Family, Life and Childhood of Ramses II

The son of King Ramses I was Seti I, and was the pharaoh who truly restored Egypt power to the greatness and harmony it had enjoyed before the Amarna period (which in the capital moved in the reign of Ankhenaten). He instituted a major building program and a clearly defined foreign policy abroad. He assumed the title "repeater of births," which indicated the beginning of a new and legitimate era.

The efforts of Seti secured the eastern borders with Syria and the western borders with Libya. Later, foreshadowing the famous battle of Kadesh led by his son Ramses II, Seti attempted for once and all to restore Egyptian dominance in Most importantly, Setis 13-year reign represents one of the most important periods in the history of Ancient Egypt, architecture and culture. The quality of the reliefs the temples and his tomb are unique in all of Egyptian art.

Seti continued on the great building project his father began in Karnak that his son Ramses would later complete: the Hypostyle Hall in the Temple of Amon. He built the magnificent temple at Abydos, the city sacred to Osiris. It is in this temple that the "Royal List of Abydos" is found. This is one of the important sources of Egyptian history and chronology.

Beyond this temple is the massive and mysterious "Osirion" or "Tomb of Osiris।" historians also attribute this to Seti, although there is evidence that it is much older. Setis finest work was his tomb in the Valley of the Kings (KV17), the discover of KV17 by Belzoni in 1817. It is the longest, deepest and most beautiful of all of the tombs in the Valley.

The Valley of The Kings

Seti married within his own military "caste." King Ramses mother was Queen Tuya. She outlived her husband by many years. She was queen-mother in until her death in Year 22 or 23 of the reign of King Ramses the great, and statues of her appear frequently in Ramses temples and constructions. She appears on the facade at Abu Simbel, and in statue at the Ramesseum and at Ramses Delta capital, Piramesse. A beautiful portrait of Tuya was appeared in 1972 during a reclearance of her large tomb in the Valley of the Queens.

At 10 years of age, Seti recognized Ramses as "Eldest Kings Son," even though there were no other sons, for Ramses older brother died young. He was carefully trained as future king. He was named after his grandfather, a military man, the vizier and friend of Pharaoh Horemheb. Ramses, too, was trained in the martial techniques, and by his mid-teens he is seen as a participant of Setis Libyan campaign in the inscribed portrayals at Karnak. He rode alongside his father, learning directly from the pharaoh, but also learned from the masters of the various techniques and sciences: the inscriptions refer to the youth as overseer in the cutting of obelisks in the granite quarries of Aswan and working on his fathers many building projects. Again and again, inscriptions from the epoch around the empire refer to Ramses as an astute young leader.

One of the first sources of Ramses early years is found at Abydos, the dedication stele he set up in his father Setis temple. After his fathers death, Ramses had sailed to Abydos, the sacred shrine and ancient burial site of Osiris, and found that his fathers massive temple project was left unfinished and the burial sites of the earlier kings lay in ruins. Ramses immediately summoned the Court and reinitiated the project, making it clear that he would fulfill Setis wishes. On the stele he describes his youth.

King Seti himself made me great, while I was a child, until I reignedI was installed as eldest son, as hereditary prince upon the throne of Geb [the earth god or the world god] [He, Seti, said] "Crown him as king, that I may see his beauty while I live with him"He equipped me with women, a royal harem, as beautiful as those of the palace, those of the South and North were under my feet.

By the age of 15, Ramses had already married his two principal wives, Nefertari and Istnofret. Nefertari was always the Chief wife, until her death in Year 24 of Ramses reign. Her famous tomb is the most beautiful of all in Upper Egypt. The paintings inside her tomb are extraordinary, and have recently been completely restored. At Nefertaris death, Istnofret took her place. Apparently, she lived until Year 34.

These two wifes bore Ramses most important children. The first son of Ramses, Crown Prince Amenhirkhopshef, as well as at least three other sons and two daughters, were born unto Nefertari. Istnofret bore Merneptah, who would eventually succeed his father. She also bore a son named for his father, and Khaemwaset, who is often referred to today as the first archeologist. In his lifetime, as High Priest of Memphis, he was venerated as a great magician and restorer of ancient monuments.

One example of his restoration projects is the pyramid of King Unas at Saqqara, which contains the famous "Pyramid Texts." Over the course of his life, Ramses had eight principal wives. Following pharaonic custom, Ramses included several family members in his harem. One of his sisters and three of his daughters eventually became royal wives.

The power of Egypt forced the Hittites's king send his daughter to be wed to Ramses at the conclusion of the Hittite wars, and another one of his daughters came to join her 7 years later. There were also a number of Syrian and Babylonian royal ladies in Ramses harem. Ramses fathered over 100 children. He outlived twelve of his heirs. Merneptah, Ramses thirteenth son, became pharaoh when he was in his sixties.

Rameses had his name cartouched and writings about him made so deep in the surface of temples, that any successor would not be able to remove them.

Ramses II Childhood:


As a boy Ramses II (or
Ramesses II) knew royalty was his future. When he was only about 10, he became heir to the throne of the 19th dynasty of Egypt by order of his father, Pharaoh Seti I. Ramses later married Nefertari. At about age 25, Ramses became Egypt’s pharaoh, or ruler, when his father died.

Ancient Egyptians thought of their pharaohs as gods in human form. Ramses’ cartouche (car−TOOSH), or symbol, shows his throne name. Part of it means "One Chosen by [the sun god] Re."

By the time Ramses came to power, the great Sphinx and the pyramids at Giza had already been standing for more than a thousand years near the banks of the Nile River. To remind people of his godlike status, Ramses built large statues and temples. One of his massive works was the city of Pi−Ramses, or House of Ramses. He placed obelisks, or tall stone pillars, everywhere and decorated the palace with brightly colored tiles.

Before Ramses ever became pharaoh, the Hittites, an enemy people, had taken control of the Egyptian city of Kadesh. During Ramses’ fifth year as pharaoh, he fought to get the city back. In battle, the Hittites caught Ramses and most of his troops in a surprise attack. According to Ramses’ accounts−−inscribed on stone temple walls all over Egypt−−he bravely charged the enemy, holding them off until more Egyptian soldiers arrived. The conflict ended in a draw, but Ramses declared victory. The Egyptians and the Hittites signed a treaty 16 years later, and Ramses also married a Hittite princess. A peaceful time period then began, and many Egyptians prospered under Ramses’ rule.


Ramses II Family:

King Ramses II married about 200 wives and fathered over 100 children. As a young man he co-ruled Egypt with his father, Seti I. He also successfully led Egypt in a series of wars against the Hittites and greatly expanded Egyptian territory.


The 19th Dynasty ended in political turmoil. Small wonder, with 59 daughters and 79 sons! Talk about a succession crisis! Ramses II outlived his first 12 sons, and was succeeded by his 13th. This son had a reasonably successful reign, but the dynasty stumbled along to end with an assortment of short and unremarkable claimants to the throne.

The original Prince Khaemwaset was one of the more famous sons of Ramses II as he became High Priest of Ptah but this Prince Khaemwaset although he also became a priest of Ptah did not rise to the same heights as his namesake.


Tomb of Ramses II's Sons:

The search for the tomb of Ramses II sons is on:

All of the other tombs in the vicinity were already excavated.


KV5 was only cursorily explored, then lost again.

Burton’s maps showed KV5’s entrance in the southern half of a long slope not far from KV6, the tomb of Ramses IX.

KV5

Queen Nefertari, which is located a few hundred feet from her husband’s memorial. Nefertari’s temple looks much alike the one we just visited in our visit to Egypt, but it has more statues, a total of 9, and the sanctuary has three doors leading inside. Most of the statues show the queen as making offerings to various gods of her era.

Related Posts:

Egypt Under Ramses II
The Death of Ramses II
Sneferu (Pyramids and Tomb)