Ramses the Great: Black Man of the Nile and Pride of Africa

By Runoko Rashidi

Although it was the African Sudan–the “Ethiopia” (Land of the Blacks) of ancient times–that gave birth to the oldest civilization, it is in Kmt (Ancient Egypt), a child of Ethiopia and greatest nation of antiquity, that the bulk of historical research has been done. For the moment, at least, Kmt continues to be the focal point of our African centered researches, and will probably be the object of much of our studies for some time to come. Not only were Ancient Egypt’s origins African, but through the entire Dynastic Age and during all the periods of real splendor from the initial unification of Upper and Lower Egypt in the fourth millennia B.C.E. men and women with black skin complexions and wooly hair reigned virtually supreme.

In the intense and unrelenting struggle to establish and prove scientifically the African founda-tions of ancient Egyptian civilization, the late Senegalese scholar Cheikh Anta Diop remains a most fierce and ardent champion. Diop, 1923-1986, was among the world’s leading Egyptologists. Diop firmly believed that “The highest point of Egyptian history was the Nineteenth Dynasty of Ramses II.”

Ramses reigned from 1279 to 1213 BCE, more than 3200 years ago. His reign was a time of power and prosperity for the people of Africa’s Nile Valley. The sixty-seven year reign of Ramses the Great was for Kmt an era of general prosperity, stable government and extensive building projects. An¬cient deities like Ptah, Re and Set were elevated to high status. The adoration of Amen was restored and his priests reinstated. Major wars were fought with the Libyans, Hittites and their allies. Wondrous temples from Nubia to the Egyp¬tian Delta were carved out of the naked cliffs. Splendid tombs in the hills of western Waset and Abydos were constructed, renovated and beautified. The new Egyptian city of Pi-Ramses made its impressive debut.

Ramses was deified in his own lifetime, and through the unrelenting projection of his own incomparable personality made the name Ramses, the Son of Amen-Re, synonymous with kingship for centuries. Ramses II was truly great. He was the towering figure of his age and established the models and set the standards that others used to rule by.