Ramses (or Rameses) II, a pharaoh of the 19th dynasty of ancient Egypt. He reigned about 1299-1232 B.C. Ramses built many temples, often with huge statues of himself, at sites including Karnak and Abu Simbel. According to inscriptions made during his lifetime, he was one of Egypt's greatest pharaohs, but research has shown that these accounts of his accomplishments are exaggerated. Nevertheless, Ramses II was a vigorous ruler and aggressive military leader, and during his reign Egypt was a major power in the Middle East.
Ramses' grandfather, Ramses I, came to the throne after the Egyptian empire had largely disintegrated during the reign of Pharaoh Akhnaton. Ramses II continued the efforts of his grandfather and his father, Seti I, to restore the empire. In a struggle for control of Syria, he met the Hittites in a great battle at Kadesh, which he claimed as a victory but which was actually a stalemate. Later the Egyptians and Hittites negotiated the first recorded nonaggression pact in history.