July 22, 2024

Hankering for History

Hanker: To have a strong, often restless desire, in this case for–you guessed it–history!

Ramesses II Had No Soul

3 min read

Digitally Restored Statue of Ramesses II

When I say that Ramesses II , one of the greatest pharaohs of all time, had no soul, this is based solely on South Park’s logic. I am, by no means, a South Park fanatic, but I am familiar enough with the show to have heard about the episode that claimed that redheaded individuals do not have souls. Yes, it is true. Please watch the video below if you aren’t familiar with Gingervitis, which is not to be confused with gingivitis–which oddly enough may have been a leading factor to Ramesses’ death. (To cut down on confusion, all Ramesses referred to from here on out are all Ramesses II.)

We all laugh (unless you are a Ginger, which if the case I may have just lost a follower…), but it is true. Bob Brier, author of The Encyclopedia of Mummies, wrote that in a microscopic inspection of the roots of Ramsesses’ hair, it was proven that his hair was red, which suggest that Ramesses, the greatest pharaoh of all Egyptian’s history, was a decedent in a long line of redheads. Joking aside, a brief history on Ramesses II.

Digitally Restored Statue of Ramesses II

Ramesses II, born son of Seti I, was born c. 1303 BCE and died in July or August of 1213 BCE. Ramesses was the third Egyptian pharaoh of the Nineteenth dynasty. Without a doubt, he is regarded as the greatest and most powerful pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire. Ramesses, also commonly referred to as Ramsesses the Great, was most noted for two things: his military expeditions and building of extravagant and monumental structures.

There were several battles that Ramesses led in his lifetime and there were two main reasons that Pharaoh Ramsesses started wars. The first was to return previously held territories to Egypt, which had been taken by Nubian and Hittite armies.  The second reason, well it should be fairly obvious; after gaining back the land that was taken from Egypt, he then took a little extra from Nubia and then took parts of Libya. While he was victorious in many of his ventures, the most notable of these was the Battle of Kadesh. The Battle of Kadesh is renowned in the historical community, especially by historians that deal with war related studies. It is noteworthy because it is the earliest recorded battle (1274 BCE) known to have detailed tactics and formations. This battle is also known for its size, historians estimate that Ramesses II had an army of 100,000+* and that this particular event included between 5,000 and 6,000 chariots! (*An army of this size, at this time, was astonishing.)

Art from the Tomb of Nefertari

What you did with a Lego set as a child, Ramesses the Great did in real life! Most of his growth and construction took place in Egypt and Nubia. Just to rattle off some of his greatest works: Abu Simbel, Beit el-Wali, Derr, Gerf Hussein, Mit Rahina, Pi-Ramesses, Ramesseum, Tomb for Ramesses II’s Sons, and the Tomb of Nefertari. His biggest contribution was the Pi-Ramesses, which became the new capital of the Egyptian kingdom. Pi-Ramesses was originally a summer-getaway for the pharaohs’ family. Ramesses was sure that by moving the Egyptian capital city from Thebes to this new location, that his kingdom (and armies) would be closer to Egypt’s vassal states and bordering Hittite enemies. With this move, Ramesses could receive intelligence quicker and deploy his troops faster. Ramesses II would make this new Egyptian capital a grand one! The city was one of the biggest that ancient Egypt would ever see, flaunting a population of more than 300,000. Not only was it the most sophisticated city of its time, but it also came equipped with a zoo!

Abu Simbel Temple

Ramesses the Great lived to the age of ninety, which was really old in those days. While uncertain as to the what resulted in his death, many believe it was because of an abscess by his teeth which was serious enough that the infection could have killed him. Without a doubt, it was because of his successful reign that Egypt was allowed to thrive for another 150 years.