Top 10 Famous People in Ancient Egypt

Violence, love, and betrayal all rampantly occurred in ancient Egypt and mainly by the Pharaohs who ruled Egypt. True events about the Egyptian Pharaohs during ancient history gained popularity because of their dramatic battles and conflicts and their public romantic affairs.

Since it was customary for Egyptian rulers to stay within the same family lineage, many Pharaohs married their relatives. It was fairly likely that a royal figure would marry his or her own brother or sister.

On the other hand, some siblings fought each other for the throne.

In some cases, both sides built armies to fight against each other or hire an assassin to kill their relative in an attempt to solely rule all of Egypt.

Greedy Pharaohs would even do the unthinkable, like selling their children usually to acquire more money.

However, not all Pharaohs were destructive and coarse, some strengthened Egypt using ethical means. Egypt would not be the country it is today without the strong colorful history that it constructed in Ancient Egypt.

1. Cleopatra

Drama filled the life of Cleopatra with power, love, and violence. The reason why Cleopatra’s life became so popular is mainly due to the many extreme events that took place in her life. It was quite common during ancient history for a sister or mother to advise her child or younger brother as the true ruler of Egypt.

However, it was a different story if the woman dominated the ruling as if she was the Pharaoh. This is the case with Cleopatra. Her younger brother shared powers with her during her teenage years. A few times, Cleopatra and her siblings would bring their armies against each other in order to gain control and solely rule Egypt. 

As an adult, Cleopatra had many love interests in which she bore several children who would become heirs to the throne. One of her suitors was Julius Caesar. Several times Caesar and Cleopatra would escape Egypt until it was safer to return due to the disapproval of the citizens of Egypt. On one such occasion, Julius Caesar was murdered in Rome which caused Cleopatra to return to Egypt.

Her final years involved her romantic connection with married Mark Antony which caused such a stir between them and the family of Mark Antony’s wife, Octavia. Octavia’s brother, Octavian, brought his armies to face Egypt. Mainly, it focused on the relationship between Mark Antony and Cleopatra.

Fighting ensued with Mark Antony killing himself after he heard Cleopatra had died. When Cleopatra heard the news of Antony’s death, she killed herself by allowing a poisonous snake to bite her. Her death left Cleopatra’s oldest son to rule Egypt by himself.

2. King Tut

King Tut known as the boy king died a premature death at nineteen years old. King Tutankhamun or King Tut as many people call him, was king of Egypt during the 18th Dynasty. When he was only nine years old, Tutankhamun became king. Since he died during his late teenage years, he only ruled for a short period of time.

However, during this time, he reigned with one main intention which he accomplished. While his father ruled, Egypt took a fanatical turn. King Tut decided to return Egypt to the formative and traditional religious ways that it once was. Several years and lots of effort from Egyptian officials enabled Egypt to reverse the religious tactics back to their traditional beliefs and values.

 Even though there are various evidence-based theories as to the cause of King Tut’s death, several of them have something in common. A leg injury is believed to have contributed in some regard to his death at the age of nineteen.

One theory contends that infection to the leg injury actually caused the death, whereas another theory claims that King Tut sustained a leg injury while contracting malaria with both of these things causing his death. Another theory involved murder. However, there is not enough evidence to completely support or rule out any of these theories.

3. Queen Hatshepsut

 Moving up the ranks of leadership is usually how women became queens of Egypt. Being born to a king helped begin Hatshepsut’s movement to co-ruling all of Egypt in 1473. At a young age, Hatshepsut married her relative solidifying her ruling of Egypt.

The premature deaths of both her brother and husband allowed Hatshepsut to gain power for Egypt. Even though it was customary for a male leader to rule Egypt, Queen Hatshepsut directed officials with very little input from the actual male ruler, Thutmose III who was her son.

Sometimes, Queen Hatshepsut would don men’s wear in order to appear as a male so she would be taken more seriously. Her achievements involved building structures like the Deir el-Bahri and increasing trade in Egypt as well as with surrounding empires.

Her death ended her reign with her son taking back over the leadership of Egypt which he successfully reigned for three more decades.

4. Menes

Just like Elvis Presley made Memphis, Tennessee famous, King Menes of Egypt during the first dynasty made Memphis in Egypt famous. Egypt was divided into two separate sections.

During this time, Menes was able to bring together Lower Egypt with Upper Egypt. Through this unification, Menes developed the city of Memphis in Egypt which is located near the Nile River. The name of the city is somewhat named after Menes but then was translated by a Greek to become “Memphis.” 

Being considered one of the first kings of Egypt, Menes instituted a system of successive leaders from his family line for the next two centuries.

When Menes reached his early 60s, he died of an apparent attack from a hippopotamus. His baby son, Djer, succeeded him but his mother made the decisions until Djer was old enough to take over.

5. Nefertiti

Equality between men and women took shape during the 14th dynasty when both Queen Nefertiti and Pharaoh Akhenaten ruled Ancient Egypt together as a couple. One of their main accomplishments included creating a new religion where they worshipped the sun.

Believing the sun to be of the ultimate importance in Egypt, the couple changed their names. Artifacts and artwork depict their beliefs in the sun. 

Personally, Nefertiti was a ravishing beauty in her day. A very famous and identifiable bust of Nefertiti can be viewed on many websites. The Pharaoh married her when she was around 15 years old and they had 6 daughters together. It is apparent that they believed in gender equality which was quite unusual during those times.

A connection also exists between her family and King Tutankhamun. One of the daughters of Queen Nefertiti and Pharaoh Akhenaten married King Tutankhamun. Artwork depicting the Queen stopped altogether and it is believed that she must have died at that time.

6. Khufu

Wealth dominated Khufu during his reign of Ancient Egypt in the 4th Dynasty.

Even though very few artifacts or documentation exist about Khufu, what is known about this ruler makes him look greedy and cruel. Khufu’s focus during his reign was mainly on building one of the most well-known pyramids in Egypt that still stands today.

It is probably the most recognizable, the Pyramid of Giza. Using large blocks that weighed a couple of tons were carried one at a time to the Giza site to become the largest pyramid of its time. Slaves and other workers worked for over twenty years to complete this structure using over two million stones.

To furnish the manpower and materials to build the Great Pyramid of Giza, Khufu relied on the wealth from his reign. When the wealth ran low, Khufu would enslave his own daughter to others in order to acquire more money. This cruelty was shown throughout his reign.

7. Thutmose III

 Some rulers are known for building large pyramids during their reign which makes them famous and respected. However, those rulers used lots of tax money and forced slave labor to erect those structures.

What sets Thutmose III apart from these other leaders is his contribution to those famous structures. Thutmose III acquired the wealth legitimately during his reign. He built Egypt to be a powerful and wealthy place.

 Thutmose III’s upbringing played an important role in his character and in the way he reigned. Prior to taking over Egypt, Thutmose III fought valiantly in the Egyptian army and won every fight he fought.

This trait and dedication proved helpful when reigning Egypt. When people from surrounding areas tried to attack or deny paying taxes, Thutmose III used his brilliance to force the other side to surrender. 

8. Ramses II

 Fathering over ninety sons and sixty daughters, as well as having a couple of hundred wives, Ramses II definitely believed in having large families. Living to be 96 years old and having so many wives helps explain how he was able to produce so many offspring during his lifetime.

However, he also was an excellent ruler in which he became known as Ramses the Great. During the 19th Dynasty, Ramses II gained notoriety as a great warrior in battle which he definitely used to his benefit to gain the respect of the people in his kingdom.

Ramses II did have many accomplishments during his reign including the increase in commerce exchange and the protection of his people from invaders. These tactics enabled the Egyptians to prosper. The Discovery of Ramses II’s accomplishments was proven to an extent through artifacts found in the form of drawings found on the walls of caves, tombs, and pyramids.

The discrepancy in his accomplishments actually lies within Ramses II’s honesty. Known for being a bit of a bragger, Ramses II may have exaggerated his true successes.

9. Ramses III

 Events in Ramses III’s reign during the 20th Dynasty included many years of defending Egypt against attackers from neighboring areas including the powerful Hittite empire and Libyan tribes. Fighting the invaders who traveled through the Mediterranean Sea proved worthy, but it left his reign known for including many years of deadly unrest.

The ability to fend off these foreign warriors and the capturing Libya’s chief helped solidified Ramses III’s reign as successful. Yet, the last few years of the reign proved troublesome for Ramses III.

High officials in Lower Egypt angered many Egyptians due to dishonesty and savagery in their treatment of Egyptian workers. Eventually, the workers halted the production of the tombs. The high official in Upper Egypt came to the rescue by conducting negotiations with these workers.

After this snafu, Ramses III’s troubles continued with murder attempts on his life. The successful attempt resulting in Ramses III’s death was actually carried out by one of his own wives. Only recently has this fact based on medical evidence proven true.

10. Pepi II

 Ruling Egypt for almost 100 hundred years is an unusual feat for any ruler, especially during ancient times. As a young six-year-old boy, Pepi II succeeded his father.

Since Pepi II was born to an old father, he was able to outlive his brother to become a 6-year-old king. Having the power was one thing, but he was advised by his mother during the first part of his reign.

As Pepi II aged, he started taking control of Egypt. Pepi II increased trade as well as made friends and enemies with the neighboring areas. After 94 years, Pepi’s reign ended.

However, discrepancies from historical researchers have denied the length of Pepi II’s reign due to the lack of artifacts available during that time. His family’s rule during the 6th dynasty resulted in a pyramid structure being named after him.

Even though the pyramid was built over an extensive period of time, the materials that were used were lacking in durability. Over time, the pyramid has needed support. 

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