Kenneth S.Graetz/From Egypt and Nubia by William Brockendon
As one might imagine, a ruler so closely associated with divine authority has few, if any, restraints on his power. In Ramesses II, this led to a virtual mania for extravagant, self-glorifying, construction projects. One such project, the Great Temple at Abu Simbel (left), features four seated statues of Ramesses II, which loom 69 feet above the ground. Although partially buried in the blowing sand when David Roberts made this drawing in 1838, the Great Temple was in danger of inundation by the Nile’s rising waters when the Aswan dam was built. Between 1964 and 1968, a rescue operation dismantled the Temple and reassembled it on the heights above the river.