How Ancient Egypt lost its Asiatic territories under Ramesses VI

Michael Eli Dokosi March 18, 2020
Ramesses VI via Runoko Rashidi

In ancient Egypt history, notable kings include Khufu regarded as one of Kmt’s most significant monarchs. He built the Great Pyramid of Giza – one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Taharqua’s father Piye conquered all of Egypt and made himself Pharaoh, establishing the 25th Dynasty, also called the ‘Nubian Dynasty.’

Aha-Mena or Narmer is regarded as the first pharaoh of a united Egypt – that is ruling over Upper and Lower Egypt in the 32nd century BC.

Ramesses II, also known as Ramesses the Great, the third pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty of Egypt aside being regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the New Kingdom also sired over 100 children.

Then there is Akhenaten (1353-1336 BCE) who revolutionized the spiritual path of ancient Egypt banning the worship of other gods for the sole worship of Aten, a personal deity he elevated.

What then is Ramesses VI, who ruled Kmt during the 20th dynasty about 3000 years ago’s notable feat?

Ramesses VI also spelled Ramses, Ramesses or Rameses reigned in 12th century BCE. He was king of ancient Egypt 1145–37 BCE (although other historians advance other dates) who succeeded to the throne after the early death of his nephew, Ramses V.

Evidence indicates that Ramses VI was probably a son of Ramses III, the last outstanding ruler of the 20th dynasty (1190–1075 BCE). After taking the throne, he annexed the tomb of his predecessor, Ramses V, which remains one of the most impressive of the Theban royal tombs.

Reigning for eight years, the king accomplished little building or decoration that has survived to the present day, and, after he annexed his predecessor’s tomb, the size of the workmen’s gang on the royal tomb was reduced either because of economic decline or instability regarding security.

He was the last Egyptian king to work the copper mines at Sinai; Nubia, Egypt’s territory to the south. It, however, remained under Egyptian control. Ramses was succeeded by his son Ramses VII, formerly identified as Ramses VIII.

Egypt’s political and economic decline continued unabated during Ramesses VI’s reign. He is the last king of the New Kingdom period whose name is attested on inscribed wall fragments as well as two pillars of the temple of Hathor of the Serabit el-Khadim in Sinai where he sent expeditions to mine copper ore.

Egypt might still have had some authority despite the general decline as the base of a fragmented bronze statue of Ramesses VI was discovered in Megiddo in Canaan and a scarab of his from Alalakh on the coast in southern Anatolia.

Egyptian presence in Canaan was terminated during or soon after Ramesses VI’s rule with the last garrisons leaving southern and western Palestine around the time and the frontier between Egypt and abroad returning to a fortified line joining the Mediterranean to the Red Sea.

It was during his reign that Egypt lost all of its Asiatic territories negatively impacting the economy of the New Kingdom society and depriving the subsequent kings of much of their legitimacy.

The Egyptian control of Nubia seems to have been much firmer at the time, owing either to the advanced Egyptianisation of the local population or to the economic importance of this region. Ramesses VI’s cartouches have been uncovered on Sehel Island near Aswan and in Ramesses II’s temple in Wadi es-Sebua.

Ramesses VI was buried in the Valley of the Kings, in a tomb now known as KV9. The tomb was first built for Ramesses V, who may have been buried in it for the short period of time necessary for another, likely undecorated tomb, to be cut for him somewhere else in the Valley of Kings and which remains to be discovered.

Curiously Ramesses VI commanded that KV9 be entirely refurbished for himself with no space left for Ramesses V’s permanent burial, who was finally led to rest in Ramesses VI’s second year on the throne possibly because stability had returned to Thebes at the time.

It’s unclear if Ramesses VI did not hold his predecessor in high regard or he was just being pragmatic given the economic decline.

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: March 18, 2020


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