Monday May 31, 2021’s Smile of the Day: Ramesses II
On this Day:
In 1279 BC, Ramesses II, also known as Ramesses the Great, became Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt (19th Dynasty).
Ramesses II, variously also spelled Rameses or Ramses, ‘Ra is the one who bore him’ or ‘born of Ra’, c. 1303 BC – July or August 1213; reigned 1279–1213 BC), also known as Ramesses the Great, was the third pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt. He is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the New Kingdom, itself the most powerful period of Ancient Egypt. His successors and later Egyptians called him the “Great Ancestor”.
He is known as Ozymandias in Greek sources (Koinē Greek: Οσυμανδύας, romanized: Osymandýas), from the first part of Ramesses’s regnal name, Usermaatre Setepenre, “The Maat of Ra is powerful, Chosen of Ra”.
Ramesses II led several military expeditions into the Levant, reasserting Egyptian control over Canaan. He also led expeditions to the south, into Nubia, commemorated in inscriptions at Beit el-Wali and Gerf Hussein. The early part of his reign was focused on building cities, temples, and monuments. He established the city of Pi-Ramesses in the Nile Delta as his new capital and used it as the main base for his campaigns in Syria. At fourteen, he was appointed prince regent by his father, Seti I. He is believed to have taken the throne in his late teens and is known to have ruled Egypt from 1279 to 1213 BC. Manetho attributes Ramesses II a reign of 66 years and 2 months; most Egyptologists today believe he assumed the throne on 31 May 1279 BC, based on his known accession date of III Season of the Harvest, day 27. Estimates of his age at death vary; 90 or 91 is considered most likely. Ramesses II celebrated an unprecedented thirteen or fourteen Sed festivals (the first held after thirty years of a pharaoh’s reign, and then, every three years) during his reign—more than any other pharaoh. On his death, he was buried in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings; his body was later moved to a royal cache where it was discovered in 1881, and is now on display in the Egyptian Museum (per Wikipedia).
First, a Story:
The ancient Egyptians began a practice of burying their pharaohs inside several layers of coffins.
This was the earliest example of multicasking.
Second, a Song:
The Pharaohs’ Golden Parade (Arabic: موكب المومياوات الملكية) was an event held in Cairo, Egypt on 3 April 2021, during which twenty-two mummies belonging to Kings and Queens of the New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt were moved from the Egyptian Museum to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat.
The twenty-two mummies that were moved were discovered in two locations, the Royal Cache in Deir el-Bahari and the tomb of Amenhotep II, in 1881 and 1898, respectively. Since their discovery, they had been moved multiple times, until they were finally placed at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square. Over the years, due to the increasing number of archaeological discoveries, the Egyptian Museum started to lose its ability to fully show the artefacts placed in it, which led the government to plan new museums including the Grand Egyptian Museum and the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC). Ahead of the event, the government began renovating Tahrir Square by putting together a broken-up Obelisk from Tanis that was built by King Ramesses II in the middle of the square, surrounded by four Sphinxes that were brought from the Karnak Temple in Luxor, in addition to lighting work done in buildings overlooking the square.
In order to be transported the mummies were placed in containers with a nitrogen atmosphere. The containers were transported in vehicles that had been fitted with decoration based on Egyptian funerary boats.
The Parade started at 6:30 PM local time. It included a concert by the United Philharmonic Orchestra led by Egyptian maestro Nader Abbasi, and composed by Egyptian artist Hisham Nazih. The concert included chants in Ancient Egyptian sung by Egyptian soprano Amira Selim. The lyrics of the song performed by her, “A Reverence for Isis”, were taken from inscriptions on the walls of the Deir el-Shelwit temple in Luxor. Other lyrics used came from the Book of the Dead and the Pyramid Texts. Two more songs in Classical Arabic and Egyptian Arabic were performed by Reham Abdel Hakim and Nesma Mahgoub respectively.
Multiple recordings were shown during the parade, including one of Egyptian actors and actresses in many Ancient Egyptian archaeological sites, as well as a video of Egyptian actor Khaled El Nabawy touring many sites around Egypt that have been restored in the past few years. During the parade, roads leading to or near the two museums were closed and under heavy security. At the door of the NMEC, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi received the convoy, which was met with a 21-gun salute by the Republican Guard.
During the move, screens were fitted along parts of the route to block views of poorer areas.
Mummies moved: The carriages moved in chronological order of their reigns:
King Seqenenre Tao
King Amenhotep I
King Thutmose I
King Thutmose II
King Thutmose III
King Amenhotep II
King Thutmose IV
King Amenhotep III
King Seti I
King Ramesses II
King Seti II
King Ramesses III
King Ramesses IV
King Ramesses V
King Ramesses VI
King Ramesses IX
The identity of the Thutmosis I mummy has been questioned, as has that of the mummy of Thutmose II (per Wikipedia).
Here is the prelude to the The Pharaohs Golden Parade explaining the event and showing scenes of the existing and new museums that house all these ancient artifacts. I hope you enjoy this!
If you wish to watch the full version of The Pharaoh’s Golden Parade and concert in HD (45:20) click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kaf0LxcVV4. It is really quite stunning!
Thought for the Day:
“Women enjoyed rights in Egypt they would not again enjoy for more than 2,000 years. They owned ships, ran vineyards, filed lawsuits, practiced medicine. Their husbands supported them after divorce. Their power was unprecedented.” – Stacy Schiff
Have a great day!
Dave & Colleen
© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky