Other pages on this general subject are here: Pages 1, 2, 4, 5 & 6. But a reminder as always. This page & the pages to which the above links take you, are designed for a 1024 x 768 screen setting.

National Geographic Magazine has featured Abu Simbel in a number of its issues. The May 1969 issue had the dramatic cover that you see below, together with an interesting & extensive article. My 'composite image' then shows what I believe is the left statue of Ramesses II in a number of images, old & new, including its extraordinary short journey by truck to its new location.

I have to think that there are probably many thousands of photographs taken as the temple relocation was in progress. But those images, probably many of them superb in quality, are hidden from view & unavailable, even though the subject matter is so very interesting. I was delighted then that E-Bay, now a major research source on every conceivable subject, had a listing in Feb. 2003 for a superb photograph which I now present. The photograph was for sale by "FILATELIAMK" of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The very least I can do is encourage you to visit their items for sale.

The image would seem be be a UPI photo dated Apr. 18, 1966. The text on its back, I think described the two people in the image as being Karl Landegger (right) & Rudolphe de Seif, both of the American Committee to preserve Abu Simbel. The explanatory text on the rear of the photograph, stated that the heads were to be replaced in the rebuilt temple facade, but I think that is wrong. The heads are too small to be part of the temple facade. I believe them to be the Ramesses II heads of the statues depicted so brilliantly by David Roberts R.A. (1796-1864) in the work that appears towards the bottom of Page 2. Without more ado, here is the fine image ~ which I worked on just a little for your greater enjoyment.

And what of Ramesses II himself? Ramesses II, the 3rd Pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty & perhaps the greatest of all the Pharaohs lived from 1303-1212 B.C. (or is it 1213 B.C.?) & was Pharaoh from 1279-1213/2 B.C. His birth name was Ra-messes ('Re has Fashioned Him') & his throne name was "User-maat-re Setep-en-re" ('The Justice of Re is Powerful, Chosen of Re'). In these pages I have generally used the spelling 'Ramesses' because that is the spelling that Dr. Zawi A. Hawass chooses to use, & that is good enough for me. But you will find every Egyptian name & word spelled many different ways & this Pharaoh's name is no exception. My 'composite image' which follows shows Ramesses II, then, as I have termed him, in a number of images, including his mummy in the The Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Let me indicate now that the print on the left originates from the 1800s. It would appear to have been an illustration to "Commentary on the Entire Bible" by Adam Clarke (1760-1832). So the print could date from 1830 or could only be from a later illustrated edition of that extensive work published in London, England, by Ward, Lock & Bowden in about 1880. I really do not know exactly. The image was entitled "Ramases II. The Pharoah of the Oppression". What a beautiful image! Bottom right is a colossal prone statue of the Pharaoh lying now in a special exhibition building at Memphis, some miles south of the Giza pyramids. It is part of an image by Mary Ann Sullivan, of Bluffton College, Ohio, who kindly permits use of her images on sites such as this. You should visit her pages here. She has, in her extensive site, some quite superb & detailed images of the Abu Simbel temples which you would enjoy viewing & lots, lots, more. I have added in part of an old stereo image of that giant statue, in the open air before, of course, its present exhibition building was constructed. At top right is a reduced version of a splendid & dramatic image of Ramesses II's mummy. You should see the full sized image! That came from this site & is attributed to "Egyptian Hand-bill", but I am unable yet to clarify what that means. Their front door has many publications about Egypt available. The Ramesses II cartouche comes from here & the statue at bottom right came from a site which no longer seems to exist. I sincerely thank all of those image sources.

And Ramesses II? There he is at left - as a statue at the Temple of Luxor.

He was the son of Seti I & Queen Tuya, & lived, reportedly, to the age of 96, (but that data does not jive with the dates above) had maybe 200 wives & concubines & had 96 sons & 60 daughters. A busy fellow indeed! He co-ruled for a time with his father, & accompanied Seti I on numerous campaigns in Libya & Nubia. When Seti I died in 1279 B.C., Ramesses II assumed the throne & began a series of wars against the Syrians. The famous Battle of Kadesh is inscribed on the walls of the Ramesses II temple at Abu Simbel. He built the superb hypostyle hall at Karnak, finished the big temple at Abu Simbel (started by his father) & built the smaller temple there. And many, many, other buildings, temples or temple additions including those at Luxor & Abydos. His wives would seem to have included Nefertari, Queen Istnofret, his three daughters, Binthanath, Merytamon, & Nebettawy (that is what I read!) and the Hittite princess, Maathornefrure (& a second Hittite princess?). His sons included Amunhirkhopshef, Meryatum, Khaemwaset, Merneptah (say those names out loud quickly!) & others & he outlived many of them.

Now he may have also been the Pharaoh of the Oppression in the Bible. But there would appear to be no proof of that fact probably because the Egyptians only recorded successes in their inscriptions & chose to ignore any matter considered to be in any way 'negative'. Sounds familiar!

Truth be known, as I see it anyway, not a lot is really known about Ramesses II. Despite all the books that have been written about him. Not particularly surprising really.

Now Ramesses II would seem originally to have been buried in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings. But, because of widespread tomb looting, his body was later removed, re-wrapped & taken to the tomb of an 18th Dynasty queen, Inhapi, as also happened to the bodies of Ramesses I, Seti I & Amenhotep I. Then it (or they) were moved again - to a Royal Cache inside the tomb of High Priest Pinudjem II. This was all, apparently, documented on the linens that covered the bodies. Centuries later, his body was found (in 1881) & unwrapped (on Jun. 1, 1886) by Professor Maspero, keeper of the museum of Bulak, near Cairo, in the presence of the Khedive Tewfik.

Could Ramesses II have ever thought that one day he would go to Paris? Could he have imagined Paris? Surely not on either count but he did fly to Paris in the late 1970s for tests primarily designed to identify the best way of preserving royal mummies. Not a lot of data resulted. No clarification of his age at death. 1.7 metres tall. Very poor & extremely worn teeth, extreme periodontitis & severe abscesses. But none of that surely is a surprise, is it? Abscesses, so my dentist tells me, can, if not attended to by an extraction, transfer infection to the brain & if that happens it is 'game over'. Enough of that. Cleaned & re-wrapped Ramesses II flew back to an atmospherically-sterile case in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Where he is today.

And a number of web sites state that Ramesses II had to have a passport to be able to travel from Egypt to Paris & back. And an Egyptian passport was therefore issued which listed his occupation as "King (deceased)". Interesting if it is so! While those facts do appear on a number of sites, they all have quite similar wording & probably come from a single source. So I cannot tell you if that was fact or fancy.

And now a map of Egypt, that I found on this site & modified. That site greatly interested me because the webmaster took & enjoyed an Encounter Overland (do they still exist?) adventure travel trip some years ago - but not a trip which featured Egypt. The map covers most of the country from the Mediterranean in the north to Lake Nasser & Abu Simbel in the south.

Probably the final word on this particular page. I have read, on many web-sites, how brilliant the ancient builders were in aligning the main temple such that on one day a year, & only one day of the year, the sun at sunrise shines straight through the entrance way to the very back of the temple interior & illuminates the gods like magic. I take nothing away from the original builders whose work is surely astonishing. Nor from the modern re-builders who got it wrong, by one day, when they rebuilt it. But Leo Depuydt, an Egyptologist at Brown University, of Providence, RI, who I suspect knows his subject very well indeed, suggests (bottom of page) that 'Regardless of the alignment, if the temple faces east, the sun is going to shine in it twice a year.' So there! End of page.

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