Since times immemorial, we know that power and remarkable sophistication came naturally to the Egyptian empire. Sadly, however, most of us know only about the mummification of the pharaohs. There was more to them as pharaohs were the middlemen between God and humans, according to the society. Each of them was leaders in their fields such as religion, politics, military and some even masters of all; we bring you facts from a fascinating civilisation that lasted a whopping 3000 years. Take a look at some of the most famous Egyptian pharaohs out of the 170 that ruled the country.
1. Khufu created the mysterious wonders of the world, making him a famous Egyptian Pharaoh
Khufu, a fourth dynasty pharaoh, created one of the Seven Wonders of the World – the Great Pyramid of Giza. It is a testament to the baffling Egyptian architecture and remained the world’s tallest human-made structure for almost 4000 years. But, how he constructed the pyramids remain a mystery to everyone to this date. Ironically, however, Khufu’s statue is the smallest Egyptian royal structure.
2. Egypt had its Napoleon too!
Thutmose III, the military genius, dedicated himself entirely to military training, which ultimately paid off. Some historians even refer to him as the Napoleon of Egypt. Thutmose III never lost one battle and his military skills won him the respect of the kingdom. Many regard him as the greatest and most famous Egyptian pharaoh.
3. Akhenaten’s belief in one God made him a famous Egyptian pharaoh
Akhenaten was called Amenhotep IV at birth. However, he changed his name due to his belief in monotheism. His new name means “He who is of service to the Aten” and was in honour of the only God he believed in, Aten, the Sun God. Due to his religious beliefs, Akhenaten changed the Egyptian capital to Amarna from Thebes and named it Akhetaten, which meant “Horizon of Aten.” His wife, Nefertiti, played a significant role in his religious revolution. However, soon after Akhenaten’s death, the empire returned to polytheism and people worshipped the traditional Gods he had disapproved of.
4. Did you know that Ramses II had 96 children?
There is no doubt that Ramses II was one of the greatest and most famous Egyptian pharaohs. Even by the standards set for pharaohs, his reign was ostentatious. Ramses II, known as an impeccable warrior, fathered 96 children and ruled for a whopping 67 years. However, he was no modest pharaoh; Ramses the Great declared himself God. His excessive splurges on architecture are said to have almost bankrupted the throne at the time of his death.
5. Famous Egyptian pharaoh, Cleopatra had both the beauty and brains to die for
Cleopatra, the last active ruler from the Ptolemaic Kingdom, is a member of Egypt’s dark days. However, her name still echoes in books and folklore worldwide. Historians describe her as a beautiful yet brilliant leader. Cleopatra succeeded in bringing peace and prosperity to her empire through her political savviness. The world knows about her love affairs with Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony. However, Cleopatra’s life came to a tragic conclusion when she committed suicide on 12 August 30 B.C., bringing an end to the Egyptian empire.
6. Hatshepsut conquered it all at a time when women were discouraged to rule
Although not the first, Hatshepsut is the most famous Egyptian pharaoh who was female. During her reign as the 18th dynasty’s fifth pharaoh, she brought prosperity to the kingdom. She also set a record as the longest reign for a female pharaoh. Women pharaohs at the time were discouraged and very few. However, Hatshepsut set an example for the future generations as well and several women followed in her footsteps.
She defeated Nubia and led the army on one occasion all by herself. Hatshepsut set a massive trading expedition to Punt too. Holding such accolades, she is regarded as one of the most excellent builders in Egyptian history. She created a grand mortuary temple, which marked a crucial shift from monumental grandeur to active worship.
7. The famous Egyptian pharaoh, King Tut was the opposite of his father
The people of Egypt did not well accept Akhenaten’s religious reforms. After his father’s death, Tutankhamun changed his name and opted for Amun over Aten. This made him the famous Egyptian pharaoh, King Tut, at the tender age of eight or nine. Although he ruled for just about ten years before his death, King Tut reversed his father’s policies, such as moving the capital back to Thebes and burying his father’s remains in the Valley of the Kings.
8. Horemheb brought back stability to a chaotic Egypt
King Tut’s second successor, Horemheb, was the last Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty. Although Tutankhamun reversed the worship of Aten, Horemheb rejected it. He took on several internal reforms such as giving power to the Amun priests, reappointing government officials and created a division between Lower and Upper Egypt. He carefully reorganised the government and created a systematic distribution of power. Akenaten’s changes brought chaos to the country; however, Horemheb restored it and brought stability. As one of the most potent and famous Egyptian pharaohs, Horemheb was the start of a fierce 19th dynasty of pharaohs.
9. Did you know that Menes rode on top of a crocodile and came out alive?
Menes, the first Egyptian pharaoh, is compared to Romulus and Remus of Rome. Several myths surround his life, such as that the God Horus handed him the land directly. Many historians credit him with the discovery of the capital city of Memphis. He is said to have introduced the worship of gods and writing too. A rather amusing tale suggests that Menes’ dogs once attacked him while hunting and he clung on to a crocodile to escape. This croc gave him a ride, not to his tummy but Lake Moeris. Conveying his gratitude, Menes founded the city of Crocodilopolis.
According to a legend, he ruled for sixty-two years and a hippopotamus killed him later. Well, we don’t know what kind of person gets away with traveling on top of a crocodile, but historians believe that Menes was a real human. According to experts, Menes is either a name or a title given to Pharaoh Narmer. He founded the 1st dynasty around 3000 BC and united Lower and Upper Egypt.
10. Although very less is known about this famous Egyptian pharaoh, he set a spark in the architecture of the country
Although Djoser can be regarded as the most famous Egyptian pharaoh of the 3rd dynasty, not much is known about his life. However, we know that he led the construction of Saqqara’s popular step pyramid. It is a massive milestone in Egyptian architecture and Djoser was buried there.
11. Amenhotep III was known for his cultural and diplomatic skills
Although Amenhotep III’s 38-year reign marked cultural and diplomatic progress rather than military, very few pharaohs could match his architectural and artistic intellect and skill. He lead a peaceful and progressive Egypt.