The life, dramatic reign, and enduring legacy of the pharaoh Ramesses the Great, with lessons for the present, from internationally acclaimed Egyptologist Toby Wilkinson
Ramesses II ruled the Nile Valley and the wider Egyptian empire from 1279 to 1213 B.C., one of the longest reigns in pharaonic history. He was a cultural innovator, a relentless self-promoter, and an astute diplomat-the peace treaty signed after the Battle of Kadesh was the first in recorded history. He outbuilt every other Egyptian pharaoh, leaving behind the temples of Abu Simbel; the great hypostyle hall of Karnak; the tomb for his wife Nefertari; and his own memorial, the Ramesseum.
His reputation eclipsed that of all other pharaohs as well: he was decried in the Bible as a despot, famed in literature as Ozymandias, and lauded by early antiquarians as the Younger Memnon. His rule coincided with the peak of ancient Egypt's power and prosperity, the New Kingdom (1539-1069 B.C.).
In this authoritative biography, Toby Wilkinson considers Ramesses' preoccupations and preferences, uncovering the methods and motivations of a megalomaniac ruler, with lessons for our own time.