Merenptah is believed to have been the 13th son of Ramessses and he assumed the throne when he was in his sixties. The reign of Pharaoh Merenptah lasted for ten years, which is well documented by three reliable inscriptions.
The record of Merenptah is around 80 lines on a wall at the temple of Amun at Karnak. It is a large stele in 35 lines in the remains from Arthribis in the Delta and on the great Victory Stele that was found in 1896 by Flinders Petrie at the mortuary temple at Thebes. All three narrations refer to the military campaigns of the pharaoh and complement each other, verifying each other's information.
During Merenptah's rise to the throne there was a lot of unrest at the western borders with Libyans and Nubia rose to support the Libyans. Merenptah hit back by attacking the south to inflict a crushing blow on the rebellions. Even though he was elderly for a king,Merenptah made a point that insurgents would not be allowed to tamper with the security of Egypt. Merenptah’s Great Royal wife was Isetnofret II, who may also have been his sister and was probably the mother of one of his successors, Pharaoh Seti II.
Monuments Built By The Pharaoh
Merenptah seemed to sense that his reign would be a short one, so he immediately started building his mortuary temple at the desert's edge at Thebes and also his tomb at the valley of the kings.
Like most of his predecessors, Merenptah was not reluctant in using buildings of the earlier times as a quarry. His mason was converted into the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III. The tomb of Merenptah, on the other hand, was the tomb number KV8 located in the Valley of the Kings at the west bank of Luxor. The tomb of the pharaoh is located near to his father’s tomb but at a level little higher than that, which has helped it in staying protected against flood damage.
Fragmentary remains found during excavations included alabaster ushabtis, but the curious fact is that Merneptah apparently had several sarcophagi, each carved in various stones that included alabaster, rose, and black granite. One of the sarcophagi of Merenptah is found to have been reused in the tomb of Pharaoh Psusennes which was intact and discovered at Tanis in the Delta. The Mummy of Merenptah was found missing in the tomb, which seems to have been robbed by tomb robbers during antiquity. His tomb was merely a cenotaph since the body was not recovered, and most Egyptologists believed that the pharaoh must have perished in the Red Sea.
However, all uncertainty faded when the mummy of Merenptah was recovered in 1898 among the 16 others at the royal mummy cache in the tomb of Amenhotep II. There is some evidence that Merneptah's queen, Isisnofret, was also buried in his tomb rather than in the Valley of the Queens, and that she predeceased him, but her body has not yet been identified.