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Ramses II

Also known as Ramses The Great, Ramses II (1303 BC 1213 BC) is popularly considered the greatest and most famous of all Ancient Egyptian pharaohs. To modern Egyptians, he's a national hero- sort of the equivalent of King Arthur, part real man and part legend- whereas to the rest of the world he is best known for being often portrayed as the Pharaoh of the Exodus. There is really no evidence that suggests he really was, though; in point of fact, it's more likely that one of the pharaohs of the earlier Eighteenth Dynasty (the one with Thutmose and Hatshepsut and Akhenaten/Sun God Guy) was the one in Exodus. (Ramses himself was the third monarch of the Nineteenth Dynasty.)

Although he has often been accused of exaggerating his own achievments, Ramses remains one of the most powerful figures of ancient history. He was a courageous warrior, indefatigable ladies man, builder of enormous temples (some of them dedicated to himself), and is notorious for being one of the two kings to sign the first peace treaty between superpowers in all of recorded History.


Relevant Tropes:

  • Badass Family: He was the son of warrior pharaoh Seti I, widely considered to have been one of the greatest of all times. It is often suggested that everything Ramses achieved was because he refused to be overshadowed by his notorious father.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Depending on who you ask, Ramses became king at age 16, 18 or 20. But he was already prince regent long before that, and was in command of at least some military forces.
  • City of Gold: His capital city, Pi-Ramses, was said to be the richest in Egypt and described by historians as "dazzling with halls of lapis and turquoise" (about which the Egyptians were quite crazy; they loved the color blue). It was so awesome that when the branch of the Nile it sat upon silted up and rendered the site unusable, the pharaohs just moved everything—including buildings, stone by stone—to their new capital at Tanis, which was a fair distance west.
  • Cool Crown: He is often represented wearing the Kepresh, or "Blue Crown of War", which was basically a Cool Crown of the Pimped Out Helmet variety; basically a star-studed blue helmet with the royal ureus (the cobra) which was used during battle.
  • Cool Pet: He kept a lion and seemingly took it to battle with him.
  • Egopolis: Often accused of being a megalomaniac for moving the capital of Egypt to a city called Per-Ramses ("House of Ramses"). This is misleading, though, because the city was actually first built as a summer palace by his grandfather Ramses I; he only expanded it. Ok, he also filled it with huge statues of himself...
  • The Emperor: Ramses was one of the two most powerful men in the world during his lifetime (the other being the Hittite king, his nemesis), and like all pharaohs he was a political, military and spiritual leader all at once.
  • The Evil Prince: He is sometimes portrayed as this in fiction, and at one point, Egyptologists believed he had been responsible for the disappearance of Seti I's true sucessor (whose name was erased of all records after the latter's death). But Ramses fans think this is slander.
  • Fiery Redhead: Analysis on his mummified body revealed that he had red or reddish-blond hair in his youth.
  • Folkhero: Even today the Egyptians regard him as a national hero and many claim proudly to be his descendants. Given the number of his children (between eighty and a hundred) such a claim is more than probable.
  • God Emperor: All pharaohs were supposed to be this to some extent but Ramses took it to the extreme, claiming to be directly descended from the gods and building lots of temples dedicated to his own cult. Even after his death he was still worshipped as a god in parts of Egypt and Nubia.
  • Glory Seeker: To the point of leaving his name written almost everywhere in Egypt (even in the temples, monuments and statues of other pharaohs). The temple he dedicated to himself, today known as the Ramesseum, was originally called the Mansion of Millions of Years, as he expected it would remind everyone of his glory forever.
  • A God Am I: All pharaohs were considered semi-divine, but it is sometimes said that Ramses took this to the limit, claiming to be the son of Amon (the top god at the time) and erecting quite a few temples dedicated to himself. It was not only him, though; he was actually worshipped as a god in Egypt and Nubia long after his death.
    • Partially justified due to the fact that he was one of the few pharaohs to celebrate a Sed Festival during his 30th year as Pharaoh, becoming formally deified.
  • Hot Consort: Nefertari. According to the inscriptions on the walls of her tomb, they were Happily Married, too—by the standards of a pharaoh, of course (which included other wives and concubines).
  • Idiot Ball: It is said that his arrogance caused him to commit a big strategic mistake during a decisive battle that almost cost him his life.
  • Invincible Hero: At least this is how he describes himself in his accounts of the Battle of Kadesh, in which he supposedly defeated hundreds of men single-handedly, with a little help from the god Amon.
  • Like Father, Like Son
  • The Magnificent: There were quite a few pharaohs named Ramses, but only Ramses II is known as "The Great"
  • Magnificent Bastard
  • Propaganda Machine: Like all pharaohs, he operated a massive one.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Rameses and Ramesses are other common ways to spell his name.
  • Warrior Prince
  • Worthy Opponent: The Hittites
  • You Have Failed Me: After the battle of Kadesh, in which he claimed to have faced the enemy alone when his men fled in fear during an ambush, Ramses personally executed several of his officers deeming them as cowards and traitors.
  • Young Conqueror: He took power in his early twenties, but was already an experienced warrior by then.


Comics
  • Ozymandias from Watchmen takes his name from Ramses II's Greek name, a corruption of his Egyptian royal name Useermaatre.

Film
  • Often cast as the villain in most renditions of the Biblical exodus (the pharaoh is not named in the original), such as:
  • He appears (mummified) as a comedic character in Luc Besson's Les Aventures Extraordinaires d'Adele Blanc-Sec, along with several other mummies.

Literature
  • French writer Christian Jacq dedicated five books to Ramses II.
  • Anne Rice's Ramses The Damned
  • The Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz wrote a book or two on the pharaoh during his early period as a writer of historical fiction (he switched to realistic fiction afterwards). This is part of the whole national-hero thing.
  • Famously, Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem "Ozymandias" is about Ramses.

Music
  • The song "Chosen By Re" by Timo Kotipelto (of Stratovarius fame), off of his solo Ancient Egypt-themed Concept Album "Waiting for the Dawn", is a power ballad dedicated to Ramses the Great.

Video Games
  • The second campaign of Cleopatra, the expansion of Pharaoh, takes place during his reign and has the player building his iconic monuments and fending off the Hittites.
  • He is Egypt's leader (or one of them) in Civilization IV and V.

Western Animation


TutankhamunUsefulNotes/EgyptEgyptian Mythology
Cleopatra VIIHeads Of StateGamal Abdel Nasser
Ralph BagnoldAdministrivia/Useful Notes Pages in MainRandom Access Memory
Sergei RachmaninoffHistorical-Domain CharacterRasputin The Mad Monk

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