Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs

Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs

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Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs


In Ancient Egypt there were over 29 Kings and Pharaohs and over 5 Queens. Some of the most famous kings and queens were: Ramses II, Ramses III, King Tut, Cleopatra, and Nefertiti.

Ramses II (reigned 1279-1212 BC), ancient Egyptian king, third ruler of the 19th dynasty, the son of Seti I. During the early part of his reign Ramses fought to reign the territory in Africa and Western Asia that Egypt had held during the 16th and 15th centuries BC. His principle opponents were the Hittites, a powerful people of Asia Minor, against whom he waged a long war upon. The major battle of this war was fought in 1274 at Kadesh, in Northern Syria, was hailed by Ramses as such a great triumph. In 1258 BC a treaty was signed whereby the contested lands were divided and Ramses agreed to marry the daughter of the Hittite king.

The remaining years of his rule were distinguished by the construction of such monuments as the rock-hewn temple of Abû Simbel, the great hypostyle hall in the Temple of Amon at Al Karnak, and the mortuary temple at Thebes, known as Ramesseum.

Ramses III (reigned 1182-1151 BC), Egyptian king of the 20th dynasty, a great military leader who repeatedly saved the country from invasion. In the 5th year of his reign, Ramses defeated an attack by the Libyans from the west, and two years later he routed invaders known as the Sea Peoples. In his 11th year he again repelled an attempted attack by the Libyans. Ramses was also a builder of temples and palaces in the tradition of his 19th-dynasty predecessor, Ramses II. His victories are depicted on the walls of his mortuary temple at Medinet Habu, near Luxor. Egyptian records tell of a strike by workers at Ramses's burial site and a plot against the king near the end of his reign. Ramses III was the last of the great rulers and after his death there were centuries of weakness and foreign domination.

King Tut or Tutankhamun (reigned 1343-1325 BC), Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty, the son-in-law of Akhenaton, whom he succeeded. He became Pharaoh about the age of 9 and ruled until his death; which was about the age of 18. Peace was brought to Egypt during his reign as the worship of Amon, abandoned under Akhenaton, was restored and Thebes, the city sacred to Amon, was again made Egypt's capitol.

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Although he was not an important king, Tutankhamun is well known today because of his tomb, containing fabulous treasurers, was found virtually intact by the British archaeologists Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon in 1922.

Cleopatra (69-30 BC), ill-fated queen of Egypt (51-30BC), celebrated for her love affairs with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. Cleopatra, or more precisely, Cleopatra VII, was the daughter of Ptolemy XII Auletes, king of Egypt. On her father's death in 51BC Cleopatra, then about 17 years old, and her brother, Ptolemy XIII, a child of about 12 years, succeeded jointly to the throne of Egypt with the provision that they should marry. In the third year of their reign Ptolemy, encouraged by his advisers, assumed sole control of the government and drove Cleopatra into exile. She promptly gathered an army in Syria but was unable to assert her claim until the arrival at Alexandria of Julius Caesar, who became her lover and espoused her cause. He was for a time hard pressed by the Egyptians but ultimately triumphed, and in 47BC Ptolemy XIII was killed. Caesar proclaimed Cleopatra queen of Egypt.

Cleopatra was forced to marry her younger brother by custom, Ptolemy XIV, then about 11 years old. Later on in the marriage Antony killed himself because of a false report that the queen had died. After hearing that Antony killed himself Cleopatra then committed suicide, probably by poison, or by tradition, the bite of an Asp.
Nefertiti, ancient Egyptian queen who was the chief wife of Akhenaton, the pharaoh of Egypt, with whom she initiated many religious, artistic, and cultural changes. Nefertiti may have exercised the priestly office, a position normally reserved for kings.
Akhenaton, who reigned from about 1350 to 1334BC, was the first pharaoh to establish worship of one god. He directed exclusive worship of the sun god, Aton, of which Nefertiti was a devout follower. In honor of Aton, Akhenaton changed his name to mean "beneficial to Aton" (he was originally called Amenhotep IV) and established the capital Akhetaton (now the site of Tall al 'Amârinah). In the 12th year of Akhenaton's reign, Nefertiti apparently fell from favor and was replaced by Meritaten, one of her six daughters.
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