Bettany Hughes covers the history of Egypt exploring the Great Pyramids and Ramses II.
Ancient Pharaoh's conjure up images of cruel dictators who built their empires on the backs of slaves. However this may not have been the case at all times. Take the Great Pyramids, Kufu brought the people together and invited them to take part of a grand project to not only ensure his immortality but their immortality as well.
The early pyramids were stepped and the smooth sided pyramid was slow to develop. It took a few tries but a small smooth sided pyramid. Kufu wanted to scale up the pyramid and selected a place where his dream could come true. At a plateau in Giza, Kufu assembled his army of builders into one place. A city was built to house them, and they would be able to return to their farms to farm when the Nile was in its low stage. The workers would work while the Nile was flooded and they were unable to work in the fields. He encouraged his workers by saying that they were helping him move into the next world and it would be an honor for them to work on his pyramid. The workers succeeded in finishing the Great Pyramid in time.
Ramses II was another great builder Pharaoh as well as a warrior. He was a defender to his people and an excellent propagandist. His father Seti, groomed his son into going out among the people, making the job of Pharaoh more visible to the people. Ramses had to justify his rulership to the people. He still included an ambitious building program as part of his reign, but the religious sites he built allowed ordinary people to take part of religious life. This wasn't enough for Ramses and he went after the Egyptians most deadly enemy: the Hittites. So what happened when he fought the Hittites, find out by watching the documentary.
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