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Ramesses I took over the rule of Egypt after the death of the great military commander Horemheb, since the reign of Ramesses I did not last long, about two years, most of his achievements were during his work in the army in the era of Horemheb.
Early life of Ramses I and his role in the Egyptian army
Before assuming the throne of Egypt, he was called (Baramesis or Barameso), he was from a village in the Delta region, most of his family members held powerful positions in the Egyptian army, but it was not a royal family. His father held the position of chief archer in the army, and during his service in the army he held many important positions that later qualified him to be king of Egypt. Some of the most prominent of these positions is that he was appointed commander of a castle called Sila located in the Tell Abu Saifi area in Sinai, this castle was distinguished by its location as it was considered one of the most important areas, centers and garrisons for the Egyptian army and the state. Therefore, Ramses I was one of the most important leaders who took charge of protecting the country’s borders from the northeastern sides, and that was during the reign of Akhenaten and Tutankhamun.
When (Ay) ruled Egypt, he tried to get rid of the supporters and loyalists of Akhenaten and Tutankhamun until he got rid of the old leaders and tried to appoint new leaders to be loyal to him, so he chose Ramses I to be the commander of the cavalry, he became the commander of an entire army corps, and it was the same army corps that (Ay) commanded before assuming power, but (Ay) did not know that Ramesses’ loyalty was not to him but to Horemheb. Thus, historians mentioned that he was among the leaders who helped Horemheb to reach power, and after Horemheb seized power, Ramesses I was supportive of him all the time, as he stood by his side in his wars against the Hittites, his wars that he fought in the land of Canaan and his campaigns to eliminate rebellion and others, so they had a strong relationship of friendship, trust and harmony.
During this era and the few eras that preceded it, the position of minister did not exist for fear of coups and other reasons, and Horemheb also deferred the position because of the corruption that was widespread at the time, but in the end Horemheb appointed Ramesses I as a minister due to their mutual trust.
Ramses I as king of Egypt
Following the death of Horemheb, there was no legitimate heir for him to assume power, so the senior leaders of the Egyptian army gathered to choose a qualified person to be able to take over the rule of the ancient Egyptian kingdom. Due to the extent of Barameses’ competence, his assumption of important positions in the army, his loyalty to Horemheb, and his adherence to him during his reign, wars, and campaigns, he was chosen to become king of Egypt.
As soon as he assumed power, he changed his name to Ramses I, given that whoever comes after him will be the second and third as a result of the inheritance of power. He also called himself several titles, including the King of Upper Egypt or the King of Two Faces, the ruler on earth, the owner of the radiant kingdom, the strong bull, the son of the sun, and others.
Since he seized power at a very old age, his reign lasted nearly two years, and during this period Ramses I followed the same approach of King Horemheb and completed the reforms he was carrying out in order to rejuvenate Egypt again after the periods of weakness during the end of the Eighteenth Dynasty. He exerted great effort in eliminating internal corruption, which Horemheb was also trying to eradicate, and made attempts to strengthen the Egyptian administration and government and restructure the army again, in order to provide an opportunity for his sons to re-conquer foreign conquests again, as he was qualifying them to become leaders after him.
Ramses I was known for his founding of the nineteenth dynasty (the beginning of the Ramesside era).
Achievements of Ramesses I
The founder of the Nineteenth Dynasty established the Great Hall of Columns, which is located in Karnak Temple, it is the largest hall of columns in Egypt, Ramses I was the first to start building it and his son Seti completed it after him. It is about 170 feet long, about 338 feet wide, and it covers an area of more than 5000 square meters. These columns are organized in the form of 16 rows, and each column is topped with crowns in the form of a papyrus flower.
As a result of the short period of his rule, his tomb was not large enough, and it consisted of only two unadorned rooms, unlike the burial chamber, which was decorated. During the era of the Twentieth Dynasty, at the time of decay, there was a systematic campaign to steal the tombs of the Nineteenth Dynasty, so the tomb of Ramses I was found and it was completely stolen, but because of their knowledge of these thefts, only the king’s mummy was preserved among the cemetery’s holdings, as they were transporting mummies to separate places in order to protect them from grave thieves, but the mummy was stolen later, and sold, but it ended up eventually, after making sure that it belonged to Ramesses I, in Egypt in 2003 AD.