|home | travelogue | itinerary | photos | history | books|
Ramesses III is considered the last of the "great pharaohs" on the throne. He defended Egypt against Libyans and "sea peoples" and ruled over a relatively strong, stable Egypt. However, Ramesses III wasn't the most original of leaders -- and as soon as he took the throne, he began to copy Ramesses the Great in any way possible: his titulary was the same, his children were named the same, his mortuary temple at Medinet Habu was copied from the RAmesseum, and he began a building program that left temples in many cities in the Delta and father south in Nubia.
His reign is well documented in the papyrus Harris I, which details the kings donations to the gods, his buildings, the estates and lands he gave to Thebes, inventories, and other details of life in Middle Egypt. Of course, it also contains glowing praise of the pharaoh -- probably authored by his own staff, of course.
His reign was not without problems, however. A famine and the inability of the government to pay workers cause problems during the latter part of his reign. The workers on royal projects even went on strike for back wages.
During his reign, Ramesses was the target of a plot by one of his wives, Queen Tiye, who wanted her son to ascent the throne. She is named in person, but many of her co-conspirators were labeled with names like "Mesedsure", which means "Re Hates Him" -- probably not a real name, but a vile epithet. The 40 conspirator intended to to murder the king during the Opet festival. It is assumed that the conspiracy failed, although there is a chance that it succeeded and the stories of the tribunal are attributed to his son, Ramesses IV.
Queen Titi (who is buried in Valley of the Queens VQ 52) is possibly a daughter and wife of Ramesses III. She had a multitude of important titles that are engraved in her tomb -- "Mistress of the Two Lands" (43 times), "Chief Royal Wife" (33 times), "Kings Daughter", "Kings Beloved Daughter of his body", "Kings Mother".
Ramesses III apparently tried to follow in his great grandfather's footsteps in more ways that copying his reign. Ramesses the Great sired hundreds of children, and Ramesses III is known to have more than ten sons; many predeceased him. A few are buried in the Valley of the Queens: Amenhirhkopshef (QV 55), Khaemwaset (QV 44), Parahiremenef (QV 42), Sethirkhopshef (QV 43).
The king himself has a large tomb in the Valley of the Kings (KV 11), which is called "The Tomb of the Harper" (or occasionally "Bruce's Tomb"). The tomb in annexed to Setkhnakht's tomb. His mummy was found in the royal cache in Deir el-Bahari. It is very well preserved, and is now on display in the Mummy room in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.