Ramses was known mainly for two qualities: monuments and warfare. He enjoyed having his sculptors of the state portray him continuosly.His monuments were some of the grandest in Ancient Egypt. He crafted the great Ramesseum, beautiful statues of his favorite and first wife Nefertari, amazing statues of himself, and many more great monuments. He built in the Temple of Luxor, Abu Simbel, and all over Egypt, especially in Pi-Ramesse.
He had giant and life-sized statues of himself, including a 57-foot one of himself. He built great monuments at the sacred city of Abydos, the most important religious center above Thebes.
The Ramesseum was Ramses ll's mortuary tomb. It is one of the most marvelous Egyptian tombs and is a huge demonstration of Ancient Egyptian New Kingdom architecture. It served not only religious purposes, it was also part of the administrative government branch of Thebes. It did not retain all of its original glory when archaeologists discovered it, but the workers could tell it had been a great monument. It is filled with elegance and scenes of Ramses at different sites such as Kadesh, his Syrian sieges, treaties, and many more achievements. He had pylons in it, he had amazing temple of Tuya and Nefertari, a sanctuary, two giant monoliths of himself, whole courts, halls filled with paintings of himself, and a breathtaking burial chamber. All of the pylons, courts, halls, et cetera were filled with decorations of Ramses making some achievement, such as in an entering chamber that depicts Ramses and his father making sacrifices to the cartouches of all their earlier pharaohs beginning with Narmer.
The entrance pylon shows the Egyptian army, chariots and infantry, on the move. Their baggage wagons are seen with the chariots lined up in long lines. Their teams are nearby, while certain un-harnessed horses are being foddered. The Egyptian camp is also shown.
The Hypostyle Hall in the Ramesseum is located behind the courts. It is very close to the one in Karnak, with three aisles and the larger columns having calyx capitals and the smaller ones with bud capitals. The columns appear more graceful and better proportioned than those at Karnak. Throughout the hall Ramses soldiers are depicted storming the walled town of Zapur. Ramses himself is shown riding into battle, leaving a trail of death as he passes through. On another side he is shown with goddesses in the presence of Amun and Mut. Two other, smaller hypostyle halls can be found in the Ramesseum, yet there is not much about them.
The first court of the Ramesseum is in a bad preservation state. The second is much better. There are colonnades on all four sides. Facing it are statues of Set's brother, Osiris. Ramses is making sacrifices to him. The two massive statues of Ramses inspired Percy Bysshe Shelley to write the famous poem Ozymandias. Well-preserved yet biased scenes of the Battle of Kadesh are in full viewing mode. Ramses is larger than his men or the enemy, on chariot, and Hititte soldiers lie in a heap. Higher up on walls are scenes of a festival that occurred when Ramses became king.
The Ramesseum is one of the largest and most amazing tombs in Ancient Egypt, but is in ruin now, mainly due to the fact that it was built too close to arable land. Later pharaohs did not respect the tomb and even took stone from it that had been in the tomb of Ramses The Great.
Ramses did not only work on his tomb. He finished the great Hypostyle Hall at the temple of Amon at Karnak, a project that his grandfather had begun. He carved two great temples out of a cliffside, made monuments to his mother and first wife Nefertari, added a pylon, walls, and sculptures to the Great Temple of Karnak, and added a pylon and two obelisks to the Temple of Luxor. His 57-foot statue is located in that temple. He always put himself heroically on everything he did. In all, Ramses had a building frenzy after his campaigns, maybe built a lot by Jewish slaves (see Exodus). He built in Nubia also, completing 6 temples. These include the temples carved out of the cliffside and those at Abu Simbel, in northern Nubia. Other large statues of Ramses are found at the Great Temple of Ramses at Abu Simbel.
RAMSES AT ABU SIMBELexternal image ramses-ii-abu-simbel.jpg
Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • I met a traveller from an antique land,Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert… Near them, on the sand,Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,Tell that its sculptor well those passions readWhich yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;And on the pedestal, these words appear"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings, Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!"Nothing beside remains. Round the decayOf that colossal Wreck, boundless and bareThe lone and level sands stretch far away."

The poem immortalizes the colossal statues of Ramses in the Ramesseum.
external image ramesseum_02.jpg