably still co-regent of his father , he went on his first military campaign to put down a rebellion in Nubia . Reliefs in a small rock temple at Beit el-Wali commemorating the event show the young King in the company of two of his children (the Crown Prince Amunherwenememf , and Khaemwaset) standing proudly in their chariots .
In the 14th year of his regency , Ramses II led his first major campaign to Syria , which resulted in that Amuru returned to the Egyptian hold . This was not to last long , for the Hittite King , Muwatalli , decided at once to reconquer Armuru and to try to prevent further losses of territory to the Egyptians , with the result that the following year Ramses II again passed the border fortress at Sile , to declare war directly against his rival . The battle of Kadesh which followed is one of the most famous armed conflicts of antiquity . In that battle , Ramses , despite the fact that he was unable to achieve his goals , presented it at home as a huge victory described at large in lengthy compositions which were carved on the walls of all the major temples .
Many of Ramses' high officials lived and worked in Piramesse , but most of them appear to have been buried elsewhere , particularly in the necropolis of Memphis . About 35 tombs of the Ramesside Period have so far been excavated there , some of them very large . These tombs still have the form of an Egyptian temple , but compared to the tombs of the late Eighteenth Dynasty , the workmanship had declined .
Ramses II was the first king since Amenhotep III to celebrate more than one Sed-Festival . The first took place in the 30th year and then another thirteen followed , at first at more or less regular intervals of about 3 years , and then towards the end of his long life , annually . Amenhotep III had become deified during his three jubilees , but in this respect Ramses II had less patience than his great predecessor , for already by the 8th year of his regency , we hear of a colossal statue being carved which was given the name 'Ramses-the-god' . Inside the temples , Ramses-the-god had his own cult-image and processional bark along with the other deities to whom they were dedicated . In reliefs , Ramses II is often shown offering to his own deified self .
Among the King's many sons who held high positions , the second son of
Queen Isetnefret , Khaemwaset , was High Priest of Ptah in Memphis and acquired a reputation as a scholar and magician that survived until Roman times . As a high priest of Ptah , one of his duties was to participate in the burial of the sacred Apis-Bull and it is to Khaemwaset that the first galleries of the Serapeum are due . By the 52nd year of his father's regency , Khaemwaset was the eldest surviving son and therefore became crown prince , but at that stage he must have been in his sixties already , and he died a few years later , aging around 55 . He was almost certainly buried in the Memphite necropolis and not in the princely gallery tomb in the Valley of the Kings (KV 5) , but whether he was really interred in the Serapeum , as many believe , is less certain .
After Khaemwaset's death , Ramses II lived on for another 12 years until he finally died in the 67th year of his regency , the longest reigning monarch since Pepy II of the Sixth Dynasty . During the last years of his reign , he had become a living legend and he was clearly
much admired by his successors . He survived his 12 eldest sons and it was Merenptah (the fourth son of Isetnefret and crown prince since the death of Khaemwaset) who eventually succeeded him .


An overall view of the Step Pyramid of Djoser and the surrounding area



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