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If you're not a history buff and have only ever heard of one Egyptian Pharaoh, it's probably King Tut.
Popularly known as the 'boy king', Tutankhamun is the most famous pharaoh of his royal family. He was the last ruler of his family during the 18th dynasty of Egypt.
Tutankhamun, originally called Tutankhaten, was born during the reign of pharaoh Akhenaten in 1341 BC. After the death of King Tut's father, the young boy, believed to be eight or nine years old at the time, ascended the throne of Egypt. Upon ascension, he took the throne name Nebkheperure. It was due to his young age when he took the throne that Tutankhamun that he became known as the 'boy king'.
King Tut's full name, Tutankhamun, literally translates to 'the living image of Amun'. His original name, Tutankhaten, which meant ' the living image of Aten', was changed after he propagated the worship of god Amun, something which pharaoh Akhenaten discouraged during his reign.
King Tutankhamun was the most famous pharaoh of ancient Egypt. Even though he is very well known for being the youngest Egyptian pharaoh, it was not his only claim to fame. During his reign as a pharaoh, the young king made important social and political decisions that set his place in the hearts of ancient Egyptians. He ruled under the unprecedented viziership of his uncle from his father's side and eventual successor, Ay. King Tutankhamun ruled for about 10 years until his early death in 1323 BC, when he was believed to be 18 or 19 years old.
Once you have finished reading this article, why not head over and discover Charles Lindbergh facts and Charles Cornwallis facts, here on Kidadl.
King Tutankhamun was born in 1341 BC during the late 18th dynasty of Egypt. King Tut did not have to do much to gain respect in the hearts of the people of Egypt due to the disastrous reign of his father.
Akhenaten, previously known as Amenhotep IV, was the son of Amenhotep III, a pharaoh in ancient Egypt. After his succession to the throne, Amenhotep IV propagated a dramatic shift from the diversity in traditional Egyptian religion to a singular Atenism, which promoted the worship of sun god Aten, much to the dismay of his common Egyptian subjects. He changed his regal name to Akhenaten, meaning 'beneficial to Aten', and shifted his residence to the city of Amarna which later became the capital city. This shift gave the era its modern name of the Amarna period.
Akhenaten's radical religious reforms made him an unusual pharaoh in Egyptian history.
Along with Akhenaten, two other Egyptian rulers are believed to have existed around the same time. The first one was Neferneferuaten, a female ruler who may have been Akhenaten's wife Nefertiti, or his daughter Meritaten. The second one was Smenkhkare. Many Egyptologists believe that she may have once masqueraded as Nefertiti, while others recognize her as a distinct individual.
After the death of Akhenaten, his statues and monuments were destroyed by the local population and he was disregarded in the list of pharaohs by the later rulers. Peace was restored with the coronation of Tutankhamun.
Tutankhamun's parents were Akhenaten and his wife (and cousin) Nefertiti as Tutankhaten. Tut stood at a height of 5 ft 6 in (1.7 m) with a roundish build and uncharacteristically feminine features. Tutankhaten was eight to nine years old when he ascended the throne of Egypt and became a pharaoh. Due to his young age, he ruled with his vizier and eventual successor, Ay for about 9-10 years. During King Tut's reign as the pharaoh of Egypt, he incorporated major social and political reforms in his kingdom, the major one being polytheism.
At the time of King Tut's rule, it wasn't uncommon for royal families to practice incest and marry within the family to maintain a pure royal bloodline. The same was the case with Akhenaten and Nefertiti and their surviving children. Tutankhamun was married to his sister Ankhesenamun, the third and possibly the eldest surviving daughter of Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti. Together they had two daughters, neither of which survived infancy. It's believed that the two mummified infants found in King Tut's tomb are in fact his stillborn daughters.
Tutankhamun died in 1323 BC at the age of approximately 18-19 years after a reign of about 9-10 years. The Egyptians believed in the process of mummification in order to preserve the bodies of their dead. King Tut's mummy was buried in ancient Egypt's Valley of the Kings.
Tutankhamun was coronated as the pharaoh of Egypt in 1332 BC, succeeding his father Akhenaten. He ruled under the guidance of his vizier Ay and the general of the armies, Horemheb. At the time of King Tut's accession to the throne, he was only nine years old.
During his time as the pharaoh, he sought to revert the changes made by his father, especially his propagation of monotheism. King Tut as he was colloquially known reverted back to the worshipping of old gods, especially sun god Amun. The change in his name was also a way to demonstrate his devotion to Amun and the old ways.
King Tut's efforts towards polytheism extended to his initiative of the building and reconstruction of the statues and monuments of the old gods, especially sun god Amun. He used the finest raw materials for the construction of the monuments and statues. His focus on polytheism, which means believing in many gods, and extended control over foreign policies made him an unusual ruler.
In addition to this, King Tut shifted the main city to ancient Thebes, much to the pleasure of the local population and the priests of many temples. He moved his residence and the administrative capital to Memphis, which is now modern-day Cairo. In addition to the palace built in Karnak and the memorial built in ancient Thebes, the major monument of Tutankhamun is located in Luxor.
King Tut ruled over Egypt for nearly ten years alongside his wife Ankhesenamun, literally meaning 'Her life is of Amun'. Ankhesenamun most likely outlived Tutankhamun and ruled for a while until the eventual succession of Ay to the throne. Following Tutankhamun's death and the end of his reign, King Tut was buried in a tomb in the valley with a proper burial.
In King Tut's tomb were also buried his two mummified infant daughters. They were placed in a burial chamber in three golden coffins alongside the king's body. King Tut's tomb was filled with Tutankhamun's funeral items which were buried with him. The gold burial mask, which has now become synonymous with Pharaoh Tutankhamun was also buried with King Tut's body.
Tutankhamun has been a source of fascination amongst archaeologists for years, as well many other ordinary people who are interested in Tutankhamun facts. In life, King Tut enforced religious reforms which increased his popularity amongst the local masses. His shift back to the old Egyptian religious system gave him fame and increased his popularity.
Akhenaten was so focused on the shift from worshipping different gods to worshipping just one, Aten, that he forgot about the political and foreign affairs of the kingdom. Under King Tut's rulership, the Egyptian administration focused on foreign affairs and the policies of the state. He was by far the most successful pharaoh of the state.
In death, as well as life, King Tut fascinated many. The circumstances of his death have remained quite mysterious to archaeologists. Despite being such a famous and successful pharaoh, Tutankhamun's tomb was much smaller compared to other pharaohs. It's possible that he was buried there because his actual tomb could not be completed due to his untimely death. However, one explanation is that even though King Tut was buried in the Valley of the Kings, his smaller tomb was an attempt to decrease his significance as a ruler by later pharaohs.
Tutankhamun's tomb was also well known as his mummy was the first mummy ever to have undergone a CT scan and computer tomography. The riches buried with the boy king, which were believed to aid him in a comfortable journey after death, are a wonder in themselves. 65% of King Tutankhamun's treasures are now kept in the Grand Egyptian Museum, just outside Cairo.
King Tut's tomb was discovered on November 4, 1922, in the Valley of the Kings. The tomb was long lost under the sand and debris of the desert, but that didn't British archaeologist Howard Carter and his team. The team discovered Tutankhamun's tomb after searching for 15 years.
King Tut became the most renowned pharaoh in history when his intact tomb was discovered by Howard Carter. However, before it was discovered by the British archaeologist, King Tut's tomb was robbed twice by tomb raiders within months of King Tut's death and burial. Since they couldn't find the body of King Tut himself, the tomb raiders looted all the treasures buried with the king in the burial chamber.
Howard Carter was the first archaeologist to find the actual tomb of King Tut. The excavation process had several witnesses including Lord Carnarvon which made sure that no misdeed or thievery was carried out by the group. The seal of the tomb was broken just after 2 p.m. on Feb 17, 1923.
The plastered door was photographed by Howard Carter for the official records. The door was plastered and repaired twice, proving that the tomb was robbed twice within a very short time of the burial. The inside of the tomb was a sight to behold. The chamber was filled with jewelry, furniture, hunting equipment, and many other precious treasures with the inscription of Tutankhamun. Wall paintings adorned the tomb which depicted the life of King Tut.
Inside King Tut's tomb, which was considerably small considering his status, laid Tutankhamun's body. Inside a stone sarcophagus, the great king lay within a nest of three golden coffins. The innermost coffins were made of solid gold weighing almost 242.5 lb (110 kg) while the outer two had gold hammered on a wooden frame.
The mummy's face was covered by the customary burial mask made of solid gold which was the burial ritual for pharaohs. The face mask is what many associate Tutankhamun with. Further examination of the tomb and the body by British archaeologist Howard Carter revealed a lot about the mysterious ending of King Tut.
CT scans and computer tomography were eventually undertaken of King Tut's remains to help determine just how did King Tut die? The CT scans revealed that King Tut suffered from many diseases and disorders, possibly due to generations of inbreeding. In addition, Tutankhamun's body showed a broken leg and shattered ribcage, suggesting an accident.
Archaeologists and Egyptologists have had difficulties pinpointing the actual cause of the death of King Tut. Many suggest that he died from an infected wound from a broken leg due to a chariot accident coupled with an intense malarial infection. Other sources suggest he died of sickle cell anaemia which was worsened because of his pre-existing health conditions. In addition, King Tut's collarbone and parts of the rib cage were missing, suggesting they were probably removed during thievery attempts.
King Tutankhamun has now become the most famous Egyptian pharaoh in history. His efforts at reverting the disastrous reign of his father Akhenaten secured his reputation as a great pharaoh. More than his life, his death and burial have greatly intrigued everyone, making him more famous now than he ever was in his life.
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second image credit: agsaz / Shutterstock.com
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