Who was Ramses

“He outmatched the achievements of all kings who came before him” wrote Ramses II about himself in an inscription at the famous Amun Temple in Luxor. He went down in the history of ancient Egypt with the name “Ramses the Great”. As a 25-year-old, Ramses ascended the throne in 1279 BC and ruled over Egypt for 66 years, longer than any other. During his reign, he led Egypt to cultural prosperity and economic wealth. For this reason too, he was venerated as a god during his lifetime.

Ramses
Ramses - © Badisches Landesmuseum Photograph: Deck

Ramses the family man

Ramses was more than just a general, pharaoh, architect and god. He was also a family man. According to legend, he had about 100 children. Together with his six royal main wives and 30 servant-wives, he lived in the royal Harim (Medinet Gurob) or at the palace (Pi-Rameses). Some of Ramses’ family members, like his son Chaemwese or his wife Nefertari, are introduced with unique artifacts from their graves in the exhibition. His unusually long life span of 90 years was impressive.

Ramses the architect

No other pharaoh left behind as many buildings and statues as Ramses II. He demonstrated his imperial power by covering his empire with enormous temple complexes and colossal statues: Abu Simbel, the Ramses Museum in Thebes and the columned court of the Luxor Temple.

Ramses and his politics

Ramses II ruled over Egypt for 66 years, longer than any other. Leading his land out of a decade of crisis, his domestic policy gave rise to a flourishing cultural and economic period which no pharaoh after him attained. His diplomatic talent was crowned by the oldest written peace treaty in world history, which he negotiated after the famous battle of Kadesh with the Hittites from Anatolia. Unique written documents and valuable gifts given in tribute provide evidence of the close relationships between Egypt and its neighbours.