The Last Great Pharaoh
By the time of Ramses III (1182 - 1151 BC), the world was going through great change. During the first few years of his reign, Ramses III brought his country together.
Ramses III was a great military leader who repeatedly saved the country from invasion. In the fifth year of his reign, Egypt was well prepared for an attack by the Libyans from the west. With a well-organized and efficient army, Ramses III easily defeated the Libyans.
The Libyan attack was nothing compared to the much greater threat that came three years later. The Sea Peoples were ready to make a move on Egypt. They were marching south along with a huge fleet of ships heading towards the eastern Nile delta. Ramses III established a line of defense in Southern Palestine and got every available ship to secure the entrance to the Nile. The Egyptian army defeated the Sea Peoples on land, but their navy continued towards the Nile delta. Their plan was to defeat the Egyptian navy and force an entry up the river. Although the Egyptians had a poor reputation as seamen, they fought long and hard. Ramses III lined the shores with part of his army which shot arrows at the enemy ships as they tried to land. Then the Egyptians attacked using grappling hooks to haul in the enemy ships. In the brutal hand to hand fight, the Sea Peoples were defeated.
Ramses III was also a builder of temples and palaces. His victories are depicted on the walls on his temple at Medinet Habu, near Luxor.
Ramses III had two wives and several minor wives. Tiye, one of his minor wives was the cause of his destruction. She wanted to kill Ramses because she wanted her son, Prince Pentaweret, on the throne. She and her army plotted to kill Ramses III using magic wax and poison. The plot failed but not until after Ramses III was mortally wounded. They were arrested and went to trial. Ramses III died before the trial was completed.
Ramses III was the last of the great rulers of Ancient Egypt. His death was followed by centuries of weakness and the Egyptian empire was ruled by foreigners.
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