Some 3000 years ago, Ramses II, also known as the Great, was the king of the 19th dynasty (1292–1190 BCE) of ancient Egypt. His reign was the second-longest in Egyptian history, between 1279–13 BCE. Known as the “Great Ancestor”, he is often honored as the greatest and most powerful pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire. Ramesses II was a great explorer, leader, and warrior, leading several military expeditions into the Levant to assert Egyptian control over Canaan. Ramses II had 200 wives and concubines, 96 sons and 60 daughters, as was common during his time, and he lived to be over 90 years old.
Reports said when he died, his body was kept on the Valley of the Kings but due to fear of looters, it was later moved to a royal cache. His mummy is now in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum. Gaston Maspero, who first unwrapped the mummy of Ramesses II, writes, “on the temples there are a few sparse hairs, but at the poll the hair is quite thick, forming smooth, straight locks about five centimeters in length. White at the time of death, and possibly auburn during life, they have been dyed a light red by the spices (henna) used in embalming…the moustache and beard are thin…The hairs are white, like those of the head and eyebrows…the skin is of earthy brown, splotched with black… the face of the mummy gives a fair idea of the face of the living king.”
In 1975 when his mummy was found in poor condition, it was sent to France for treatment and returned to Egypt in May 1977.