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I know Amun helps me more than a million troops.” <ref> Lichtheim, Miriam. <i>Ancient Egyptian Literature: A Book of Readings.<i> Volume 2, The New Kingdom. (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1976), pgs. 57-65</ref>
Ramesses was rescued by Moses in the movie, but in the historical Battle of Kadesh it was a contingent of Egypt’s Canaanite allies who saved him. The film does not really show the outcome, but it is generally considered to have been a stalemate with the Hittites and Egyptians later entering into a permanent peace treaty. <ref> Kuhrt, Amélie. <i>The Ancient Near East: c. 3000-330 BC.<i> London: Routledge, 2010), p. 207</ref>
In contrast to the restrained, logical, and empathetic Moses, Ramesses was depicted as an egomaniacal ruler obsessed with his legacy, which he preserved through the erection of countless monuments. Although it is nearly impossible to gauge a person’s personality, especially someone who lived as long ago as Ramesses II, there is plenty of evidence to support this idea. Ramesses II built more mortuary temples – temples where the deceased and sometimes living king was worshipped – then any other Egyptian king. Ramesses II was even responsible for building entirely new cities in the Delta region during his rule, which included Per-Ramesses and Per-Atum – the cities of “Ramesses” and “Pithom” in Exodus respectively. <ref> Haeny, Gerhard. “New Kingdom ‘Mortuary Temples’ and ‘Mansions of Millions of Years.’” In <i>Temples of Ancient Egypt.<i> Edited by Byron E. Shaffer. (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1997), pgs. 115-119</ref> Some modern scholars believe these building projects were a bit excessive and others point to the number of “usurpations” he did of previous king’s monuments. A monument usurpation was when a king would “erase” the previous king’s name on a monument and replace it with his own. Although Ramesses II did in fact usurp plenty of his predecessors’ monuments, <ref> Shaw, Ian, and Paul Nicholson. <i>The Dictionary of Ancient Egypt.</i> (London: Harry N. Abrams, 1995), p. 240 </ref> it was actually a common practice and that fact that Ramesses lived so long should be considered when one discusses the amount of monuments he built and usurped. Sure, Ramesses II may have had an ego, but it was probably not any bigger than that of any other king during the period.
Although Ramesses was portrayed as obsessed with his own image in the film, he was also shown as a loving father and husband, which evidence suggest was true to a certain extent. It is known that Ramesses II had seven “Great Royal Wives” and many more concubines, several of which were foreign. His favorite wife, though, appears to have been Nefertari, who was his wife in the movie. Seti I probably chose Nefertari for his son, but all indications are that Ramesses truly loved her. She may have traveled with him to the Battle of Kadesh and she also journeyed with him after death. At Ramesses II’s mortuary temple at Abu Simbel, the pharaoh had an accompanying temple built for Nefertari, which are marked by colossal statues of both the king and queen. After Nefertari died, Ramesses had her interred in the Valley of the Queens, which is next to the more famous Valley of the Kings, in what is artistically one of the best tombs from the period. <ref> James, T.G.H. <i>Ramesses II.</i> (New York: Friedman/Fairfax, 2002), pgs. 220-30</ref> Therefore, the primary source evidence clearly shows that Ramesses II had a deep affection for Nefertari, his favorite queen.
Since the film concerns the biblical Exodus, it had to tackle the difficult subject of the biblical plagues. The film showed the plagues fairly accurately according to the Bible, but the question here is, how much of that was historically accurate, or even possible? The plagues were related in Exodus as follows: first the Nile turned to blood (Exod. 7:14-24); then swarms of frogs inundated the land (Exod. 7:25-8:11); afterwards a lice infestation infected the people (Exod. 8:20-32); the livestock were plagued with disease (Exod. 9:1-7); the Egyptians were inflicted with boils and lesions (Exod. 9:8-12); hail destroyed much of the crops (Exod. 9:13-35); locusts destroyed what was left (Exod. 10:1-20); darkness enveloped the land (Exod. 10:21-23); and finally the firstborn of all the Egyptians died (Exod. 11:4-7).
Of course, this all seems quite incredible, but there are logical explanations that the film attempted to employ. In the film, it all began with a swarm of crocodiles attacking river travelers, which caused the Nile to fill with blood ultimately creating the other catastrophes. During the 1950s, biblical scholar Greta Hort examined each plague separately, assigning logical explanations to each based on history, anthropology, geography, and biology. More recently, Egyptologist Kenneth Kitchen updated Hort’s work. The Hort/Kitchen theory asserts that the blood was caused by oxygen fluctuations in the Nile River, not a crocodile infestation, which killed much of the fish. The frogs then left the river, dying and bringing forth the lice. The excessive water brought more insects that in turn infected the livestock with anthrax. The locusts then arrived from the southeast, as they often did. The darkness was the result of seasonal winds in March or April. The children would have been the most susceptible, but the perfect storm of environmental problems would have left people of all ages dead in its wake. All of it began in July or August during the annual inundation of the Nile River and ended about nine months later. <ref> Kitchen, Kenneth A. <i>On the Reliability of the Old Testament.</i> (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 2003), p. 251</ref>
===Historical Fiction in the Film===