A Passport Fit For a Pharaoh

Everyone who travels overseas needs the right documentation — even 3,000-year-old mummies

Sandi Parsons
5 min readAug 16, 2021

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Sandstone figures of Ramses II in front of the main temple at Abu Simbel near Aswān, Egypt.
Sandstone figures of Ramses II at Abu Simbel, near Aswān, Egypt | Photo Credit Sandi Parsons

RRamses II is known for many things — he was a master builder, a mighty warrior, and one of the greatest Pharaohs. For 66 years, Ramses II ruled Egypt, and he left his stamp all over the country. His legends are larger than life, as are the monuments he created in his image.

And in 1976, Ramses II added another story to his legend. He became the only Pharaoh to hold a passport.

No Rest for the Great Pharaoh

Upon his death at the ripe old age of 90, Ramses II was originally laid to rest in a grand tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Looters were rampant, and the tombs were easy pickings. Thus Ramses II's eternal slumber was spoilt. To thwart the looters, priests moved his body multiple times, like musical chairs — but with a sarcophagus.

For prosperity, the priests recorded each new digs where Ramses II was set up. First, Ramses II moved back home to be interred alongside his father, Seti I. Father and son spent 80 years together before it was time for Ramses II to move out of home. This time, Ramses II bunked in with Ahmose-Inhapi. Their shared eternal slumber arrangement stayed in place for 40 years.

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Sandi Parsons

Sandi Parsons lives & breathes stories as a reader, writer, and storyteller📚 Kidlit specialist, dipping her toes in the big kid’s pool.