Has A “Royal-Trinity” Of King Ramesses II Been Discovered In Egypt?
A group of ancient statues has been discovered in the deserts of Egypt, and this remarkable timeworn ‘royal-trinity’ seems to feature the Egyptian creator god Ptah, the maintainer of Earth, King Ramesses II, and the destroyer goddess and afterworld guide, Sekhmet. The same trio is represented outside Cairo’s Egyptian Museum, but to find these three at Memphis is a bit of an anomaly.
According to a post on the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities Facebook Page, the Supreme Council of Archaeology in Egypt has discovered “pink and black granite statues dating back to the reign of Ramesses II” at the modern-day town of Mit Rahina near the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis. Adding to this, a series of coptic-era limestone blocks were also found near Mit Raineh.
A closeup of the greatest pharaoh of them all: King Ramesses II Colossus at Luxor Temple. (Than217 / Public domain)
The Greatest Pharaoh Of Them All
King Ramesses II (the Great) was the third and most powerful pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of the New Kingdom period. This legendary military strategist led several successful campaigns into the Levant and Nubia, and built various cities, temples and vast religious monuments. At Aswan, archaeologists have unearthed statues of King Ramesses II and “other gods” in the Abu Simbel temples. These temples are lit up by sunbeams twice a year in commemoration of King Ramesses II ’s ascension to the throne on 22nd February, and his birthday on 22nd October, when the agricultural harvest season began in ancient Egypt.
The newly discovered findings dating to King Ramesses II ’s reign include statues of the pharaoh himself that were crafted from pink and black granite and limestone. Researchers believe that the limestone blocks used for his statues date from the Coptic era (Late Roman Egypt and Byzantine Egypt) and that these blocks were previously used and recycled for use in other structures.
The engraved limestone blocks date from the Coptic era. (Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities)
Unearthing The Pharaoh's Protector Goddess
Dr Mustafa Waziri, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Archaeology, said in a Facebook post that along with the statue of Ramesses II other statues were discovered of various ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses including “Sekhmet,” the lioness-headed goddess of healing and war. Sekhmet led and protected the pharaohs in warfare by breathing fire and summoning the hot desert winds to engulf his enemies, and after death, Sekhmet continued to protect the pharaohs by guiding them at the beginning of their journey into the afterlife.
A statue of Sekhmet recently unearthed in Egypt and related to the incredible power of King Ramesses II. (Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities)
In ancient Egyptian imagery Sekhmet bears the Uraeus, the stylized, upright form of an Egyptian cobra, representing sovereignty, royalty, deity, and divine authority in ancient Egypt. This symbol associates the goddess with royalty, and the solar disk. And because Sekhmet was also worshiped as a solar deity, the daughter of the Sun God Ra, she was often associated with healing and her energies were called upon to ward off disease.
The Creator That Breathed Everything Into Being
The archaeologists also discovered a statue of “Ptah,” the husband of the goddess Sekhmet, who was a creator god that existed before all other things, and with his will, he “thought” the world into existence. As the god who created all the other deities, Ptah was worshiped as the inventor of masonry and the patron of craftspeople and architects. The famous Egyptian architect and sage, Imhotep, claimed to be the son of Ptah. In the “Triad of Memphis” Ptah was both the husband of Sekhmet and also the father of “Nefertum.” Ptah’s divine breath was believed to contain the building blocks of creation that were said to have given life to everything, in the beginning. The coronation ceremonies of new pharaohs were often held in the Temple of Ptah in the city of Memphis, the capital of ancient Egypt, which was originally called the “temple of the soul of Ptah.”
One of the recent blocks of stone recently discovered in Memphis of Ptah holding his staff. (Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities)
Though too early to know for sure, the recently discovered statues of King Ramesses II, Sekhmet and Ptah certainly to appear to form a “royal trinity.” According to Egyptopia the “Trinity of Memphis” consisted of the creator god Ptah, his consort Sekhmet, and their son Nefertem, who together formed the main focus of worship in Memphis. So why is Nefertem absent here? Well, perhaps the effigies of Nefertem are still to be found in this location.
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Engraving with the uraeus serpent representative of Egyptian kings protruding from the headdress. (Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities)
But based on the grouping of the newly discovered statues, Nefertem, the son of Ptah, could have been replaced with King Ramesses II, and Ptah’s wife Sekhmet was charged with protecting Ramesses. Therefore, within this sacred triangle we have the creator of the world (Ptah), the maintainer/ruler (Ramesses), and his guide to the afterlife, Sekhmet. Together they represent “the before, the here and now, and the after” or “birth, life and death,” the most essential and holiest trinity in all ancient cultures.
Top image: Trilogy statue of King Ramesses II, Ptah and Sekhmet. Cairo Egyptian Museum. Source: JMCC1 / CC BY-SA 3.0
By Ashley Cowie