Ramesses the Great ascended to the throne at the
age of 25 and in his 67 year reign he undertook an unparalleled
building program. No other pharaoh built so many temples or erected
so many colossal obelisks and statues.
Ramesses took part in the first recorded major battle in history. This happened at Kadesh and although proclaimed as a great victory actually ended in more of a stalemate. Several reports of this battle survive in tomb inscriptions from the period, as well as in Hittite and other records.
Perhaps Ramesses' most famous construction was the massive rock cut temple at Abu Simbel, in what was Nubia. He was also responsible for his mortuary temple, the Ramesseum, at Thebes. This temple had several huge statues of the King including a colossus weighing over 1000 tons.
The head shown above from the British Museum, was removed from the Ramesseum by the Italian adventurer Giovanni Belzoni who was also the first European to enter the temple at Abu Simbel on the 1st August 1817.