Pharaoh Seti I (Kindle)
Father of Egyptian Greatness
Pharaoh Seti I ruled Egypt for only 11 years (1290-1279 BC), but his reign marked a revival of Egyptian military and economic power, as well as cultural and religious life. Seti was born the son of a military officer in northern Egypt, far from the halls of power in Memphis and Thebes. However, when the last king of the 18th Dynasty, Horemheb, died without an heir, Seti’s father was named king. He ruled for only two years before dying of old age, leaving Seti in charge of an ailing superpower. Seti set about rebuilding Egypt after a century of dynastic struggles and religious unrest. He reasserted Egypt’s might with a series of campaigns across the Levant, Libya and Nubia. He despatched expeditions to mine for copper, gold, and quarry for stone in the deserts, laying the foundations for one of the most ambitious building projects of any Egyptian Pharaoh and his actions allowed his son, Ramesses the Great to rule in relative peace and stability for 69 years, building on the legacy of his father.
For me the most fascinating aspect of this study is the quite amazing amount of detail we have about some aspects of Seti’s life and of the lives of many of his subjects. There is even one period in his reign where we can construct his weekly itinerary, as the records of the palace baker have survived, and they tell us where the Pharaoh’s bread was being sent! We also have a random, but for the period quite remarkable, selection of documents about the lives of relatively ordinary Egyptians – some from surviving working documents, others from records of their achievements in their tombs. These fragments give us a feel for some of the details of ordinary life that we don’t get again until the Roman period.History of War
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This book provides a useful introduction to the Nineteenth Dynasty allowing Seti I to emerge from the long shadow cast by his more famous son.Ancient Egypt magazine, October/November 2018 – reviewed by Hilary Wilson