The Ramesseum Canon

The Ramesseum is the memorial temple of Ramesses II at Thebes in Upper Egypt.

The upper register of the second western pylon, shows a processions where ancestors of Ramesses II are honored at ceremonies of the festival of Min.

It contains two processions with ancestors being honored, containing 19 cartouches with the names of 14 pharaohs. Notably, Hatshepsut and the Amarna pharaohs are omitted. When rediscovered, it was confirmed to be vast monument of "Ozymandyas" described in antiquity by Diodorus and Strabo, who called it Memnonium. The name Ramesseum was first used by Champollion, who visited the ruins in 1829, but Memnonium were used by travellers until the 1850's. The scene was first published by Champollion in 1845, and by Lepsius four years later.

Ramesseum king list detail
#HieroglyphsName in listPharaoh
1 The Ramesseum Canon: cartouche of Thutmose IAa kheper ka Ra
Thutmose I
2 The Ramesseum Canon: cartouche of Amenhotep IDjoser ka Ra
Amenhotep I
3 The Ramesseum Canon: cartouche of Ahmose INeb pehty Ra
Ahmose I
4 The Ramesseum Canon: cartouche of Mentuhotep IINeb hapet Ra
Mentuhotep II
5 The Ramesseum Canon: cartouche of NarmerMeni
6 The Ramesseum Canon: cartouche of Ramesses IIUser Maat Ra, setep en Ra
wsr-mꜢꜤt-rꜤ stp.n-rꜤ
Ramesses II
7 The Ramesseum Canon: cartouche of Seti IMen Maat Ra
Seti I
8 The Ramesseum Canon: cartouche of Ramesses IMen pehty Ra
Ramesses I
9, 15 The Ramesseum Canon: cartouche of HoremhebDjoser kheperu Ra, setep en Ra
ḏsr-ḫprw stp-n-rꜤ
10, 16 The Ramesseum Canon: cartouche of Amenhotep IIINeb Maat Ra
Amenhotep III
11, 17 The Ramesseum Canon: cartouche of Thutmose IVMen kheperu Ra
Thutmose IV
12, 18 The Ramesseum Canon: cartouche of Amenhotep IIAa kheperu Ra
Amenhotep II
13, 19 The Ramesseum Canon: cartouche of Thutmose IIIMen kheper Ra
Thutmose III
14 The Ramesseum Canon: cartouche of Thutmose IIAa kheper en Ra
Thutmose II


Champollion, Monuments, plates 149bis-150 composite
Champollion 1845

Plates 149bis-150 composite
Size: 3000x771 (874 kB)

Lepsius, Denkmaeler, III, plates 162-164 composite
Lepsius 1849

Plates 162-164 composite
Size: 2500x691 (870 kB)

The Epigraphic Survey, Medinet Habu IV, plate 213
Epigraphic Survey 1940

Medinet Habu IV (OIP 51), Plate 213 (colored)
Size: 3088x815 (689 kB)

Location of the Ramesseum king list

Size: 1200x801 (344 kB)


  • Diodorus Bibliotheca Historica, I, paragraphs 47-49 (c. 30 BC)
  • Strabo Geographica, Book XVII:43 (c. 23 CE)
  • Jean François Champollion Monuments de l'Égypte et de la Nubie. II, 149bis & 150 (Paris: 1845)
  • Karl Richard Lepsius Denkmaeler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien.... III, 162-164, (Berlin: 1849)
  • Porter, Bertha, & Moss, Rosalind Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs and Paintings. II2, 434 (10) (Oxford: 1927)
  • The Epigraphic Survey Medinet Habu—Volume IV Feast of Min ceremonies of Ramesses II (OIP 51), 213 (Chicago: 1940)
  • Kenneth A. Kitchen Ramesside Inscriptions. V, 205:9-11; 209:9-10 (Oxford: 1983)

End of page
Ancient historians
Terms & information

OK – Old Kingdom
Dynasties 3-6

MK – Middle Kingdom
Dynasties 11-12

NK – New Kingdom
Dynasties 18-20

SIP – Second Intermediate Period
Dynasties 13-17

Thebes – The Southern capital

Memphis – The Northern capital

Epitome – Manetho’s original Aegyptiaca was lost in antiquity, and in the following centuries, it was replaced by Epitomes (summaries) by rivalling advocates of Jewish, Egyptian, and Greek history that saw each side trying to establish the truth according to their point of view.

Vorlage – From the German for prototype or template, a vorlage is a prior version of a manuscript, in this case an earlier version of the canon.

Recto and verso – Recto is the front side and verso is the back side of a written or printed text.

Cartouche – oval band enclosing a pharaohs name

Hieratic – cursive form of hieroglyphic script

Hyksos – Greek form of ḥḳꜢ-ḫꜢswt or “rulers of foreign lands,” referring to peoples who migrated and controlled parts Egypt during the SIP.

Mortuary Temple – where the gods and the king who built the temple were worshipped.

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