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Menpehtyre Ramesses I (also written Ramses or Rameses) was the founding Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt’s Nineteenth Dynasty. The dates for his short reign are not exactly known but evidently appear to be around 1290 BC. While Ramesses I is widely regarded as the founder of the 19th Dynasty, in reality his brief reign marked the transition between the reign of Horemheb who had stabilised Egypt and the rule of the powerful Pharaohs of this dynasty, in particular Seti I and Ramesses II, who would bring Egypt up to new heights of imperial power.
Upon his accession, Ramesses assumed a prenomen, or royal name. When transliterated, the name is mn-pḥty-rʿ, which is usually interpreted as Menpehtyre, meaning “Established by the strength of Ra”. However, he is better known by his nomen, or personal name. This is transliterated as rʿ-ms-sw, and is usually realised as Ramessu or Ramesses, meaning ‘Ra bore him’.
Origins and Family
See also: 19th Dynasty Family TreeRamesses I (originally Paramessu) was of non-royal birth, being born into a noble military family from the Eastern Nile Delta region, possibly near the former Hyksos capital Avaris. He was the son of Seti, who was a troop commander. The identity of his mother remains unknown. His uncle Khaemwaset, also an army officer, married Taemwadjesy, the matron of the Harem of Amun. This shows the high status of Ramesses’ family. Ramesses I found favor with Horemheb, the last pharaoh of the tumultuous Eighteenth Dynasty, who appointed the former as his heir. Whether Horemheb and Ramesses I are related remains unknown.
Ramesses I’s wife (who ultimately became his queen consort) was Sitre. They are known to have had one son together, Seti I, who succeeded his father on the throne.
Prior to Accession
Ramesses I rose rapidly in prominence at the royal court of Pharaoh Horemheb, who appointed the former as his Vizier. Ramesses certainly served the army and held the office of High Priest of Set, whose temple and priesthood must have been situated at Avaris. He was succeeded in this priestly role by his son, Seti. As high priests, they would have played an important role in the restoration of the old religion following the Amarna heresy of a generation earlier, during the reign of Akhenaten. Both Ramesses I and Seti I were connected with various aspects of Banebdjedet, whose cult was centered at the nearby city of Mendes, and Wadjet, who was worshipped throughout Lower Egypt.
Since Horemheb had no surviving children, he ultimately selected Ramesses to be his heir in the final years of his reign presumably because Ramesses I was both an able administrator and had a son (Seti I) and a grandson (Ramesses II) to succeed him and thus avoid any succession difficulties.
Dates and Length of Reign
Ramesses I enjoyed a very brief reign, as evidenced by the general paucity of contemporary monuments mentioning him: the king had little time to build any major buildings in his reign and was hurriedly buried in a small and hastily finished tomb. The Egyptian priest Manetho assigns him a reign of only 16 months, but Ramesses ruled Egypt for at least 17 months based on the date of his stela at the fortress of Buhen which is dated to his second regnal year. His only known actions was to order the provision of endowments for a Nubian temple at Buhen and “the construction of a chapel and a temple (which was to be finished by his son) at Abydos.” Ramesses I’s highest known attestation comes from a stela, dated to his Year 2 II Peret day 20 (Louvre C57), which ordered the provision of new endowments of food and priests for the Temple of Ptah within Buhen. Jürgen von Beckerath observes that Ramesses I died just 5 Months later – in June 1290 BC – since Seti’s known accession date is III Shemu day 24.
Burial and Succession
Ramesses I was succeeded by his son, Seti I on III Shemu day 24. Ramesses was buried in his KV16 rock-cut tomb in the Valley of the Kings. His tomb, discovered by Giovanni Belzoni in 1817 and designated KV16, is small in size and gives the impression of having been completed with haste. Joyce Tyldesley states in her book that Ramesses I’s tomb consisted of a single corridor and one unfinished room whose;
“walls, after a hurried coat of plaster, were painted to show the king with his gods, with Osiris allowed a prominent position. The red granite sarcophagus too was painted rather than carved with inscriptions which, due to their hasty preparation, included a number of unfortunate errors.”
During the 21st Dynasty, Ramesses I’s mummy (along many other New Kingdom rulers) was moved to the royal cache at Deir el-Bahari. Upon discovery by authorities in 1881, the mummy of Ramesses I had already been stolen and sold by the Abu-Rassul family of grave robbers, who had already discovered the cache as early as 1871.
Mummy of Ramesses I on display at the Luxor Museum.
Ramesses I’s mummy was sold by Turkish vice-consular agent Mustapha Aga Ayat at Luxor to Dr. James Douglas who brought it to North America around 1880. Douglas used to purchase Egyptian antiquities for his friend Sydney Barnett who then placed it in the Niagara Museum and Daredevil Hall of Fame in Niagara Falls Ontario, Canada. The mummy remained there, its identity unknown, next to other curiosities and so-called freaks of nature for more than 120 years. When the owner of the museum decided to sell his property, Canadian businessman William Jamieson purchased the contents of the museum and, with the help of Canadian Egyptologist Gayle Gibson, identified their great value. In 1999, Jamieson sold the Egyptian artifacts in the collection, including the various mummies, to the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia for US $2 million. His royal identity was conclusively determined through various CT scans, X-rays and radio-carbon dating tests by researchers at the University and his mummy was returned to Egypt on October 24, 2003 with full official honors and is on display at the Luxor Museum.
↑ 1.0 1.1 Von Beckerath 1997, p. 190.
↑ Rice 1999.
↑ 3.0 3.1 Montert 1974, p. 197.
↑ Tyldesley 2000, p. 37-38.
↑ Grimal 1992, p. 245.
↑ Brand 2000, p. 289, 300, 311.
↑ Tyldesley 2000, p. 38.
↑ Hawass & Saleem 2016, p. 32.
↑ “Canada’s favourite mummy hunter returns”. Niagara Falls Review. Archived from the original on 2017-12-04. Retrieved on 2017-05-17.
↑ “Egypt’s ‘Ramses’ mummy returned”. BBC. October 26, 2003. Retrieved on 2008-04-13.
Beckerath, J. von, 1997: Chronologie des pharaonischen Ägypten: die Zeitbestimmung der ägyptischen Geschichte von der Vorzeit bis 332 v. Chr. Verlag Philipp von Zabern, Mainz.
Brand, P.J., 2000: The Monuments of Seti I: Epigraphic, Historical and Art Historical Analysis. Brill, Leiden.
Grimal, N., 1992: A History of Ancient Egypt. Blackwell Books, Oxford.
Hawass, Z./Saleem, S.N., 2016: Scanning the Pharaohs: CT Imaging of the New Kingdom Royal Mummies. Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press.
Montert, P., 1974: Everyday Life in Egypt in the Days of Ramesses The Great.
Rice, M., 1999: Who’s Who in Ancient Egypt. Routledge, London.
Tyldesley, J., 2000: Ramesses: Egypt’s Greatest Pharaoh. Penguin Books, New York.
Video about General And Later Pharaoh Who Made Ramses I Pharaoh
RAMESSES II: The Pharaoh Who Built the First Great Temple in Ancient Egypt
Ramesses II, commonly known as Ramesses the Great, was the third pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt. Along with Thutmose III he is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the New Kingdom, itself the most powerful period of Ancient Egypt.
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Why is Ramesses II so famous?
Ramses II (r. 1279-1213 BC) was undoubtedly the greatest pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty – and one of the most important leaders of ancient Egypt. The ostentatious pharaoh is best remembered for his exploits at the Battle of Kadesh, his architectural legacy, and for bringing Egypt into its golden age.
How did Ramses II died?
Death and burial. The Egyptian scholar Manetho (third century BC) attributed Ramesses a reign of 66 years and 2 months. By the time of his death, aged about 90 years, Ramesses was suffering from severe dental problems and was plagued by arthritis and hardening of the arteries.
His family was of non-royal origin
Ramses II was born in 1303 BC to Pharaoh Seti I and his wife, Queen Toya. His family came to power decades after the rein of Akhenaten (1353-36 BC).Ramses was named after his grandfather, the great pharaoh Ramses I, who brought their commoner family to the ranks of royalty through his military prowess.Ramses II was 5 years old when his father took the throne. His elder brother was first in line to succeed, and it was not until his death at the age of 14 that Ramses was declared prince regent.As a young crown prince, Ramses accompanied his father on his military campaigns, so that he would gain experience of leadership and war. By the age of 22, he was leading the Egyptian army as their commander.
He narrowly escaped death at Kadesh
In 1275 BC, Ramses II began a campaign to recover the lost provinces in the north. The last battle of this campaign was the Battle of Kadesh, fought in 1274 BC against the Hittite Empire under Muwatalli II.It is the earliest well-recorded battle in history and involved around 5,000 to 6,000 chariots, making it perhaps the largest chariot battle ever fought.Ramses fought bravely, however he was vastly outnumbered and was caught in an ambush by the Hittite army and narrowly escaped death on the battlefield.He personally led a counterattack to drive the Hittites away from the Egyptian army, and while the battle was inconclusive, he emerged as the hero of the hour.
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