New archaeological evidence indicates that Pharaoh Ramses II may not have been the Ramses the Great we all thought he was. The archaeological evidence is from an Egyptian excavation 200 miles east of the Libyan border. With these new findings, it has helped bust the formidable reputation of one of the country’s most famous pharaohs.
The archaeologist believes that Egyptians who lived in the late Bronze Age fortress at Zawiyet Umm el-Rakham were at peace with their Libyan neighbors. This contradicts the widely held belief that Ramses was waging and winning fierce wars with his neighbors in Libya, Nubia, and the Near East.
According to Dr. Nicky Nielsen, from the University of Manchester and author of the study:
“Ramses had limited pedigree as a soldier. Ramses’ famous monuments heralding his prowess as a warrior were nothing more than ancient propaganda.”
The evidence included 3,300-year-old sickle blades, hand stones, querns (simple hand mills for grinding corn), and cow bones, which indicate that the Egyptians were harvesting crops and raising cattle up to 8 km away from the protection of the fort, located deep in Libyan territory.
According to Dr. Nielsen:
“This evidence demonstrates the degree to which the Egyptian occupants of Zawiyet Umm el-Rakham relied on local Libyans not just for trade, but also for their knowledge of the local environment and effective farming methods.
“It is another strong indication that the widely held belief that Ramses was one of history’s greatest generals — is completely wrong.
“How on earth could Ramses have been fiercely at war with Libyan nomads — when his soldiers were living in peace with them deep in their territory? It just doesn’t add up.
“In fact, the most significant battle Ramses ever fought was at Kadesh: Though one of the most famous in the ancient world —it was disastrously executed by the pharaoh.
Dr. Nielsen explained that the Egyptian’s enemy the Hittites had tricked the young king into fighting them, which led him to hastily endanger a division of his army. He was only able to escape after three other divisions of his army became involved, essentially rescuing him.
By the end of the battle, no territory had been gained; in fact, he had lost control of a large part of modern-day Syria. Dr. Nielsen added:
“When you realize that Ramses re-inscribed monuments dedicated to others — so that it appeared they were celebrating his achievements, you realize what a peddler of fake news he was.
“His name was often carved so deeply, it was impossible to remove it — thus preserving his legacy.
“And as he fathered 162 children and ruled Egypt for 69 years, his propaganda had plenty of opportunity to take root.”
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