King Ramesses II, also referred to as Ramesses the Great, was the third Egyptian pharaoh of the 19th dynasty. He reigned from 1279 B.C. to 1213 B.C. He is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire. His successors and later Egyptians called him the “Great Ancestor.” Ramesses II led several military expeditions into the Levant, reasserting Egyptian control over Canaan. He also led expeditions south into Nubia, commemorated in inscriptions at the temples at Beit el-Wali and Gerf Hussein.
At age 14, Ramesses was appointed prince regent by his father Seti I. He is believed to have taken the throne in his late teens and is known to have ruled Egypt for 66 years and 2 months, according to Egypt’s contemporary historical records. One account reports he lived to be 99 years old.
Queen Nefertari was the Nubian queen from 1292 to 1225 B.C. One of many great Nubian queens, Nefertari is heralded as the queen who wed for peace. Her marriage to Ramesses II began strictly as a political move, a sharing of power between two leaders. But not only did it grow into one of the greatest royal love affairs in history, it brought the hundred year war between Nubia and Egypt to an end.
Their union led to an armistice that lasted over a hundred years. Even today, a monument stands in Queen Nefertari’s honor. In fact, the temple which Ramesses built for her at Abu Simbel is one of the largest and most beautiful structures ever built to honor a wife.