Egyptian Museum, Turin (Italy)
Ramesses II (reigned 1279-1213 BC) is the most famous of the Pharaohs, and there is no doubt that he intended this to be so. He constructed many large monuments, covering the land from the Delta to Nubia with buildings in a way no king before him had done, including the archeological complex of Abu Simbel, and the Mortuary temple known as the Ramesseum.
In astronomical terms, he is the Jupiter of the Pharaonic system, and for once the superlative is appropriate, since the giant planet shines brilliantly at a distance, but on close inspection turns out to be a ball of gas.
Ramesses II, or at least the version of him which he chose to feature in his inscriptions, is the hieroglyphic equivalent of hot air.
He gained also a multimedia afterlife: his mummy is flown from Cairo to Paris to be exhibited and re-autopsied.
Yul Brynner captured the essence of his personality in the 1956 film "The Ten Commandments", and in popular imagination Ramesses II has become the Pharaoh of the Exodus.
The history behind this is much debated, but it is safe to say that the character of Ramesses fits the picture of the overweening ruler who refuses "divine demands".
©Roberto Bertero, All Rights Reserved. This image is not available for use on websites, blogs or other media without the explicit written permission of the photographer.