Pharaoh Sety II and Egyptian political relations with Canaan at the end of the late bronze age
The discovery at the site of Gezer of a jar handle stamped with the cartouches of Pharaoh Sety II offers an opportunity to review the reign of this minor king, who ruled in Egypt at the critical period at the very end of the Late Bronze Age. A description of the context of the jar handle in the Gezer excavations serves to introduce a review of the life of Sety II as revealed in Egyptian sources and through the corpus of objects assigned to this king. Sety's family background and particularly his career as prince and military commander under his father Merenptah expose his significant role in the campaign in Canaan by year 5 of Merenptah, as recorded in the Israel Stela and at Karnak. Upon Merenptah's death the throne was seized by a rival claimant, Amenmesse, and only after three years was Sety II able to exercise his own claim with the demise of the interloper. Sety reigned for six years, during which he continued the tradition established by his predecessors of building in Egypt and campaigning abroad, before his death led to another succession crisis featuring his unhealthy son Ramesses-Siptah, his widow Tewosret and the shadowy chancellor Bay.