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New Kingdom
(1550 - 1070 BC)
18th Dynasty 19th Dynasty 20th Dynasty
19th Dynasty
(1307 - 1196 BC)
Ramesses I

Ramesses I
Ramesses I
image 2004 ©

Ramesses I (r. 1307 - 1306) was probably a vizierWhat does it mean? for Horemheb as well as an army officer.
He reigned for a short period, maybe for 2 years. His tomb at the Valley of Kings was hastily cut and remained unfinished when he died.

Despite his short reign, he is said to have followed his predecessors' footsteps in maintaining the country's peace and stability.

Seti I
Seti I (a.k.a. Sethos I) ascended the throne after the death of Ramesses I, his father, and he was also a vizier and an army officer.

Seti I (r. 1306 - 1290) is indeed one of the greatest kings of this dynasty. He took the title of "repeater of births," in reference to his intention to restore Egypt's superpower after the instability it went through in the 18th dynasty.

Seti I
Mumified head of Seti I
image 2004 ©
Seti led military campaigns to Syria, aiming to curb rebellions in its territories.
He also led campaigns against the Libyans in the west. His achievements include his capture for the then-strong city of Kadesh and meeting the HittitesWhat does it mean? in the battlefield.
He sent mining expeditions to the eastern deserts for quarries.
Seti I describes the details of his battles on the Karnak walls. He also built a temple in Abydos and a mortuary temple in Thebes (Luxor). Seti finally died after ruling for 16 years, and was buried in his tomb in the valley of kings.
He was indeed one of those who restored Egypt's glorious past.

Ramesses II
Ramesses II
Ramesses II
image 2004 ©
(r. 1290 - 1224) As son of King Seti I, he ascended the throne after the death of his father. Ramesses himself was just another legacy of ancient Egypt. Historians like to describe him as "the mightiest of Egyptian kings". Others simply call him "Ramesses the Great".

Ramesses reigned for about 67 years, during which Egypt observed a big boom in every aspect of civilization at that time. No other Pharaoh constructed so much monuments and temples as he did. Ramesses took power when he was 25.
As a youth, he decided to just follow the same military tendency of his ancestors. As before he began to march his army to the Syrian territories in organized army divisions. He gathered thousands of soldiers in four divisions, named respectively after the Gods AmunWho is this deity?, Re, PtahWho is this deity? and SethWho is this deity? to meet the Hittite army.

In thriving battles, Egyptian army led highly organized battles very similar to our modern times in terms of tactics, maneuvers and strategies.
Kadesh, Syrian City and Egypt's arch-foe, was at these times too strong to be defeated, but Egypt was also much stronger, so Kadesh's king offered a peace treaty that Ramesses approved later.
Relations then improved between the 2 kingdoms to the extent that a Hittite king offered his daughter to be a wife for Ramesses. Another Hittite daughter was presented to Ramesses later.

Hittite fortification
A plan of a Hittite fortification
image 2004 ©
Ramesses, showing loyalty to his ancestors, completed their unfinished constructions. He also added to the great temples of Karnak and Luxor, completed his father's mortuary temple at Thebes and built one of his own at Luxor's west bank, better known as the Ramesseum.

One of the greatest establishments of Ramesses is the incredible big temple of Abu Simbel. It is indeed considered as a miracle of ancient engineering.
Ramesses ruled for 67 years and he proudly holds the highest record of sons and daughters. He had 52 sons and 32 daughters and many others from his concubines.

He died at his 92, and was buried in his tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

image 2004 ©
He is the 13th son of Ramesses. Merenptah (r. 1224 - 1214) must have been in his 60s when his long-lived father died. He ruled for ten years.
Merenptah had to carry out military campaigns to protect Egypt against the Libyans and to crush NubianWhat does it mean? revolts.

Merenptah rapidly built in his tomb in the Valley of the Kings, feeling he's approaching his death. However, he was never found there.

He didn't leave a legitimate heir so chaos followed his death for some time during which the country was ruled by some weak rulers.
Some of those are Amenmesses, Seti II(a.k.a. Merenptah and Sethos in Greek), Siptah (Merenptah), and finally Queen Twosret (a.k.a. Tausert).

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