Ramses II is remembered today as one of the greatest, if not the greatest builder in all of ancient egypt. His major projects included the town site of Pi Ramses and his extravagant tomb at Abu Simbel. He also enjoyed restoring older complexes. These projects were a way of highlighting his power and to ensure that he would leave a legacy long after he died.
Besides being a sucessful constructor, Ramses is also famed for his numerous military victories. He
led sucessful campaigns against the Hittites, Libya, and Nubia. Ramses signed the earliest peace treaty that has ever been found. However his reign was plagued with many periods of political unrest.
Ramses is believed to have fathered at least 100 children during his exeptionarily long life.He reigned for an astonishing 66 years, and is believed to have lived to at least his 90th year. During this period the average person lived for approximately 40 years. Because Ramses lived so long his son was sixty years old before he ascended to the throne. His successor was Merneptah, he was Ramses thirteenth son. All of his elder brothers had already died.
Ramses' chief and most famous wife was Nerfertari, who died 54 years before he met his demise. In the custom of egyptian pharoahs, she was not however his only wife. It is believed that he had at least 12 wives. His other prominent wives were Maathorneferure and Isetnofret.
Once Ramses had reigned over egypt for 30 years he was inducted into a special group made up of the kings who had lived the longest in the history of Egypt. During this induction a celebration was held, called the Sed Festival. The festival is linked to the transformation of the king into a god.
It is believed that it is Ramses II that is the pharoah described in the Bible in the story of Moses, but this claim is not subsantiated. Due to his life and reign he left a significant legacy behind him. So much so that at least 9 pharoahs were named after him.
During his long life Ramses is said to have suffered from Arthritis and arterial issues. They may have been the causes of his eventual death. His mummy was not actually found in an elaborate tomb as one would have imagined. It was actually found with a cache of other royal mummies in a cave. The mummy was probably brought there to protect it from the damage that grave robbers would have inflicted upon it.