Ramses II (also spelled Rameses or Ramesses, Greek: Ozymandias)
Ramses II was the son of Seti I and was Seti’s co-ruler from 1279 B.C.E., ultimately becoming the third pharaoh of Egypt’s Nineteenth Dynasty. During his long and extraordinary reign, Ramses initiated huge restoration and construction projects throughout Egypt and Nubia. He established a new capital, Pi-Ramesses, and built, among others, two famous temple complexes at Abu Simbel and another in Thebes, called the “Ramesseum” by Egyptologists. He also had a magnificent tomb constructed for his favorite wife, Nefertari.
Ramses also led a number of military campaigns, namely against the Hittite Empire in Canaan and Syria. The most famous of these ended in the nearly-disastrous Battle of Kadesh, which Ramses turned from a certain defeat into a stalemate. He returned to Egypt as a war hero. Eventually, the Egyptians and Hittites drew up the world’s first surviving peace treaty. No further campaigns in Canaan were recorded during Ramses’ reign.
Ramses had over two hundred consorts and concubines; with them, he had some ninety-six sons and sixty daughters. He lived for over ninety years, making him virtually immortal in the eyes of many of his subjects who had never known another pharaoh and outliving at least thirteen of his heirs. His reign lasted for an unprecedented sixty-six years. When he died in 1213 B.C.E., he left the Egyptian Empire wealthy and powerful. He was remembered by his successors as their “Great Ancestor.”
His mummy was discovered in the Valley of the Kings and is today displayed in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.