Ramses II was perhaps the greatest pharaoh in the long, storied history of ancient Egypt's rulers. He ruled from approximately 1279 BCE to 1213 BCE, an astonishing 66 years. He began his rule while in his 20's and was close to one hundred years old when he died. During his long rule, Ramses II accomplished a great deal and left behind a legacy that dwarfs that of any other Egyptian pharaoh.
Ramses II was born to the pharaoh Seti I. There are no other known brothers of Ramses II so it is unknown if he had to compete for the right to the throne. When he did take power, Ramses II did much to advance Egyptian society. He is largely remembered for the wars he waged and his attempts to expand Egypt into the Hittite empire in Syria; but in addition to that, Ramses II did much to improve his kingdom within its borders. He built a great deal of monuments and temples throughout the land. He also established several prosperous cities. Perhaps the most famous and influential city he established was the city of Per-Ramesses, which he set up as the new capital. This city also proved extremely useful during his war with the Hittites.
Ramses' war with the Hittites grew from his desire to expand Egypt into Syria. He used his newly-founded city of Per-Ramesses to prepare for war; using it to produce thousands of weapons and hundreds of chariots. It also served as his base of operations during the war. Ramses II also proved to be a great warrior during these wars. Egyptian history displays him as a brave man who went into battle along with his troops. Modern science has proven that he indeed did fight in battle, as close inspections of his mummy reveal several fractures and puncture wounds that no doubt afflicted him for the rest of his long life. The war itself proved to be mostly indecisive. It consisted of Ramses II's forces slowly conquering a small strip of land only to have it return to Hittite control once the army would leave it. The biggest battle of the war was the...
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