Pharaoh Ramses II nicknamed The Great is credited with extraordinary qualities as a soldier, diplomat, and ruler, and his reign are considered the last period of the splendor of ancient Egypt.
Now, a new archaeological investigation could end the warmongering reputation of one of the most famous rulers in history: apparently, he was an expert in ‘fake news’ rather than a great warrior.
If we take a look in history books we will find that Ramses the Great, third pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty, fought and won fierce wars with his neighbors, in Libya, Nubia, and the Near East.
But the findings of an Egyptian excavation 300 kilometers east of the border with Libya, published in the journal Antiquity, contradict this hypothesis.
Nicky Nielsen, an archaeologist at the University of Manchester (United Kingdom) found archaeological evidence that, in reality, the Egyptians who lived in a late Bronze Age fortress in Zawiyet Umm el-Rakham were at peace with their Libyan neighbors.
The discovery contradicts that Ramses the Great was a fierce warrior, who fought great wars with his neighbors in Libya, Buna, and the Near East.
What archaeologists found
Archaeologists found knives, hand stones, mills and cow bones which are believed to date back some 3,300 years, which showed how Egyptian residents who were farmers and shepherds living up to eight kilometers from the protection of the fort, located deep in the then Libyan territory lived there peacefully.
“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,” says Dr. Nielsen.
Researchers believe how the newly found items add to the body of evidence showing how Ramses had a very limited pedigree as a soldier.
Furthermore, archaeologists say how Ramses’ famous monuments heralding his prowess as a warrior were nothing more than ancient propaganda, or in more recent terms, fake news.
“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.”
In the new study published in Antiquity, Dr. Nielsen explains how the Hittites—one of the greatest ancient Egyptians’ foes- tricked the young Ramses into fighting them, which eventually led him to impetuously imperil a division of his army.
He was eventually rescued and was able to escape, but his war effort did not bring him much, but in fact, caused him to lose a massive part of modern-day Syria.
Dr. Nielsen concluded:
“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 opportunities to take root.”
Featured image credit: Shutterstock / Colossi of Ramses II, Great Temple of Ramses II. Abu Simbel.