Ramesses II.

Written by Felgr Pavel on .

Ramesses II.

Ramesses II was 25, when he came to the throne. His father Seti I. died and young Pharaoh had to go through a crowning ritual first. The ceremonies took place 70 days after Seti I death - it is a time needed for embalming the Pharaoh's body and making the funereal ceremonies. Ramesses II. was accompanied by his wife Nefertari to the funereal ceremony, who made with her husband the most beautiful couple in Egyptian history. Nefertari also took part in her husband reign. But let's describe the crowning ceremony now.

Divine ceremony

Ramesses II was woken up by a priest charged with liturgy in Memphis (Mennefer) at dawn, which was the beginning of his coming to the throne ceremony. Before entering the temple he had to go through a cathartic ritual, when the priests with animal heads masks symbolizing the Gods Horus, Seth and Thoth sprinkled his body with holy water. This christening with Nile water should give him the power to control the river flooding. Then priests rubbed him with oil, which should give him power, wore him a ceremonial clothes and put him white leather sandals on. Then he was introduced to Gods, who had to accept him, in front of selected audience. He put sacrificial presents in front of naos (sanctuaries) during the ceremony.

During intoning prayers the crowns of particular provinces were put on Pharaoh's head and in the end two main crowns were put on his head - the tall white Upper Egypt crown and the wide red Lower Egypt crown. The crowns put together made the double crown - Pschent. Pharaoh was clutching the scourge and the crook to his chest - insignia of power blessed with divine power and then he finally sat down on the throne. The priests, who represented Gods Horus and Thoth, connected two symbolic plants of the Upper and Lower Egypt - lotus and papyrus. Ramesses ran around the walls of ancient Memphis fortress four times, which was founded by Menes, the legendary first ruler of unified Egypt. So he proved his ability to rule over Egypt.

Then came the most festive moment - Ramesses II. was led inside the temple, where he was inducted to the throne by Amun himself. Then he could look at the picture of his father Amun-Ra that was the most sacred picture in Egypt.

Reorganization of the army under Horemheb and Sethi I.

The army was the most powerful and best organized in the whole Egyptian history at the time of Ramesses II rule. Also Horemheb took part in this organization. He was a significant general under Amenhotep III, Amenhotep IV - Akhenaten and Tutankhamun rule and later became a Pharaoh himself (Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty).

Horemheb divided the troops into two big groups - the first was in delta and the second in the southern part of Egypt. Seti I continued in the reorganization then and divided the army into three divisions, everyone protected with its own God - Amun (located in Thebes (Waset)), Ra (Nile delta) and Ptah (located in Memphis (Mennefer)).

Reorganization of the army under Ramesses II.

Ramesses II.Ramesses II. created the fourth division sacred to Seth, which was placed in delta. Every division had 5,000 men. The divisions were divided into companies with 250 men and these were divided into platoons with 50 men.

Ramesses II. also used mercenaries in army and the amount of them was increasing constantly since the 12th dynasty. There were Asians, Libyans, Nubian archers in this army as well as members of tribes that joined the so-called Sea Nations later.

Ramesses devoted to the training of his soldiers at the time of peace, not only as a viewer, but he often got involved in the training. The biggest prides of his army were chariots, which were divided into squadrons with 50 chariots and these were further divided into 5 units with 10 chariots. Ramesses II didn't admit mediocrity or cowardice. The importance of the chariots was proved by reproaches addressed to his soldiers during the battle of Kadesh:

"How cowardly are your hearts, charioteers of mine! None of you deserves my confidence! Is there anybody among you I didn't do the best for him? Didn't I help you, when you were poor? It was my goodwill, when I made the highest officers of you every day, of the sons and fathers as well, to end all badness in this land."

You can also read detailed information about the battle of Kadesh.


Message from the Nile

  • History of Czech institution of egyptology

    The Czech egyptology founder is Frantisek Lexa, the author of up to now evaluated work about ancient Egypt magic and Demotic grammar. Seminar for egyptology started thanks to him in Faculty of Philosophy and Arts of Charles University in Prague in 1925. Two years later Lexa became the first regular professor of egyptology in then Czechoslovakia.

  • Abusir - outstation of Czech egyptology expedition

    Abusir is an archaeological locality in Egypt named after nearby recent village Abusir. It is situated on western Nile bank on the edge of Libyan tableland approximately 20 kilometers to the south-west of Cairo. The name of this locality is derived from ancient Egypt god Osiris, from Per Usir (Busiris), "(cult) place of Osiris" (Busiris in Greek).

  • Researches in Western desert

    Czech egyptology is successful in researching not only on pyramidal fields in Abusir recently, but also in supporting and organizing smaller expeditions into egyptian Western desert. Czech expedition has been working even in slowly evanescent oasis El-Hajez since 2003, which is situated about 400 km to the south-west from Cairo.

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