Ramesses II, (born c. 1303 BC; died July or August 1213 BC; reigned 1279–1213 BC), was the third pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt.

He is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire. His successors and later Egyptians called him the “Great Ancestor”. Ramesses II led several military expeditions into the Levant, reasserting Egyptian control over Canaan. He also led expeditions to the south, into Nubia, commemorated in inscriptions at Beit el-Wali and Gerf Hussein.

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. Estimates of his age at death vary; 90 or 91 is considered most likely. Ramesses II celebrated an unprecedented 14 sed festivals (the first held after thirty years of a pharaoh’s reign, and then every three years) during his reign—more than any other pharaoh. On his death, he was buried in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings; his body was later moved to a royal cache where it was discovered in 1881, and is now on display in the Cairo Museum (featured image).

Ramses_II_charging_Nubians
Ramesses II charging against the Nubians