Pharaoh Horemheb

MANY and varied have been the lessons which poets and philosophers have sought to draw from the tale of Egypt's greatness and her decay. The most usual view has been that her increasing weakness was caused by the dominance of a repressive and aristocratic priesthood. More recently it has been urged that her downfall was but the natural consequence of the dominance of a brutal militarism which seized upon a peacefully minded people and drove them into an incessant and needless warfare which resulted in exhaustion.

The power of the Egyptian priests is certainly shown in the change from the eighteenth dynasty of the Pharaohs to the celebrated nineteenth. This was the result of the struggle to eradicate the new Asiatic religion which Amenhotep IV. had introduced. A successful general, Horemheb, or as the Greek called him, Armais, was made king, and aided the priests in restoring the ancient worship of Amon.

This return to the former gods was popular with the mass of the people who had not yet accepted the new Asiatic faith, and Horemheb, "the restorer," became a noted figure in Egyptian legend. We are told that he was the son of the god Amon whose worship he restored, that he was despatched to earth especially to rescue Egypt from the false religions of Asia, and that he was distinguished even in childhood by the splendor of his face and the vigor of his limbs. The sacred animals of Egypt recognized his superhuman power and followed him about in love. Kings summoned him as a councillor even in his childhood, and his advice always showed the way to peace. When he in turn became Pharaoh, he continued to follow kindliness as his law of life. He found the peasantry helpless in the grip of unjust officials, who plundered them mercilessly; and by sternest laws and executions he suppressed the misrule and restored justice. One day in every month he held an open court, during which any person who wished might come to him unhindered and make complaint. While he sat thus in the tribunal he amused himself by tossing handfuls of gold and jewels among his supporters, who were gathered round him.

This able and popular if somewhat spectacularly minded monarch wedded a princess of the former dynasty of Pharaohs, and so, according to Egyptian view, acquired for his family a legitimate title to the throne he had usurped. He was succeeded by his son or brother Rameses I., who was thus regarded as the legitimate establisher of the new dynasty, the nineteenth, often called the Ramessides.

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Read about Pharaoh Horemheb in the The Story of the Greatest Nations and the Worlds Famous Events Vol 1

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