Pharaohs - King of Kings.
In ancient Egypt it was only a fine line that separated pharaohs from gods. In the case of Ramesses the Second, there was no dividing line, he was considered as much god as man.
Very few monarchs have been celebrated more in life and in death than the leaders of ancient Egypt. The sheer volume of temples, statues and tombs is testament to their popularity.
So who were the movers and shakers among them and what did they achieve in their life time?
How did one become a pharaoh?
Like much of the other examples of monarchy throughout the world, it was usually a hereditary process. The eldest son of a pharaoh, was in line for the leadership role.
Sometimes the son was proclaimed during the lifetime of his father in a co-regency to ensure a smooth succession.
Not all were men however. Unlike Greece and Rome where leadership was a male only affair, ancient Egypt had some notable female rulers in Hatshepsut and the historically well known Cleopatra.
What was their role as leader?
They were the spiritual head of state. So much so that it was believed by all of Egypt that the King was an incarnation of Horus, the falcon headed god known as "he who is above".
They were supreme war-lords of the Egyptian armies. Sometimes, such as in the case of Ramesses the second, he led them into battle personally. Other's such as Akhenaten were more strategist and figure head than soldier.
Both these roles bore great responsibility and it was important that they balanced them effectively. Their success could be measured by the prosperity of the people in agriculture, conquest of surrounding nations and the self-serving construction of massive everlasting monuments.
Projects such as temples, pyramids and whole cities dedicated to the King have been left behind to show their achievements during their reign.
Some examples of these are:
* Khufu's pyramid at Giza - the largest construction in the known world for centuries.
* Ramesses the second - many, many temples and many, many statues.
* Ramesses I, Seti I and Ramesses the second - The impressive religious center known as the temple of Karnak.
Follow the links to take a closer look at some ancient Egyptian Kings.
return from Pharaohs to home page