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Titulary what's this?
Horus Name Kanakht Haiemmaat
Nebty Name Iribauertaentjemhu
Golden Horus Name Nebsenedjaashefit
Praenomen Baenre Mery-netjeru"The Soul or Re, Beloved of the Gods"
Nomen Merenptah Hetep-her-maat "Beloved of Ptah, Joyous is Truth"
Manetho Amenephthes, AMenophath, Amenophis
King Lists  
Alternate Names Merienpta, Merneptah
Dates what's this?
manetho josephus reigned 19 years 6 months
manetho africanus reigned 19 years
manetho eusebius reigned 40 years
AEOrg 1224 -- 1214 BCE
oxford 1213 -- 1203 BCE
piccione 1212 -- 1202 BCE
egyptsite 1213 -- 1203 BCE
von beckerath, malek 1213-1203
grimal 1212-1202
redford 1237-1226
dodson 1212-1201
arnold, gardiner 1224-1214
Predecessor Father Ramesses II out of Istnofret
Successor probably son Seti-Merenta, who may have been usurped by Amenmesse, a son of Takhat
Associated People
Father Ramesses II, 13th or 14th son
Mother Queen Istnofret, her fourth son
Sister/Wife Istnofret II
Wife Queen Takhat
Son Amenmesse, out of Takhat
Son Seti-Merenptah, later Seti II
Burial Place
Rock-cut tomb in Thebes, Valley of the Kings, KV 8
Victory Stela in Thebes
Palace in Memphis next to Temple of Ptah
Mortuary Temple
Built at Dendara, Osireion

Ramesses II lived to the age of 96, outliving thirteen of his sons, so it is no surprise that Merneptah was probably about sixty years old when he came to the throne. He was made general of the Army in the fortieth year of Ramesses reign and became heir to the throne some time in his mid-forties. He reigned for only ten years or so, but during that time he continued to maintain peace with western Asia and even send food and supplies to the famine-stricken Hittites -- the enemies of his father.

His military expeditions to Nubia and Libya are recounted in three major sites: Karnak, the city of Athribis, and his memorial temple in Thebes. Internally, he moved the administrative offices of the government at Piaremsse, the city his father build, back to Memphis.

One of the more interesting references to Merneptah has been found on the Victory Stela, which he took over from the Mortuary temple of Amenhotep III in Thebes. ON it, he lists his military conquests, including a single, unique reference to Israel: "wasted, bare of seed". This reference is considered the earliest non-blblical reference to the country. If you subscribe to the story of the exodus, this has been suggested as evidence that Merneptah was the pharaoh of the exodus -- but if the mere mention of anything related is considered evidence, this is pretty thin. Most modern egyptologists reject this theory.

Merneptah was nowhere near the builder his father, Ramesses the Great, was, but he continued to add to the monuments and temples in Egypt. He added on to the Osireion and added to the temple his father build in Dendara. He built his memorial temple by Amenemhet IIIs (behind the Colossi of Memnon) using stone quarried from the earlier temple.

His tomb, KV 8, is one of the largest in the valley, about 80m long. It was discovered by Carter (of Tutankhamun fame) in 1903 near the tomb of Ramesses II. It was filled with debris and Greek and Roman graffiti inside showed that it was open in antiquity at least to the first pillared hall. The pink granite sarcophagus is cartouche-shaped -- it is actually one of three outer sarcophagi that hold an inner white calcite sarcophagus.

His mummy was not found in his tomb, but this is not surprising. It was found and identified in the cache in the tomb of Amenhotep II (KV 35).



Ramesses I
Seti I
Ramesses II
Seti II


Victory Stelae, Thebes
Palace, Memphis
Tomb KV 8, Valley of the Kings