One of the most beautiful and true love stories comes to us from the time of the most famous civilization ever. It was between the greatest pharoah who ever ruled, Rameses the Great and his beloved queen Nefertari. A great love story that is almost 3 millenia old.
Who was what?
King Rameses II was royalty, the greatest emperor of all of Egypt. He is regarded by many as the most powerful and celebrated pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire. Nefertari, her name meaning the beautiful was the daughter of a nobleman in Thebes . She was no imperial blood but her beauty did outclass some of the royalty that used to rule at that point of time. Her titles include that of “king’s daughter”.
At age fourteen, Rameses was appointed Prince Regent by his father Seti 1. He is believed to have taken the throne in his late teens and is known to have ruled Egypt from 1279 BC to 1213 BC.
It is Rameses II who, having a superior power structure in northern Egypt planned to expand his commandment down south and consolidate his position at Thebes. The new kings and noblemen that came and settled down south at Thebes from the Delta region had no royal blood in them. So it was proposed that a marriage with one of them ought to be orchestrated to strengthen Rameses hold on the throne. It was going to link his family with the one from Thebes.
So Nefertari, a Theban became the first queen of Rameses II. What was possibly a politically inspired union overtime bloomed into love. Although the essential concern was to conceive as many children as he could so one of them will succeed him upon the throne. But Ramesses the Great was head over heels in love with Nefertari. Rameses II, who said of Nefertari “My beloved, I believe that behind every successful man is a great woman like you, Nefertari.”
She has had monuments and poetry dedicated to her honour. She also accompanied him in military campaigns. Thus soon it became one of the most celebrated love story of the Egyptian time.
Unfortunately, the love story did not last for long. Queen Nefertari passed away after 24 years of marriage. He was completely heartbroken to the bits. Evidence shows him failing as an emperor for a period of time.
Her tomb is the most beautiful and spectacular tombs in the valley of the Queens. The paintings are not only incredibly beautiful but they contain an abundance information on the Egyptian beliefs about Judgment Day and the afterlife. He dedicated loads of work to her. Most of his statues have small statues of her attached to him. Although her size is much smaller than him, the distinction in the size was not because she was a woman and he was a man. It was on the grounds that he was a God and she was a queen (human). Rameses had two temples cut into the limestone cliff at Abu Simbel. It is the smaller one, known appropriately as the Small Temple of Abu Simbel that is dedicated to his beloved queen.
Scholars found adoration poetry composed by the king for his dead queen in Nefertari tomb. Rameses II dedicated the small temple at Abu Simbel to Nefertari. Few queens have ever been built anything as grand a shrine as her temple. At the site of Abu Simbel, he built and dedicated a temple to her as a goddess. Here, next to his statues were statues of her, the same size as the king.
When he lost her and was showing his weakness, he said: “My love is unique – no one can rival her, for she is the most beautiful woman alive. Just by passing, she has stolen away my heart.”
Egypt is a place brimming with such love stories of kings and queens. Do share your stories with us.