Ramesses II (Ancient Egyptian: rꜥ-ms-sw Rīʿa-məsī-sū, pronounced [ˈɾiːʕaʔ məˈsiːˌsuw], meaning "Ra is the one who bore him"; c. 1303–1213 BC) was the third pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt. He is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the New Kingdom, itself the most powerful period of Ancient Egypt.
The name Ramesses is pronounced variously /ˈræməsiːz, ˈræmsiːz, ˈræmziːz/. Other spellings include Rameses and Ramses; in Koinē Greek: Ῥαμέσσης, romanized: Rhaméssēs. He is known as Ozymandias in Greek sources (Koinē Greek: Οσυμανδύας, romanized: Osymandýas), from the first part of Ramesses's regnal name, Usermaatre Setepenre, "The Maat of Ra is powerful, Chosen of Ra". He is also called Ramesses the Great. His successors and later Egyptians called him the "Great Ancestor".
At age fourteen, he was appointed prince regent by his father, Seti I. Most Egyptologists today believe he assumed the throne on 31 May 1279 BC, based on his known accession date of III Season of the Harvest, day 27.
The early part of his reign was focused on building cities, temples, and monuments. He established the city of Pi-Ramesses in the Nile Delta as his new capital and used it as the main base for his campaigns in Syria. He led several military expeditions into the Levant, reasserting Egyptian control over Canaan. He also led expeditions to the south, into Nubia, commemorated in inscriptions at Beit el-Wali and Gerf Hussein. He celebrated an unprecedented thirteen or fourteen Sed festivals during his reign—more than any other pharaoh.
Estimates of his age at death vary; 90 or 91 is considered most likely. On his death, he was buried in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings; his body was later moved to a royal cache where it was discovered in 1881, and is now on display in the Egyptian Museum.