by Stephen Francis Montagna
Three thousand two hundred years ago, the all powerful and feared Ramesses walked the banks of the Nile River. He was looking for a special place to build a Temple to honor the Gods he believed protected the life giving waters of the Nile River. As he walked along the River’s edge walked countless times in the past by his great ancestors, he was closely followed by eleven of his trusted priests, Royal Guardsmen, and his beloved lady, Queen Nefertari.
Ramesses walked by himself, at times allowing his foot slip in the waters of the Nile. Occasionally, his wife would walk up to his side and she would lightly touch the cheek of his weathered beaten face, and he would smile at her warmly, she would then retreat to her appointed place two steps behind her husband. At one point a priest ran to his side, and he offered the great Pharaoh some fresh water. Ramesses savored the sweet water, and then the priest disappeared back in the procession as they continued to follow the wandering Ramesses.
On this wonderful day while the great Pharaoh of Upper and Lower Egypt walked along the muddy edge of the mighty Nile River. Ramesses suddenly slipped and he almost fell into the water he loved and respected. Whereupon, two priests rushed up to his side and they helped right the falling Pharaoh. Ramesses looked from the harsh glare of the sun and onto the waters of the river. Then he looked back to the sun itself again. Then to the water and he smiled to himself. The harsh glare reflected to the side of the mountain bordering the mighty River, as if the sun itself was trying to show him where the Sun God Re Harakhte wanted his Temple to be built.
Suddenly, Ramesses turned to his priests and said. “Here is where I shall build my great Temple to the powerful Sun God Re Harakhte, to give him many years of thanks for the precious life the Nile waters give to the children of Egypt. I will give my thanks to Osiris, the god of the Nile, Ruler of the Nether world, and the final judge of the dead. I shall command that a second but smaller Temple be built there.” He pointed to a spot a few hundred yards further down River on the side of the mountain of Adu Simbil. “I want this Temple to be dedicated to the God Hathor, the Goddess of love in honor of my wife Nefertari, who has given me so much love.
Ramesses took in a breath, and spoke again. “Re Harakhte will forever shine over and protect the great waters of the mighty Nile River, the life and body of all of Egypt. The Goddess Hathor will smile on this place, and bring forth many children to nurture and protect these sacred waters.”
At the dedication ceremony to his Temple eleven years later in which all peoples of Egypt had attended, Ramesses stood between the gigantic statues of his own likeness. Ramesses looked over the horde of Egyptians gathered to honor Re Harakhte and himself, and smiled with his inner soul because he was proud of his accomplishments to honor his Gods. His people were happy, there were no wars raging in his lands and children were smiling. Looking over the crowd he saw numerous babies and children feeding at their mothers breasts. The waters of the Nile were clean and blue. As the solemn leader of Egypt looked over the waters, he saw a huge Nile crocodile basking in the waters and it took this vision as a good omen adding to the importance of the day.
The massive crowd was noisy at best, with many people of Egypt talking amongst themselves at the same time and many countless babies all crying, and adding to the most upsetting noise as well. Ramesses lifted his mighty hand up and over his head and the crowd immediately quieted down, even the babies were still now. With his hand raised over his head he spoke in a commanding voice. “Here me my children of Egypt, faithful children of the Nile River. We are here to honor the waters of the Nile River. I shall now bless these most sacred waters.”
He paused for a second as twenty priests ran to the banks of the Nile, and he poured in a good mixture of blood drained from four virgin priestess along with the herbs and petals from flowers that adorned the banks of the Nile. When this was accomplished, the priests then returned to their places of honor. Then, the god like Ramesses continued as he looked over the masses.
“I warn every Egyptian man, woman and child standing here on this day and to those Egyptians of future generations to come. If the waters of the Nile stop flowing even for one full day. Then the land once known as Egypt will shrivel up and it be blown away by the hot breath winds of the desert. It is the sacred duty of every Egyptian man, woman and child to protect these precious waters with his life. Or I warn all gathered here, there will be no life left throughout the lands of Egypt if any of you fail on this quest. We cannot allow any other nation of the world to block the flowing waters of the mighty Nile River for any reason. Nor can we not take all the precautions to safeguard ourselves against the many whims of nature itself. For she might take it upon herself someday, to punish the good people of Egypt for her many past sins and aggressions committed against the earth. We must take action now. We have to make great pockets of water, so as to save us through the hard times of drought, or the more need of these sacred waters. Remember my people. We have to fight to keep the waters of the mighty Nile River flowing for all times to come, or your lives and the lives of all your children and family will cease to exist in this world.”
The great and well respected leader Ramesses stopped speaking at this point, and he slowly and proudly turned away from the massive crowd and quickly disappeared into the new Temple. The great Ramesses was followed as always by his beloved Queen, Nefertari, and many of his council members and Royal Guard, and his priests and priestesses. Ramesses was never seen by the gathered again. Soon, the masses grew bored standing and baking out in the blazing sun, and one by one they left the great Temple area. For the Temple wasn’t open to the commoners of Egypt, for their personal pleasures offered to the Gods that the temple was constructed to honor.