This limestone stela from the 19th Dynasty of ancient Egypt (1213-1203 BCE), is a product of the rule of Pharaoh Merenptah. Typical of the stela form, it features a perpendicular slab with a flat, inscribed surface, measuring 320 cm in height and 160 cm in width. An extensive array of detailed reliefs and inscriptions adorn this sizable surface area.

The stela's upper portion contains a relief work of two figures—Merenptah and the deity Ptah. Pharaoh Merenptah, positioned on the right, sports the dual crown of Upper and Lower Egypt, indicating his sovereignty over all of Egypt. The image on the left represents Ptah, characterized by a tightly enclosed form within a cloak and a feathered headdress.

Below these depiction, 28 lines of hieroglyphic script records various accounts, including a speech by the sun god Ra-Harakhty, a hymn extolling Merenptah, and a comprehensive record of the pharaoh's military victories. Notably, one section recounts the defeat of the Sea Peoples—a collection of naval raiders known to have decimated some ancient Mediterranean civilizations. Additional lines detail the subjugation of the Libyans, a prominent enemy of the Egyptian state.

The stela carries significant historical importance, providing comprehensive information on Merenptah's reign, the geopolitical environment of the late New Kingdom period, and the socio-political dynamics of the era. The stela appears to serve dual purposes—a historical record and a tool of propaganda, used by Merenptah to validate his reign and solidify his political standing.

Egyptian Museum in Cairo
Tomb of Merenptah