40 Facts About Ramesses II


Ramesses II, commonly known as Ramesses the Great, was an Egyptian pharaoh.


Ramesses II was the third ruler of the Nineteenth Dynasty.


Ramesses II led several military expeditions into the Levant, where he reasserted Egyptian control over Canaan and Phoenicia; he led a number of expeditions into Nubia, all commemorated in inscriptions at Beit el-Wali and Gerf Hussein.


Ramesses II' mummy is on display at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, located in the city of Cairo.


Early in his life, Ramesses II embarked on numerous campaigns to restore possession of previously held territories lost to the Nubians and Hittites and to secure Egypt's borders.


Ramesses II was responsible for suppressing some Nubian revolts and carrying out a campaign in Libya.


Ramesses II posted troops and ships at strategic points along the coast and patiently allowed the pirates to attack their perceived prey before skillfully catching them by surprise in a sea battle and capturing them all in a single action.


The Battle of Kadesh in his fifth regnal year was the climactic engagement in a campaign that Ramesses II fought in Syria, against the resurgent Hittite forces of Muwatallis.


Ramesses II's forces were caught in a Hittite ambush and outnumbered at Kadesh when they counterattacked and routed the Hittites, whose survivors abandoned their chariots and swam the Orontes river to reach the safe city walls.


The other force, led by Ramesses II, attacked Jerusalem and Jericho.


Ramesses II extended his military successes in his eighth and ninth years.


Ramesses II crossed the Dog River and pushed north into Amurru.


Ramesses II laid siege to the city before capturing it.


In year nine, Ramesses II erected a stele at Beth Shean.


Ramesses II took towns in Retjenu, and Tunip in Naharin, later recorded on the walls of the Ramesseum.


Hattusili III responded by demanding that Ramesses II extradite his nephew back to Hatti.


Ramesses II campaigned south of the first cataract of the Nile into Nubia.


When Ramesses II was about 22, two of his own sons, including Amun-her-khepeshef, accompanied him in at least one of those campaigns.


Only halfway through what would be a 66-year reign, Ramesses II had already eclipsed all but a few of his greatest predecessors in his achievements.


Ramesses II had brought peace, maintained Egyptian borders, and built great and numerous monuments across the empire.


Ramesses II's country was more prosperous and powerful than it had been in nearly a century.


Two of his biggest works, besides Pi-Ramesses II, were the temple complex of Abu Simbel and the Ramesseum, a mortuary temple in western Thebes.


Ramesses II moved the capital of his kingdom from Thebes in the Nile valley to a new site in the eastern Delta.


Ramesses II's motives are uncertain, although he possibly wished to be closer to his territories in Canaan and Syria.


The new city of Pi-Ramesses II was dominated by huge temples and his vast residential palace, complete with its own zoo.


The colossal feet of the statue of Ramesses II are almost all that remains above ground today.


Ramesses II's children appear in the procession on the few walls left.


In December 2019, a red granite royal bust of Ramesses II was unearthed by an Egyptian archaeological mission in the village of Mit Rahina in Giza.


The bust depicted Ramesses II wearing a wig with the symbol "Ka" on his head.


Ramesses II had made Egypt rich from all the supplies and bounty he had collected from other empires.


Ramesses II had outlived many of his wives and children and left great memorials all over Egypt.


Originally Ramesses II was buried in the tomb KV7 in the Valley of the Kings, but because of looting, priests later transferred the body to a holding area, re-wrapped it, and placed it inside the tomb of queen Ahmose Inhapy.


Ramesses II's mummy was eventually discovered in 1881 in TT320 inside an ordinary wooden coffin and is in Cairo's National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.


Subsequent microscopic inspection of the roots of Ramesses II's hair proved that the king's hair originally was red, which suggests that he came from a family of redheads.


Ramesses II's arthritis is believed to have made him walk with a hunched back for the last decades of his life.


The tomb of the most important consort of Ramesses II was discovered by Ernesto Schiaparelli in 1904.


Ramesses II is cast in this role in the 1944 novella The Tables of the Law by Thomas Mann.


In film, Ramesses is played by Yul Brynner in Cecil B DeMille's classic The Ten Commandments.


The animated film The Prince of Egypt features a depiction of Ramesses II, portrayed as Moses' adoptive brother, and ultimately as the film's villain with essentially the same motivations as in the earlier 1956 film.


Ramesses II is the basis for Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem "Ozymandias".