People - Ancient Egypt: Tutankhamun (Nebkheperure)
NEW KINGDOM 18th Dynasty (1334-1325) Extreme prosperity and renaissance in art and building
projects mark the beginning of this period. Towards the end of the 19th Dynasty the increasing
power of the priesthood corrupts the central government. During the 20th Dynasty tomb robbing is
done by officials. The priesthood becomes hereditary and begins to assume secular power. The
government breaks down.
Tutankhamun (Nebkheperure) in Tour Egypt
TUTANKHAMUN (KING TUT)
BY JIMMY DUNN -
At this point, it almost seems to be repetitive to remind readers that Tutankhamun (King Tut) was not a major
player in Egypt Pharaonic history, or at least, in comparison with other pharaohs. In fact, prior to Howard
Carter's discovery of his tomb, almost nothing was known of him and interestingly, the one disappointment in
Carter's discover was that there was little in the way of documentation found within his tomb. Therefore, we
still know relatively little about Tutankhamun. For example, even who is father was remains a topic of some
debate. That has not prevented writers from producing volumes of material on the Pharaoh.
We believe Tutankhamun ruled Egypt between 1334 and 1325 BC. He was probably the 12th ruler of Egypt's 18th
Tutankamun was not given this name at birth, but rather Tutankhaten (meaning "Living Image of the Aten), squarely
placing him in the line of pharaohs following Akhenaten, the heretic pharaoh, who was most likely his father. His
mother was probably Kiya, though this too is in question. He changed his name in year two of his rule to
Tutankhamun (or heqa-iunu-shema, which means "Living Image of Amun, Ruler of Upper Egyptian Heliopolis", which is
actually a reference to Karnak) as re reverted to the old religion prior to Akhenaten's upheaval. Even so, this
did not prevent his name from being omitted from the classic kings lists of Abydos and Karnak. We may also find
his named spelled Tutankhamen or Tutankhamon, among other variations. His throne name was Neb-Kheperu-re, which
means "Lord of Manifestations is Re.
We do know that he spent his early years in Amarna, and probably in the North Palace. He evidently even started a
tomb at Amarna. At age nine he was married to Ankhesenpaaten, his half sister, and later Ankhesenamun. We believe
Ankhesenpaaten was older then Tutankhamun because she was probably of child bearing age, seemingly already having
had a child by her father, Akhenaten. It is possible also that Ankhesenamun had been married to Tutankhamun's
predecessor. It seems he did not succeed Akhenaten directly as ruler of Egypt, but either an older brother or his
uncle, Smenkhkare (keeping in mind that there is much controversy surrounding this king). We believe Tutankhamun
probably had two daughters later, but no sons.
At the end of Akhenaten's reign, Ay and Horemheb, both senior members of that kings court, probably came to the
realization that the heresy of their king could not continue. Upon the death of Akhenaten and Smenkhkare, they
had the young king who was nine years old crowned in the old secular capital of Memphis. And since the young
pharaoh had no living female relatives old enough, he was probably under the care of Ay or Horemheb or both, who
would have actually been the factual ruler of Egypt.
We know of a number of other officials during the reign of Tutankhamun, two of which include Nakhtmin, who was a
military officer under Horemheb and a relative of Ay (perhaps his son) and Maya, who was Tutankhamun's Treasurer
and Overseer of the Place of Eternity (the royal necropolis). Others included Usermontju and Pentu, his to
viziers of upper and lower Egypt, as well as Huy, the Viceroy of Nubia.
Immediately after becoming king, and probably under the direction of Ay and Horemheb, a move was made to return
to Egypt's traditional ancient religion. By year two of his reign, he changed his, as well as Ankhesenpaaten's
name, removing the "aten" replacing it with "amun". Again, he may have had nothing to do with this decision,
though after two years perhaps Ay's and Horemheb's influence had effected the boy-king's impressionable young
One reason why Tutankhamun was not listed on the classical king lists is probably because Horemheb, the last
ruler of the 18th Dynasty, usurped most of the boy-king's work, including a restoration stele that records the
reinstallation of the old religion of Amun and the reopening and rebuilding of the temples. The ownership
inscriptions of other reliefs and statues were likewise changed to that of Horemheb, though the image of the
young king himself remains obvious. Even Tutankhamun's extensive building carried out at the temples of Karnak
and Luxor were claimed by Horemheb. Of course, we must also remember that little of the statues, reliefs and
building projects were actually ordered by Tutankhamun himself, but rather his caretakers, Ay and Horemheb.
His building work at Karnak and Luxor included the continuation of the entrance colonnades of the Amenhotep III
temple at Luxor, including associated statues, and his embellishment of the Karnak temple with images of Amun,
Amunet and Khonsu. There were also a whole range of statues and sphinxes depicting Tutankhamun himself, as well
as a small temple in the king's name. We also know, mostly from fragments, that he built at Memphis. At Kawa, in
the far south, he built a temple. A pair of granite lions from that temple today flank the entrance to the
Egyptian Sculpture Gallery at the British Museum.
Militarily, little happened during the reign of Tutankhamun, a surprising fact considering that Horemheb was a
well known general. Apparently there were campaigns in Nubia and Palestine/Syria, but this is only known from a
brightly painted gesso box found in Tutankhamun's tomb. It portrays scenes of the king hunting lions in the
desert and gazelles, while in the fourth scene he is smiting Nubians and then Syrians. There are paintings in the
tomb of Horemheb and as well as the tomb of Huy that seem to confirm these campaigns, though it is unlikely that
the young Tutankhamun actually took part in the military actions directly. The campaigns in Palestine/Syria met
with little success, but those in Nubia appear to have gone much better.
Though we know that Tutankhamun died young, we are not certain about how he died until very recently. Both
forensic analysis of his mummy and clay seals dated with his regnal year support his demise at the age of 17 or
no later then 18. As to how he died, a small sliver of bone within the upper cranial cavity of his mummy was
discovered from X-ray analysis, suggesting that his death was not due to illness. It has been suggested that he
was possibly murdered, but it is also just as likely the result of an accident. In fact, a recent medical
examination now seems to indicate that he may very well have died from infection brought about by a broken leg.
Yet it is clear that others certainly had eyes on the throne.
After Tutankhamun's death, Ankhesenamun was a young woman surrounded by powerful men, and it is altogether
obvious that she had little interest or love for any of them. She wrote to the King of the Hittites,
Suppiluliumas I, explaining her problems and asking for one of his sons as a husband. Suspicious of this good
fortune, Suppiluliumas I first sent a messanger to make inquiries on the truth of the young queen's story. After
reporting her plight back to Suppilulumas I, he sent his son, Zannanza, accepting her offer. However, he got no
further than the border before he was murdered, probably at the orders of Horemheb or Ay, who, both had both the
opportunity and the motive. So instead, Ankhesenamun married Ay, probably under force, and shortly afterwards,
disappeared from recorded history. It should be remembered that both Ay and Horemheb were military men, but Ay
was much older then Horemheb, and was probably the brother of Tiy who was the wife of Amenhotep III. Amenhotep
III was most likely Tutankham un's grandfather. He was also probably the father of Nefertiti, the wife of
Akhenaten. Therefore, he got to go first, as king, followed a short time later by Horemheb.
Tutankhamun's famous tomb is located in the Valley of the Kings on the West bank across from modern Luxor
(ancient Thebes). It is certainly less magnificent then other pharaohs of Egypt, yet, because of it, Tutankhamun
has remained in our memory for many years, and will probably continue to do so for many years to come. Regardless
of all the myths surrounding his tomb's discovery, including the "curse of the mummy" and other media hype, it is
all a blessing to the boy-king. The ancient pharaohs believed that if their name was remembered, their soul would
live on, so not even the powerful Rameses the Great's soul can be as healthy as King Tut's.
Tutankhamun in Wikipedia
Tutankhamun (alternately spelled with Tutenkh-, -amen, -amon), Egyptian twt-ˁnḫ-ı͗mn, approx. [təwaːt ʕaːnəx ʔaˈmaːn]; 1341 BC –
1323 BC) was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty (ruled c.1333 BC – 1323 BC in the conventional chronology), during the period
of Egyptian history known as the New Kingdom. His original name, Tutankhaten, means "Living Image of Aten", while Tutankhamun
means "Living Image of Amun". In hieroglyphs the name Tutankhamun was typically written Amen-tut-ankh, because of a scribal custom
that placed a divine name at the beginning of a phrase to show appropriate reverence. He is possibly also the Nibhurrereya of
the Amarna letters. He was likely the 18th dynasty king 'Rathotis' who, according to Manetho, an ancient historian, had reigned
for nine years — a figure which conforms with Flavius Josephus's version of Manetho's Epitome.
The 1922 discovery by Howard Carter of Tutankhamun's nearly intact tomb received worldwide press coverage. It sparked a renewed
public interest in ancient Egypt, for which Tutankhamun's burial mask remains the popular symbol. Exhibits of artifacts from his
tomb have toured the world. In February 2010, the results of DNA tests confirmed that Tutankhamun was the son of Akhenaten (mummy
KV55) and his sister/wife (mummy KV35YL), whose name is unknown but whose remains are positively identified as "The Younger Lady"
mummy found in KV35.
Tutankhamun was born in 1341 BC, the son of Akhenaten (formerly Amenhotep IV) and one of his sisters. As a prince he was known
as Tutankhaten. He ascended to the throne in 1333 BC, at the age of nine, taking the reign name of Tutankhamun. His wet-nurse
was a certain 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.
Given his age, the king must have had very powerful advisers, presumably including General Horemheb, the Vizier Ay, and Maya the
"Overseer of the Treasury". Horemheb records that the king appointed him lord of the land as hereditary prince to maintain law. He
also noted his ability to calm the young king when his temper flared.
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 Akhenaten abandoned. This is also when he changed his name
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 country was economically weak and in turmoil following the reign of Akhenaten. Diplomatic relations with other kingdoms had
been neglected, and Tutankhamun sought to restore them, in particular with the Mitanni. Evidence of his success is suggested by
the gifts from various countries found in his tomb. Despite his efforts for improved relations, battles with Nubians and Asiatics
were recorded in his mortuary temple at Thebes. His tomb contained body armour and folding stools appropriate for military
campaigns. However, given his youth and physical disabilities, which seemed to require the use of a cane in order to walk,
historians speculate that he did not take part personally in these battles.
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
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. 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....
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