My outstanding husband — Ramses II

We’ve been exploring a historical narrative

– by Coco Li Jiabi

I am Nefertari Meritmut, and my husband is the third Pharaoh of the 19th dynasty of Km.t. In my heart, he is an excellent politician, military strategist, writer, and architect. He is never shy about praising me, writing me poems next to the murals on the Luxor towers. I bore him three sons and two daughters, and he is a kind father who always takes care to teach our children. He loves building temples and palaces; my favorites were Abu Simbel and Ramses. He is a brave and wise pharaoh; under his leadership, I feel my kingdom is stronger than ever, and I’m very happy.

My husband, Ramses II, is very passionate about building temples and pyramids. These include Abu Simbel, the hall at Karnak, the complex at Abydos, the Ramesseum at Thebes, and so on. He puts all kinds of decorative things I like inside the building, such as my favorite vases and jewelry. He also painted rich murals on the inner walls of the buildings. I am very supportive of his hobbies, which greatly boost the arts in our kingdom. Although building these buildings was complicated, our people are proud of the final result and the artistry that our kingdom has achieved. As the wife of Ramses II, I am also proud that he has left his mark all over our kingdom. Among the hundreds of buildings he built, my favorite is still the temple of Hathor that he built for me. The temple is about 50 meters from Abu Simbel. I was deeply moved by the fact that there were six giant statues of him and me between the arch-walled gates of the temple of Hathor. This is his way of showing me his love. Although I am not his only, he is my only, and his love for me is unique.

It was May of 1274, and it was already the heat of summer. Whether it was the weather or not, I often felt so flustered, as if something big was about to happen. Sure enough, I was right. Just this evening, my husband Ramses the Second suddenly told me that he wants to launch a war of conquest in Syria to establish and consolidate his power there.

I still remember a historical record that I read about similar events; our kingdom has launched many wars of conquest in Syria. It's just that while we were too busy with the Reformation to care about anything else in our early days, the neighboring Hittites sprang up. After the founding of the kingdom, it continued to expand outward. Under the leadership of Uma I of Subiru, it actively advanced into Syria and gradually controlled the whole Syrian region as far south as Damascus and occupied Syria. In his eyes, Kadesh is the best opportunity to make a mark. He decided to go on the Hittites with the powerful military forces of our kingdom and prepare to take back Kadesh and the whole of Syria.

So, I can deeply understand my husband’s decision; we can't just let it go. From the day he announced that he would start the war, he often spent the whole day working on the weapons of war in the equipment room. I don’t know much about the weapons but only know that the soldiers of my kingdom prefer to use the nimble two-horse light-fast chariot.

It's the end of April 1285; this evening is his last night with me before he leaves for war. Before going to bed, he discussed with me his battle plan. He planned to lead his men on the battlefield, first to attract the Mitanni chariots and then to cooperate with the infantry of the column to kill.

I couldn't sleep that night, worrying about him. I was really afraid that he would be hurt in the war. But there was nothing I could do for him except pray for him in my heart. The next morning, as he was leaving, I was tenderly holding his face, and we were looking at each other affectionately. I told him sincerely that he must come back safely. He promised me.

After he left, I was alone for a few months. I have not had a good month. I often dreamt of him in my sleep and worried about his safety. Finally, I got the message that he was safe and coming back. I'll never forget that moment. I was so excited. The moment I met him, I was so excited that I wept, thinking of his courage and greatness.

That night, we couldn't sleep. We talked all night in bed. He kept on telling me about the war. He said that before going to war, he expanded his army, taking out 2,000 chariots at a time and preparing about 16,000 infantries of various types. The infantry included a large number of Nubian and Libyan light infantry, as well as some descendants of immigrants from northern Europe.

He led four legions from the fort of Garu Fortress in the eastern part of the Delta to the north along the Ridani and the Orente valleys. After a march of nearly a month, they reached the Kadesh area and camped on high ground about fifteen miles south of Kadesh.

When his troops entered the Palestinian territories from Sinai, they quickly moved north through the Bekaa Valley. He intended to take the city before the Hittite army had finished mobilizing. As a result, his regiment of Ramon advanced rapidly and was the most advanced of the four.

Palestinian territories from Sinai, they quickly moved north through the Bekaa Valley. He intended to take the city before the Hittite army had finished mobilizing. As a result, his regiment of Ramon advanced rapidly and was the most advanced of the four. Just then, two Arabs from the nearby desert found his camp. Two Arabs told him that their tribe favored our kingdom over the Hittites, and they wanted his army to take the Kadesh quickly. Because the Hittite army was not yet far away in the Minor Submountainous Area. I looked into Ramses II's eyes, expecting him to continue the story. But I noticed that his mood had changed, and there was anger in his eyes. We were silent for a while; then, he continued telling me about his experience.

He said that it wasn`t the whole truth. When he received the news, he was so happy that he ordered the Ramon army to speed up and told the other three legions, which had marched separately, to come quickly to meet him. When his troops set up camp near Kadesh, they captured two more Hittite army agents. Only by interrogation did he discover that he had fallen into a Hittite trap. By this time, the Hittite army was near the Kadesh. He was furious and asked the other legions to move faster when Muwatalli II sent 2,500 chariots from the east bank of the Orontes back to ambush our kingdom's army. The Ramon army was now advancing in a long march towards Kadesh, and the Hittites’ heavy chariots took the opportunity to charge them from the east. As Ramses II was unprepared, our kingdom's army was quickly overwhelmed by Hittite chariot troops, and the army commander fled north to the Ramon camp.

Hearing this, I have lost control of my emotion. I cannot believe that such a shameless army would use the trust of my dear husband against him. Ramses II was taking my hand and comforting me. He said that although he had completely lost control of the army, he was not helpless.

His third regiment, the Set Corps, arrived in the area. They managed to attack the rear of the Hittite Chariots as they fought with the infantry. They took advantage of the chaos behind the army lines and drove them out of Ramses II's camp. He also launched a small counterattack under the protection of Sheldon's guards and then assumed command of the Set Corps. My dear wise husband, following the classic tactics of our kingdom, has divided the army into three lines. After six continuous attacks, the Hittite Chariots suffered heavy losses, and most of them plunged into the river and drowned. I am deeply proud of my husband's intelligence and bravery. But he told me the war was not over yet. The Hittite army was waiting for help, but the army of Ptahs arrived, driving the Hittites back inside the Kadesh. The massive battle of tanks ended with both sides defeated.