The only significant ground on which Tutankhamun and Ramesses II can be compared is that of presentday reputation. It is just possible that if a poll were taken, more people would know Tutankhamun's name than Ramesses; but not among those who have visited Egypt, or have some interest in and knowledge of ancient Egypt. Tutankhamun has been generally known only since 1922 when his tomb was discovered. For Ramesses II the situation could scarcely be more different. Throughout antiquity his memory persisted in history and in legend. His great tomb in the Valley of the Kings had been open in part since antiquity, although huge mounds of debris prevented its clearance and full examination until recent years. Ramesses II surely took more 'treasure' for his life beyond death than Tutankhamun, but not necessarily much more. Ramesses II departed this life after a very long reign. Tutankhamun was not so fortunate. For many years Ramesses II could also be credited with the foundation of the great city of Tanis. His name was always big, and it remains big. Tutankhamun is in a different league. He may never have expected much during his short life, and he left little in the way of visible monuments by which he could be remembered; but an accident of fate preserved his tomb, and secured for him an unexpected, and belated celebrity.
T. G. H James
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