Who is the most famous pharaoh?


Everyone knows Tutankhamun, it seems, simply because his tomb was discovered a hundred years ago and found mostly undisturbed. He was just a boy when he was King and died young and unaccomplished. Cleopatra is also famous — primarily for her famous lovers, and for being the last Pharaoh. But the most famous in his day and age? The greatest? The one who ‘made Egypt great again’? Ramesses II

Ramesses II was a badass to the max. He reigned for 66 years, dying at the ripe old age of 91. He was already fighting wars in Syria at the age of 14 back when he was his father Seti’s crown prince. He also fathered 200(!) children, built countless monuments and expanded his empire enormously. Under his reign, one of his sons built the world’s first library, safeguarding knowledge for future generations. The Greeks knew Ramesses as “Ozymandias”. His face is the only one of all the characters in the Bible who we have seen. This is the face of a guy who’d known Moses. But also a man so powerful that to him, Moses would have been little more than a flea.
When they found the remains of Ramesses, he was found to still possess some of his original hair, which was curly and reddish in color as well as most of his teeth. He appeared to be in remarkably good shape for a man his age. I remember being amazed as a boy to read of how long he had lived, all those thousands of years ago. Long before Christ, the Romans, Alexander the Great. Back in the days when somewhere far away in a remote corner of Siberia the final mammoths were slowly dying out, there was a leader in Egypt so powerful, ruling so long, that few of his subjects had any recollection of life before his ascension to power.
He died, as all men do. His numerous descendants now encompass most of current Egypt and the Middle East. When they found his mummified remains and flew them abroad to preserve them, the Egyptian government issued the great Pharaoh, ancestor of all of Egypt, a passport.
As a sign of ultimate respect, they wrote on the passport, underneath profession: ‘King (deceased)’.

As a sign of ultimate respect, they wrote on the passport, underneath profession: ‘King (deceased)’.

By Jean-Marie Valheur

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