Monday, 25 February 2013

Rameses II 1304-1237bc begins his career of conquest

Rameses II is one of the most famous of the Egyptian pharaohs. He fought wars of conquest across the Middle East, using the spoils and plunder to build magnificent monuments in Egypt - some of which survive to the present day and ensure his lasting fame.

In the century before Rameses became Pharaoh, Egypt had been torn apart by religious disputes and a succession of short-lived pharaohs. In 1320bc Sety I became ruler and set about rebuilding Egyptian power and wealth. His work was only partially complete when he died and left the task to his son, Rameses II. The young man was only about 20 years old, his exact date of birth is unknown, but he was determined to make Egypt great.

Rameses began by establishing garrisons along Egypt’s western frontier to control the nomadic tribes of the deserts. He also continued improving transport and other links inside Egypt, especially those to the Red Sea along which trade travelled to the south and east.

The real problem for Rameses was to the northeast. Egypt had long enjoyed huge influence over the lands stretching from the Red Sea to the Euphrates River. Some areas had been ruled directly by Egypt, others had recognised Egyptian overlordship and paid tribute. In the years of trouble this power had been lost. Sety had rebuilt diplomatic links and had imposed Egyptian influence as far north as the Orontes River.

When Sety died the Hittite King Muwatallis, who ruled what is now Turkey attacked. He hoped that the young Rameses would be too weak and inexperienced to resist. The Hittites captured the key fortress city of Kadesh on the Orontes. Rameses led an army of 20,000 men, divided into four divisions, north to face the Hittites.

from "Conquerors" by Rupert Matthews.

Buy your copy HERE

Book Description

3 Sep 2009 Treasures and Experiences Series
The world's great conquerors blazed trails of blood, havoc and destruction across the pages of world history. Their exploits have excited, appalled and amazed generations of people, and today's readership is no exception. Some conquerors did nothing but pillage, loot and kill. Others set out to create new empires and new civilizations from the lands that they overran. Historians have painted some conquerors as little better than savage beasts devoid of culture or feeling, but others have come down to us as highly civilized individuals bringing culture and the arts in the wake of their conquering armies. "Conquerors" looks at 13 of the most successful empire builders, up to the eighteenth century, that the world has ever seen. Each conqueror is detailed in turn; the scope of their conquests is examined together with the backgrounds to their careers and the results that followed after their deaths.

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