A Comparison of Constantine The Great and Ramesses II


Over the course of world history, many leaders have transformed their societies and the world. Constantine the Great and Ramesses II are some of the leaders who are renowned for the great achievements they attained in their dynasties. Ramesses II was one of the greatest pharaohs to rule Egypt. His reign was the 19th dynasty that occurred in 1279 to the year 1213 BC (Hartley & Mee, 2016). Ramesses II also known as Ramesses the Great was able to able to build and develop Egypt into a modern civilization and improve the lives of Egyptians. He built monuments and mega infrastructures across Egypt, and in the many neighboring regions, he had conquered with his army to attain one of the earliest civilizations in the world at that time. Constantine the Great, on the other hand, was a Roman Emperor who ruled the Roman Empire between 306 and 337 AD. During his reign, Constantine the Great made Christianity the legal and lawful religion in the Roman Empire and founded the great city of Constantinople, which became his capital and an important city in the Eastern Roman Empire (Hartley & Mee, 2016). He is also known for unifying the people in the Roman Empire and this helped advance trade, making his empire one of the richest in the world at that time. He conquered many countries with his well-equipped army hence developing and making his empire strong and powerful. 

Similarities and differences between the Constantine the Great and Ramesses II

One way through which Constantine the Great and Ramesses II are similar in their leadership characteristics is that they were keen enthusiasts of assembling strong military capabilities for their reign. They strongly believed that for them to be great and be able to conquer many regions across the world they had to invest heavily in their militaries. They also used the military to suppress their own people under their rule and ensure they had total loyalty from all the people under their rule (Hartley & Mee, 2016). As a result, Constantine the Great and Ramesses II were able to rule their people over a long period and attained their agenda of increasing their territories, as well as, developing mega monuments and infrastructures for their people.  Another major similarity between these two leaders was their ability to reunite all their people to live as one and under one leadership. Constantine the Great reunited the Empire under one emperor (Tyldesley, 2015). He won many wars and battles with some of his major victories being conquering the Franks and Alamanni in 306–308, the Goths in 332, and the Sarmatians in 334. He occupied their lands and brought these people under the Roman Empire. At the time of his death, he had conquered 36 new territories and brought them under his rule. Ramesses the Second, on the other hand, waged many battles that were meant to expand and unify the Egyptian society. He waged battles against Syria, the Hittites, the Nubian people of Sudan, and the Libyan people. The great army of Ramesses the Great conquered these people and they lived under his rule for many years. 

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Even though these leaders were similar in many ways, they had some major differences. One major difference between them was while Constantine the Great was a very religious person, while Ramesses the Great was not. Constantine believed that everything he did was for God and this was the main reason why he imposed Christianity on all the people living under his reign. Ramesses believed that he was a great leader by himself and that all that he did was motivated to create his legacy and improve the Egyptian society (Elliot, 2006). Another major difference between these two leaders was their love for megastructures. While Ramesses liked grand structures and monuments, Constantine preferred his people to live in peace and harmony and simple lives. Some of Ramesses mega structures include the Ramesseum, Pi-Ramesses, Abu Simbel, Tomb of Nefertari, Colossal statue, Tomb KV5, and other Nubian Monuments

Ways the Ancient Egypt and Roman Empire cultures were different

These two ancient civilizations had many similarities that made them great but they also had some differences in how they were structured and run their affairs (Tyldesley, 2015). While ancient Egypt was non-monolithic in religious terms, the Roman Empire was monolithic in that they worshiped one God and followed his teachings. Under the leadership of Constantine, all regions within the empire even the semi-autonomous districts were required to be Christians and worship the Christian God. This brought about uniformity in many things that were happening in the empire. In Egypt, on the other hand, there were many gods with each god having a specific role to play (Elliot, 2006). For example, there was the god of harvest, the god of the sun, and the god of fertility. Another major difference between the cultures of these two civilizations was how the leadership was structured. Constantine had people who advised and helped him rule his vast empire. This was not the case in Ramesses reign. Under Ramesses reign, he was the sole leader of Egypt and his word was final (Elliot, 2006). He ruled Egypt with an iron fist. Under Ramesses reign, Egypt believed they were superior people who were meant to conquer others, while Constantine believed that it was the duty of his leadership to conquer as many people and convert them into Christianity

The comparison of Constantine and Ramesses to modern leaders

.         A modern leader I would compare to Ramesses the Great is Muammar Al Gathafi the disposed dictator of Egypt. Muammar Al Gadhafi intended to bring all African countries under one rule and form what he called the United States of Africa. He intended to be the first leader of the union and this is what Ramesses the Great did when he was invading many neighboring countries during his reign. The leader that I would compare to Constantine is Rodrigo Duterte the current president of the Philippines. He has one goal, to unify the people under one moral code that does not condone any immorality.       


Elliot, T. (2006). The Christianity of Constantine the Great. Scranton: University of Scranton


Hartley, E., & Mee, F. (2016). Constantine the Great: York’s Roman Emperor. New York, NY: 

York Museums and Gallery Trust. 

Tyldesley, J. (2015). Ramesses: Egypt’s Greatest Pharaoh. New York, NY: Penguin Adult.

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