nineteenth dynasty



Virtually nothing is known about Nefertari’s life before she married Ramesses (although she was probably from a noble family, possibly related to the old Pharaoh Ay of the Eighteenth Dynasty), but as his Chief Wife she became one of the most famous women in Egyptian history.

Ramesses II of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt, known as Ramesses the Great, is widely regarded as one of the most successful pharaohs, famous for both his military and diplomatic feats. Accordingly, Nefertari is remembered as the perfect royal consort, someone who helped Ramesses to keep and expand his empire. She was his most important and favorite wife.

Highly educated in a time where this wasn’t the norm even among the privileged, Nefertari was fluent in many languages and able to read and write hieroglyphics. These skills she used especially in the realm of diplomacy, exchanging letters and gifts with consorts around the Mediterranean, just as her husband did with the great rulers of their time. Her status as a woman made it possible for Nefertari to practice diplomacy in a more informal way. Nefertari probably also  accompanied her husband on his military campaigns.

She appears in monuments both inside Egypt and in Egyptian provinces, but it’s in the latter than she truly shines, especially in the twin temples of Abu Simbel, in Nubia. A complex with two temples, the smaller one is dedicated to the goddess Hathor, personified by Nefertari, the second time an Egyptian temple was dedicated to a pharaoh’s wife, and a rare example of the king and his consort being portrayed in equal size.

Nefertari spent more than twenty years on the throne and had at least six children with Ramesses, but none of her sons outlived their father (her daughters, however, played more active roles in the court life). It seems that their marriage was a love match: not only Ramesses built for her a spetacular tomb (one of the largest and most richly decorated in the Valley of Queens) but also filled it with poetry, such as the verse “Just by passing, she has stolen away my heart”. Ramesses called Nefertari “the one for whom the sun shines”.

Ancient Egyptian frog ring, dated to the eighteenth to nineteenth dynasties of the New Kingdom, or c. 1543-1187 BCE. The ring is made of Egyptian blue, which, according to the source, was a “vibrant blue pigment, considered to be the first synthetically-produced pigment, composed of quartz sand, a copper compound, and calcium carbonate. The colour blue was highly prized in ancient Egypt and the creation of a synthetic pigment allowed artists to produce imitations of the precious stones lapis lazuli and turquoise, which were expensive and not always readily accessible.” Egyptian blue fell out of favor sometime during the Roman period.

A Pair of Gold Pendant Earrings containing the Name of King SETI II, discovered in KV56.

Tomb KV56, located in the Valley of the Kings, is known as the Gold Tomb, and was discovered by Edward R. Ayrton in January, 1908. It contained what is thought to be the intact burial of a royal child from the late Nineteenth Dynasty. The burial and casket have disintegrated and the form was covered with a 1 cm thick layer of gold leaf and stucco around the original location. Also found were a pair of small silver gloves and a pair of silver bracelets with the names of Seti II and Twosret inscribed, and a set of golden earrings also marked with the name of Seti II. The original occupant of this tomb is unknown.


Royalty Meme ♛ [1/10] Historical Monarchs
↳ Ramses II (also spelled Rameses or Ramesses; Greek: Ozymandias)

Ramses II was the son of Seti I and was Seti’s co-ruler from 1279 B.C.E., ultimately becoming the third pharaoh of Egypt’s Nineteenth Dynasty. During his long and extraordinary reign, Ramses initiated huge restoration and construction projects throughout Egypt and Nubia. He established a new capital, Pi-Ramesses, and built, among others, two famous temple complexes at Abu Simbel and another in Thebes, called the “Ramesseum” by Egyptologists. He also had a magnificent tomb constructed for his favorite wife, Nefertari.

Ramses also led a number of military campaigns, namely against the Hittite Empire in Canaan and Syria. The most famous of these ended in the nearly-disastrous Battle of Kadesh, which Ramses turned from a certain defeat into a stalemate. He returned to Egypt as a war hero. Eventually, the Egyptians and Hittites drew up the world’s first surviving peace treaty. No further campaigns in Canaan were recorded during Ramses’ reign.

Ramses had over two hundred consorts and concubines; with them, he had some ninety-six sons and sixty daughters. He lived for over ninety years, making him virtually immortal in the eyes of many of his subjects who had never known another pharaoh and outliving at least thirteen of his heirs. His reign lasted for an unprecedented sixty-six years. When he died in 1213 B.C.E., he left the Egyptian Empire wealthy and powerful. He was remembered by his successors as their “Great Ancestor." 

His mummy was discovered in the Valley of the Kings and is today displayed in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.


Menmaatre Seti I (or Sethos I as in Greek) was a pharaoh of the New Kingdom Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt, the son of Ramesses I and Queen Sitre, and the father of Ramesses II. As with all dates in Ancient Egypt, the actual dates of his reign are unclear, and various historians claim different dates, with 1294 BC to 1279 BC and 1290 BC to 1279 BC being the most commonly used by scholars today.
The name ‘Seti’ means “of Set”, which indicates that he was consecrated to the god Set (also termed “Sutekh” or “Seth”). As with most pharaohs, Seti had several names. Upon his ascension, he took the prenomen “mn-m3‘t-r‘ ”, usually vocalized as Menmaatre, in Egyptian, which means “Established is the Justice of Re.” His better known nomen, or birth name, is transliterated as “sty mry-n-ptḥ” or Sety Merenptah, meaning “Man of Set, beloved of Ptah”.

Standing graywacke statue of Amun, preserved from the knees up. 


Period: New Kingdom

Late Eighteenth Dynasty

Early Nineteenth Dynasty

Date Made: 1332-1292 BC

Penn Museum


Sarcophagus of Sennedjem

This sarcophagus was found among the grave goods in the intact Tomb of Sennedjem in Deir al Medina, the settlement of the builders and craftsmen that undertook the construction works on the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings. Found in 1886, it was identified to date back to the Nineteenth Dynasty, during the reign of King Ramesses II (1279-1212 B.C.E.). This sarcophagus belongs to one of the members of the family of Sennedjem, one of the necropolis workers who were responsible for building and decorating royal underground tombs in the Valley of the Kings.

The man’s mummy was housed within two sarcophaguses. This outer anthropoid (mummy-shaped) sarcophagus pictures the man wrapped in bandages standing in the Osiride-form with his arms crossed and his left hand holding Knot of Isis (also known as the Tjet Tyet, Tet, Tit, Tat, That) and the right the Djed Pillar, the emblem of Osiris (now partly damaged). The body is decorated with various Hieroglyphic texts painted in intersected rows, between two of which appears a funerary scene involving the deceased and other protective deities , such as Anubis, Nut, Isis and Nephthys. The deceased is depicted with black hair on one side and white hair on the other. Over the head is a wig typical to the style of the Ramesside Period embellished with a frieze of leaves and fruits. Hanging down from the neck is a broad shoulder-to-shoulder necklace known as the ‘usekh collar’ decorated with multiple strings. It is fastened to the shoulders with clasps in the shape of the lotus flowers, symbol of rebirth.

This is a fragmentary bust from one of a series of colossal figures that originally decorated the front of a row of rectangular pillars in the courtyard of a small temple at Abydos. The king is depicted mummiform in the style of the god Osiris. The king holds the symbols of kingship, the crook and flail, in his now missing hands. Since the figure was intended to tower over any human below, the eyes look down. Much of the original color remains.

Egypt, Abydos

Locus: Portal Temple

Period: New Kingdom

Eighteenth Dynasty

Nineteenth Dynasty

Date Made: 1290-1224 BC

Penn-Yale Expedition to Abydos, Egypt

Penn Museum