Ancient Egyptian facts, king Ramses II and the Sed festival

King Ramses II and Sed festival

We will talk here about some ancient Egyptian facts.

The first fact: king Ramses II.

The second fact: Sed festival.

  1. The fact about king Ramses II

No other king had the fame of this man who ruled Egypt for 67 years and overflowed the country with his achievements.

He was the 3rd pharaoh of the 19th dynasty.

He was about 25 years old when he ascended the throne.

At the beginning, he decided to complete all of his father’s unfinished achievements in order to be settled on the throne.

He also used all the mines of the desert which were dug by his father.

Around the 4th year of his reign, he went to inspect the situation in Asia and the next year he prepared his army and was determined to end the cold war with the Hittites.

Facts about battle of Kadesh

The Hittite king called ‘Moteli’ wanted by all means to destroy completely the Egyptian army in order to guarantee the complete control over Asia.

So he united all the princes of these lands in a big coalition against Egypt and marched to Kadesh.

Ramses II then moved towards “Kadesh” with his four divisions (Amon- Re- Ptah- Seth) and reached the Asy River.

The Hittites were quite clever so they planted two Asian spies for Ramses II to be captured and mislead the Egyptian army which apparently caught the bate and marched towards the river with Amon’s army only without waiting for the rest of his armies in order to surprise the Hittite army which was retreating as they were told by the two spies (as agreed with the Hittite king Moteli).

When the Hittites started to attack the Egyptians they were taken by surprise and there was a state of disorder within the Egyptian troops.

So Ramses II had to participate himself in the battle in order to encourage his soldiers, and luckily enough he was capable of avoiding a true disaster on the first day of the battle.

In the second day, the rest of the armies of Ramses II had already arrived and he was capable of gaining a victory (according to the records of Ramses II).

However, by comparing both the Egyptians and the Hittites records we could conclude that none of the two armies gained a full victory.

On the other hand, in his 8th year of his reign, he led another punitive expedition towards the land of Palestine.

While that one was a complete success because first it maintained order in this part of the world and secondly he added some more parts to his empire, and thirdly the Hittite king stopped for good arranging any plots against Egypt.

The conflict which took place between the Hittites and the Assyrians made the Hittite new king called ‘khatusili’ think of gaining the Egyptian friendship and support, so he signed a peace treaty with Ramses II in his 21st year of reign.

Khatusili then came to Egypt with his daughter whom Ramses II took as a wife in order to guarantee peace and security in Asia for a while.

Ramses II later was fortunate enough that the Hittite kingdom collapsed due to the continues Indo-European immigrations, which gave the chance to Ramses II to construct a series of fortresses on the western borders, but it now became the duty of his son Merenptah to deal with the rising power.

Ancient Egypt facts about Ramses II’s family and achievements

Ramses II ruled for about 67 years whom which he had many wives and mistresses, the most important of all were ‘Nefertari’ and the Hittite princess.

He wanted his son ‘Kham Was’ to be his successor but he died in his father’s 55th year of his reign.

Many other sons of Ramses II died early as well, so it was Merenptah who was number 13 among his brothers, the son of ‘Ist Nfrt’, who succeeded Ramses II.

We are not quite sure how many children did Ramses II have but he definitely had more than 150 of them.

Ramses II besides being a great warrior he was also defined as the ‘master of builders’ from his large amount of achievements which were scattered all over Egypt:

  • He built many parts in Karnak temple, the exterior part of Luxor temple, the Ramesseum temple, the exterior part of Abydos temple.
  • Many temples in Nubia among these are the temples of Abu Simbel, as well as the huge amount of monuments which were usurped by him from other kings.
  • He also founded his new city in the Delta and was called ‘Pr Re Msw’ and was considered to be his summer capital.
  • When he died he was buried in his tomb in the Valley of the Kings and he became the most famous of all pharaohs of Egypt.

Is king Ramses II the pharaoh of exodus?

King Ramses II
King Ramses II, facts about ancient Egypt

A number of western scholars think that king Ramses II was the pharaoh of exodus according to what is mentioned in the Old Testament.

A lot of Egyptologists suspect in this theory according to a detailed research.

When they examined the mummy of the king, they found that the cause of death was not by drowning, so most scholars reject the idea that king Ramses II was the pharaoh of the exodus.

  1. Facts about Egypt: Sed festival
The Sed festival was an ancient Egyptian celebration that the king celebrated it every thirty years.

But the king usually celebrated it every three or four years because the king wasn’t sure that he will live for thirty years.

The name of this festival was taken from the name of an Egyptian wolf god, its name was sed.

The king celebrated this festival to ensure his power and authority and to be allowed to rule Egypt for 30 years again.

The Hb-Sd or Sed festival was celebrated in ancient Egypt since a long time.

As There is an evidence for early pharaohs celebrating the Hb-Sd like king den from the first dynasty and king Zoser or Djoser from the third dynasty as we found in his complex two boundary stones in the Hb-Sd court which are within his pyramid complex.

The king must send 25 invitations to 25 gods (13 for Upper Egypt and 12 for Lower Egypt) accompanied with priests.

Facts about rituals of this festival

The rituals of Sed festival
Sed festival, ancient Egyptian facts

The king should enter every shrine where the gods are placed.

Then the king made his offerings and put his gifts and burn incense.

The king should also change his crown (the white crown of Upper Egypt and the red crown of Lower Egypt).

The king wore a double crown on the throne to announce that he became the king of lower and Upper Egypt for another thirty years.

The king held a papyrus roll and point to the four D-shaped structure which refers to the four cardinal points to announce that he was the king.

Sed festival in ancient Egypt
Facts about Sed festival, the king made offerings to the god

Then he run like a race during this race he enchanted a song:

“I have run holding the sacred of the 2 partners the will of my father which was given to me before Geb.

I passed through land and touched the 4 corner (Egypt) as I desire”

By this festival, the king would be accepted from the gods to rule for another 30 years.

King Ramses II and Sed festival represent interesting facts about Egypt.