Ramesses II was known by his successors as the ‘Great Ancestor’. He has been regarded as the greatest and most powerful Pharoah of the Egyptian Empire.
He is best known for his military campaigns that reasserted Egyptian authority and control.
He came to the throne in 1279BC, aged in his late teens. At this time he began a large building program and built cities, temples and monuments. He built the city of Pi-Ramesses and established it as his capital. This city was dominated by large temples and the Pharoah’s palace with its own personal zoo.
Ramesses was a great military leader and led many campaigns during his reign. His armies totalled over 100,000 men that fought and won many formidable victories. This increased Egypt’s influence over others and strengthened their territories.
His chief wife was Nefertari and Ramesses built memorials to her and his other wives all over Egypt. He is believed to have sired over 90 sons and 60 daughters during his lifetime and there are depictions of these children on many monuments.
After reigning for 30 years, Ramesses celebrated a jubilee called the Sed festival. At this time he was transformed into a god.
Ramesses II would rule for over 70 years and during this time he bought peace to Egypt and made it more powerful than it had been for over 100 years. He had built more extensively than any other before and this would ensure his legacy would remain for many years.
He is believed to have died in 1213BC aged 90 – 91and was buried in the Valley of the Kings. At the time of his death, he had made Egypt into a very rich and powerful country.