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Ramses II
1279 - 1213 BC
19th Dynasty

amses the Great ascended to the throne at the age of 25. The son of Seti I and Queen Tuya he was the third king of the 19th Dynasty. In his 67 year reign he undertook an unparalleled building program. No other pharaoh built so many temples or erected so many colossal obelisks and statues. It seems that everything was done on a grand scale, he had 200 wives and concubines, 96 sons and 60 daughters.

Ramses took part in the first recorded major battle. This happened at Kadesh and, although proclaimed as a great victory, actually ended in stalemate. Several reports of this battle survive in tomb inscriptions from the period.

In Nubia Ramses built seven temples, the huge rock cut temple of Abu Simbel is the most impressive. Construction began around the fifteenth year of his reign and continued for about twenty years. Somewhere during this time, Ramses ordered his workmen to re-carve the scenes on the walls to portray him as an equal of the gods. When it was finished Ramses called it "The House of Ramses, Beloved of Amun". Four giant statues of Ramses II make up the facade of the temple. They tower 66 feet above the ground.

Amazingly in the 1960's the monument was dismantled and moved over 200 feet to higher ground where it was reconstructed. This saved it from the rising waters of the Nile when the Aswan Dam was built to create Lake Nassar. The moving of this temple and the smaller temple that Ramses built for his favorite Queen, the beautiful Nefertari, took four years. Completed with help from around the world, both financial and technical, the final cost was more than 40 million US dollars.

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