Ancient Egypt Wiki
Preceded by:
Pharaoh of Egypt
19th Dynasty
Succeeded by:
Seti I
Ramesses I
Manetho: Rhamesses

Ramesses I depicted on a wall relief in his KV16 tomb.

1290-1288 BC or
1292-1290 BC (22 months)
Established by the Strength
of Re
Born of Re
Horus name
Strong Bull, who
Rejuvenates the Royalty
Nebty name
He who Appears as King,
like Atum
Golden Horus
He who Establishes Ma'at
throughout the Two Lands
Father Seti
Consort(s) Sitre
Issue Seti I, Tanedjmet (?)
Died 1288 or 1290 BC
Burial KV16 (initial), TT320 (reburial)
For other pages by this name, see Ramesses.

Menpehtyre Ramesses I (ancient Egyptian: rꜥ-ms-sw, "Born of Re") was the founding Pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty during the New Kingdom of Egypt. The dates for his short reign are not exactly known but evidently appear to be around 1290 BC.[1][2] While Ramesses I is widely regarded as the founder of the 19th Dynasty, in reality his brief reign marked the transition between the reign of Horemheb who had stabilised Egypt and the rule of the powerful pharaohs of this dynasty, in particular Seti I and Ramesses II, who would bring Egypt up to new heights of imperial power.


Known as Rhamesses (Pαμεσσης) in Josephus version of Manetho's Epitome, upon his accession, Ramesses assumed the throne name (or prenomen) Menpehtyre (ancient Egyptian: mn-pḥty-rꜥ, "Established by the strength of Re"). Ramesses is, in at least one occassion, attested with the epithet Heqamaat (ancient Egyptian: ḥḳꜣ-mꜣꜥt, "Ruler of Ma'at") after his birth name (or nomen).[3]

Origins and Family[]

See also: 19th Dynasty Family Tree.

Ramesses I (originally Paramessu) was of non-royal birth, being born into a noble military family from the Eastern Nile Delta region, possibly near the former Hyksos capital Avaris. He was the son of Seti, who was a troop commander. The identity of his mother remains unknown. His uncle Khaemwaset, also an army officer, married Taemwadjes, the Chief of the Harem of Amun. This shows the high status of Ramesses' family. Ramesses I found favor with Horemheb, the last pharaoh of the tumultuous Eighteenth Dynasty, who appointed the former as his heir. Whether Horemheb and Ramesses I are related remains unknown.

Ramesses I's wife (who ultimately became his queen consort) was Sitre. They are known to have had one son together, Seti I, who succeeded his father on the throne.

Prior to Accession[]

Ramesses I rose rapidly in prominence at the royal court of Pharaoh Horemheb, who appointed the former as his Vizier. Ramesses certainly served the army and held the office of High Priest of Set,[4] whose temple and priesthood must have been situated at Avaris. He was succeeded in this priestly role by his son, Seti. As high priests, they would have played an important role in the restoration of the old religion following the Amarna heresy of a generation earlier, during the reign of Akhenaten. Both Ramesses I and Seti I were connected with various aspects of Banebdjedet, whose cult was centered at the nearby city of Mendes, and Wadjet, who was worshipped throughout Lower Egypt.[4]

Since Horemheb had no surviving children, he ultimately selected Ramesses to be his heir in the final years of his reign presumably because Ramesses I was both an able administrator and had a son (Seti I) and a grandson (Ramesses II) to succeed him and thus avoid any succession difficulties.

Dates and Length of Reign[]

Ramesses I enjoyed a very brief reign, as evidenced by the general paucity of contemporary monuments mentioning him: the king had little time to build any major buildings in his reign and was hurriedly buried in a small and hastily finished tomb.[5] Manetho assigns him a reign of only 16 months, but Ramesses ruled Egypt for at least 17 months based on the date of his stela at the fortress of Buhen which is dated to his second regnal year. His only known actions was to order the provision of endowments for a Nubian temple at Buhen and "the construction of a chapel and a temple (which was to be finished by his son) at Abydos."[6] Ramesses I's highest known attestation comes from a stela, dated to his Year 2 II Peret day 20 (Louvre C57), which ordered the provision of new endowments of food and priests for the Temple of Ptah within Buhen.[7] Jürgen von Beckerath observes that Ramesses I died just 5 Months later – in June 1290 BC – since Seti's known accession date is III Shemu day 24.[1]

Burial and Succession[]

Ramesses I was succeeded by his son, Seti I on III Shemu day 24. Ramesses was buried in his KV16 rock-cut tomb in the Valley of the Kings. His tomb, discovered by Giovanni Belzoni in 1817 and designated KV16, is small in size and gives the impression of having been completed with haste. Joyce Tyldesley states in her book that Ramesses I's tomb consisted of a single corridor and one unfinished room whose;

"walls, after a hurried coat of plaster, were painted to show the king with his gods, with Osiris allowed a prominent position. The red granite sarcophagus too was painted rather than carved with inscriptions which, due to their hasty preparation, included a number of unfortunate errors."[8]


During the 21st Dynasty, Ramesses I's mummy (along many other New Kingdom rulers) was moved to the royal cache at Deir el-Bahari. Upon discovery by authorities in 1881, the mummy of Ramesses I had already been stolen and sold by the Abu-Rassul family of grave robbers, who had already discovered the cache as early as 1871.

Ramses I Mummy

Mummy of Ramesses I on display at the Luxor Museum.

Ramesses I's mummy was sold by Turkish vice-consular agent Mustapha Aga Ayat at Luxor[9] to Dr. James Douglas who brought it to North America around 1880. Douglas used to purchase Egyptian antiquities for his friend Sydney Barnett who then placed it in the Niagara Museum and Daredevil Hall of Fame in Niagara Falls Ontario, Canada. The mummy remained there, its identity unknown, next to other curiosities and so-called freaks of nature for more than 120 years. When the owner of the museum decided to sell his property, Canadian businessman William Jamieson purchased the contents of the museum and, with the help of Canadian Egyptologist Gayle Gibson, identified their great value.[10] In 1999, Jamieson sold the Egyptian artifacts in the collection, including the various mummies, to the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia for US $2 million. His royal identity was conclusively determined through various CT scans, X-rays and radio-carbon dating tests by researchers at the University and his mummy was returned to Egypt on October 24, 2003 with full official honors and is on display at the Luxor Museum.[11]

See also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Von Beckerath 1997, p. 190.
  2. Rice 1999.
  3. Kitchen 1975.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Montert 1974, p. 197.
  5. Tyldesley 2000, p. 37-38.
  6. Grimal 1992, p. 245.
  7. Brand 2000, p. 289, 300, 311.
  8. Tyldesley 2000, p. 38.
  9. Hawass & Saleem 2016, p. 32.
  10. "Canada's favourite mummy hunter returns". Niagara Falls Review. Archived from the original on 2017-12-04. Retrieved on 2017-05-17.
  11. "Egypt's 'Ramses' mummy returned". BBC. October 26, 2003. Retrieved on 2008-04-13.


  • Beckerath, J. von, 1997: Chronologie des pharaonischen Ägypten: die Zeitbestimmung der ägyptischen Geschichte von der Vorzeit bis 332 v. Chr. Verlag Philipp von Zabern, Mainz.
  • Brand, P.J., 2000: The Monuments of Seti I: Epigraphic, Historical and Art Historical Analysis. Brill, Leiden.
  • Grimal, N., 1992: A History of Ancient Egypt. Blackwell Books, Oxford.
  • Hawass, Z./Saleem, S.N., 2016: Scanning the Pharaohs: CT Imaging of the New Kingdom Royal Mummies. The American University in Cairo Press.
  • Montert, P., 1974: Everyday Life in Egypt in the Days of Ramesses The Great.
  • Rice, M., 1999: Who's Who in Ancient Egypt. Routledge, London.
  • Tyldesley, J., 2000: Ramesses: Egypt's Greatest Pharaoh. Penguin Books, New York.

External links[]

Pharaoh of Egypt
Nineteenth Dynasty
Ramesses II