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Main keywords of the article below: 13th, longest, bce, rameses, reign, egyptian, spelled, 19th, second, 1292-1190, ramses, ramesses, flourished, dynasty, ii, egypt, king, 1279-13, history, kingdom, great, ancient, century, third, byname.

Ramses II, Ramses also spelled Ramesses or Rameses, byname Ramses the Great, (flourished 13th century bce ), third king of the 19th dynasty (1292-1190 bce ) of ancient Egypt, whose reign (1279-13 bce ) was the second longest in Egyptian history. [1] Extensive archaeological excavations at Giza and elsewhere throughout Egypt have unearthed ample evidence that the building projects completed under the reign of Ramesses II (and every other king of Egypt) used skilled and unskilled Egyptian laborers who were either paid for their time or who volunteered as part of their civic duty. [2] Ramesses II (The Great, 1279-1213 BCE) ruled Egypt for 67 years and, today, the Egyptian landscape still bears testimony. [2]

The association of the new city with Avaris gave it instant prestige in that Avaris was already legendary by the time of Ramesses II as the capital of the Hyksos who had been defeated and driven from Egypt by Ahmose I (c. 1570-1544 BCE), initiating the period of Egypt's empire now referred to as the New Kingdom (c. 1570 - c. 1069 BCE). [3] Ramesses III was the last great pharaoh of Egypt, and there is no question that, by the time of the last Pharaoh of Egypt's 20th Dynasty, Ramesses XI, at the tail end of the New Kingdom, Egypt's glorious empire was well into its twilight years. [4] The last good pharaoh of the New Kingdom was Ramesses III (1186-1155 BCE), but even he was not as impressive as Ramesses II and the so-called Ramesside Period of Egypt is one of decline. [3] The size and grandeur of Per-Ramesses, capital of Egypt, would make it far more famous than Avaris ever was, and its association with the long and glorious reign of Ramesses II ensured the memory of the city would live on long after it was abandoned toward the end of the New Kingdom of Egypt. [3]

Ramesses II / ˈ r æ m ə s iː z, ˈ r æ m s iː z, ˈ r æ m z iː z / (variously also spelt Rameses or Ramses born c. 1303 BC died July or August 1213BC reigned 1279-1213 BC), also known as Ramesses the Great, was the third pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty of Egypt. [5] Sandstone figures of Ramses II in front of the main temple at Abu Simbel near Aswān, Egypt. [1] Ramses II Ramses II making an offering, Beit al-Wali Temple, Egypt. [1] …about 1280 bce, were between Ramses II of Egypt and Hittite leaders. [1] Egypt - Statue of Ramses II, Luxor, n.d., This slide colored by Joseph Hawkes. [5]

Rameses immortalized his feats at Kadesh in the Poem of Pentaur and The Bulletin in which he describes the battle as a dazzling victory for Egypt but Muwatalli II also claimed victory in that he had not lost the city to the Egyptians. [2] Numbers 33:3-5 also mentions Per-Ramesses as the city the Israelites left Egypt from and mentions how the Egyptians were busy at the time burying the dead of their first-born whom God had killed in order to effect the release of his chosen people. [3] There is, in fact, no evidence whatsoever of a large Israelite community of slaves in Egypt at any time in its history, and the great cities and monuments were built by Egyptian laborers. [3] Tour Egypt aims to offer the ultimate Egyptian adventure and intimate knowledge about the country. [4] The harbour town of Sumur, north of Byblos, is mentioned as the northern-most town belonging to Egypt, suggesting it contained an Egyptian garrison. [5] Ramesses II (1279-1213 BCE, alternative spellings: Ramses, Rameses) was known to the Egyptians as Userma'atre'setepenre. [3]

One measure of Egypt’s prosperity is the amount of temple building the kings could afford to carry out, and on that basis the reign of Ramses II is the most notable in Egyptian history, even making allowance for its great length. [1] The best portrait of Ramses II is a fine statue of him as a young man, now in the Egyptian Museum of Turin his mummy, preserved in the Egyptian Museum at Cairo, is that of a very old man with a long narrow face, prominent nose, and massive jaw. [1] The failure to capture Kadesh had repercussions on Egyptian prestige abroad, and some of the petty states of South Syria and northern Palestine under Egyptian suzerainty rebelled, so that Ramses had to strengthen the northern edge of Egypt’s Asiatic realm before again challenging the Hittites. [1] Ramses at once sent off messengers to hasten the remainder of his forces, but, before any further action could be taken, the Hittites struck with a force of 2,500 chariots, with three men to a chariot as against the Egyptian two. [1]

Aswān, Egypt: Hathor and Nefertari, Temple of Temple of Hathor and Nefertari, the smaller of two temples at Abu Simbel, built by Ramses II (reigned 1279-13 bce ), now located in Aswān muḥāfaẓah (governorate), southern Egypt. [1] A vogue for Asian deities had grown up in Egypt, and Ramses himself had distinct leanings in that direction. [1]

Per- Ramesses in decline as its harbors silt up and the New Kingdom of Egypt falls. [3] Wadjet and Amun are logical choices in that Wadjet was one of the oldest goddesses of Egypt and the pre-eminent deity of Lower Egypt from the Early Dynastic Period (c. 3150 - c. 2613 BCE) onwards and Amun, by the time of the New Kingdom, was considered the most powerful of the gods. [3] The literary works of the Egyptians from the Middle Kingdom through the Late Period provide numerous motifs, themes, and actual events which were made use of by the later scribes who wrote the biblical narratives. [2] The Egyptians had long had an uneasy relationship with the kingdom of the Hittites (in modern-day Asia Minor ) who had grown in power to dominate the region. [2]

From the vary beginning of Egypt's history, kings had sent its representatives north into southern Syria to the city of Byblos, for various trade, and they would have normally been accepted as honored visitors and given whatever they required for their Egyptian King. [4] They were far more advanced than the Egyptians and were already pushing against the northern border of Egypt's empire. [6]

Pharaoh Ramesses II, also known as Ramses, in many ways epitomizes the might of the New Kingdom Period (circa 16th century - 11th century BC), which is often equated to the ancient Egyptian Empire that conquered regions and retained vassals beyond the traditional boundaries of Egypt itself, including ancient Nubia, Levant, Syria, and Libya. [7] The New Kingdom of Egypt, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire, is the period in ancient Egyptian history between 1550-1070 BCE, covering the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Dynasties of Egypt. [8]

The last "great" pharaoh from the New Kingdom is widely regarded to be Ramesses III. In the eighth year of his reign, the Sea Peoples invaded Egypt by land and sea, but were defeated by Ramesses III. [8] New Kingdom Egypt would reach the height of its power under Seti I and Ramesses II, who fought against the Libyans and Hittites. [8]

The Abu Simbel temples, 2 massive twin rock temples, were also built by Ramses II. They are situated in Nubia (South Egypt), close to Lake Nasser, and were meant to commemorate his reign, and that of his queen, Nefertari. [9] Known as the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, this event is considered to have happened under the reign of Ramses II. Whether or not it did happen as the story tells us, scientists found evidence for the existence of the notorious ten plagues of Egypt (or at least the first nine of them). [9] Egypt and a large part of the known world in the 13th century B.C. were dominated by the long reign of Ramses II. He was one of the most powerful rulers in antiquity and a prolific builder of monumental architecture. [10] Ramses II, commonly known as "Ramses the Great," is one of the most famous pharaohs of Egypt. [11] Ramses II merely reminded him that "since time immemorial no daughter of the King of Egypt has ever been given." [12] Since the people of Egypt worshiped Ramses II as a god, it also helped to ensure that his son, who at that point commanded the army, would rise to power following his death, without anyone trying to seize the throne. [9] King Ramses the Second took the throne of Egypt in his early twenties (around 1279 BC) and ruled for 66 years until his death (1213 BC). [9]

The events do show a link to the capital city of Pi-Ramses and the grueling period Egypt crossed under the rule of Ramses II. [9] According to correspondence from the period of Akhenaten, roughly a century before Ramses II’s jubilee, the quickest route from the Hittite capital to Egypt, took around a month and a half. [12]

Tradition has it that Ramses was pharaoh at the time of the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. [10] A significant number of architectural tributes attributed to Ramses II still dominate the landscape of Egypt today. [9] Ramses II, also known as Ramses the Great, is widely considered to be the most powerful pharaoh of ancient Egypt. [13] Although Ramses II helped to consolidate Egyptian power, later pharaohs did not govern as well, and the Egyptian empire fell a century and a half after his death. [9] The reign of Ramses 2 was marked by numerous military battles and he became one of the famous Egyptian pharaohs known for his military strength. [9] Ramses II enjoyed one of the longest reigns in Egyptian history. [12] Ramses II defaced the monuments of previous reigning dynasties which had fallen out of favor, and sought to return Egyptian religion to how it had been before the reign of Akhenaton. [9]

Construction of the temple complex started in approximately 1264 B.C. and lasted for about 20 years, until 1244 B.C. Known as the "Temple of Ramesses, beloved by Amun," it was one of six rock temples erected in Nubia during the long reign of Ramesses II. Their purpose was to impress Egypt's southern neighbors, and also to reinforce the status of Egyptian religion in the region. [14] He was killed en route to Egypt, more than likely by a faction from the Egyptian court that was opposed to his marriage to an Egyptian queen--possibly Tutankhamun’s widow, Ankhesenamun, or perhaps even Akhenaten’s widow, Nefertiti. [12] Her fate, from that point on, became tied to that of Egypt and Egyptian culture. [12] The harbour town of Sumur north of Byblos is mentioned as being the northern-most town belonging to Egypt, which points to it having contained an Egyptian garrison. [14] Much of his reign was occupied with taking back territories that were lost to Egypt during the rule of other ancient Egyptian pharaohs (most notably Akhenaten ) was preoccupied with establishing a monotheistic religion. [9]

A weak ruler usually mirrored the "bad times’ faced by the empire though luckily in case of Egypt, many New Kingdom pharaohs exhibited their strong-willed leadership. [7] The New Kingdom saw Egypt attempt to create a buffer against the Levant and attain its greatest territorial extent. [8]

Less than 150 years after Ramesses died the Egyptian empire fell and the New Kingdom came to an end. [14] The Hebrew god Yahweh helps them by imposing the Ten Plagues upon ancient Egypt, after which the Israelites manage to escape the Egyptian army at the Crossing of the Red Sea. [9] Called the "world's largest museum," the Grand Egyptian Museum was conceived in 2002 as a modern repository for Egypt's ancient treasures, and the 650,000-square-foot building is currently under construction in the shadow of Giza's iconic pyramids. [13] The heavy cost of warfare slowly drained Egypt's treasury and contributed to the gradual decline of the Egyptian Empire in Asia. [8]

The religious impact that Ramses 2 had on Egypt is not to be overlooked either. [9] However fragments of 4 granite Colossi of Ramses were found in Tanis (northern Egypt). [14]

Our tour of New Kingdom temples begins in the reign of Ramses II, a 19th Dynasty pharaoh who ruled Egypt from around 1279 to 1213 BCE. Few pharaohs had as great an impact on Egypt as Ramses II, who expanded the borders and helped turn the kingdom into a truly mighty empire. [15] By forming peace treaties with these empires after warring with them, Ramses II helped to solidify Egypt's borders on all sides, allowing for increased internal stability. [9] The military genius of Ramses II helped to secure Egypt's borders from foreign invaders and pirates along the Mediterranean and in Libya. [9]

The mummy learns us Ramses II was rather short for an ancient Egyptian: 5ft7 (170cm). [9] Ramses II's interest in architecture resulted in the erection of more monuments than any of the other ancient Egyptian pharaohs. [9]

The move of the colossus at Giza, officiated by Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Anany, along with a red-carpet crowd of Egyptian ministers, officials, and foreign dignitaries and a gaggle of media, shows that even after thousands of years the sheer scale of Ramses' creations still have the power to evoke awe. [13]

Archaeologists in Egypt have uncovered the remains of a temple devoted to 19th-dynasty Pharaoh Ramses II, casting further light on the religious practices associated with the ruler who was revered in his own lifetime as a god. [16] Archaeologists in Egypt have uncovered the remains of a temple devoted to 19th-dynasty Pharaoh Ramses II. The temple measures roughly 100 feet in width and 170 feet in length and is comprised of a large forecourt flanked by two identical storage buildings. [16]

Ramses II ruled Egypt for decades and created a huge but stable empire. [17]

The stage is set for a showdown between two giant armies - the Egyptians, with the greatest pharaoh of history, Ramses II, and the Hittites, with their impressive army and persuasive king, Muwatalli. [18] Many believe Ramses II (1303-1213 BCE) is the most celebrated, powerful, and greatest pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire. [18]

Most famous are the reliefs of the war against the mysterious invaders identified by the Egyptians as the Sea Peoples, who were defeated by Ramses III. [15]

Pharaoh: King of Ancient Egypt presents a selection of 145 works from the British Museum’s renowned Egyptian collection, together with a dozen pieces from Cleveland’s own collection, including a figured ostracon that depicts a divine nursing scene. [19] In ancient Egypt, unkempt hair, often paired with a stubble (perhaps present here through a subtle wash of red ocher on the jaw?), was a sign of mourning, as recounted by Herodotus: "the Egyptians, who wear no hair at any time, when they lose a relative, let their beards and the hair of their head grow long" ( Histories 2. 36, translated by George Rawlinson ). [19]

Ramses IIruled ancient Egypt for 66 years until his death in 1213 B.C. Known as one of Egypt's greatest pharoahs, he erected an impressive number of monuments to himself during his lifetime thatlike this templearchaeologists continue to uncover today. [20] Throughout his life, Ramses II went on to build various monuments and thus his legacy of being a builder in Ancient Egypt and Nubia was born. [21]

"The discovery of the Ramses II temple provides unique evidence on building and religious activities of the king in Memphis area and at the same time shows the permanent status of the cult of sun god Re, who was venerated in Abusir since the fifth dynasty and onward to the New Kingdom," Barta explained. [16] Ramses II represented in the tomb of Nakhtamun New Kingdom, Dynasty 20. [19] Ruling from roughly 1186 to 1155 BCE, Ramses III was realistically the last of the all-powerful pharaohs of the New Kingdom before the dynasty went into decline. [15]

One of the most famous of those periods is the New Kingdom, which covered the 18th, 19th, and 20th Dynasties of the Egyptian pharaohs. [15] The numerous tombs from Saqqara are nearly all covered in paintings or reliefs, and have provided us with lots of information about life in the New Kingdom, and the amount of effort the Egyptians took to preserve their legacies even beyond death. [15]

Lasting from roughly 1570 to 1069 BCE, this era was marked by extremely powerful pharaohs who expanded the kingdom's borders, created an Egyptian Empire, and ruled with absolute authority. [15]

Now, according to Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities, the team has uncovered the remnants of the 3,200-year-old temple there t o Ramses II. [20] Egypt would still be a superpower they feared, even if the army of Egypt had been diminished note how 2 Kings 6:7 says "For the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, "Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!" " It would make sense for the Arameans to refer to both the Egyptians AND the Hittites if they knew that Egypt's army had been diminished. [22] The Tomb of Nefertari, QV66, is perhaps the most ornate work of art in all of Egypt and clearly shows that Ramesses wanted his beloved to make her way to the Field of Reeds, Egyptian Heaven. [23]

Tomb of Seti I, a pharaoh of the New Kingdom Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt, the son of Ramesses I and the father of Ramesses II was well preserved and very impressive as being the longest at 136 meters and deepest of all the New Kingdom royal tombs. [24] With the collapse of the New Kingdom into the Third Intermediate Period about 1200-1100 BC, Egypt became a much poorer country. [25] That depends on whether the enemies of Egypt that were legitimately a threat to Egypt, such as the Nubians and the while the kingdoms did communicate with each other, the communication was not quick. [22] To the south, Egypt waged an unrelenting war against the kingdom of Kush. [26] The weakness of the kingdom of Egypt did not mean that there was an immediate fragmentation, however. [26]

Spurred by threats from the south, Egypt’s New Kingdom pharaohs mounted military campaigns against Nubia, and by the Reign of Thutmose III (1479-1425 BC) Egyptians controlled Nubia to the 4th cataract. [27] New Kingdom Egyptian pharaohs conducted many campaigns to bring Nubia under Egyptian control. [27]

That the Hebrews used the imagined presence of the Hittites and Egyptians to illustrate the fear of the Arameans should tell a person that those two kingdoms weren't small time. [22]

By the time he turned 22, he had already led campaigns into Nubia (today northern Sudan and southern Egypt along the Nile) with his fellow Egyptians, and was named his father’s co-ruler. [28]

Egypt's conflicts with the Hittites began long before Ramses II’s reign and, although Seti I won against the Hittites many times during his life, it was not enough to drive them back completely, and Ramesses II was forced to carry on his father's legacy in fighting them until he achieved a peace treaty. [28] Several other tombs - hidden in rocky caves - were built and the valley became a royal necropolis for greatest personalities of the ancient Egypt, such as Tutankhamun, Seti I, and Ramses II, and many others. [24] Ramses II brought military and economic success to his land, and is remembered as one of Egypt’s greatest pharaohs who ruled at the apex of the Egyptian Empire. [28] The temple is dedicated to the most important gods of the New Kingdom, Ptah (the creator god of Memphis), Amun-Re (the great god of Thebes) and Re-Harakhte (sun god of Heliopolis), as well as to the Pharaoh Ramses II himself. [29] The campaigns in Syria spanned over 20 years, and eventually led to the earliest known peace treaty, which was drawn by Ramses II and Hittite King Hattusili III. Among his architectural achievements, Ramses II created a new capital for his kingdom in the delta of the Nile, which he called Pi-Ramesses. [28]

The period of the New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt was one in which Egypt reached the height of its international power, and was a leading player in the war and diplomacy of the Middle East. [26]

One need not rely solely on the inscriptions Ramesses himself ordered, however the Egyptians, from the time they mastered writing c. 3200 BCE, kept very extensive records and none of them even hint at a large population of Hebrew slaves in Egypt much less their mass exodus. [2] The Battle of Kadesh led to the first peace treaty ever signed in the world between Ramesses II of Egypt and Muwatalli II's successor, Hattusili III (died 1237 BCE) of the Hittite Empire. [2] He is believed to have taken the throne in his late teens and is known to have ruled Egypt from 1279 BC to 1213 BC. Manetho attributes Ramesses II a reign of 66 years and 2 months most Egyptologists today believe he assumed the throne on May 31, 1279 BC, based on his known accession date of III Shemu day 27. [5] The reign of Ramesses II was so prosperous and so long, in fact, that when he died his people felt it was the end of the world they had never known an Egypt without Ramesses II as pharaoh. [3] Per-Ramesses is built during the reign of Ramesses II of Egypt. [2] Per-Ramesses was built to exemplify the grandeur of Egypt under Ramesses II and its location chosen not only for ease of access to neighboring lands but because the locale of Avaris resonated with the people and the region had special meaning for the king. [3] Although some scholars claim that Ramesses II would have omitted the story of the Exodus from his official records, because it cast Egypt in a poor light, it is far more probable that the Exodus story is a cultural myth which had nothing to do with Egypt's actual history and Per-Ramesses was chosen for mention by the Hebrew scribe who wrote Exodus because its name would have been instantly recognizable. [3] In his second year, Ramesses II decisively defeated the Sherden sea pirates who were wreaking havoc along Egypt's Mediterranean coast by attacking cargo-laden vessels travelling the sea routes to Egypt. [5] Although the Battle of Kadesh often dominates the scholarly view of the military prowess and power of Ramesses II, he nevertheless enjoyed more than a few outright victories over the enemies of Egypt. [5] Ramesses II made Per-Ramesses the most beautiful and opulent city in Egypt, rivaling the majesty of Thebes. [3] Per-Ramesses (also known as Pi- Ramesses, Piramese, Pr-Rameses, Pir-Ramaseu) was the city built as the new capital in the Delta region of ancient Egypt by Ramesses II (known as The Great, 1279-1213 BCE). [3]

After the death of Seti I in 1290 BCE, Ramesses assumed the throne and at once began military campaigns to restore the borders of Egypt, ensure trade routes, and take back from the Hittites what he felt rightfully belonged to him. [2] Ramesses ran around the walls of ancient Memphis fortress four times, which was founded by Menes, the legendary first ruler of unified Egypt. [30] Such was the fate of Egypt only one Dynasty past the time of Ramesses the Great, no more than several hundred years before. [4] He had his name and accomplishments inscribed from one end of Egypt to the other and there is virtually no ancient site in Egypt which does not make mention of Ramesses the Great. [2] Ramesses built extensively throughout Egypt and Nubia, and his cartouches are prominently displayed even in buildings that he did not construct. [5] The Battle of Kadesh is one of the very few from pharaonic times of which there are real details, and that is because of the king’s pride in his stand against great odds pictures and accounts of the campaign, both an official record and a long poem on the subject, were carved on temple walls in Egypt and Nubia, and the poem is also extant on papyrus. [1] He then claimed a great victory for Egypt in that he had defeated his enemy in battle but the Battle of Kadesh nearly resulted in his defeat and death. [2]

In Egypt he completed the great hypostyle hall at Karnak (Thebes) and continued work on the temple built by Seti I at Abydos, both of which were left incomplete at the latter’s death. [1]

This demand precipitated a crisis in relations between Egypt and Hatti when Ramesses denied any knowledge of Mursili's whereabouts in his country, and the two empires came dangerously close to war. [5] Ramesses, logistically unable to sustain a long siege, returned to Egypt. [5]

When the King of Mira attempted to involve Ramesses in a hostile act against the Hittites, the Egyptian responded that the times of intrigue in support of MursiliIII, had passed. [5] The Sea Peoples' origin and ethnicity is unknown, although many theories have been suggested, but Ramesses describes them in his account as Hittite allies and this is important as it underscores the relationship between the Egyptians and Hittites at this time. [2] The army was the most powerful and best organized in the whole Egyptian history at the time of Ramesses II rule. [30] Ramesses II. was accompanied by his wife Nefertari to the funereal ceremony, who made with her husband the most beautiful couple in Egyptian history. [30] During the reign of Ramesses II, the Egyptians were evidently active on a 300-kilometre (190mi) stretch along the Mediterranean coast, at least as far as Zawiyet Umm el-Rakham. [5] Ramesses II led several military expeditions into the Levant, reasserting Egyptian control over Canaan. [5] In Ramesses II's account, however, the victory for the Egyptians was complete and he was the king who had made it happen. [3] During Ramesses II's reign, the Egyptian army is estimated to have totaled about 100,000 men a formidable force that he used to strengthen Egyptian influence. [5] Ramses’ family, of nonroyal origin, came to power some decades after the reign of the religious reformer Akhenaton (Amenhotep IV, 1353-36 bce ) and set about restoring Egyptian power in Asia, which had declined under Akhenaton and his successor, Tutankhamen. [1]

Kadesh, in Syria, was an important trade center which had changed hands between the Hittites and Egyptians a number of times. [3] He was not expecting battle any time soon and the capture of two spies confirmed that the Hittites were still some distance from the Egyptian camp. [6] The Egyptian empire was under threat from the Hittites, who lived in what is now Turkey. [6] He is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire. [5] He was known to later Egyptians as the 'Great Ancestor' and many pharaohs would do him the honor of taking his name as their own. [2] The AnastasyA papyrus describes Canaan during the latter part of the reign of RamessesII and enumerates and names the Phoenician coastal towns under Egyptian control. [5] Many historians consider his reign the pinnacle of Egyptian art and culture and the famous Tomb of Nefertari with its wall paintings is cited as clear evidence of the truth of this claim. [2]

History Channel Program: Ancient Discoveries: Egyptian Warfare with panel of three experts. [5] Kadesh was too far north for easy control by the Egyptians, too far south for easy administration by the Hittites. [2] Ramses’ father, Seti I, subdued a number of rebellious princes in Palestine and southern Syria and waged war on the Hittites of Anatolia in order to recover those provinces in the north that during the recent troubles had passed from Egyptian to Hittite control. [1]

The custom of Egyptian citizens volunteering their time to work on the king's building projects is well documented and it was even thought that, in the afterlife, souls would be called upon to work for Osiris, Lord of the Dead, on the building projects he would want. [2] The result of the battle was a tactical victory for the Egyptians, in that they remained masters of the stricken field, but a strategic defeat in that they did not and could not take Kadesh. [1] He had brought peace, maintained Egyptian borders, and built great and numerous monuments across the empire. [5]

Ramses II must have been a good soldier, despite the fiasco of Kadesh, or else he would not have been able to penetrate so far into the Hittite empire as he did in the following years he appears to have been a competent administrator, since the country was prosperous, and he was certainly a popular king. [1] Two captured Hittite spies gave Ramses the false information that the main Hittite army was at Aleppo, some distance to the north, so that it appeared to the king as if he had only the garrison of Kadesh to deal with. [1] It was not until the army had begun to arrive at the camping site before Kadesh that Ramses learned that the main Hittite army was in fact concealed behind the city. [1]

The first public act of Ramses after his accession to sole rule was to visit Thebes, the southern capital, for the great religious festival of Opet, when the god Amon of Karnak made a state visit in his ceremonial barge to the Temple of Luxor. [1] Ramses also completed his father’s funerary temple on the west bank of the Nile at Luxor (Thebes) and built one for himself, which is now known as the Ramesseum. [1] Because his family’s home was in the Nile River delta, and in order to have a convenient base for campaigns in Asia, Ramses built for himself a full-scale residence city called Per Ramessu ("House of Ramses" biblical Raamses), which was famous for its beautiful layout, with gardens, orchards, and pleasant waters. [1]

The reign of Ramses II marks the last peak of Egypt’s imperial power. [1] During his reign Seti gave the crown prince Ramses, the future Ramses II, a special status as regent. [1] Well before his death, Seti I appointed his son Ramses II, sometimes called Ramses the Great, as crown prince. [1]

Egyptologists disagree on which of these two men died first, but irregardless, upon the death of Ramesses XI, Smendes came to the throne in the north and the Third Intermediate Period was born, as the glory of the New Kingdom passed into history. [4] Less than 150 years after Ramesses died, his empire fell, his descendants lost their power and the New Kingdom came to an end. [6] Ramesses II moved the capital of his kingdom from Thebes in the Nile valley to a new site in the eastern Delta. [5]

Early in his life, Ramesses II embarked on numerous campaigns to restore possession of previously held territories lost to the Nubians and Hittites and to secure Egypt's borders. [5] After the Battle of Kadesh, Ramesses devoted himself to improving Egypt's infrastructure, strengthening its borders, and commissioning vast building projects commemorating his victory of 1274 and his other accomplishments. [2] The pharaoh wanted a victory at Kadesh both to expand Egypt's frontiers into Syria, and to emulate his father Seti I's triumphal entry into the city just a decade or so earlier. [5]

The association of the name `Ramesses' with the unnamed pharaoh of Egypt in the Bible became quite common after the success of Cecil B. DeMille's film The Ten Commandments in 1956. [2] We believe that he reigned for some 28 years on the throne of Egypt between 1098 and 1070 BC, though to give him credit as the true king of the Two Lands throughout this period might be an exaggeration. [4] HattusiliIII wrote to Kadashman-EnlilII, King of Karduniash ( Babylon ) in the same spirit, reminding him of the time when his father, Kadashman-Turgu, had offered to fight RamessesII, the king of Egypt. [5] Film versions of the biblical story since, including the popular animated film Prince of Egypt (1998) and the more recent Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) both followed the lead of DeMille's film but there is no historical support for this association. [2] It is a commonplace to decry the quality of his monumental statuary, although little in Egypt is more dramatic and compelling than the great seated figures of this king at Abu Simbel. [1]

In addition to his wars with the Hittites and Libyans, he is known for his extensive building programs and for the many colossal statues of him found all over Egypt. [1] It was located at the site of the modern town of Qantir in the Eastern Delta and, in its time, was considered the greatest city in Egypt, rivaling even Thebes to the south. [3] There is no evidence of a mass exodus from the city - nor from any other city in the history of Egypt - and none to support the claim that Per-Ramesses was built by slave labor. [2]

After his death Egypt was forced on the defensive but managed to maintain its suzerainty over Palestine and the adjacent territories until the later part of the 20th dynasty, when the migration of militant Sea Peoples into the Levant ended Egypt’s power beyond its borders. [1] Some of his fame, however, must surely be put down to his flair for publicity: his name and the record of his feats on the field of battle were found everywhere in Egypt and Nubia. [1] The deposed Hittite king, Mursili III, fled to Egypt, the land of his country's enemy, after the failure of his plots to oust his uncle from the throne. [5] Under the Hittite king Suppiluliuma I (1344-1322 BCE), Egypt had lost many important trading centers in Syria and Canaan. [2]

This has more than just cosmetic significance: in ancient Egypt people with red hair were associated with the deity Seth, the slayer of Osiris, and the name of Ramesses II's father, Seti I, means "follower of Seth." [5] The name of this locality is derived from ancient Egypt god Osiris, from Per Usir (Busiris), "(cult) place of Osiris" (Busiris in Greek). [30]

Abu Simbel is an ancient temple complex, originally cut into a solid rock cliff, in southern Egypt and located at the second. [2]

It is an ego cast in stone the man who built it intended not only to become Egypt's greatest pharaoh, but also one of its deities. [5] Egypt's sphere of influence was now restricted to Canaan while Syria fell into Hittite hands. [5]

Some of them, such as Ramessess III, are considered better rulers than he was none of them, however, would surpass the grand achievements and glory of Ramesses the Great in the minds and hearts of the ancient Egyptians. [2] Although it had been looted in ancient times, the tomb of Nefertari is extremely important, because its magnificent wall painting decoration is regarded as one of the greatest achievements of ancient Egyptian art. [5]

Astarte, a Phoenician goddess, was long associated with Set as one of his consorts, however, and Set himself - although acknowledged as a god of chaos and darkness - was popular during the New Kingdom as a champion of the military. [3] Ramesses II modified, usurped, or constructed many buildings from the ground up, and the most splendid of these, in accordance with New Kingdom Royal burial practices, would have been his memorial temple: a place of worship dedicated to pharaoh, god on earth, where his memory would have been kept alive after his death. [14] Leaving aside the escalation of scale - whereby each successive New Kingdom pharaoh strove to outdo his predecessors in volume and scope - the Ramesseum is largely cast in the same mould as Ramesses III's Medinet Habu or the ruined temple of Amenhotep III that stood behind the "Colossi of Memnon" a kilometre or so away. [14]

Pi-Ramesses (Pi-Ramesses Aa-nakhtu, meaning "House of Ramesses, Great in Victory") was the new capital built by the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt Pharaoh Ramesses II (Ramesses the Great, reigned 1279-1213 BC) at Qantir near the old site of Avaris. [14] The treaty was concluded between Ramesses II and Hattusili III in Year 21 of Ramesses's reign. (c. 1258 BC) Its 18 articles call for peace between Egypt and Hatti and then proceeds to maintain that their respective gods also demand peace. [14] Hattusili III wrote to Kadashman-Enlil II, King of Karduniash (Babylon) in the same spirit, reminding him of the time when his father, Kadashman-Turgu, had offered to fight Ramesses II, the king of Egypt. [14] Another notable feature of the facade is a stele which records the marriage of Ramesses with a daughter of king Hattusili III, which sealed the peace between Egypt and the Hittites. [14]

When the King of Mira attempted to involve Ramesses in a hostile act against the Hittites, the Egyptian responded that the times of intrigue in support of Mursili III, had passed. [14] The city of Kadesh was a flashpoint, captured first by Seti I and then used as a peace bargain with the Hatti, and later attacked again by Ramesses II. Eventually, the Egyptians and Hittites signed a lasting peace treaty. [8] Ramesses II was born and raised in the area, and family connections may have played a part in his decision to move his capital so far northward from the existing capital at Thebes but geopolitical reasons may have been of greater importance, as Pi-Ramesses was much closer to the Egyptian vassal states in Asia and to the border with the hostile Hittite empire. [14] Ramesses II (c. 1303 BC - July or August 1213 BC), referred to as Ramesses the Great, was the third Egyptian pharaoh (reigned 1279 BC - 1213 BC) of the Nineteenth Dynasty. [14] As documented events had proven, the Pharaoh epitomized the spearhead of the Egyptian army with his elite chariot corps, thus suggesting how the rulers, with examples like Amenophis II and Ramesses II, took particular pride in maneuvering chariots, handling bows (perceived as a weapon of esteem) and personally leading their armies in battle. [7] The Anastasy A papyrus describes Canaan during the latter part of the reign of Ramesses II and enumerates and names the Phoenician coastal towns under Egyptian control. [14] During the reign of Ramesses II, there is evidence that the Egyptians were active on a 300-kilometre (190 mi) stretch along the Mediterranean coast, at least as far as Zawiyet Umm el-Rakham. [14] Ramesses II led several military expeditions into the Levant, re-asserting Egyptian control over Canaan. [14]

When strong kings ruled a united land, Egyptian influence extended into Nubia when Egypt was weak, its southern border stopped at Aswan," writes Egyptologist Zahi Hawass in his book "The Mysteries of Abu Simbel" (American University in Cairo Press, 2000). [31] Spanning the Fourteenth to Seventeenth Dynasties, a period of Egyptian history where power was split between the Hyksos and a Theban-based dynasty in Upper Egypt. [8] It was originally thought the demise of Egyptian authority abroad during the Twentieth Dynasty of Egypt made the city less significant leading to it being abandoned as a royal residence. [14]

These victories maximized Egyptian power and wealth during the reign of Amenhotep III. It was also during the reign of Thutmose III that the term "pharaoh," originally referring to the king's palace, became a form of address for the king. [8] It was their way of demonstrating that, for all the military power of the Hittites, an Egyptian pharaoh enjoyed the higher status, in spite of the pretense of treating one another as equals in their letters. [12]

Much of the sculpture is given to the Battle of Kadesh, on the Orontes river in present-day Syria, in which the Egyptian king fought against the Hittites. [14] Historians now know, by comparing Hittite and Egyptian accounts of the battle, that the outcome of Kadesh was probably less one-sided than Ramses’ depiction. [12]

One image carved in the great temple at Abu Simbel shows the king firing arrows from his war chariot and supposedly winning the battle for the Egyptians. [31] The colossus that arrived at the Grand Egyptian Museum has had a circuitous history, beginning with its transport from the quarries of Aswan to the Temple of Ptah in the ancient capital of Memphis in the 13th century B.C. Lost to the sands over millennia, the statue was rediscovered by Italian Egyptologist Giovanni Battista Caviglia (the archaeologist who originally excavated the Sphinx) in 1820. [13] In 2006, concerned that automobile emissions were damaging the ancient red granite sculpture, the Egyptian government moved the statue to Giza in anticipation of eventually installing it at the entrance to the Grand Egyptian Museum. [13]

What is truly surprising is that for the only time in Egyptian art, the statues of the king and his consort are equal in size. [14] Not just any princess: Envoys sent from the Egyptian capital, Pi-Ramses, made it clear the pharaoh had his eye on no one other than King Hattusilis’s firstborn daughter. [12]

Ramesses insisted that his carvings be deeply engraved in the stone, which made them not only less susceptible to later alteration, but also made them more prominent in the Egyptian sun, reflecting his relationship with the sun god, Ra. [14]

In his second year, Ramesses II decisively defeated the Shardana or Sherden sea pirates who were wreaking havoc along Egypt's Mediterranean coast by attacking cargo-laden vessels travelling the sea routes to Egypt. [14] At age fourteen, Ramesses was appointed Prince Regent by his father Seti I. He is believed to have taken the throne in his late teens and is known to have ruled Egypt from 1279 BC to 1213 BC for 66 years and 2 months, according to both Manetho and Egypt's contemporary historical records. [14] Despite a palace conspiracy which may have killed Ramesses III, three of his sons ascended the throne successively as Ramesses IV, Ramesses VI and Ramesses VIII. Egypt was increasingly beset by droughts, below-normal flooding of the Nile, famine, civil unrest, and official corruption. [8]

The power of the last pharaoh of the dynasty, Ramesses XI, grew so weak that, in the south, the High Priests of Amun at Thebes became the de facto rulers of Upper Egypt. [8] Although the famous Battle of Kadesh often dominates the scholarly view of Ramesses II's military prowess and power, he nevertheless enjoyed more than a few outright victories over the enemies of Egypt. [14] Ramesses II did become the legendary figure he so desperately wanted to be, but this was not enough to protect Egypt. [14] Ramesses built extensively throughout Egypt and Nubia, and his cartouches are prominently displayed even in buildings that he did not actually construct. [14] By becoming a god, Ramesses dramatically changed not just his role as ruler of Egypt, but also the role of his firstborn son, Amun-her-khepsef. [14] This demand precipitated a crisis in relations between Egypt and Hatti when Ramesses denied any knowledge of Mursili's whereabouts in his country, and the two Empires came dangerously close to war. [14]

It is generally considered the grandest and most beautiful of the temples commissioned during the reign of Rameses II, and one of the most beautiful in Egypt. [14] In theory, the Pharaoh should be the only celebrant in daily religious ceremonies performed in different temples throughout Egypt. [14] Some of these portrayals even project the Pharaohs as incarnations of the god of war and valor Montu (falcon-god) or as personifications of Egypt itself. [7] In Chapter 11, Verse 5, it says, "And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant." [10]

Hattusili encouraged Kadashman-Enlil to come to his aid and prevent the Assyrians from cutting the link between the Canaanite province of Egypt and Mursili III, the ally of Ramesses. [14] The deposed Hittite king, Mursili III fled to Egypt, the land of his country's enemy, after the failure of his plots to oust his uncle from the throne. [14]

Built on the west bank of the Nile River, between the first and second cataracts of the Nile, the site of Abu Simbel is one of the most recognizable ancient sites in Egypt. [31]

RANKED SELECTED SOURCES(31 source documents arranged by frequency of occurrence in the above report)

Exodus: Fact or Fiction?

Everyone likes an underdog. There’s no story like the underprivileged or the disadvantaged rising against his stronger foe and coming out the winner. This is probably why the biblical tale of Exodus has such staying power: the humble and oppressed Hebrew slaves rise up against mighty Egypt and escape to the Promised Land. It is a morality tale about trusting in God and the ultimate humanity of both hero (Moses) and oppressor (Pharaoh).

But is it true? Does the biblical tale of Exodus preserve factual events about the early days of Israel and the deliverance of its chosen people? The answer is both simple and complicated at the same time and requires attention to detail, so I would like to summarize the facts and fictions of Exodus.

I should preface this by emphasizing that although I’m something of a minimalist when it comes to biblical historicity, it is never my intention to act with disrespect or dismissal toward any religion. I am not an atheist. At the same time, when it comes to historical research, I feel it is vital to approach all avenues of study with objectivity and adherence to extant evidence. What does the full weight of this evidence reveal to us—the textual and the archaeological? This must be the approach when studying history.

That said, let’s first turn to the sources for Exodus. Where is this tale preserved for us? That’s simple. The Hebrew Bible. The Book of Exodus as well as scattered passages throughout the Old Testament represent the first and oldest sources for the events of Moses and his people. Although there is plentiful mention of Exodus outside the Hebrew Bible and from different cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world, it cannot be stressed enough that all such writings are subsequent to the Old Testament and draw from the same.

For example, the first century CE Jewish historian Josephus writes about Exodus. Josephus includes important passages from an even older account penned by an Egyptian historian-priest named Manetho of Sebennytos, who composed his history of Egypt in the third century BCE. Manetho’s work was commissioned by the early Ptolemaic pharaohs who ruled over Egypt, and unfortunately none of Mantho’s original work survives. What we have, has come down to us through the work of men like Josephus. It is clear, however, that the writings of both Manetho and Josephus concerning Exodus were inspired by the Old Testament.

What this means is that we, too, are obligated to turn to the Old Testament for information about Exodus. It’s literally all we have. Now, few events in the literary genre of history have been as misrepresented as Exodus, especially at the pens of misguided fringe writers like Ahmed Osman and David Rohl. And as entertaining as it might be to tear apart such fringe literature (perhaps the topic of a future article?) I prefer to stick to the facts and the original sources. We needn’t muddy the waters anymore than they already are.

What does Exodus tell us? Let’s first turn to the timeframe and determine when the Old Testament tells us Exodus took place. Those of you who know your Bible should remember this one. In 1 Kings 6:1 we are told:

In the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites came out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month, he began to build the temple of the Lord.

King Solomon died in 930 BCE after a reign of 40 years, so we can place his ascension to the throne in 970 BCE. He began to build the great Temple in Jerusalem four years later, in 966 BCE. To this last number we can add the 480 years specified in 1 Kings 6:1, and we arrive at a date of 1446 BCE (Dever 2003: 8). This immediately presents a problem, however.

A date of 1446 BCE places us square in the reign of the great Egyptian king Menkheperre Tuthmosis (1479-1424 BCE), otherwise known as Tuthmosis III. Some fringe writers have in fact tried to paint Tuthmosis III as the pharaoh of Exodus, but the real problem here is, Tuthmosis III was the greatest warrior pharaoh of Egyptian history and in his time cemented Egypt as the single-greatest power of the entire Near East. Tuthmosis III led 40 years of sweeping military campaigns that brought under Egyptian control practically everyone and everything between Lower Nubia and northern Syria. This means that part of Egypt’s sphere of influence was the Levant and Canaan, where the Hebrews were supposed to have conquered cities left and right after fleeing Egypt to establish the Promised Land as their own. Obviously a great conquerer like Tuthmosis III was not going to allow a bunch of escaped slaves to upset his hegemony. Egypt ruled the entire region with an iron fist. Simply put, Tuthmosis III could not have been the pharaoh of Exodus. As it is, almost no self-respecting, gainfully employed, professional historian would try to argue otherwise.

So the numbers as provided in 1 Kings 6:1 do not work. It’s more likely the figure of �” is not literal but is instead a symbolic length of time representing the lifespans of 12 generations (Finkelstein & Silberman 2001: 56). In biblical accounts certain numbers are repeated or appear as divisible by other numbers, and few numbers appear to be as sacred as 40 (go ahead, do the math for yourself with 480 and 40). The reason is simple: 40 in the ancient Near East was a common sacred number among numerous cultures because, at the time, it represented a generation.

It must be understood that some Hebrew scribe was not following on Moses’ heels and writing down an exacting journal as the Jews fled Egypt and spent the next 40 years (there it is again) in the desert. Most of the books of the Hebrew Bible were penned a very long time after the events they portray. Exodus, for example, was probably written around 500 years after the fact (Dever 2003: 8). As it is, the emergence of an identifiable Hebrew culture occurs only at the very end of the Bronze Age. We’ll come back to that point later.

So if not in the time of Tuthmosis III, when might Exodus have taken place? We can again turn to the Old Testament and the Book of Exodus. There is a vital clue it provides. We can find it in Exodus 1:11:

So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh.

Here the Old Testament provides the names of two specific places in Egypt. Are they real places? Yes, they are. And their mention is important in nailing down a real timeframe for Exodus.

Many of the earliest scholars and antiquarians who explored the Middle East were well-educated individuals, schooled in the Classics and in biblical studies. In their tireless searches of Egypt and the Holy Land they were hoping to find physical proof that the stories of the Bible were true. In those days, especially the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, few people from Western nations doubted the Bible in any manner indeed, they viewed it as rock-hard fact, a real history of the ancient Near East.

In almost all cases they came up quite disappointed. It seemed the more they searched, the less corroboration they found. Indeed, in many cases, all they found were blatant contradictions. But not in all cases.

One can imagine the excitement when archaeologists finally determined the historical reality of the city called Rameses in Exodus. To the Egyptians it was Per-Ramesses, meaning “the House of Ramesses.” See the red circle in the map below:

The Delta region of Egypt

Per-Ramesses was built practically on the same site as the ancient city of Avaris (modern Tell el-Dab’a). This had been the capital city of the infamous Hyksos, a federation of Canaanite tribes which had ruled Egypt for a time prior to the New Kingdom. (Contrary to popular and widespread misconception among fringe circles, the Hyksos were not the Hebrews, which could be the subject of yet another article. Tempting.) And it is the city of Per-Ramesses that helps us finally to decide on a timeframe for Exodus, because this city was founded as the new capital in early Dynasty 19 by the king named User-maatre Setepenre Ramesses meryamun (1279-1212 BCE), otherwise known as Ramesses II or Ramesses the Great:

Mummy of Ramesses II, Dynasty 19

Ramesses II reigned for almost seventy years and was a great warrior pharaoh himself. It is the Old Testament’s mention of his city that leads most historians to place Ramesses as the pharaoh of Exodus. The king is never mentioned by name in Exodus, so we are left to discern his identity by such clues.

The city of Pithom has been more difficult to locate. In the map above, circled in blue, is a site called Tell el-Maskhuta, and many historians agree this might be it. Pithom would be rendered in ancient Egyptian as Per-Atum, and records of the New Kingdom confirm it was a real city. However, on archaeological grounds Tell el-Maskhuta appears to have seen little activity or occupation in the New Kingdom, so it’s not clear if this is actually the correct site. Another possibility is a site called Tell el Retabeh but it, too, does not show occupation until after the Ramesside Period (ibid: 14).

At least we have Per-Ramesses, which is the more important. As this city did not exist prior to the reign of Ramesses II, Exodus must have occurred during the reign of this great pharaoh. Fringe writers have tried to assign the tale of Exodus to earlier kings like Ahmose I and Hatshepsut (as well as Tuthmosis III), but we can see how it doesn’t work. Can we find anything from the reign of Ramesses II to confirm Exodus? The researcher Bob Brier (2004) has entertained indirect evidence that places Exodus later in the reign of Ramesses II, after the death of his son and crown prince Amunhirkepshef. The truth is, however, nothing from the reign of Ramesses II lends historical veracity to Exodus.

Ramesses lived around 200 years after Tuthmosis III, the creator of the Egyptian empire. It’s true that by the time Ramesses came to the throne, Egypt’s hegemony had slipped somewhat.

A new power far to the north was competing with Egypt for control of Canaan. The great Indo-European kingdom of Hatti, storming from their capital city of Hattusa in central Turkey, had caused no end to grief for pharaohs in the time of the New Kingdom. Many might be familiar with Ramesses’ great military campaign against the Hittites at the Syrian city of Kadesh. This great battle of chariots and infantry probably took place around 1274 BCE, early in the reign of Ramesses, and the pharaoh portrayed it back home as an overwhelming victory for Egypt. The truth is, the battle of Kadesh was at best a draw. The Egyptians ended up besting the Hittites in battle, during which Ramesses himself was almost killed, but the Hittites managed to hold onto Kadesh. Ramesses would go on in succeeding years to lead other campaigns deep into Syria, but never again would Egypt take Kadesh.

I hope you see where I’m going with this. The Egyptians and Hittites might have been duking it out for a long time, but between the two, all of the Levant and Canaan were under the solid control of either Egypt or Hatti. A state of cold war existed between the two great powers for years (Wilkinson 2010: 314). In the peace treaty that Ramesses eventually signed with Hatti, the Egyptians and the Hittites ended up splitting control of the entire region between themselves. There was no place for an upstart force of escaped slaves to carve out a home for themselves in Canaan. Had such an attempt been made, either Egypt or Hatti (probably the former) would’ve squashed them.

Moreover, throughout the New Kingdom the rulers of Egypt maintained rigid control of their own borders. The escaping Hebrews would’ve had to flee Egypt to the east, out into the Sinai, but all points of ingress and egress in this region were controlled by a well-regulated system of forts garrisoned by military detachments records from garrison commanders of this period preserve the accounts of who was coming and going (Finkelstein & Silberman 2001: 59).

Another important point to consider is Exodus 14:6 where we are told Pharaoh “…had his chariot made ready and took his army with him.” In other words, the Egyptian king led his army to retrieve the Hebrew slaves. He’d experienced second thoughts about letting them go. Yet the Egyptian army is said to have been swallowed up by the sea which Moses had parted, so how is it that the body of Ramesses II survived so intact? Note the photo of his mummy, above. This is one of the best-preserved royal mummies from all of pharaonic history. No, Ramesses died in his bed, a very old man probably around 90 years of age.

I recently watched a TV special in which one commentator stated Ramesses probably sent one of his sons in his place. The commentator stated that an Egyptian king wouldn’t have bothered. Yet Ramesses would’ve considered this a military action, and while many pharaohs may not have personally led their men into battle, Ramesses II never would’ve shied from this duty. He craved action.

Finding historical veracity for Exodus is becoming exceedingly difficult. What about Moses? Do we know anything about him? As with all other things Exodus, there is no evidence for such a man outside the pages of the Old Testament. Many writers exercise a sloppy approach in playing with his name, noting that it sounds quite Egyptian. In fact, the Egyptian word ms or mss, which means “born of” or, in a looser sense, “child of,” is a common element in ancient Egyptian names, kings included. Think of Tuthmosis, which would’ve sounded more like Djehutymose in the ancient Egyptian tongue (“Tuthmosis” is the rendering from Greek): the name means “Born of [the god] Djehuty,” the great ibis-headed god. And of course there’s the name Ramesses, which means “Born of Re.” And there are some instances from ancient Egypt where men were called simply Mess or Messes. We do not usually know the vowels from ancient Egyptian scripts, so one can see how “Moses” can be derived from “Messes.” I take no issue with that.

But the Old Testament explains this for us. Moses’ name is Hebrew. In Exodus 2:10, after the unnamed daughter of Pharaoh retrieves the baby Moses from the river, we are told:

When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water.”

This is from the Hebrew verb מֹשֶׁה‎ (modern “Moshe”), meaning “to draw.” Interestingly, the scribes who penned Exodus may have turned to a much-older tradition attributed to the great Akkadian ruler Sargon I, who as legend has it was also found as an infant in a basket floating in a river (Roux 1992: 151-152).

What of the enslaved Hebrews themselves? Did Egypt keep slaves? Absolutely. They were probably especially prevalent in the New Kingdom, many if not most having come to Egypt as prisoners of war. Whole families were enslaved, the men often folded into the Egyptian military or brought into agricultural labor, and the women and children into homes and temples and estates as domestic slaves.

But Egypt did not enslave entire populations. True, by the accounts of some pharaohs we would think they did, but pharaonic propaganda and reality are two different things. Again the Old Testament provides an important fact to consider. In Exodus 12:37-38 we are told:

And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. And a mixed multitude went up also with them and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.

The math is not hard to do. The slaves numbered 600,000 men alone. Factor in all of the women and children and those among the “mixed multitude” and we easily come to a number of around two million slaves fleeing Egypt. This is altogether unrealistic. Two million people would’ve represented about a third of the Egyptian population in the Nile Valley, so the number cannot stand. Numerous authors have suggested the number was no longer remembered by the scribes who penned the account and perhaps the fleeing slaves numbered only several thousand. Whatever the number, it’s unlikely they would’ve made it alive through the forts that controlled ingress and egress to the east of the Delta.

I won’t dwell long on the Plagues, as interesting as they are. All I need say is that practically all of them can be the result of natural climatic events. Not that all would’ve occurred at the same time, but the Plagues might have been a literary device on the part of the Hebrew scribes who wrote Exodus (as a demonstration of Yahweh’s power) or they may represent any number of different climatic upheavals from different periods, brought together into the narrative.

The Hebrews spent 40 years wandering the desert before arriving in the Promised Land, at which time they took up their arms and violently cleared the land and its cities of the Canaanites. Is there evidence for this? Surely widespread destruction of Canaan at this time would leave signs in the archaeological record. This is usually discernible in the strata of any archaeological site.

The archaeological record definitely shows destruction events at sites like Jericho, Hormach, and Arad. The problem is, all such destruction events can be dated to the Early Bronze Age or the Middle Bronze Age, but not to the Late Bronze Age (Redford 1992: 265). In fact, these sites appear not to have been occupied in the period when the Hebrews were supposed to be sweeping through Canaan to establish their kingdom. Some sites do evidence destruction in the Late Bronze Age, of course, but this could’ve been more realistically the result of widespread invasions by the Sea Peoples—this federation was bested by Egypt at the end of the Bronze Age but wreaked havoc all over the Levant.

The fact is, as I intimated earlier, we can find no evidence for the existence of Israel prior to the end of the Bronze Age (c. 1200 BCE). For this we can turn to the king called Baenre-merynetjeru Merneptah hotep-her-maat (1212-1201 BCE), the son and successor of Ramesses II. Merneptah was the first Egyptian pharaoh to drive out incursions of the Sea Peoples, with their Libyan allies. This king then went on to invade neighboring regions to be certain the Sea Peoples would stay clear of Egypt. (They would in fact return in the next dynasty, during the reign of Ramesses III, but at least Merneptah didn’t live long enough to have to deal with them again.)

To celebrate his campaigns Merneptah erected the victory stela seen below:

Victory Stela of Mernetpah, Dynasty 19

This stela dates to around 1208 BCE. It is a particularly important piece of history—not so much for Merneptah’s military conquests but for one of the names of the vanquished appearing on the monument. It’s sometimes referred to as the Israel Stela because it contains the world’s first written mention of the name “Israel.” See the highlighted area below:

"Israel" on the Merneptah Victory Stela, 1208 BCE

This earliest mention of Israel, by the way, has led some scholars to argue that Merneptah was the pharaoh of Exodus. They represent a minority, however: most still argue in favor of Ramesses II.

The way the name is written is itself interesting. The determinative used in the script for Israel does not denote a nation or polity or city-state but simply a people, a tribe. It appears the Egyptians viewed these early Hebrews as semi-nomads. Archaeology of the Holy Land more or less corroborates Merneptah’s assessment.

A noticeable shift between “Canaanite” to “Israelite” culture appears in the highlands of Canaan at the end of the Bronze Age. In the span of only a few generations a dramatic social transformation was taking place in this central hill country scattered villages were popping up, as many as 250 in number (Finkelstein & Silberman 2001: 107).

This is as far back as we can trace the origins of the Hebrews. It correlates to the later periods of the Egyptian New Kingdom. At this time the entire eastern Mediterranean region was experiencing collapse and upheaval, for reasons still not clear to scholars. It allowed the Sea Peoples to depart from their Aegean and Asia Minor homelands to sweep south and invade the Levant. Hatti mysteriously disappears from history. Egypt falters and would never again be a great empire. Great polities like Babylon and Assur shrink back. Great cities like Ugarit are laid waste and never reoccupied.

It is in this vacuum that the people of Israel began to take root. By all accounts there was never an invasion from without, but an entire shifting of peoples in the Levant. As coastal Canaanite cities were experiencing turmoil and collapse, people fled inland. The once sparsely occupied central hill country was now dotted with the villages of a semi-nomadic people most scholars refer to as proto-Hebrew. The material culture they left for archaeologists of the present to discover, paints the picture of their origin and development. Many generations would pass in these highlands before there was actually a Hebraic kingdom centered on Jerusalem.

The events of Exodus, as portrayed in the Old Testament, never happened.

So what is Exodus actually about? Without a doubt later peoples believed in the historicity of Exodus, as many devout people do today, but what really happened? In all likelihood Exodus was one means by which the nascent kingdom of Jerusalem painted itself as legitimate: it was the rightful ruler of what was once Canaan.

Many historians feel Exodus may have been a conflation of several unrelated historical events (Wilkinson 2010: 313). For example, there probably was a dim memory among many ancient Near Easterners of the great Theran volcanic eruption that marked the beginning of the end for the Minoan thalassocracy of the Aegean. Modern carbon dating has confirmed that the eruption occurred between 1627-1600 BCE (Bruins 2010: 1489). The climatic upheaval caused by this devastating event could’ve created many of the biblical Plagues in Egypt. The death of the first-born is more mysterious, but it’s my own theory that this was but a distorted memory of a particularly deadly epidemic that took many lives, a great many children among them (the ancient Near East experienced any number of plague events that killed off the very young and the very old).

Although the Hyksos were not the Hebrews, and in fact lived a very long time before the earliest Hebrews, they were nonetheless Semitic peoples. They were violently expelled from Egypt around 1550 BCE by Ahmose I, but this itself could’ve been a distorted memory of Semitic peoples fleeing Egypt. The Hyksos themselves were for the most part exterminated by the Egyptians, but their memory was not. Perhaps they, too, found their way into the biblical Exodus: as the Hebrews under Moses.

I hope I’ve presented my case adequately. A secular approach to historical study will usually remove the fictions from the facts and leave us with something reliable to consider, but do not be mistaken. In my opinion this does not take away from the value of the Bible. It remains the greatest book ever written.

Brier, Bob, “Ramses the Great: The Twilight Years.” The Great Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. The Teaching Company. 2004.

Bruins, Hendrick J. “Dating Pharaonic Egypt.” Science, Vol. 328. 2010.

Dever, William G. Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From? 2003.

Finkelstein, Israel & Neil Asher Silberman. The Bible Unearthed. 2001.

Redford, Donald B. Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times. 1992.

Ramses Ii

Ramses II was perhaps the greatest pharaoh in the long, storied history of ancient Egypt's rulers. He ruled from approximately 1279 BCE to 1213 BCE, an astonishing 66 years. He began his rule while in his 20's and was close to one hundred years old when he died. During his long rule, Ramses II accomplished a great deal and left behind a legacy that dwarfs that of any other Egyptian pharaoh.

Ramses II was born to the pharaoh Seti I. There are no other known brothers of Ramses II so it is unknown if he had to compete for the right to the throne. When he did take power, Ramses II did much to advance Egyptian society. He is largely remembered for the wars he waged and his attempts to expand Egypt into the Hittite empire in Syria but in addition to that, Ramses II did much to improve his kingdom within its borders. He built a great deal of monuments and temples throughout the land. He also established several prosperous cities. Perhaps the most famous and influential city he established was the city of Per-Ramesses, which he set up as the new capital. This city also proved extremely useful during his war with the Hittites.

Ramses' war with the Hittites grew from his desire to expand Egypt into Syria. He used his newly-founded city of Per-Ramesses to prepare for war using it to produce thousands of weapons and hundreds of chariots. It also served as his base of operations during the war. Ramses II also proved to be a great warrior during these wars. Egyptian history displays him as a brave man who went into battle along with his troops. Modern science has proven that he indeed did fight in battle, as close inspections of his mummy reveal several fractures and puncture wounds that no doubt afflicted him for the rest of his long life. The war itself proved to be mostly indecisive. It consisted of Ramses II's forces slowly conquering a small strip of land only to have it return to Hittite control once the army would leave it. The biggest battle of the war was the.

The Issues

Egyptian Recordkeeping

Critics often say there’s no record of their crossing the Red Sea and that sort of thing – totally understandable why. Because the Egyptians never recorded any reverses, or any defeats, of any kind. This would diminish the glory of the pharaoh! So, can you imagine the pharaoh in charge saying “By the way, on my watch – under my administration – hundreds of thousands of Hebrew slaves were able to escape when we wanted them to stay in Egypt”? I mean, they’re not going to record this!

Dr. Paul L. Maier

Ok, maybe the Egyptians were embarrassed or whatever, but… that is not an answer to the skeptic’s challenge. That’s just saying that it’s true because there’s no evidence for it.

Michael Shermer, Penn & Teller: Bullshit!

It is unlikely that the 603,550 adult males plus women and children mentioned in the Exodus story would have gone unremarked by contemporary Egyptian records. That’s easily 2 million people (assuming one man, one woman, 1.5 children, which is very conservative). [19] But no Egyptian account mentions them. Or the plagues, which would be similarly unlikely not to have been recorded. There is no evidence of any of this. Given the standard of Egyptian record keeping of the time, this is an absence that would require explanation.

The Weighing of the Heart from the Book of the Dead of Ani. At left, Ani and his wife Tutu enter the assemblage of gods. At center, Anubis weighs Ani’s heart against the feather of Maat, observed by the goddesses Renenutet and Meshkenet, the god Shay, and Ani’s own ba. At right, the monster Ammut, who will devour Ani’s soul if he is unworthy, awaits the verdict, while the god Thoth prepares to record it. At top are gods acting as judges: Hu and Sia, Hathor, Horus, Isis and Nephthys, Nut, Geb, Tefnut, Shu, Atum, and Ra-Horakhty. / British Museum, Wikimedia Commons

Bible literalists claim that it did happen, but that the Egyptians destroyed all the records, for reasons generally unspecified, though embarrassment has been offered. This is contrary to the normal archaeological practice of testing a theory against the evidence, rather than the evidence against the theory.

Still, the plagues infesting Egypt would have completely devastated the country (if nothing else, all the drinkable water turning to blood!), yet no one outside Egypt mentions it, either. A devastated Egypt would have been remarked on by its neighbors and likely taken advantage of by one of them, yet none of that happened that we can tell. Egypt’s rivals certainly didn’t have an incentive to cover up such a disaster.

The alleged refusal by the Egyptians to record the events of the Exodus isn’t the only problem, as pointed out by eminent biblical scholar Michael Coogan , author of The Old Testament: A Very Short Introduction (published by Oxford University Press) [20]

We should observe that the biblical sources for the earlier periods are remarkably unspecific. Although pharaohs of Egypt are described as having had dealings with biblical figures such as Abraham, Joseph and Moses, none of the pharaohs referred to in the books of Genesis and Exodus is named by the biblical writers, so that we cannot fit them into the well-established chronology of ancient Egypt. Nor do Egyptian sources make any mention of the biblical figures. As a result, scholars have no conclusive answers to such questions as these: When did Abraham live or did he even exist? When did the Exodus from Egypt take place, if at all?

Archaeological Digs Dispute Exodus

Map of sites discussed in this article / Wikimedia Commons

The Book of Numbers gives a list of sites at which the Hebrews allegedly settled, in Sinai and its immediate surroundings, during the Exodus. Of these sites, a select few can be pinpointed relatively well by description and deduction. Two such sites are the Biblical Kadesh Barnea, modern Ein Qadis, and Ezion Geber, on the Israeli side of the border between Israel and Jordan, just outside Eilat. Both sites have been investigated archaeologically, and found to have been founded during the Ancient Near Eastern Late Iron Age — no earlier than 700/800 BCE, [21] with the obvious exception of early neolithic/nomadic activity.

However, many if not most of the places mentioned in the Exodus did not exist within the same chronological period as one another. Pithom (Per‐Atum/Tckenu) and Raamses (Per‐Ramesses), the two “treasure cities” claimed to have been built by the Hebrews, never existed at the same time. Pithom did not exist as a significant settlement before the 26th Dynasty. Prior to this, the settlement was known as Tckenu, and was still referred to as such in the Ptolemaic period. It was an obscure garrison town which mainly, if not exclusively, served as a waystation for Egyptian expeditions. Even in its enlarged Roman state, the town barely registered on either Egyptian or Greco–Roman accounts. [17] Per‐Ramesses, the Royal Residence of the Ramessides, was abandoned at the end of the New Kingdom, centuries earlier. [17]

Another example is the Exodus portrayal of Edom. Edom was not yet a nation. In fact, the region wasn’t even inhabited yet. The place the Hebrews stop at wasn’t even built until 800 BCE, as the earliest Iron Age settlements (copper mining camps) date to the 9th or 10th century BCE according to radiocarbon dating done by Thomas Levy (the previous estimates having been placed some 300 years later) [22] and the main excavated sites have been dated between the 8th and 6th centuries BCE. However, the latest the Exodus could have occurred and still be biblically accurate is in the 13th century BCE, meaning that if the radiocarbon dating is contested, the settlements would be estimated to be from the 12th or 13th century BCE, thus additionally slimming the “window of opportunity” for Exodus to have taken place.

No Sign of Plagues in Egypt

The mortuary temple of Hatshepsut / Wikimedia Commons

All of the dates put forward by advocates of the historicity of Exodus fail to correspond to any period of national chaos or collapse in Egypt, as would clearly be expected by such a series of disasters.

Ussher’s 1491 BCE date corresponds with a time of ambitious Egyptian expansion. The reign of Hatshepsut was stable, peaceful and saw extensive construction projects and trading missions this is known from actual material remains as well as Egyptian records. Her successor, Thutmose III, took Egypt to its greatest imperial extent, forging an empire from the Euphrates to the 4th and possibly the 5th cataract. These are not the signs of a nation that, just a few years before, had lost its entire harvest, its drinkable water, its army and its sons. There is no archaeological evidence at all of mass death and impoverishment in the early New Kingdom period.

The same holds true for the period of Ramesses II. Although there were a few brief reigns after Merenptah, and what appears to be an attempt to interfere with the line of succession (the Chancellor Bey affair), there is no evidence of national catastrophe. Not long after, during the reign of Ramesses III, the state was still able to construct numerous massive monuments (such as Medinet Habu and the temple of Ramesses III within the Karnak complex) and mount effective military campaigns on both land and sea.

Parting the Red Sea

The Crossing of the Red Sea, by Nicolas Poussin (1634) / National Gallery of Victoria, Wikimedia Commons

According to a map produced by the British Admiralty, while a short distance to both north and south the sea is over 900m deep, opposite Nuweiba it is a “mere” 765m deep. [23] Even if some mechanism could be suggested to produce a channel through such a depth of water, sending hundreds of thousands or even millions of people of all ages, plus accompanying animals, down steep cliffs and coral dropoffs that typify the Gulf of Aqaba, and then up the other side is clearly infeasible.

Creationists do not attempt to explain how the Red Sea might be parted (beyond repeating “Goddidit”). Tsunamis can cause the sea to retreat, though nothing approaching the kind of scale required to expose seabed over 700m below sea level. Even if such an unlikely event were possible, the arrival of the wave itself shortly afterward would destroy everything within the vicinity, including those people both on the seabed and on either coastline as well.

The scale of the event required to displace the water of the Red Sea all the way down to the seafloor, some 700 meters deep, for long enough that a drained corridor may form would probably have to be on the scale of an asteroid impact – which carries with it other problems for the Hebrews hanging out on the beach at the time.

Apologists who wish to defend the historicity of Exodus, but without the burden of the absolute implausibility of Moses having parted the Red Sea as described above, instead seek to direct us towards the Sea of Reeds explanation, arguing for an unfortunate “mistranslation” in the otherwise divinely proofread Bible:

People often have trouble with biblical miracles, including the stupendous ones like parting the waters of the Red Sea à la Cecil B. DeMille and so on… Probably didn’t happen that way at all. Probably, they did not cross the fifty-sixty-seventy mile wide Red Sea they crossed the Sea of Reeds, the “Reed Sea”. Now, you get a good north wind or a good offshore breeze or so, it will dry up the land.

Dr. Paul L. Maier

The downside to this attempted diversion, however, quickly becomes apparent:

Once you buy the “Red/Reed”-thing, well… They walked across a low-tide marsh on a windy day. What’s the miracle in that – the smell didn’t annoy them? And why give us a podunk explanation for a miracle – if it isn’t a miracle, it isn’t God! If it isn’t God, it’s a bullshit story! …Maier, you’re pissing on your own feet.

Penn Jillette [4]

Crunching Numbers and Other Issues

Some people with a calculator at hand have estimated that were those more than 600,000 males forming a single line, assuming a separation between them of a bit more than 1 meter, would stretch over around 800 kilometers (this without including females, children, chariots, and livestock) and if we include the latter, even assuming they were marching in files of ten, the numbers are not less ludicrous (and if we assume they formed scattered groups not only is the situation worse as they’d occupy a much larger area but also the Pharaoh’s forces would have found it much easier to attack the Israelite refugees).

Things just go downhill from here as you think on stuff like the logistical considerations of such a large population on the move across a searing hot desert during decades with just Bronze Age technology. Even if one left aside the issue of food and assumed they fed on manna (and also what about those people or animals who suffered an injury/illness that made them unable to continue, not to mention those (probably many) who were born and/or died in those 40 years and the very likely many things left behind for whatever reasons (broken, etc) during the journey?).

New Kingdom of Egypt

With the end of the 13 th Dynasty, Egypt was divided between three powers: Hyksos to the north, Egyptian kings in Thebes, and Nubians to the south. The problems to the north started when the capital was moved from Itj-tawi to Thebes. Taking advantage of weak control in the north, the Hyksos established themselves in the city of Hutwaret (Avaris on Hellenic), which grew into a trading center under their control. The name Hyksos is of a Hellenic origin, but the name the Egyptians were using was Heqau-khasut, meaning “Rulers of Foreign Lands”. The identity or origin of the Hyksos is still unknown, as well as how and why they came to Egypt. There are different theories for this question among scholars.

Senusret III (c. 1878-1860 BC) conquered Nubia and built many fortifications with military garrisons there. In the 13 th Dynasty, no new soldiers were sent there but the ones that were already there were not recalled, so the garrisons became their home. As the central government in Thebes didn’t take care of the southern border, the Kingdom of Kush developed it, with its’ capital at Kerma. The people of this kingdom were calling themselves Kushites, while the Egyptians called them Nubians from the Egyptian word “nub” (gold).

Later writers tell that this was a time of chaos, but archeological finds dispute these claims. The relations between the three governmental centers were good and trade continued between them. The names of the kings from the late 13 th up until the 16 th Dynasty are from foreign origins. Thebes and Avaris were on peaceful terms up until the 17 th Dynasty. The Egyptian King Seqenenra Taa (c. 1580 BC) led an expedition to Avaris. The reason was an insult from the Hyksos. Seqenenra Taa died in a battle. His son Kamose (c. 1575 BC) also attacked the Hyksos and was very successful however, the final blow came from his successor Ahmose I.

The 18 th Dynasty, Beginning of the New Kingdom (c. 1570- c.1069 BC)

Ahmose I (c. 1570-1544 BC) defeated the Hyksos in three battles, and united Egypt. His reign starts the 18 th Dynasty and the New Kingdom. He secured Egypt’s politics and power, and left stable rule for his successor, Amenhotep I (c. 1541-1520 BC). He continued his father’s politics and led few military campaigns in Nubia. In his time, the “Egyptian Book of the Dead” got his final approval. He was succeeded by Thutmose I (1520-1492 BC). He crushed a rebellion in Nubia and personally killed the Nubian king. He led military campaigns in Palestine and Syria. Thutmose II (1492-1479 BC), son of Thutmose I, was overshadowed by his wife and half-sister Hatshepsut (1479-1458 BC). Thutmose II had almost no power however, Hatshepsut was one of the most powerful rulers of the New Kingdom. They had one child, and Thutmose II had another child with another wife who later become Thutmose III (1458-1425 BC). When Thutmose II died, Thutmose III was still a child, so Hatshepsut became regent. She completed more projects than any king in Egypt, except for Ramesses II. The building projects later would be claimed by other pharaohs as theirs, and the name of Hatshepsut would be removed. The reasons for this are unclear. Thutmose III continued to expand Egypt’s borders further than ever before. He led 17 military campaigns, conquering kingdoms from Libya to Syria, and in the south to the area of Kurgus. He started many building projects and signed trade deals. His successor, Thutmose IV (1400-1390 BC) is best known for the restoration of the Great Sphinx at Giza. Egypt was one of the most influential kingdoms until the time of Amenhotep III (1386-1353 BC). He led military campaigns, constructed many building projects. However, during his reign, the priests of Amun started to become very powerful owned more land collectively than the pharaoh. In response to this, Amenhotep III aligned himself with the god Aten (god of the sun disc), however, this didn’t stop the growth of the priests of Amun. His successor Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) (1353-1336 BC) took this a step further and banished all gods and established monotheism. He is famous for establishing Aten as the only god and moving the capital from Thebes to Amarna (known as the Amarna Period). He changed his name from Amenhotep to Akhenaten after few years of reign as a response to the one and only god Aten. All temples dedicated to other gods were closed. After his death, he was succeeded by his son Tutankhamun (1336-1327 BC), who is most known for his tomb discovered in 1922 CE. He moved the capital to Memphis, reestablished the old religion and opened all the temples. He was succeeded by Horemheb (1320-1295 BC), who tried to remove the name of the Amarna Period pharaohs by destroying their buildings. He died without an heir and was succeeded by his vizier Paramesse, who took the name Ramesses I.

The 19 th Dynasty

Ramesses I (1292-1290 BC) rebuilt many temples. He sent his son, Seti I, on military campaigns to retake lost territories. Seti I (1290-1279 BC) continued his father’s policy. After his death, he was succeeded by the most famous Egyptian pharaoh, Ramesses II the Great (1279-1213 BC). He is best known for the epic Battle of Kadesh in 1274, where he claimed to have defeated the Hittites (even though it was recorded as a draw). He signed the world’s first peace treaty. He built many monuments and left so many inscriptions that there is no site in Egypt that does not carry his name. He moved the capital from Thebes to Per-Ramesses. Ramesses II died at age 96 and was succeeded by his son Merenptah (1213-1203 BC). Merenptah was succeeded by Amenmesse (1203-1200 BC), who was not a chosen successor. He usurped the throne from Seti II (1203-1197). He tried to remove any proof of Seti II’s existence, but after 1200 BC, there is no mention of him. Seti continued to rule until 1197 BC. He was succeeded by Merenptah Siptah (1197-1191 BC), who was 10 years old when he came to the throne. His mother Twosret ruled as a regent until his death and later ruled as Tausret (1191-1190 BC). After her death, the throne was usurped by Setnakhte.

The 20 th Dynasty

Setnakhte (1190-1186 BC) founded the 20 th Dynasty. He stabilized his power and defeated an invasion of the Sea People. He was succeeded by Ramesses III (1186-1155 BC), who defeated the Sea People for the final time. He is the last powerful pharaoh of the New Kingdom. Ramesses II was wounded in an assassination attempt and died from his injuries. His successors Ramesses IV (1155-1149 BC), Ramesses V (1149-1145 BC), and Ramesses VI (1145-1137 BC) struggled to keep their power. The priests of Amon grew too powerful. Nothing is known for the next pharaohs, Ramesses VII (1137-1130 BC), Ramesses VIII (1130-1129 BC), Ramesses IX (1129-1111 BC), Ramesses X (1111-1107 BC) and Ramesses XI (1107-1077 BC). All these pharaohs struggled as the priests grew more powerful in Thebes. The last pharaoh of the New Kingdom was Smendes I (1077-1051 BC). He buried Ramesses XI and proclaimed himself pharaoh however, he only ruled Lower Egypt. The death of Smendes I ended the New Kingdom and started the Third Intermediate period. Egypt would never become as strong as it was in the New Kingdom. The Third Intermediate period ended with the Persian invasion in 525 BC.


Qantir (Khatana-Qantir) is a village in Egypt. [1] Qantir is believed to mark what was probably the ancient site of the 19th Dynasty Pharaoh Ramesses II's capital, Pi-Ramesses or Per-Ramesses ("House or Domain of Ramesses"). It is situated around 9 kilometers (5.6 mi) north of Faqous in the Sharqiyah province of the eastern Nile Delta, about 60 miles north-east of Cairo. [2]

The ancient site of Avaris is located around 2 kilometers (1.2 mi) south of Qantir. This was the older city in this area. Later on, Avaris was absorbed by Pi-Ramesses.

  1. ^ K. Kris Hirst - A Glass Making Workshop for the Pharaoh Ramses II - History of Glass Making in Egypt's New Kingdom - Archaeology - Retrieved 20 August 2011.
  2. ^ Monroe Edgar - Qantir, Ancient Pi-Ramesse - Tour Egypt - Retrieved 20 August 2011.

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Did the Biblical Exodus Actually Happen?

The Old Testament Book of Exodus has played an essential role in world history. It represents one of the most fundamental aspects of Jewish religion and early history and is also recognized as an important event by Christians and Muslims. Beyond the religious connotations of the story, the Exodus has taken on its own life in modern times and has been used extensively as a metaphor in a variety of different contexts. For example, moving to a new location or taking a new job is often referred to as an “exodus,” which is usually complete with overtones of slavery and colonialism that are just as telling about modern sensibilities than anything about the relationship of the ancient Hebrews and Egyptians. The Exodus has also influenced modern pop culture, being the inspiration for numerous books, television shows, and movies, namely the 1956 hit, The Ten Commandments, starring Charlton Heston, or more recently, Exodus: Gods and Kings.

The world today is very different than the one when the Bible was written and portrayed in the Book of Exodus. People are generally more cynical and skeptical of legends and religious stories, so most would probably shrug off any suggestion that the biblical Exodus happened, but that would be a mistake. After a careful and objective examination of the Book of Exodus and archaeological and textual sources from Egypt, some of the most respected and renowned biblical archaeologists and Egyptologists are convinced that something significant happened in the Egyptian Delta during the Late Bronze Age that inspired the story of the Exodus.

The Ancient Hebrews

The term “Hebrew” will be used here because it is more anthropologically and historically accurate as it refers to the language spoken by a specific group of people from the Levant (the area roughly congruous with the modern-day nation-states of Israel, Palestine, and southwestern Syria). Although the Hebrews would later establish the Kingdom of Israel and become known as Jews, during the period of the biblical Exodus they were without a kingdom.

During the period when they were in Egypt, the Hebrews were just another Semitic speaking people from the Levant who were closely related to other Canaanites and for the most part indistinguishable from them in the eyes of the Egyptians. [1] The Old Testament heavily documents the history of the Hebrews’ sojourn in and exodus from Egypt, which although historically based, was “ideologically motivated . . . to drive home particular lessons of the past.” [2] With that in mind, it is critical to consider some of the more important biblical passages that relate the early Egyptian-Hebrew relationship.

In the Old Testament, the Hebrews’ first major encounters with the Egyptians take place in the Book of Genesis. The book describes Abraham’s descent into Egypt (Gen. 12:10-19), which some modern scholars believe took place around 2116, or during Egypt’s Tenth Dynasty of the First Intermediate Period (ca. 2125-1975 BC). [3] After Abraham, Joseph was the next major Hebrew figure to spend considerable time in Egypt, which was followed by a large migration of Hebrews into the Nile Delta.

Genesis 47:11 describes how Joseph gave his family land in the “land of Rameses” and later, in Exodus 1:11, the Hebrews are described as having “built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Rameses.” The references have helped modern scholars narrow down the chronology of the Exodus somewhat – there were eleven kings named Ramesses who ruled in the Nineteenth and Twentieth dynasties over a more than 200 year period. Of course, the movies portray the Exodus as taking place during the rule of Egypt’s most famous Ramesses, Ramesses II or Ramesses “the Great” (ruled ca. 1279-1213 BC), which seems to be supported by the Egyptian textual and archaeological evidence as will be discussed more below.

The area of the Hebrews’ settlement within Egypt was referred to as Goshen (Gen. 47:27). The Bible never relates many details about Goshen’s location or its topography, but based on evidence that will be discussed more later, it was almost certainly in the northeast Nile River Delta.

The Exodus and the Egyptian Sources

Egyptian sources never mention Joseph or refer to any Canaanite peoples as Hebrews. The Egyptians’ failure to specifically designate the Hebrews, though, does not preclude that a significant Hebrew population resided in Egypt before the Exodus. When it came to foreign peoples, the Egyptians were generally arrogant and somewhat xenophobic, especially if they were not from one of the major Near Eastern Kingdoms. The Egyptians generally referred to all peoples from the Levant as “Asiatics,” often with the pejorative adjective “vile” added on for good measure.

Despite having a general distaste toward the people of the Levant, large numbers of Canaanites began settling in Egypt, especially in the Delta, during the Middle Kingdom (ca. 2050-1710 BC), which would possibly coincide with the establishment of Goshen described in the Book of Genesis. Among the Canaanites who settled in Egypt, some were brought as slaves taken in war, while others arrived as merchants and tradesmen.

During the Second Intermediate Period (ca. 1800-1550 BC) a well-armed group from the Levant known as the Hyksos also made the Delta their home. [4] By the time of the New Kingdom (ca. 1550-1075 BC) the Hebrews were just one of many Canaanite peoples who lived apart from the native Egyptians but within their land and subject to their rulers.

The process of settling entire populations of foreign peoples in the Delta became more common and well-documented in the New Kingdom. Captured Canaanites continued to be settled in the eastern Delta, while the western Delta became the home of Libyan refugees and prisoners of war. Ramesses II is also known to have settled the mercenary Sea Peoples group, the Shardana, in the Delta. [5] So the idea that a large population of Hebrews resided in the Delta during the late New Kingdom is quite possible and more than likely probable.

After some time had passed, it is likely that the Egyptians would have turned to some of the foreigners for assistance in various political and economic matters, as was the case with Joseph in the Bible. The Late Bronze Age/Egyptian New Kingdom was a period when the most powerful kingdoms of the Near East were engaging each other in diplomacy, trade, and sometimes war in what was the world’s first global system. The Egyptian kings probably soon learned that their xenophobic attitudes were fine domestically, but when they dealt with the kings from other lands it was useful to know their language and cultural mores. It is this type of situation where a Hebrew like Joseph or Moses would have been exceptionally handy, and there is a historical precedent for these arrangements. During the late Nineteenth Dynasty, which would have been near the time when most scholars believe the biblical Exodus took place, an Asiatic/Canaanite named Bey rose to the position of chancellor and is thought of by many modern Egyptologists as a “king maker.” [6]

The Exodus According to the Bible

The most obvious problem that one runs into when using the Bible to reconstruct the historical validity of the Exodus is that it is a religious text. While that may be true, it is also a historical text that although different than the modern narrative history, it was nonetheless a historiographical tradition that contained “many ideas of history.” [7]

Since the Hebrews’ deliverance from Egypt was the most defining and decisive event in their early history and the primary influence on their historiographical tradition, [8] so the account is probably reasonably accurate, at least regarding the significant points. With that said, there are no mentions of any Egyptian kings by name in the Book of Exodus, and no Egyptian or other Near Eastern sources mention the mass Exodus.

As mentioned earlier, the Book of Exodus states that the Hebrews helped build Pithom and “Raamses” and worked in “bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field” (Exod. 1:14), which very well could have been the case if the Hebrews were brought to Egypt from the Levant as war booty. The fact that the Hebrews dwelled in Egypt in great numbers appears quite likely, and few biblical archaeologists or Egyptologists would doubt the possibility, but many consider the fabled “biblical plagues” to be the primary problem with the Book of Exodus’ historicity.

According to the Book of Exodus, God punished the Egyptians with ten plagues when the pharaoh refused to release the Hebrews from their captivity. The plagues were as follows: the Nile turned to blood (Exod. 7:14-24) swarms of frogs inundated the land (Exod. 7:25-8:11) a lice infestation (Exod. 8:20-32) disease killed the Egyptian livestock (Exod. 9:1-7) the Egyptian were inflicted with boils and lesions (Exod. 9:8-12) hail destroyed much of the crops (Exod. 9:13-35) locusts destroyed what was left (Exod. 10:1-20) darkness enveloped the land (Exod. 10:21-23) and the deaths of the firstborn (Exod. 11:4-7). All of these plagues seem pretty incredible, but when synthesized with the Egyptian sources and examined with scientific knowledge of Egypt’s climate and geography, the plagues specifically and the Exodus in general seem very plausible.

Synthesizing the Egyptian and Biblical Sources

Since Pithom and “Raamses” are the primary references to Egyptian names made in the Book of Exodus, identifying them is a good place to start. Pithom is a Hebrew translation of an Egyptian name, but Raamses is a reference to one of eleven Egyptian kings named Ramesses. After careful examination of both the Egyptian sources and the Bible, Kenneth Kitchen concluded that the Raamses referred to in Exodus 1:14 is the city of Per-Ramesses Aa-Nekhet (translated into English as “House of Ramesses, Great in Strength”) or simply known today as “Per-Ramesses” or “Pi-Ramesses.” [9] Per-Ramesses was a capital city built from scratch in the Nile Delta by Ramesses II, which would place Goshen in the Delta and the period of the Exodus during the reign of Ramesses the Great. The other important city mentioned in Exodus, Pithom, is believed to have been the city of Per-Atum (“House of Atum”), which was located to the southeast of Per-Ramesses, also in the Nile Delta. [10]

Skeptics have argued against the historicity of the biblical Exodus because the event is never mentioned in any Egyptian texts. They argue that a literate people such as the Egyptians would have recorded a such a significant event. Kitchen counters that there is no reason for the Hebrews to make up such a humiliating origin story, and d there is no example of the Egyptians ever memorializing a defeat. Furthermore, the reason why more archaeological evidence has not been recovered from the Delta is due to the high water table and reuse of ancient monument bricks in modern times. [11]

When presented with the above evidence, most will agree that a large number of Hebrews probably lived in the Egyptian Delta, but skeptics often continue to point to the biblical plagues as an a-historical passage in the Book of Exodus. During the 1950s, biblical scholar Greta Hort presented a thoughtful study where she argued that all of the plagues were common throughout history.

More recently, Kitchen updated Hort’s arguments. The scholars argued that the plagues began in July or August around the time of the annual inundation of the Nile Valley and ended about nine months later, with each of the events happening in a logical succession. The Nile River turning to blood was the result of oxygen fluctuations, which killed much of the fish population, forcing the frogs to flee and die, bringing infection to the valley, The excessive water would have attracted more insects, such as lice, and the livestock would have then been infected with anthrax. Locusts then arrived from the southeast, as they often did in ancient times in the region, and the darkness took hold of Egypt in March or April when seasonal winds create dust storms that block out the sun.

As the Egyptian people were infected with various maladies caused by the perfect storm of weather and disease, the children would have been the most susceptible and prone to death. [12] Of course not all of Egypt would have been effected uniformly, and the Hebrews would also have suffered, which would have been another reason for their Exodus.


The historicity of the Old Testament Book of Exodus has been debated for generations. Followers of the Jewish and Christian religions believe that the book accurately tells the story of how the Hebrews escaped enslavement in Egypt, while skeptics have written the account of as purely a religious story.

After a careful examination of the Book of Exodus, along with evidence from Egypt, many modern biblical scholars and Egyptologists have determined that a sizable migration of people from Egypt probably did take place in the Late Bronze Age. The event was quickly forgotten by the Egyptians, who never wrote about defeats of any kind, but became the primary historical origin story for the people who would create the Kingdom of Israel approximately 200 years later.

Weapons in Ancient Egypt

The ancient Egyptian military is often imagined in modern films and other media as a heavily armed and disciplined fighting force equipped with powerful weapons. This depiction, however, is only true of the Egyptian army of the New Kingdom (c. 1570-1069 BCE) and, to a lesser extent, the army of the Middle Kingdom (2040-1782 BCE), when the first professional armed force was created by Amenemhat I (c. 1991-1962 BCE). Prior to this time, the army was made up of conscripts from different districts (nomes) who were enlisted by their respective governors (nomarchs). Although this early army was certainly effective enough for its purpose, it was not a group of professional soldiers equipped with the most effective weaponry. Egyptologist Helen Strudwick notes:

Soldiers of the Old and Middle Kingdoms were fairly inadequately equipped. The only development in weapons since Predynastic times had been the replacement of flint blades with those of copper. (464)

Weaponry in ancient Egypt developed in response to its necessity. The early bows, knives, and axes of the Predynastic Period in Egypt (c. 6000-c.3150 BCE) through the Old Kingdom (c. 2613-2181 BCE) were sufficient in putting down local rebellions or conquering neighbors on the border, who were similarly armed but were not the most efficient. As Egypt expanded its influence throughout neighboring regions and came into conflict with other nations, they needed to make a number of adjustments one of these was in weaponry.


Early Egyptian Weapons

In the Early Dynastic Period in Egypt (c. 3150-c.2613 BCE), military weaponry was comprised of maces, daggers, and spears. The spear had been developed by hunters during the Predynastic Period and changed very little except, like daggers, the tip changed from flint to copper. Even so, the majority of spear- and arrowheads from the Old Kingdom of Egypt seem to have been largely flint. An Egyptian soldier would have carried a spear and dagger, and a shield probably made of animal hide or woven papyrus.


These weapons were supplemented during the Old Kingdom by archers who used a simple single-arched bow with reed arrows and flint or copper tips. These bows were difficult to draw, were only effective at close range and, even then, were not very accurate. The archers, like the rest of the army, were drawn from the lower-class peasantry and would have had little experience with a bow in hunting. Egyptologist Margaret Bunson describes the Old Kingdom army:

The soldiers of the Old Kingdom were depicted as wearing skull caps and carrying clan or nome-totems. They used maces with wooden heads or pear-shaped stone heads. Bows and arrows were standard gear, with square-tipped flint arrowheads and leather quivers. Some shields, made of hides, were in use but not generally. Most of the troops were barefoot, dressed in simple kilts, or naked. (168)

Weapons, and the military in general, did not begin to develop significantly until the Middle Kingdom of Egypt. When the central government of the Old Kingdom collapsed, it initiated the era known as the First Intermediate Period of Egypt (c. 2181- 2040 BCE) in which the individual nomarchs had more power than the king. These nomarchs would still send conscripts to the government when called upon but were free to exercise their own power and extend it beyond their districts if they wished.

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This is precisely what did happen when Mentuhotep II of Thebes (c. 2061-2010 BCE) elevated his city from just another nome in Egypt to the capital of the country. Mentuhotep II defeated the ruling party at Herakleopolis c. 2040 BCE and united the country under Theban rule.

The Middle Kingdom Army

Mentuhotep II initiated the Middle Kingdom through military might, but it was Amenemhat I who organized the first professional fighting force. As in earlier eras, these soldiers were equipped with weapons sufficient for their purpose but were still far from what they would eventually become. Strudwick describes the Middle Kingdom forces:


The heavy infantry carried wood and leather shields, copper-headed spears and swords. The light infantry were armed with bows and primitive arrows made from a bronze alloy and reed shafts. Troops had neither protective helmets nor armour. (464)

Archers in this period still used the same single-arched bow and the same type of arrows, carried in a long quiver slung over the back by a strap. Daggers were copper blades riveted to handles and the sword was simply a long dagger. Since the blades were riveted to the handles, instead of the weapon being cast as a single piece, they were not as strong. One powerful blow from an opponent could snap a sword's blade from its handle.

Other weapons used at this time were the slicing axe and the spear. The slicing axe was a long wooden shaft with a crescent copper blade fitted into a notch at one end. The weapon would be wielded with two hands in a swinging motion, almost like a scythe, moving from side to side. A Middle Kingdom sword would have proved fairly ineffective against this weapon.

Although it does not seem the soldiers wore armor at this time, they did have protective gear in the form of leather shirts and kilts. These would not have afforded much protection against a volley of arrows or the slicing axe but were probably better than nothing. A typical soldier in the field would have been equipped with a sword, shield, and spear, and probably a dagger for close fighting. Archers would have naturally carried their bow and arrows and probably a dagger.


This was the army of Senusret III (c. 1878-1860 BCE), considered the greatest king of the era and the most powerful warrior. Senusret III became the basis for the later legends of the great king Sesostris who, according to the Greek writer Diodorus Siculus, conquered the known world of his time. Senusret III, of course, did no such thing, but he did expand Egyptian territory through numerous military campaigns and ruled so effectively that his reign is largely responsible for the Middle Kingdom's enduring reputation as a 'golden age.' Even so, all of these weapons and the army itself would soon change dramatically through an event the Egyptians of the Middle Kingdom could not ever have conceived of.

The Hyksos & Egyptian Weaponry

The Middle Kingdom is considered the 'classical age' of Egyptian culture and history, but toward the end, the central government became weak and distracted by its own difficulties. A people known as the Hyksos, who had probably been trading with Egypt for some time, were allowed to gain a permanent foothold in Lower Egypt at the city of Avaris and soon were powerful enough to enforce their will through political and military measures.

Egypt had never experienced anything like the Hyksos before, and later writers would routinely refer to this time (known as the Second Intermediate Period of Egypt, c. 1782-1570 BCE) as the 'Hyksos Invasion,' a term which is still used today. There never was an invasion of the Hyksos, however, and claims to the contrary consistently focus on propaganda from the New Kingdom of Egypt or Manetho's wildly exaggerated version of events as cited in Josephus. While there was certainly armed conflict between the Hyksos and the Egyptians, there is no archaeological evidence and no solid textual evidence for the level of destruction and slaughter the New Kingdom scribes regularly ascribe to the Hyksos.


There is ample evidence, however, that the Hyksos improved Egyptian culture in a number of significant ways and, notably, through weaponry. Prior to the arrival of the Hyksos, the Egyptians had no knowledge of the horse or horse-drawn chariot, they were still using the single-arched bow and were equipped with swords which were not always reliable in pitched battle. Egyptologist Barbara Watterson describes the contributions of the Hyksos to Egyptian weaponry:

The Hyksos, being from western Asia, brought the Egyptians into contact with the peoples and the culture of that region as never before and introduced them to the horse-drawn war chariot to a composite bow made from wood reinforced with strips of sinew and horn, a more elastic weapon with a greater range than their own simple bow to a scimitar-shaped sword, called the Khopesh, and to a bronze dagger with a narrow blade cast in one piece with the tang. The Egyptians developed this weapon into a short sword. (60)

The Khopesh (also given as Khepesh) sword was cast entirely of bronze and the handle then wound with hide and cloth and, with more expensive blades, ornamented. This curved sword was much more effective than any the Egyptians had used in the past. The war chariot, manned by archers with the new composite bow and a large quiver attached to the side, would prove one of Egypt's most significant military assets, and the battle axe, made of bronze attached to a haft, was far more effective than the flint or copper axes bound to wooden shafts in the past. The slicing axe is probably the only weapon which Hyksos technology could not improve upon.

The New Kingdom Army

The Hyksos did far more than simply provide the Egyptians with better weapons they gave them a reason to use them. Egypt had never been governed by a foreign power before, but during the Second Intermediate Period, the Hyksos held the ports of Lower Egypt and a significant amount of territory in the region while the Nubians had been able to expand into Upper Egypt and establish fortifications there. Only Thebes in Upper Egypt, between these two foreign powers, was ruled by Egyptians until Ahmose I of Thebes (c. 1570-1544 BCE) drove the Hyksos from the country, defeated the Nubians, and unified Egypt under his rule, initiating the New Kingdom.

Interestingly, excavations at the site of Avaris have uncovered weapons of both the Hyksos and the Egyptian forces from the assault of Ahmose I. These finds show that the Hyksos' blades had become inferior not only to the Egyptians' but to their own earlier work. It seems that, by this time, the Hyksos were making weapons largely for ceremonial, rather than practical, use. Egyptologist Janine Borriau notes:

Battle axes and daggers from stratum D/3 were of unalloyed copper, whereas weapons from earlier strata were made of tin bronze, which produced a weapon with a far superior cutting edge. In contrast, weapons of the same period from Upper Egypt were made of tin bronze and this would have given the Thebans a clear advantage in hand-to-hand fighting. (Shaw, 202)

Ahmose I used these weapons effectively against both the Hyksos and the Nubians to secure Egypt and then embarked on a campaign of conquest which his successors would continue. The monarchs of the New Kingdom were determined that never again would a foreign nation gain such power in Egypt and so expanded the country's borders to provide a buffer zone which then grew into the Egyptian Empire. The campaigns of Ahmose I through those of Thutmose III (1458-1425 BCE) steadily expanded Egypt's territory, which then grew further under later pharaohs. As the army encountered new adversaries, they learned from them as Strudwick explains:

By the New Kingdom, the Egyptian army had begun to adopt the superior weapons and equipment of their enemies - the Syrians and Hittites. The triangular bow, the helmet, chain-mail tunics, and the Khepesh sword became standard issue. Equally, the quality of the bronze improved as the Egyptians experimented with different proportions of tin and copper. (466)

The weapons of the Egyptian army were now quite different from those of the Old Kingdom and so was the military itself. Bunson writes:

The army was no longer a confederation of nome levies but a first-class military force. organized into divisions, both chariot forces and infantry. Each division numbered approximately 5,000 men. These divisions carried the names of the principal deities of the nation. (170)

Unlike the early army which went to battle under the banners of their nomes and clans, the New Kingdom army fought for the welfare of the entire country, bearing the standards of the universal gods of Egypt. The king was the commander-in-chief of the armed forces with his vizier and subordinates handling the logistics and supply lines. The chariot divisions, in which the pharaoh rode, were directly under his command and divided into squadrons with their own captain. There were also mercenary forces, like the Medjay, who served as shock troops.

Iron Weapons & Decline

Shields in the early New Kingdom were made of wood covered with animal hide, and the swords continued to be of tin bronze until after the Battle of Kadesh in 1274 BCE between the Egyptians under Ramesses II (1279-1213 BCE) and Muwatalli II (1295-1272 BCE) of the Hittites. This engagement was the campaign Ramesses II was most proud of and the victory he had announced through inscriptions, monuments, and the famous Poem of Pentaur and The Bulletin which narrate the triumph. Modern scholars have concluded that the battle was more of a draw than a victory for either side, but both the Egyptians and their Hittite adversaries claim to have won the day.

The Battle of Kadesh resulted in the world's first peace treaty in 1258 BCE between Ramesses II and Hattusili III, the successor of Muwatalli II. Egyptologist Jacobus Van Dijk explains the new relationship which was then formed between the two powers:

As a result of the peace treaty with the Hittites, specialist craftsmen sent by Egypt's former enemy were employed in the armoury workshops of Pieramesse to teach the Egyptians their latest weapons technology, including the manufacture of the much sought-after Hittite shields. (Shaw, 292)

These shields, like the Hittite swords and armor, were made of iron, and the city of Per-Ramesses became an important industrial center for the manufacture of arms as Egyptologist Toby Wilkinson describes:

State-of-the-art high-temperature furnaces were heated by blast pipes worked by bellows. As the molten metal came out, sweating laborers poured it into molds for shields and swords. In dirty, hot, and dangerous conditions, the pharaoh's people made the weapons for pharaoh's army. (313-314)

These iron weapons could not be made in great quantity, however. Forging iron required charcoal from burnt lumber, and Egypt had few trees. Egypt entered the so-called Iron Age II in c. 1000 BCE but still could not generate the number of iron weapons they needed to equip the whole army. Ramesses II's successor, Merenptah (1213-1203 BCE) would defeat the combined forces of the Libyans and Sea Peoples using the tin bronze sword as would Ramesses III (1186-1155 BCE) in the final battle between the Sea Peoples and Egypt.

Ramesses III is the last effective monarch of the New Kingdom. Although the Egyptian military had iron weapons by c. 1000 BCE, grand war chariots, and a professionally trained force, the army was only as effective as those who commanded. As the New Kingdom declined, the army followed suit, and even though there were brilliant monarchs who ruled in both the Third Intermediate Period and the Late Period of Ancient Egypt, they no longer, for the most part, had the resources or skill to effectively deploy the army in the field.


Per is not the name of any hieroglyph in existance. The proper name would be pr. However, I don't know if even then pr is notable enough to have an article on it itself. Thanatosimii 19:52, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Even the starters, the very beginners of hieroglyphs, especially when they grab the modern dictionaries, will Understand. that Per = Pr. What is preferable is not up to me, or of concern to me. Both will continue to be used. (I assume.)

The following is the original list with the Per (hieroglyph)s. I assume this will not get vandalized. And the cabal terminology gets a whole new meaning when it becomes a "Wikepedia"–"Cabal". [But. if you can get away with it, the more power to U!]

Yes, even the starters will realize per is pr, however they'll also realize that per is incorrect. Thanatosimii 04:41, 21 February 2007 (UTC) There Is No Cabal (TINC). We discussed this at the last Cabal meeting, and everyone agreed that There Is No Cabal. An announcement was made in Cabalist: The Official Newsletter of The Cabal making it clear that There Is No Cabal. The words "There Is No Cabal" are in ten-foot letters on the side of the 42-story International Cabal Headquarters, and an announcement that There Is No Cabal is shown at the start of every program on The Cabal Network. If that doesn't convince people that There Is No Cabal, I don't know what will. --Guy Macon (talk) 04:39, 14 August 2019 (UTC)

  • per-aa– Pharaoh
  • pa-per-aa– Papyrus
  • Per-Ab– Thoth
  • Per-Amun– Pelusium – Kemetic reconstructionism
  • Per-Heh– Kemetic reconstructionism
  • Per-Aat– Heliopolis (ancient)
  • Per-Atum– Heliopolis (ancient)
  • Per-Atum– Setnakhte
  • Per-Banebdjedet– Mendes
  • Per-Bast– Bast (mythology)
  • Per-Bast– Bubastis
  • Per-Bastet– Zagazig
  • Per-Bastet– Zagazig
  • Per-Hai– Malqata
  • Per-Hay– Amenhotep III
  • Per-Hay– Great Temple of the Aten – Aphroditopolis
  • Per-Heh– Kemetic reconstructionism
  • Per-Nebyt– Ramesses V
  • Per-Nemty– Hieracon
  • Per-Ramesses– Avaris, History of ancient Egypt
  • Per-Sekhemkheperre– Takelot III – Sopdu
  • Per-t– Season of the Emergence – Necho II
  • Per-Wadjet– Buto, Wadjet
  • Per-Yinepu– Anubis

(And its a good thing no-one gets to Vote on a Rename.). from the SonoranDesert, Arizona. (Author of Article(or Former Article)) -Mmcannis 02:37, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

I would like to see hieratic equivalences to the heiroglyphs - not just for Pr, but for all of them. (20040302 (talk) 23:06, 26 February 2016 (UTC))

Watch the video: The Reconstruction of Pi-Ramesses (August 2022).