On this day in 1279 BC Rameses II of Egypt became Pharaoh.
Said by many to be the greatest of all the pharaohs, this warrior king won many battles and extended the power and influence of Egypt throughout the Middle East a thousand years before the Roman Empire began to emerge.
Rameses died aged about ninety. His mummy has survived and was subject to forensic examination in Paris. It seems that he may have died of toothache, not a very kingly death. He is also known as Ozymandias and many temples and monuments were built in his name including the one that inspired Shelley to write his famous poem. Shelley was travelling with his friend and fellow poet Horace Smith at the time. They each wrote a poem on the subject and both were subsequently published. Here is Horace’s effort, Ozymandias:
In Egypt’s sandy silence, all alone,
Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
The only shadow that the Desert knows:—
“I am great Ozymandias,” saith the stone,
“The King of Kings; this mighty City shows
“The wonders of my hand.”— The City’s gone,—
Nought but the Leg remaining to disclose
The site of this forgotten Babylon.
We wonder,—and some Hunter may express
Wonder like ours, when thro’ the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,
He meets some fragment huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.
Today I will remember Christ’s words from the Sermon on the Mount – “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth”.