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Large Stela of Ramesses II

This stela commemorates King Ramesses II's presentation of statues to a temple of Amun-Re in Nubia. The precise arrangement of scenes and text symbolizes the ancient Egyptians' conception of their highly structured state. Heaven appears at the top, while beneath it are the sacred world of the gods, the text linking the divine and human realms, and, at the bottom, the terrestrial home of the Egyptian populace.

The stela's curved upper margin represents the vault of heaven separating the ordered universe from chaos. Ma'at (universal order) governs everything below the arc, whether depicted in the pictures or mentioned in the texts. The upper register shows an event in the gods' domain: the presentation of symbols of kingship to Ramesses II by Amun-Re, the principal god of Egypt during the New Kingdom.

The five lines of text beneath this scene stand between the worlds of gods and humans. Part of the text specifies the five names Ramesses II used as ruler, emphasizing his more-than-human qualities. The remainder recounts the king's many offerings to Egypt's temples.

The lowest register of the stela shows four birds representing the Egyptian populace paying homage to the king.

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