Early Life & FamilyRamses the Great - The Pharaohs - The People
The Infamous Pharaoh who built many of the best known Monuments that remain standing today
Maybe because his own rule started with very little experience after the early demise of his own father, Pharaoh Ramses I, Pharaoh Seti I raised his Crown Prince and Successor to be his co-Regent. This entitled him to his own household including his Harem and his expected presence on the battlefield with Pharaoh. But Ramses was not initially raised to be King. His older brother, perhaps Prince Nebenkhasetneb, was due for the role but regrettably died when Ramses was about 14 years old. Ramses elevation to the status of Regent would have, in part, been to placate any worrisome feelings that those in Egypt may still have held from the unstable Amarna years under the reign of Pharaoh Akhenaten and his successors. This was just another proof of Seti I’s genius which was well regarded during and after his lifetime. But in securing the Throne for his family his genius was about to become eclipsed by his own son’s reign!
Ramses’ Military career commenced at the age of approx. 10 when he was made Head of the Army. This had progressed by the time he reached his early twenties when he is known to have been leading armies into Nubia separately from his father’s own campaigns.
Image shows a Relief inside the Great Temple of Pharaoh Seti I at Abydos. The Relief of Pharaoh Seti I and Crown Prince Ramses making offerings of ducks or geese to Gods
During his period as Regent, it is thought that Ramses married the women who appears to anyone to have been his true love. Who? Nefertari. Why? The now named Smaller Temple at Abu Simbel. Ramses built it purely for Nefertari’s benefit so her name would be remembered for all eternity and she would be glorified along with her husband, only the second Queen in Egyptian history to have received this honour. Despite her non royal blood Ramses treated Nefertari with huge deference and reverence throughout their marriage.
Together, Ramses and Nefertari had 4 sons and 2 daughters:
- Prince Amunherkhepeshef: Crown Prince and Commander of the Troops
- Prince Pareherwenemef: First Brave of the Army, Superintendent of the Horse & First Charioteer of His Majesty
- Prince Meryatum: High Priest of Re in Heliopolis
- Prince Meryre
- Princess Meritamen: becomes Great Royal Wife after her mother’s death
- Princess Henuttawy: becomes Great Royal Wife after her mother’s and sister’s death
They may have had another 2 Daughters together, namely, Nefertari & Baketmut, who perhaps died in infancy or early childhood. The thinking behind this is that Nefertari and Ramses are portrayed as the Great Pharaoh and Great Royal Wife with their 8 children on their gigantic Temples at Abu Simbel.
Ramses, as was the expected custom of the time, would go on to marry many more wives and father many more children.