Ramses II ruled during the 19th Dynasty (1279-1212 BC). He was the third ruler during this time period. Being powerful and ambitious, he would expand Egypt’s empire a vast deal and would construct many temples all of which overshadow many of the others before him. Although known for expansion and building structures, he also remains an important pharaoh to the Christians as he is said to be the pharaoh in Exodus.
Ramses II was born to Queen Tuy and his father Sety I. He was given the throne at the age of about 20 and ruled for 67 years. This allowed him to be the second longest-ruling Pharaoh. Although Ramses II had a harem of wives, his special wife was Nefertari and it was presumed that he had over one hundred children with all his wives.
Ramses II was a prolific ruler that fought to reclaim territory in Africa and Western Asia. The Hittites and Asia Minor were his main opponents or his main enemies. During his fifth year as pharaoh, he led a campaign known as the Battle of Kadesh. Ramses II tried to keep the newly acquired territory (today it is known as Syria) but lost the battle to one of his opponents – the Hittites. Seen as a standstill, Ramses II pulled back and Kadesh remained with the Hittites once more. Later, a treaty was signed, the territory was divided, and Ramses II agreed to marry the daughter of the Hittite King. During his duration as pharaoh, he attacked many of his enemies such as the Libyans and the Nubians and also attacked Syria about half a dozen times. Although known for his military might, Ramses II also lived a life of extreme wealth and in addition he showed his need for divine architecture.
His love of architecture and power allowed him to erect more monuments and temples than any other pharaoh. Abu Simbel, probably Ramses II’s most impressive structure was carved from a sandstone cliff that faced to the east. This was located in ancient Nubia. Although Abu Simbel remains his most famous structure, he had many more architectural projects. Among them is included the expansion of Luxor and Karnak. There he finished older projects set forth by his father and erected many more monuments. It was evident Ramses II wanted to leave a mark as a reminder of his great strength and wealth.
The tomb of Ramses II is located in the Valley of the Kings and remains empty. After years or being looted and weathered, it remains destroyed. Great amounts of effort are in progress with the hope of returning the tomb to a somewhat presentable stage. Although the tomb remains empty, the mummy of the Pharaoh has been found. Ramses II’s mummy is thought to be one of the best-preserved mummies ever found.