- Ramesses, Loved by Ptah
Ramesses, Loved by Ptah
The History of a Colossal Royal Statue
The dramatic story behind the 3,200-year-old colossal Grand Egyptian Museum Ramesses statue
King Ramesses II ruled Egypt for an extraordinary sixty-six years (1279–1213 BC) during the Nineteenth Dynasty. A great warrior and lavish builder, he fathered dozens of children and is widely regarded as the most celebrated and powerful pharaoh of the New Kingdom.
This wonderfully clear, engaging book recounts the dramatic history of the famed red granite colossal statue of Ramesses II now residing in Egypt’s Grand Egyptian Museum. One of the biggest statues ever made and part of the urban landscape of modern Cairo, the statue lent its name to Ramses Square and the city's mainline train station, and was so much a symbol of Cairo that it featured in countless Egyptian films. Susanna Thomas recounts the full history of the statue’s creation and installation in the Great Temple of Ptah at Memphis during the reign of Ramesses II, its reuse by Ramesses IV, and the later history of the statue during the Greco-Roman and Islamic Periods.
The book also provides an overview of how statues were made in ancient Egypt and includes a brief discussion of the statue cults of Ramesses II, kingship, temples, and the expansion of the New Kingdom capital city of Memphis and its temples. The final section covers the history of the statue since its rediscovery and subsequent rescue in the mid-nineteenth century until its installation in the entrance hall of the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza.
Written by a New Kingdom specialist and curatorial expert and illustrated with over 130 images, Ramesses, Beloved by Ptah tells the fascinating story of this magnificent statue within the wider context of statue cults and the reign of Ramesses II, and its subsequent rescue and restoration in modern times.
Foreword by Grand Egyptian Museum Director
1. Historical Background
2. Egyptian Statues
3. Royal Statue Cults
4. Memphis and the Temple of Ptah
5. Discovery of the GEM Statue
6. Ramesses II Statue
7. Ramesses’s Children
8. Chapter 8 Additions by Ramesses IV
Select Bibliography and Further Reading
Susanna Thomas works at the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza, Egypt, where she is a specialist in the interpretation and display of ancient Egyptian material culture. She has been engaged in excavation and research at sites all over Egypt for many years, from fortresses in the north to the Valley of the Kings at Luxor. Awarded her PhD in Egyptian Archaeology by the University of Liverpool in 2000, she is particularly interested in all aspects of the Ramesside Period and the archaeology of Tutankhamun. She previously taught at Liverpool, Manchester, and Helwan Universities, and has worked for museums in both Egypt and the UK.
“The transfer of the 83-ton statue of Ramesses II from Cairo’s train station to the Grand Egyptian Museum in 2006 was an event I will never forget. In this wonderful book Susanna Thomas brings to life the stories of the great pharaoh and warrior Ramesses and his great red granite colossus in both ancient and modern times.” —Zahi Hawass
“An excellent overview of the role of statuary in ancient Egypt, with a focus on the history and craftsmanship of the well-travelled and magnificent colossus of Ramesses II from Memphis."—Salima Ikram
“[An] exciting new volume . . . . The contents of this book are just as eye-catching and engaging as the striking cover image . . . . the author presents each aspect of the statue’s history in clear, accessible, and richly illustrated chapters.” —Ancient Egypt Magazine
"Beautifully and profusely illustrated throughout will full color photography, Ramesses, Loved by Ptah: The History of a Colossal Royal Statue is an extraordinarily informative and seminal contribution that is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Archaeology collections in general, and supplemental Egyptology curriculum studies lists."—Midwest Book Review