8. The Bronze Age King Who Fought the First Battle Whose Details are Known
I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—”Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away – Ozymandias, by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Ozymandias was the Greek name for Pharaoh Ramses II (circa 1303 – 1213 BC), or Ramses the Great – a title he might have bestowed upon himself. Often identified as the pharaoh who clashed with Moses in the Exodus story, this Ramses was the greatest, most powerful, and most celebrated ruler of the New Kingdom, Ancient Egypt’s most powerful period. A fascinating figure and a warrior through and through, he battled sea pirates, fought numerous campaigns in the Levant, and led several military expeditions into Nubia. While Thutmose III fought history’s first reliably recorded battle, Ramses fought the first battle whose tactical details have been recorded.