Tutankhamun (Pharaoh)


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Mask of Tutankhamun’s mummy,

the popular icon for ancient Egypt at

The Egyptian Museum.

Life

Tutankhamun was the son of Akhenaten (formerly Amenhotep IV and one of Akhenaten’s sisters. As a prince he was known as Tutankhaten. He ascended to the throne in 1333 BC, at the age of nine or ten, taking the reign name of Tutankhamun. His wet-nurse was a woman called Maia, known from her tomb at Saqqara.

When he became king, he married his half sister, Ankhesenepatan, who later changed her name to Ankhesenamun. They had two daughters, both stillborn.

Domestic policy

In his third regnal year, Tutankhamun reversed several changes made during his father’s reign. He ended the worship of the god Aten and restored the god Amun to supremacy. The ban on the cult of Amun was lifted and traditional privileges were restored to its priesthood. The capital was moved back to Thebes and the city of Akhetaten abandoned. This is also when he changed his name to Tutankhamun.

As part of his restoration, the king initiated building projects, in particular at Thebes and Karnak, where he dedicated a temple to Amun. Many monuments were erected, and an inscription on his tomb door declares the king had „spent his life in fashioning the images of the gods“. The traditional festivals were now celebrated again, including those related to the Apis Bull, Horemakhet, and Opet. His restoration stela says:

The temples of the gods and goddesses … were in ruins. Their shrines were deserted and overgrown. Their sanctuaries were as non-existent and their courts were used as roads … the gods turned their backs upon this land … If anyone made a prayer to a god for advice he would never respond.

Health and appearance

Tutankhamun was slight of build, and was roughly 170 cm (5 ft 7 in) tall. He had large front incisors and the overbite characteristic of the Thutmosid royal line to which he belonged. He also had a pronounced dolichocephalic (elongated) skull, although it was within normal bounds and highly unlikely to have been pathological. Given the fact that many of the royal depictions of Akhenaten often featured such an elongated head, it is likely an exaggeration of a family trait, rather than a distinct abnormality. The research also showed that the Tutankhamun had „a slightly cleft palate“ and possibly a mild case of scoliosis.

Cause of death

There are no surviving records of Tutankhamun’s final days. What caused Tutankhamun’s death has been the subject of considerable debate. Major studies have been conducted in an effort to establish the cause of death.

Although there is some speculation that Tutankhamun was assassinated, the general consensus is that his death was accidental. A CT scan taken in 2005 shows that he had badly broken his leg shortly before his death, and that the leg had become infected. DNA analysis conducted in 2010 showed the presence of malaria in his system. It is believed that these two conditions combined, led to his death.

Aftermath of death

Although it is unknown how he met his death, the Amarna letters indicate that Tutankhamun’s wife, recently widowed, wrote to the Hittite king Suppiluliuma I, asking if she could marry one of his sons, saying that she was very afraid, but would not take one of her own people as husband. However, the son was killed before reaching his new wife. Shortly afterward Ay Tutankhamun’s vizier married Tutankhamun’s widow and became Pharaoh as a war between the two countries was fought, and Egypt was left defeated

In popular culture

If Tutankhamun is the world’s best known pharaoh, it is partly because his tomb is among the best preserved, and his image and associated artifacts the most-exhibited. As Jon Manchip White writes, in his foreword to the 1977 edition of Carter’s The Discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamun, „The pharaoh who in life was one of the least esteemed of Egypt’s kings has become in death the most renowned.“ As a side effect, the interest in this tomb and its alleged „curse“ led to horror movies featuring a vengeful mummy.
 
 
 
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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