Ancient Egypt / New Kingdom / 20th Dynasty /
Other spellings: Rameses, Ramesses
Ramses 4 received the throne from his father, Ramses 3, and was by then middle-aged. He had been crown prince for 10 years, after his 4 older brothers died.
Sources tell about a plot to kill his father, and it is possible that this succeeded. His position was never strong. In order to secure his position he had an extensive document created where his father's blessings for his son are expressed. He also expressed great devotion for the gods. All this has been interpreted to mean that he was involved in the assisination plot, but it may merely be an indication of the unrest in the royal court at the time, proving there were other strong contenders to the throne.
The unrest extended far beyond the court. In fact, the central authorities were unable to exercise much of their power. Most of state and temple offices were controlled by two families. The high priest of Amon at Karnak had in many respects more power than the king himself. Some regions in Egypt suffered from extensive corruption and crime, and local officials often acted as crime lords.
On the international field, he lost control over large and important parts of Sinai. He was only able to keep control over the copper mines.
Ramses 4 was an active builder during his short reign. He started building two temples near Thebes, and completed the Temple of Khonsu at Karnak. He also built an inferior funerary temple near his father's (Medinet Habu).
Ramses 4 died after only 6 years in power. He was succeeded by his son, Ramses 5. He had built a small tomb in the Valley of the Kings.
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