19th Dynasty


Ramesses I


Ramesses I (Re has Fashioned Him) was the founding Pharaoh of the Nineteenth dynasty. He acceded to the throne on the death of Horemheb, being given the praenomen Menkheperure (Eternal is the Strength of Re).

Ramesses I was Vizier and chosen successor to Horemheb under his birth name of Paramesse. On assuming power he changed his name to that of Ramesses. His Great Royal Wife was Queen Sitre, with whom he had a son, Seti I. There is some debate around the identity of Ramesses' wife and Seti's mother. A Stela dated to the reign of Sitre's grandson Ramesses II describes Seti as the son of Paramesse and Tia. It can be assumed that Tia and Sitre are the same person and that she altered her name when her husband became pharaoh. The fact that one of the daughters of Ramesses II was named Tia-Sitre makes it even more likely.

Ramesses I - reliefs from the Abydos chapelWhile Ramesses I was the founder of the 19th Dynasty, in reality his brief reign marked the transition between the reign of Horemheb who had stabilised Egypt and the rule of the powerful Pharaohs of this dynasty, in particular Seti I and Ramesses II, who would bring Egypt up to new heights of imperial power.

Ramesses enjoyed a very brief reign, probably in the order of 17 months. The aged Ramesses was buried in the Valley of the Kings. His tomb, discovered by Giovanni Belzoni in 1817 and designated KV16, is small in size and gives the impression of having been completed with haste. His mummy was not in the tomb, but was eventually found in the DB320 cache.

Seti I, his son, and successor, later built a small chapel with fine reliefs in memory of deceased father Ramesses I at Abydos (a relief from which is pictured above). In 1911, John Pierpont Morgan donated several exquisite reliefs from this chapel to the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
Ramesses I
Ramses

Ramesses I

............Reign: 1292–1290 BC

..Predecessor: Horemheb
i.g..Successor: Seti I

...yi..i..Father: Unknown
...i..f...Mother: Unknown

...iiiSpouse(s): Sitre


.nw..Children: Seti I


...ii.....Nomen:
..
Ramesses I - cartouche
.....(Re has Fashioned Him)

..

..i.i..Tomb No: KV16



Seti I


Seti I (Man of Set, beloved of Ptah) was the second Pharaoh of the Nineteenth dynasty. He acceded to the throne on the death of his father, Ramesses I, being given the praenomen Menmaatre (Eternal is the Justice of Re).

Seti I was the son of Ramesses I and Queen Sitre. His Great Royal Wife, Queen Tuya, bore him two sons, Amennefernebes and Ramesses and a daughter, Tia. He may also have had a second daughter, Henutmire. His eldest son Amennefernebes appears to have died early in his youth leaving Ramesses as the heir to the throne.

Seti I - Temple of Seti I, AbydosAfter the social upheavals generated by Akhenaten's religious reform, the main priority was to re-establish order in the kingdom. Seti I fought a series of wars in Western Asia, Libya and Nubia in the first decade of his reign.

The traditional view of Seti I’s wars, based on the chaotic picture of Egyptian controlled Syria and Palestine seen in the Amarna letters, was that he restored the Egyptian empire after it had been lost in the time of Akhenaten. Recent study, however, indicates that the Empire was not lost at this time, except for its northern border provinces of Kadesh and Amurru in Syria and Lebanon.

While evidence for the military activities of Akhenaten, Tutankhamun and Horemheb is fragmentary or ambiguous, Seti I has left us an impressive war monument that glorifies his achievement along with a number of texts, all of which tend to magnify his personal achievements on the battlefield.

A funerary temple for Seti was constructed in what is now known as Qurna (Mortuary Temple of Seti I), on the west bank of the Nile at Thebes while a magnificent temple made of white marble at Abydos featuring exquisite relief scenes was started by Seti, and later completed by his son.

Seti's well preserved tomb (KV17) was found in 1817 by Giovanni Battista Belzoni, in the Valley of the Kings. Seti's mummy itself was not discovered until 1881, in the mummy cache (DB320) at Deir el-Bahri. From an examination of Seti's extremely well preserved mummy, Seti I appears to have been less than forty years old when he died.
Seti I
Sety, Sethos

Seti I - unwrapped mummy of Seti I, photographed in 1889

............Reign: 1290–1279 BC

..Predecessor: Ramesses I
i.g..Successor: Ramesses II

...yi..i..Father: Ramesses I
...i..f...Mother: Sitre

...iiiSpouse(s): Tuya


.nw..Children: Amennefernebes,
.................i.....Ramesses II,
.................i.....Tia,
.................i.....Henutmire (?)


...ii.....Nomen:
..
Seti I - cartouche
..(Man of Set, beloved of Ptah)

..

..i.i..Tomb No: KV17



Ramesses II


Ramesses II (Re has fashioned him, beloved of Amun) was the third Pharaoh of the Nineteenth dynasty. He acceded to the throne on the death of his father, Seti I, being given the praenomen Usermaatre-Setepenre (The justice of Re is powerful, chosen of Re). Also known as Ozymandias in Greek sources, Ramesses II is often regarded as Egypt's greatest and most powerful pharaoh. His successors and later Egyptians called him 'the Great Ancestor'. He is traditionally believed to have been the Pharaoh of the Exodus.

Ramesses was appointed Prince Regent by his father Seti I and came to the throne in his early 20s. He had eight Great Royal Wives, the most notable of whom were Isetnofret and Nerertari. His other Great Royal Wives were his own daughters Bintanath, Meritamen, Nebettawy and Henutmire (according to another theory she might have been his sister), and two daughters of Hattusilis III, King of Hatti.

Ramesses II had a considerable number of children, between 40-56 sons and 40-44 daughters. Lists of his children were found in the Ramesseum, Luxor, Wadi es-Sebua and Abydos. Many of his sons were buried together in the tomb KV5 in the Valley of the Kings.

As king, Ramesses II led several expeditions north into the lands east of the Mediterranean (the location of the modern Israel, Lebanon and Syria). He also led expeditions to the south, into Nubia. Ramesses built extensively throughout Egypt and Nubia. He established the city of Pi-Ramesses on the Nile Delta as his new capital. Most notable of his buildings are his memorial temple, the Ramesseum in the western Thebes, and the rock temples of Abu Simbel.

Ramesseum - colonnadeThe Ramesseum is located in the Theban necropolis, across the Nile from the modern city of Luxor. Oriented northwest and southeast, Ramesses II's mortuary temple comprised two stone pylons, some 60m wide, one after the other, each opening onto a courtyard. Beyond the second courtyard, at the centre of the complex, lies a 48-column hypostyle hall (pictured left), surrounding the inner sanctuary. Remains of the second court include part of the internal facade of the pylon and a portion of the Osiride portico on the right. Scenes of war and the rout of the Hittites at Kadesh are repeated on the walls. Scattered remains of the two statues of the seated king can also be seen, one in pink granite and the other in black granite, which once flanked the entrance to the temple.

The twin temples of Ramesses II at Abu Simbel in southern Egypt, were built as a lasting monument to himself and his queen, Nefertari, and to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Kadesh.

Abu Simbel - Temple of Ramesses IIThe site was discovered in 1813 by Johann Burckhardt, but not finally entered until 1817 (by Giovanni Belzoni), due to the accumulation of sand covering the temples. The complex was relocated in its entirety in the 1960s, on an artificial hill high above the Aswan dam reservoir, to avoid the site being submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser.

The tomb of Nefertari was discovered by Ernesto Schiaparelli in 1904. Although looted in ancient times, the tomb is regarded as one of the greatest achievements of ancient Egyptian art because of its magnificent wall decoration.

Nefertari - from her tombA flight of steps leads to the antechamber, which is decorated with paintings based on chapter 17 of the Book of the Dead. The east wall of the antechamber is interrupted by a large opening flanked by representation of Osiris at left and Anubis at right; this in turn leads to the side chamber, decorated with offering scenes, preceded by a vestibule in which the paintings portray Nefertari being presented to the gods who welcome her.

On the north wall of the antechamber is the stairway that goes down to the beautifully decorated, four pillared, burial chamber. Originally, the queen's red granite sarcophagus lay in the middle of this chamber.

In 1995, Professor Kent Weeks, head of the Theban Mapping Project rediscovered Tomb KV5. It has proven to be the largest tomb in the Valley of the Kings, and was the burial site of at least six of the sons of Ramesses II.

When he finally died, Ramesses was about 90 years old. He was buried in the tomb KV7 in the Valley of the Kings. His mummy was not found in the tomb but was discovered in the DB320 cache. The body was reasonably intact, and when the outer bandages were removed, a hieratic docket revealed that Ramesses II had been rewrapped and reburied in the tomb of Seti I (KV17) before eventually being interred at Deir el Bahri where it was found in 1881.
Ramesses II
Ramses II, Rameses II

Ramesses II - from the Ramesseum, Thebes

............Reign: 1279–1213 BC

..Predecessor: Seti I
i.g..Successor: Merenptah

...yi..i..Father: Seti I
...i..f...Mother: Tuya

...iiiSpouse(s): Henutmire,
.................i.....Isetnofret,
.................i.....Nefertari,
.................i.....Bintanath,
.................i.....Meritamen,
.................i.....Nebettawy,
.................i.....Maathornererure

.nw..Children: Amun-her-khepsef,
.................i.....Ramesses,
.................i.....Pareherwenemef,
.................i.....Khaemweset,
.................i.....Mentu-her-khepsef,
.................i.....Nebenkharu,
.................i.....Meryamun,
.................i.....Amunemwia,
.................i.....Seti,
.................i.....Setepenre,
.................i.....Meryre,
.................i.....Horherwenemef,
.................i.....Merenptah,
.................i.....Amenhotep,
.................i.....Itamun,
.................i.....Meryatum,
.................i.....Nebentaneb,
.................i.....Meryre,
.................i.....Amunemopet,
.................i.....Senakhtenamun,
.................i.....Ramesses-Merenre,
.................i.....Thutmose,
.................i.....Simentu,
.................i.....Mentuemwaset,
.................i.....Siamun,
.................i.....Ramesses-Siptah,
.................i.....Mentuenheqau,
.................i.....Astarteherwenemef,
.................i.....Geregtawy,
.................i.....Merymontu,
.................i.....Ramesses-Maatptah,
.................i.....Ramesses-Meretmire,
.................i.....Ramesses-Meryamun,
.................i.....Ramesses-Meryastarte,
.................i.....Ramesses-Merymaat,
.................i.....Ramesses-Meryseth,
.................i.....Ramesses-Paitnetjer,
.................i.....Ramesses-Siatum,
.................i.....Ramesses-Sikhepre,
.................i.....Ramesses-Userhepesh,
.................i.....Ramesses-Userpehti,
.................i.....Bintanah,
.................i.....Baketmut,
.................i.....Nefertari,
.................i.....Meritamen,
.................i.....Nebettawy,
.................i.....Isetnofret,
.................i.....Henuttawy,
.................i.....Werenro,
.................i.....Nedjemmut,
.................i.....Pypuy,
.................i.....Nebetiunet,
.................i.....Renpetnefer,
.................i.....Merytkhet,
.................i.....Mut-tuya,
.................i.....Meritptah,
.................i.....plus others

...ii.....Nomen:
..
Ramesses II - cartouche
.(Re has Fashioned Him, beloved of Amun)

..

..i.i..Tomb No: KV7



Merenptah


Merenptah (Beloved of Ptah, joyous is truth) was the fourth Pharaoh of the Nineteenth dynasty. He acceded to the throne on the death of his father, Ramesses II, being given the praenomen Baenre Merynetjeru (The Soul of Re, Beloved of the Gods). He was the thirteenth son of Ramesses II and only came to power because all his older brothers had predeceased him, by which time he was almost sixty years old.

Merenptah - making an offeringMerenptah was probably the fourth child of Ramesses II by his Great Royal Wife Isetnofret. His own Great Royal Wife, also named Isetnofret, was most likely his full sister. Together they had a son, Seti II. Merneptah was also married to Queen Takhat, who bore him a daughter, Twosret. Ramesses II had a second son, Prince Merenptah and may also have been the father of Amenmesse.

Merenptah fought several military campaigns during his reign, including a battle against a combined Libyan and 'Sea Peoples' force at the city of Perire, probably located on the western edge of the Nile delta. Merenptah also moved the administrative centre of Egypt from Pi-Ramesses, his father's capital, back to Memphis, where he constructed a royal palace next to the temple of Ptah.

KV8 - From left wall of First CorridorMerenptah suffered from arthritis in old age and died of natural causes after a reign which lasted for nearly a decade.

Merenptah was originally buried in tomb KV8 in the Valley of the Kings, but his mummy was not found there. In 1898 it was located along with eighteen other mummies in the mummy cache found in the tomb of Amenhotep II (KV35) by Victor Loret in 1898.
Merenptah
Merneptah

Merenptah - Bust

............Reign: 1213–1203 BC

..Predecessor: Ramesses II
i.g..Successor: Seti II

...yi..i..Father: Ramesses II
...i..f...Mother: Isetnofret

...iiiSpouse(s): Isetnofret,
.................i.....Takhat

.nw..Children: Seti II,
.................i.....Merenptah,
.................i.....Twosret,
.................i.....Amenmesse (?)

...ii.....Nomen:
..
Ramesses II - cartouche
.(Re has Fashioned Him, beloved of Amun)

..

..i.i..Tomb No: KV8



Seti II


Seti II (Man of Set, beloved of Ptah) was the fifth Pharaoh of the Nineteenth dynasty. He acceded to the throne on the death of his father, Merenptah, being given the praenomen Userkheperure Setepenre (Powerful are the Manifestations of Re, Chosen by Re).

Seti II was the son of Merenptah and Isetnofret. Seti II had three wives: his Great Royal Wife Twosret (possibly his half sister), Takhat and Tiaa. Twosret is known to have survived him since she later served as Siptah's queen regent before she succeeded to the throne in her own right.

Seti II had to deal with many serious plots, most significantly being the accession of a rival named Amenmesse, possibly a half brother, who seized control over Thebes and Nubia in Upper Egypt during his second to fourth regnal years. Evidence that Amenmesse was a direct contemporary with Seti II's rule includes the fact that Seti II's tomb (KV15) was deliberately vandalised with many of Seti's royal names being carefully erased during his reign. The erasures were subsequently repaired by Seti II's agents. This suggests that Seti II's reign at Thebes was interrupted by the rise of a rival: king Amenmesse in Upper Egypt.

Seti II - shrines of Seti II at KarnakPrior to his fifth year, however, Seti II finally defeated Amenmesse. Seti II then launched a damnatio memoriae campaign against all inscriptions and monuments belonging to Amenmesse. Seti II's agents completely erased both scenes and texts from the tomb of Amenmesse (KV10).

Seti II had 3 tombs built: for himself, his Great Royal Wife Twosret and Chancellor Bay (KV15, KV14 and KV13). Due to the relative brevity of his reign, Seti's tomb was unfinished at the time of his death.

Twosret later rose to power after the death of Seti II's successor, Siptah. According to a graffito written in the first corridor of Twosret's tomb (KV14), Seti II was buried in KV15 in 'Year 1, IV Peret day 11' of Siptah. Seti II's body was not found in the unfinished KV15 tomb, however, but in the KV35 cache.
Seti II
Sety, Sethos

Seti II - holding a shrine to the god Amun

............Reign: 1203–1197 BC

..Predecessor: Merenptah
i.g..Successor: Siptah

...yi..i..Father: Merenptah
...i..f...Mother: Isetnofret

...iiiSpouse(s): Twosret,
.................i.....Takhat,
.................i.....Tiaa

.nw..Children:


...ii.....Nomen:
..
Seti I - cartouche
..(Man of Set, beloved of Ptah)

..

..i.i..Tomb No: KV15



Amenmesse


Amenmesse (Born of Amun) was also nominally the fifth Pharaoh of the Nineteenth dynasty. In all probability he was not Merenptah's intended heir, that role falling to Merenptah's son and Crown Prince, Seti II. It would appear, however, that Amenmesse was a rival for the throne who usurped power in Upper Egypt and Nubia sometime during Years 2 to 4 of Seti II's reign. He was given the praenomen Menmire Setepenre (Eternal like Re, Chosen by Re).

Queen Takhat - mother of AmenmesseAmenmesse's mother was Queen Takhat, who was either a minor wife of Merneptah or a later royal wife of Ramesses II, or both.

The scenario of Amenmesse being a rival to the throne best explains the pattern of destruction to Seti II's tomb which was initially ransacked but later restored by Seti II's officials.

The ransacking of the tomb implies that the respective reigns of Amenmesse and Seti II were aligned; Seti II must have initially controlled Thebes in his first and second years during which time his tomb was excavated and partly decorated. Then Seti was ousted from power in Upper Egypt by Amenmesse whose agents desecrated Seti II's tomb. Seti would finally defeat his rival Amenmesse and return to Thebes in triumph whereupon he ordered the restoration of his damaged tomb.

Little is known of Amenmesse's short reign. There is also confusion about the events surrounding his death. From the obliteration of texts and scenes from his tomb in the Valley of the Kings (KV10), it is assumed that Seti II took revenge upon the usurper.

Amenmesse's tomb was also opened in antiquity. While the remains of three mummies were found in this tomb, two women and one man, it is uncertain if any of these remains belong to Amenmesse or Takhat. Surviving inscriptions mentioning Takhat's name suggest she was buried in Amenmesse's tomb, but neither her mummy nor that of Amenmesse have ever been found.
Amenmesse
Amenmesses, Amenmose

Amenmesse - statue head

............Reign: 1201–1199 BC

..Predecessor: Seti II
i.g..Successor: Seti II

...yi..i..Father: Merenptah (?)
...i..f...Mother: Takhat

...iiiSpouse(s): Tiya?

.nw..Children:

...ii.....Nomen:
..
Amenmesse - cartouche
...........(Born of Amun)

..

..i.i..Tomb No: KV10


Siptah


Siptah (Son of Ptah) was the penultimate Pharaoh of the Nineteenth dynasty. He acceded to the throne as a child on the death of Seti II, being given the praenomen Akhenre-meryamun (Beautiful for Re, Beloved of Amun).

SiptahSiptah was the son of an obscure Queen named Sutailja, of Asiatic origin. His father's identity is unknown; both Seti II and Amenmesse have been suggested. Some Egyptologists speculate that it is probably more likely to have been Amenmesse rather than Seti II since both Siptah and Amenmesse spent their youth in Chemmis in Upper Egypt.

Due to his age and perhaps his problematic parentage, he was placed under the guidance of his stepmother, the queen regent Twosret.

Siptah died sometime during his 6th regnal Year. After his death, the Queen regent, Twosret, assumed the throne and ruled Egypt for a brief while.

KV47 - First corridor ceilingSiptah was buried in the Valley of the Kings, in tomb KV47, but his mummy was not found in the tomb. In 1898, it was discovered along with 18 others in a mummy cache within the tomb of Amenhotep II (KV35).

An examination of Siptah's mummy reveals that he died around the age of 16 and likely suffered from polio with a severely deformed and crippled left foot. The study of his tomb shows that it was conceived and planned in the same style as those of Twosret and Bay, clearly part of the same architectural design.
Siptah


Siptah - from his sarcophagus

............Reign: 1197–1190 BC

..Predecessor: Seti II
i.g..Successor: Twosret

...yi..i..Father: Amenmesse (?)
...i..f...Mother: Sutailja

...iiiSpouse(s):

.nw..Children:

...ii.....Nomen:
..
Siptah - cartouche
......(Ramesses, Son of Ptah)

..

..i.i..Tomb No: KV47


Twosret


Twosret (Mighty Lady) was the last Pharaoh of the Nineteenth dynasty. She acceded to the throne on the death of Siptah, being given the praenomen Sitre-meryamun (Daughter of Re, Beloved of Amun).

Twosret was the daughter of Takhat and king Merenptah and the Great Royal Wife of Seti II. After her husband's death, she became regent to Seti's heir Siptah, jointly with Chancellor Bay. When Siptah died, Twosret assumed the throne as pharaoh in her own right.

Twosret's short reign ended in a civil war which is documented in the Elephantine stela of her successor Setnakhte (who became the founder of the Twentieth dynasty). It is not known whether she was overthrown by Setnakhte or died of natural causes.

KV14 - View of the first burial chamberTwosret's tomb (KV14) displays several phases of construction, reflecting the changing status of Twosret from royal wife under Seti II, to regent during the reign of Siptah, and finally to independent ruler at the end of the 19th dynasty.

The tomb was taken over in the 20th dynasty for the burial of Setnakhte. In most instances, the image and name of the queen were replaced with those of Setnakhte.

The remains of Setnakhte were not in the tomb, but have since been found in KV35. Likewise the whereabouts of Twosret's remains are uncertain. Her granite sarcophagus was recently found in KV13 where it had been re-used for the burial of prince Amenherkhepeshef.
..
Twosret constructed a mortuary temple next to the Ramesseum, but it was never finished. A cartouche of hers believed to come from Qantir in the Delta has been found, and her name has been found associated with the turquoise mines in the Sinai.
Twosret
Tausret, Tawosret

Twosret - at Amada Temple, Nubia

............Reign: 1190–1188 BC

..Predecessor: Siptah
i.g..Successor: Setnakhte

...yi..i..Father: Merenptah
...i..f...Mother: Takhat

...iiiSpouse(s): Seti II

.nw..Children:

...ii.....Nomen:
..
Twosret - cartouche
......(Mighty Lady, Chosen of Mut)

..

..i.i..Tomb No: KV14


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