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Old 07-31-2001, 07:30 AM   #1
uncle_onion
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Exclamation The city of Rameses

I had started a thread on the isrealites in Egypt and the thread has steered away from this :-) So I am now posting a question which I want to ask:

"I've also done a bit more research for uncle_onion. I’ve tracked down the city named Rameses for you – surprise, surprise, it’s exactly the same city that I mentioned in my last post – it’s Avaris! Rameses II expanded – he did not build it from scratch – the city, and made it his own residence in the Nile delta, renaming it Piramesse (pir = house of; ramesse = Rameses). It’s location has been the topic of debate for a long time, but it now seems pretty certain that it was Avaris that the king took over."

I am not too clued up on all this as I have just started researching. So is it possible that when the Bible talks of the isrealites building Rameses then it could be talking of Pirameses?

UO
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Old 07-31-2001, 10:49 AM   #2
Mendeh
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Basically, yes. The Egyptian name of the Biblical city Ramesses was 'Piramesse' - or Avaris, as it was known before that.

We know that people from the area of Syria-Palestine lived at Avaris, long before Ramesses got on the scene. I suppose that it is therefore possible that, when the bible talks of the Israelites building Piramesse, it refers to their part in expanding the city a long time before Ramesses took it over.

However, we're still a long way from concluding that the group of Israelites mentioned in Exodus were ever in Egypt at all - we only know that there was immigration into Egypt from about the right area, and Egyptian records show nothing about Jewish slaves (although there are references to Asiatic workers), show nothing about the ten plagues of Egypt, and show nothing about an exodus from Egypt as reported in the Bible.

Hope that helps.
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Old 08-01-2001, 02:22 AM   #3
uncle_onion
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From Memory here:

But if Moses wrote Exodus as claimed by Xtians, then why did he call it the city of Rameses? When did it become Pirameses?He surely must have known the correct name?

UO
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Old 08-01-2001, 03:50 PM   #4
Mendeh
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Very few Christians claim that Moses wrote Exodus. The Old Testament was only finalized in the form we have today about the time that Jesus was born, and seems to have been passed down orally before it was written down.

Why is the city referred to as Ramesses, not Piramesse? The meaning of "Piramesse" is "the house of Rameses". I suppose that when the story was told, "the house of" prefix was simply dropped when the city's name was rendered in Hebrew rather than Egyptian. In any case, only fundamentalist Christians would claim that Moses wrote Exodus, so it's hardly a big problem that names got corrupted with time and shoddy translation.

As for when the city became Piramesse, it was when Rameses took the city over to make it one of his royal abodes that he changed the name to something more descriptive of the city's new purpose - "Piramesse" = pr - house (of) + Rameses = House/home of Rameses.

Hope that helps. If you have any more questions of an Egyptological nature, I'll always be pleased to try and help.
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Old 08-02-2001, 02:08 AM   #5
uncle_onion
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So when did it become Pirameses?

UO

If you want to carry this on in private, then please e mail me.
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Old 08-02-2001, 12:40 PM   #6
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Seeing as plenty of people who are on this board just lurk, and don't ever post anything, for their benefit I'd prefer to keep the discussion on II rather than do it privately by e-mail.

Rameses was ruling from 1279 to 1213 BC. I'll give you a short quotation from "The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt" (which I can highly recommend for reference purposes, if you get into this sort of stuff), which deals with this. It doesn't give a precise date for when Avaris was renamed Piramesse (not Pirameses, as you keep on saying!).

Quote:
Rameses II was also the king who expanded the city of Avaris and made it his great Delta residence called Piramesse ('house of Rameses'), the Rameses of Biblical tradition. Its location has long been disputed, but it has now been established beyond reasonable doubt that it is to be identified with the extensive remains at Tell el-Dab'a and Qantir in the eastern Delta. The city was strategically situated near the road leading to the border fortress of the Sile and the provinces in Palestine and Syria and also along the Pelusic branch of the Nile, and it soon became the most important international trade centre and military base in the country. Asiatic influence had always been strong in the area, but now many foreign deities such as Ba'al, Reshep, Hauron, Anat, and Astarte, to mention only a few, were worshipped in Piramesse. Many foreigners lived in the city, who eventually became high-ranking officials. One office that was more often than not held by foreigners was that of 'royal butler', a senior executive position outside the normal bureaucratic hierarchy, the holder of which was often entrusted with special royal commissions.
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Old 08-02-2001, 12:57 PM   #7
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You wrote "Rameses was ruling from 1279 to 1213 BC"

Please correct me if I am wrong here but I thought the isrealites had left Egypt before that?

UO
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Old 08-03-2001, 12:19 PM   #8
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That's assuming that (a) they were there to start with, and (b) the dating given by the bible is accurate.

Let's accept (a) and (b) for the time being - perhaps, the Biblical account of the Israelites building Piramesse stems from a garbled memory of their influences in the city before Rameses took it over - that originally, sone of the Israelites just helped to expand Avaris, and that memory got tied into the Exodus story later on.

All this is just conjecture on my part, though, to try and show how there may be some historical basis behind the Exodus account, but I personally don't think that the Bible's claims should be taken as anything approximating a historical truth, even though I think there are probably bits of history contained within some of the stories.
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