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would seem to justify the appellation of “the Great,” which history has bestowed on him. However modern writers may view the character of Ramses, his belief in himself was such, that on the rock walls of his greatest temple he appears in the company of the gods as the worshipper of himself.
The annals of his family are numerous although somewhat involved, and the story of Ramses' domestic relations which can be pieced out from the evidence, is certainly but a fragment of the personal history of that extraordinary monarch who reigned for sixty-seven years, and counted more than a hundred children in his family.
The royal records give the names of only three queens, but the king's harem must have contained a large number of secondary wives and slaves. The names of the children composing his enormous family are carved on monuments at Abydos, Thebes, Abu Simbel, and the Wady Sabua. These various lists do not agree in the numbers given, and they vary from 119 to 162. This family is divided by the Sabua account into two groups, III sons and 51 daughters.
The first of Ramses' three queens was
Lands; Beloved of the King and “ united with the Ruler."
'L., D., iii, 179, b-d; B., E.P., 308 ; M.'s S.N., 424 ; BUDGE, H.E., V, 69.
It is to Nefertari, rather than to her sister queens, that the king's records give the most important place. She appears to have been his sister,and heiress of the kingdom through their mother, Queen Tuaa. Nefertari had been married to Ramses while he was crown prince, both being very young ; in his first regnal year, she was already his queen, a fact proved by the tomb inscriptions of Nebunnef, a high priest of Amen at Thebes.
For the first few years of Ramses' reign, his youthful queen appears on the monuments side by side with the king, as sharer of the throne. The prominence which he thus gives her, implies either that the queen's high rank forced him to recognise her equality, or else that he gave to his beautiful wife an affection which delighted in honouring her.
It is not known for how many years Nefertari shared the brilliant reign of her husband, nor how many of Ramses' numerous children were also hers.
She was certainly the mother of his ninth son Seti, and a prince Anuber-rekhu, whose exact position is not indicated ; neither of these sons ascended the throne, although Seti was living in the 53rd year of his father's reign. Two of Ramses' daughters may also be the children of Nefertari. This is suggested by the figures of the princesses, Merytamen, and Hent-taui, placed one on either side of the queen at Abu Simbel. This temple is the most important monument on which Nefertari is represented, and it is likely that she would there be accompanied by her own children.
The princess Meryt-amen was a royal heiress, and in the Luxor list of the family her name is inserted with that of Nefertari ;- this is possibly the same princess who, as the daughter of Ramses' chief queen, would be apt to have her mother's name.
I WIEDEMANN, A.G., 463-4.
• P., H.E., iii, 37.
The luxurious ease of life which the court of Ramses and Nefertari enjoyed is expressed by a contemporary record';' the writer, Panbesa, describes the richness of the Delta, where Ramses had founded a new capital : “The “ people are joyful and festive ; the virgins of Aa-nekhtu
are well clad every day, sweet oil on their heads with “ fresh curls; they stand at their doors, their hands adorned " with nosegays and flowers, to welcome the king. Sweet “ wines and syrups and beer abound; and sweet singers as at Memphis, amid ceaseless joys."
To the indefatigable building spirit of Ramses, and to the ambition which glorified his reign with countless memorials, we owe one of the most impressive monuments of Egypt. In Nubia, the great temple of Abu Simbel was hewn from a rocky cliff which rises abruptly from the river; the façade of living rock was cut into the semblance of giant forms, the four seated colossi having the features of Ramses.
To the north of this temple is a smaller one similar in construction. The façade is formed by the figures of six colossi, two of which represent Nefertari wearing the horned disc crown, and holding in one hand a sistrum.” The temple is dedicated by the3 " King Ramses and his Great “Consort Nefertari-meri-en-mut, who have made the temple "in the holy mountain" to the honour of the goddess Hathor. The greatness of the undertaking was fully realised by the royal builder, who says: "His Majesty has " commanded to make a temple in the land of Khent, in
an excavation in the mountain ; never was such a thing “ done before.”
The graceful figure of Nefertari occurs several times in the Hathor temple, sculptured in low-relief. The artist has skilfully drawn a tall slender woman of gracious presence,
i Panbesa Pap. Anast., iii ; P., H.E., iii, 74. 2 L., D., iii, 192. 3 B., U.E., 388.
who is described as “The Lady of the North and South ; The Priestess of Hathor, Mut, and Anuke.”l
The queen is further depicted with Ramses at Abu Simbel in several scenes of the great temple, on stelæs, and with the colossi. In the temple of Luxor, several of the king's statues are also accompanied by small wellmodelled figures of Nefertari. She likewise appears on the famous Turin monument of Ramses, which is the finest existing statue of the reign.
Other representations of the royal consort are found among the rock shrines of the Gebel Silsileh, where she adores the gods Taurt, Tahuti, and Mut. She is mentioned in various inscriptions of private individuals. Her statue in black granite is in the Vatican collection, and several small objects are known which are connected with her memory. Among these a carnelian statuette is in the Louvre, while an alabaster vase mounted in gold, the base of a statuelo and several scarabs are in other collections.
From the monuments of the latter part of Ramses' reign, Nefertari's name is absent. Considering the importance of her position at the time when the temple of Abu Simbel and the colossi of Luxor were carved, her disappearance from the later monuments probably means that she died before they were sculptured.
After her death, Queen Nefertari was worshipped as a divine Osirian, or a soul which had become deified, and under the attributes of Osiris, Lord of the dead, was adored as a god." Her tomb was discovered by Schiaparelli in 1904 in the Valley of the Queens' Tombs at Thebes.
1 P., H.E., iii, 83.
· B., E., 373. • L., D., iii, 297, 58.
• L., D., iii, 175 C. · P., H.E., iii, 35.
. L.M., s, h. 9 F.P. Coll.
10 N., Y., 65. 11 L., K., xxii. LEPSIUS' List of Osirians.