Recordings will be available for those unable to attend the live sessions, plus a bonus introductory lecture provided by Aidan Dodson, for one month after the event!

Ramesses II, commonly known as Ramesses the Great, is one of the most famous pharaohs of ancient Egypt. His reign is well-known for economic prosperity with monumental architecture and sculpture. So, how do the artistic portrayals during his reign compare to others, and how do these portraits characterise their owner?

To culminate our Visualising Egypt theme for early 2023, this study day considers the artistic traditions seen during the Ramesside Period (1292-1189 BCE) by presenting four perspectives on how people presented their image.

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Thoth granting the breath of life to the king in the Temple of Sety I, Abydos (Peter Brand and Rosalie David)

Schedule (UK)

Schedule (UK)

Bonus lecture before the event: The Rise and Fall of the House of Ramesses, Professor Aidan Dodson (University of Bristol)

12:50 Event opens for all attendees
13:00-14:00 Innovation and Tradition in the Iconography of Divine Kingship Under the Early Nineteenth Dynasty: Ramesses I, Sety I, and Ramesses II, Professor Peter J. Brand (University of Memphis)
14:00-14:15 Discussion
14:15-14:30 Refreshment Break (please do not log off the event if online)
14:30-15:30 The Cult of Ramesses the God in Art and Text, Dr Campbell Price (Manchester Museum)
15:30-16:30 Serving the King and the Gods: Monuments of Private Individuals, Jen Turner (Griffith Institute, University of Oxford)
16:30-16:45 Discussion
16:45-17:00 Refreshment Break (please do not log off the event if online)

17:00-18:00 Ramesses II’s Contribution to the Ritual Art in the Temple of Sety I at Abydos, Professor Rosalie David (University of Manchester)
18:00-18:30 Discussion
Event closes for online attendees
18:30-19:30 Wine reception
Event closes for in-person attendees

Statue of Kary, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 65.114 (Jen Turner)


The Egypt Exploration Society is delighted that this event is sponsored by Adams Kaye Property Law and Private Client Specialists: “Your property is our passion”. If you are interested in sponsoring future EES events then please email the EES at [email protected] for further details. 

Ramesses II presenting an offering to the gods at Temple at Wadi es-Sebua (Peter Brand)


Innovation and Tradition in the Iconography of Divine Kingship Under the Early Nineteenth Dynasty: Ramesses I, Sety I, and Ramesses II

Professor Peter J. Brand, University of Memphis

Traditions of divine kingship stretched back to the dawn of pharaonic civilization. By the New Kingdom, the Egyptians had developed a sophisticated doctrine of pharaonic divinity expressed through monumental art and architecture, literature, and iconography. By the New Kingdom, these trends reached a crescendo under Amenhotep III. 

In establishing their ideological legitimacy, the first three kings of the Nineteenth Dynasty adapted the iconography of divine kingship to suit their ideological needs. Sety I and Ramesses II promoted the cult of their deified immediate predecessors through conspicuous filial piety. Sety I and especially Ramesses II, also established cults dedicated to their divine alter egos during their lifetimes. Ramesses II introduced a bewildering array of avatars of his divine aspect, each with unique names, epithets, and iconographic attributes. He also promoted cults of various gods “of Ramesses” like “Amun-of-Ramesses” and “Ptah-of-Ramesses.” This paper examines two-dimensional images of the deified Ramesses I, Sety I, and Ramesses II in temple art.

The Cult of Ramesses the God in Art and Text

Dr Campbell Price, Manchester Museum

Throughout his long reign, Ramesses II was worshipped through a series of divine avatars, specified by a series of names. Otherwise known chiefly for Amenhotep III, the 'cult colossi' have generated much discussion. This lecture considers a range of objects that attest to the existence of cult of the deified Ramesses, including a previously unpublished stela for the 'chief of works' on the colossus 'Re-of-Rulers' Mery-Re now in Manchester Museum. By drawing on both visual and textual references, we may characterise the nature of this very particular cult more closely.

Stela for the 'chief of works' on the colossus 'Re-of-Rulers' Mery-Re, Manchester Museum, Stela R4566 (Campbell Price)

Serving the King and the Gods: Monuments of Private Individuals

Jen Turner, Griffith Institute, University of Oxford

Throughout the New Kingdom, high-status officials continued to set up commemorative monuments of themselves and their family. While these were predominantly found in tomb contexts, the sacred temple space was also an increasingly coveted spot for elite monuments to be established through the king’s favour. Though some stylistic traits and poses mirrored royal sculpture, other exclusively non-royal styles emphasised the individual’s piety and devotion to the gods. This talk will explore surviving monuments of important men who lived and served under Ramesses II, showcasing the range of military, religious, artistic, and administrative roles performed and the biographical details and desires their statue texts preserved.  

Ramesses II’s Contribution to the Ritual Art in the Temple of Sety I at Abydos

Professor Rosalie David, University of Manchester

Sety I was responsible for the foundation of a magnificent mortuary temple at Abydos. This unique monument was designed and constructed during the king’s reign, when the ritual wall-scenes in some of the most sacred areas were also completed. Other parts of the building, however, were finished and decorated later, during the reign of his son, Ramesses II. This lecture will explore the contrast in the art styles and ritual significance demonstrated in these two distinct phases, and will consider whether the stylistically inferior work of Ramesses II’s reign characterises and reflects the king’s personal traits and priorities.     

Sety I offers a pectoral and a collar to Osiris in the Temple of Seti I, Abydos (Rosalie David)


The Rise and Fall of the House of Ramesses

Professor Aidan Dodson, University of Bristol

The lecture will discuss the history of the Ramesside Period as a background to the rest of the EES Hybrid Study Day: Art in the Age of Ramesses the Great. Professor Dodson contextualises this period within Egyptian history, before examining the family tree of the house of Rameses and each king that reigned throughout this era. 

This lecture will be available upon purchase of Study Day tickets to watch in advance of the Hybrid Study Day on Saturday 15th July.


Ramesses II and the Deified Sety I in the Temple of Amun at Karnak (Peter Brand)


Dr Peter Brand is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Memphis and Director of the Karnak Great Hypostyle Hall Project. His first book The Monuments of Seti I: Epigraphic, Historical and Art Historical Analysis, 2001, is a comprehensive study of Sety I. In 2018 he published a two-volume set of translations, commentary and photographs of the wall scenes inside the Great Hypostyle Hall at Karnak. His fourth book, Ramesses II: Egypt’s Ultimate Pharaoh, 2023, is a comprehensive and well-illustrated account of this legendary pharaoh. Dr Brand’s area of focus in Egyptology is the history and culture of the New Kingdom, particularly in the late 18th Dynasty and the Ramesside Period.  In his research and teaching he uses a multi-disciplinary approach that integrates history, art history, language, and epigraphy.

Dr Campbell Price is Curator of Egypt and Sudan at the Manchester Museum, one of the UK’s largest Egyptology collections. He studied Egyptology at the University of Liverpool, where he is an Honorary Research Fellow. Campbell has published widely on ancient Egyptian material culture and has research interests in sculpture and the construction of ‘Ancient Egypt’ in museums. Campbell is currently Chair of the Board of Trustees of the EES. 

Jen Turner is particularly interested in Egyptian non-royal sculpture and their inscriptions from the first millennium BCE. She initially studied Classics before moving into Egyptology at the University of Birmingham, focusing on a range of Third Intermediate Period elite statues found within the cachette at Karnak temple. From 2019 she worked as a Project Curator at the British Museum and completed a cataloguing project on small stone sculpture from the collection. In April this year, she joined the Griffith Institute at the University of Oxford.

Statue of Paser, Oriental Museum, Durham N.51, EG4003 (Jen Turner)

Professor Rosalie David is Emerita Professor of Egyptology and former Director of the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology at The University of Manchester. She has received Fellowships of The Royal Society of Arts and The Royal Society of Medicine and was awarded the O.B.E. for services to Egyptology in the 2003 New Year Honours List. A graduate of University College London and the University of Liverpool, her PhD focused on ancient Egyptian temple ritual, exemplified by the Temple of Sethos I at Abydos. The most recent revised version, Temple Ritual at Abydos, was published by The Egypt Exploration Society in 2018.  

Professor Aidan Dodson has taught Egyptology at the University of Bristol since 1996, and was Chair of Trustees of the Egypt Exploration Society from 2011 to 2016. A graduate of Liverpool (BA) and Cambridge (MPhil, PhD), he was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 2003, and was Simpson Professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo for Spring 2013. He is the author of over 25 books.


Members of the Egypt Exploration Society can book at a discounted rate. If you’re not yet a member but would like to join in order to receive this discount, please ensure that you have joined here. If you are an EES Cairo Associate, then please contact the Cairo Office to receive discounted tickets.

Register in advance using the link below. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the event in person and online. The venue and Zoom webinars have a limited attendance capacity, so please only sign up if you’re confident that you can attend. If this event does become sold out, please email [email protected] to be added to a waiting list, if there are any last-minute cancellations.

Colossal Statue of Ramesses II at Luxor (Campbell Price)

Event tickets are only refundable if notice is provided at least one week prior to the event start date.

We recommend that you join our online events using a PC or laptop. We recommend live online attendance to participate in the Q&A session with the speaker, but this study day will be recorded and available on YouTube after the event for both online and in person attendees. 

Please ensure that you have read our guide to attending EES online events before the event begins. 

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