• Hella Radwan

Troop Commander, Charioteer of the King, Overseer of Foreign Lands and Chief of the Medjay, Neb-Re.

Neb-Re was the commander of the fortress located at ‘The Town (dmi) of Usermaatre-Setepenre’, today's Zawiyet Umm el-Rakham, about 320 kilometres west of the city of Alexandria, towards the Libyan border.


The fortress was built by king Ramesses II to protect Egypt from Libyan invaders. Because the doorjambs excavated at the site show a form of the name of Ramesses II that was only used early in his reign, it was suggested that the fort was a project undertaken at the beginning of king's reign.


Inside the fortress-town, several buildings were erected, such as a limestone temple, a series of storerooms and a governor’s residence. The fortress was garrisoned by around 500 soldiers and their commander - for a time at least - was the senior military official called Neb-Re.


This sandstone statue shows Neb-Re holding his level of office, which is crowned by the head of the lioness goddess of war, Sekhmet. The statue can be seen today in the Luxor Museum. A curious fact is that Neb-Re's name and image has been chiselled out from many of his monuments at the site, indicating that he perhaps ended up disgraced and was replaced.


The findings also showed that the Memphite gods Ptah and his consort Sekhmet were worshipped at the fortress-town: it could be that the soldiers garrisoned here were transferred from the Memphis area. Interestingly, the fortress does not appear to have survived Ramesses II, and it seems that it was abandoned either before or shortly after his death.


Dr Steven Snape from the Liverpool University and his team excavated the site starting in 1994.



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