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Ramses II

Ramses II was a prolific ruler that fought to reclaim territory in Africa and Western Asia. The Hittites and Asia Minor were his main opponents or his main enemies. During his fifth year as pharaoh, he led a campaign known as the Battle of Kadesh. Ramses II tried to keep the newly acquired territory (today it is known as Syria) but lost the battle to one of his opponents - the Hittites. Seen as a standstill, Ramses II pulled back and Kadesh remained with the Hittites once more. Later, a treaty was signed, the territory was divided, and Ramses II agreed to marry the daughter of the Hittite King. During his duration as pharaoh, he attacked many of his enemies such as the Libyans and the Nubians and also attacked Syria about half a dozen times. Although known for his military might, Ramses II also lived a life of extreme wealth and in addition he showed his need for divine architecture.

His love of architecture and power allowed him to erect more monuments and temples than any other pharaoh. Abu Simbel, probably Ramses II's most impressive structure was carved from a sandstone cliff that faced to the east. This was located in ancient Nubia. Although Abu Simbel remains his most famous structure, he had many more architectural projects. Among them is included the expansion of Luxor and Karnak. There he finished older projects set forth by his father and erected many more monuments. It was evident Ramses II wanted to leave a mark as a reminder of his great strength and wealth.
Questions (Supporting Details):

  1. Ramses erected many impressive structures and monuments during his time. What was the most impressive structure?

  2. In what ways did Ramses go about reminding Egyptians of his “great strength and wealth?”

  3. Ramses attacked many foreign nations during his time. Which country did he attack most repeatedly?


As a young child Akhenaten was raised in a traditional Ancient Egyptian manner and observed religious rituals to the god Amon. In Thebes, Amon was the god that was elevated to the highest position. In time, Akhenaten turned his focus and beliefs to another deity called Aten. (Aten is the sun god and was taken into battle with Tuthmosis IV and later taken by Akhenaten).

Soon after becoming pharaoh of Egypt, Akhenaten discarded his royal name and loyalty to Amon. He turned away from old priests and began the cult of the sun disk -- the Aten. Akhenaten acknowledged that Aten was the single god except Re, the sun god. He claimed he was the only person able to converse with his god. This only caused an absence of priests and he soon came to ban those that remained. He banned the worship of Amon and closed down sacred temples.

Akhenaten’s wife’s name Nefertiti was also changed to “Nefer Nefru Aten” meaning “Beautiful is the Beauty of Aten.” The couple then moved out of Thebes to a new capital called Akhetaton. Everyone from the old capital moved to the new constructed capital including the court and artisans.

Questions (Cause & Effect):

  1. What caused Akhenaton to turn away from old priests?

  2. What was the effect of Akhenaten claiming that only he, the pharaoh, could converse with Aten?

  3. What was the effect of the Egyptian pharaoh moving from Thebes to Akhetaton?

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