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Ramesses.1 For ancient Egyptian kings thus named, use Ramses. 2 For Ramses in the Bible, see RaamsesRaamses
, in the Bible, city of the eastern delta of Egypt, built by Hebrew slave labor. It was rebuilt by Ramses II. The Ramses in the books of Genesis and Numbers is the region of the central eastern delta.
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(also Ramses), pharaohs in ancient Egypt. The best known are discussed below.
Rameses II (throne name Usermare-Setepnere). Pharaoh of the 19th dynasty, from the late 14th to mid-13th centuries B.C.
Under the rule of Rameses II, Egypt achieved great power. Rameses carried on a protracted struggle against the Hittites, which resulted in Egypt securing Palestine and southern Syria. He transferred his residence from Thebes to the northeastern delta, where the city of Pi-Ramessu (“house of Rameses”), later called Tanis, was built. There was a great deal of construction during his reign, including new temples in Abydos and Thebes, additions to the temples in Karnak and Luxor, and the cave temples of Abu Simbel. Wars and enormous expenses for the upkeep and construction of temples reduced the classes of laborers to ruin, while at the same time, the aristocracy and priesthood grew wealthy.
Rameses IV (III; throne name Usermare-Meriamon). Pharaoh of the 20th Dynasty, from the late 13th century through the 1170’s B.C. Some scholars refer to him as Rameses III because they do not include Rameses-Siptah of the 19th dynasty, who ruled about 1210 B.C.
Rameses IV repulsed an attack of the Sea Peoples on Lower Egypt. During his reign, the country continued to weaken, a process which had begun in the mid-13th century. Rameses sought support among mercenaries and the priesthood and made enormous contributions to the temples. He built the mortuary temple of Medinet Habu, near Thebes. His reign was filled with popular disturbances. Rameses was killed as a result of a palace plot.
The successors of Rameses IV (III) all had the name Rameses, and in the literature they are usually referred to as the Ramessides. The last of the Ramessides, Rameses XII (XI), ruled from 1112 to 1070 B.C.
I. S. KATSNEL’SON