Tutankhamun

Tutankhamun

Overview
Tutankhamun Egyptian
Egyptian language
Egyptian is the oldest known indigenous language of Egypt and a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Written records of the Egyptian language have been dated from about 3400 BC, making it one of the oldest recorded languages known. Egyptian was spoken until the late 17th century AD in the...

 , təwaːt ʕaːnəx ʔaˈmaːn; approx. 1341 BC – 1323 BC) was an Egyptian pharaoh
Pharaoh
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

 of the 18th dynasty
Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt
The eighteenth dynasty of ancient Egypt is perhaps the best known of all the dynasties of ancient Egypt...

 (ruled ca. 1333 BC – 1323 BC in the conventional chronology), during the period of Egyptian history
History of Egypt
Egyptian history can be roughly divided into the following periods:*Prehistoric Egypt*Ancient Egypt**Early Dynastic Period of Egypt: 31st to 27th centuries BC**Old Kingdom of Egypt: 27th to 22nd centuries BC...

 known as the New Kingdom
New Kingdom
The New Kingdom of Egypt, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire is the period in ancient Egyptian history between the 16th century BC and the 11th century BC, covering the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Dynasties of Egypt....

. His original name, Tutankhaten, means "Living Image of Aten
Aten
Aten is the disk of the sun in ancient Egyptian mythology, and originally an aspect of Ra. The deified Aten is the focus of the monolatristic, henotheistic, or monotheistic religion of Atenism established by Amenhotep IV, who later took the name Akhenaten in worship in recognition of Aten...

", while Tutankhamun means "Living Image of Amun
Amun
Amun, reconstructed Egyptian Yamānu , was a god in Egyptian mythology who in the form of Amun-Ra became the focus of the most complex system of theology in Ancient Egypt...

". 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.
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Tutankhamun Egyptian
Egyptian language
Egyptian is the oldest known indigenous language of Egypt and a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Written records of the Egyptian language have been dated from about 3400 BC, making it one of the oldest recorded languages known. Egyptian was spoken until the late 17th century AD in the...

 , təwaːt ʕaːnəx ʔaˈmaːn; approx. 1341 BC – 1323 BC) was an Egyptian pharaoh
Pharaoh
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

 of the 18th dynasty
Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt
The eighteenth dynasty of ancient Egypt is perhaps the best known of all the dynasties of ancient Egypt...

 (ruled ca. 1333 BC – 1323 BC in the conventional chronology), during the period of Egyptian history
History of Egypt
Egyptian history can be roughly divided into the following periods:*Prehistoric Egypt*Ancient Egypt**Early Dynastic Period of Egypt: 31st to 27th centuries BC**Old Kingdom of Egypt: 27th to 22nd centuries BC...

 known as the New Kingdom
New Kingdom
The New Kingdom of Egypt, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire is the period in ancient Egyptian history between the 16th century BC and the 11th century BC, covering the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Dynasties of Egypt....

. His original name, Tutankhaten, means "Living Image of Aten
Aten
Aten is the disk of the sun in ancient Egyptian mythology, and originally an aspect of Ra. The deified Aten is the focus of the monolatristic, henotheistic, or monotheistic religion of Atenism established by Amenhotep IV, who later took the name Akhenaten in worship in recognition of Aten...

", while Tutankhamun means "Living Image of Amun
Amun
Amun, reconstructed Egyptian Yamānu , was a god in Egyptian mythology who in the form of Amun-Ra became the focus of the most complex system of theology in Ancient Egypt...

". 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
Amarna letters
The Amarna letters are an archive of correspondence on clay tablets, mostly diplomatic, between the Egyptian administration and its representatives in Canaan and Amurru during the New Kingdom...

, and likely the 18th dynasty king Rathotis who, according to Manetho
Manetho
Manetho was an Egyptian historian and priest from Sebennytos who lived during the Ptolemaic era, approximately during the 3rd century BC. Manetho wrote the Aegyptiaca...

, an ancient historian, had reigned for nine years — a figure which conforms with Flavius Josephus
Josephus
Titus Flavius Josephus , also called Joseph ben Matityahu , was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of...

's version of Manetho's Epitome.

The 1922 discovery by Howard Carter
Howard Carter
Howard Carter may refer to:* Howard Carter , English archaeologist who discovered Tutankhamun's tomb* Howard Carter , American basketball player...

 and George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon
George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon
George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon was an English aristocrat best known as the financial backer of the search for and the excavation of Tutankhamun's tomb in the Valley of the Kings.-Biography:...

 of Tutankhamun's nearly intact tomb
KV62
KV62 is the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings , which became famous for the wealth of treasure it contained. The tomb was discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter, underneath the remains of workmen's huts built during the Ramesside Period; this explains why it was spared from the worst of...

 received worldwide press coverage. It sparked a renewed public interest in ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

, for which Tutankhamun's burial mask
Death mask
In Western cultures a death mask is a wax or plaster cast made of a person’s face following death. Death masks may be mementos of the dead, or be used for creation of portraits...

 remains the popular symbol. Exhibits of artifacts from his tomb have toured the world. In February 2010, the results of DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

 tests confirmed that he was the son of Akhenaten
Akhenaten
Akhenaten also spelled Echnaton,Ikhnaton,and Khuenaten;meaning "living spirit of Aten") known before the fifth year of his reign as Amenhotep IV , was a Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt who ruled for 17 years and died perhaps in 1336 BC or 1334 BC...

 (mummy KV55) and his sister/wife (mummy KV35YL), whose name is unknown but whose remains are positively identified as "The Younger Lady
The Younger Lady (mummy)
The Younger Lady is the informal name given to a mummy discovered in the Egyptian Valley of the Kings, in tomb KV35 by archeologist Victor Loret in 1898. Through DNA tests this mummy has recently been identified as the mother of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun, and the daughter of Pharaoh Amenhotep III...

" mummy found in KV35
KV35
Tomb KV35 in the Valley of the Kings is the tomb of Amenhotep II.It was discovered by Victor Loret in March 1898.-Layout and history:...

.

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
Maia (nurse)
Maia was the wet-nurse of the Ancient Egyptian king Tutankhamun. She is known from her rock-cut tomb found at Saqqara. Her tomb was discovered in 1996 by the French Egyptologist Alain Zivie. Maia bears the titles wet nurse of the king, educator of the god's body and great one of the harim...

, known from her tomb at Saqqara
Saqqara
Saqqara is a vast, ancient burial ground in Egypt, serving as the necropolis for the Ancient Egyptian capital, Memphis. Saqqara features numerous pyramids, including the world famous Step pyramid of Djoser, sometimes referred to as the Step Tomb due to its rectangular base, as well as a number of...

.

When he became king, he married his half-sister, Ankhesenepatan, who later changed her name to Ankhesenamun
Ankhesenamun
Ankhesenamun was a queen of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt. Born as Ankhesenpaaten, she was the third of six known daughters of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten and his Great Royal Wife Nefertiti, and became the Great Royal Wife of her cousin Tutankhamun. The change in her name reflects the changes...

. They had two daughters, both stillborn.. CT studies released in 2011 revealed that one daughter died at 5-6 months of pregnancy while the other at 9 months of pregnancy. No evidence was found of congenital anomalies or the apparent cause of death in either mummy.

Reign


Given his age, the king probably had very powerful advisers, presumably including General Horemheb
Horemheb
Horemheb was the last Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty from either 1319 BC to late 1292 BC, or 1306 to late 1292 BC although he was not related to the preceding royal family and is believed to have been of common birth.Before he became pharaoh, Horemheb was the commander in chief...

, the Vizier Ay
Ay
Ay was the penultimate Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt's 18th dynasty. He held the throne of Egypt for a brief four-year period , although he was a close advisor to two and perhaps three of the pharaohs who ruled before him and was the power behind the throne during Tutankhamun's reign...

, and Maya
Maya (Egyptian)
Maya was the Overseer of the Treasury during the reign of Pharaoh Tutankhamun, Ay and Horemheb of the eighteenth dynasty of Ancient Egypt. He was also an important official and was noted for restoring the burials of several earlier Pharaohs in the Royal Necropolis in the years following the deaths...

, 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.

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
Aten
Aten is the disk of the sun in ancient Egyptian mythology, and originally an aspect of Ra. The deified Aten is the focus of the monolatristic, henotheistic, or monotheistic religion of Atenism established by Amenhotep IV, who later took the name Akhenaten in worship in recognition of Aten...

 and restored the god Amun
Amun
Amun, reconstructed Egyptian Yamānu , was a god in Egyptian mythology who in the form of Amun-Ra became the focus of the most complex system of theology in Ancient Egypt...

 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
Thebes, Egypt
Thebes is the Greek name for a city in Ancient Egypt located about 800 km south of the Mediterranean, on the east bank of the river Nile within the modern city of Luxor. The Theban Necropolis is situated nearby on the west bank of the Nile.-History:...

 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
Karnak
The Karnak Temple Complex—usually called Karnak—comprises a vast mix of decayed temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings, notably the Great Temple of Amun and a massive structure begun by Pharaoh Ramses II . Sacred Lake is part of the site as well. It is located near Luxor, some...

, where he dedicated a temple to Amun
Amun
Amun, reconstructed Egyptian Yamānu , was a god in Egyptian mythology who in the form of Amun-Ra became the focus of the most complex system of theology in Ancient Egypt...

. 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
Opet Festival
The Beautiful Feast of Opet was an Ancient Egyptian festival, celebrated annually in Thebes, during the New Kingdom period and later....

. 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.

Foreign policy


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
Mitanni
Mitanni or Hanigalbat was a loosely organized Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and south-east Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC...

. 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 (he died at age 18), historians speculate that he did not take part personally in these battles.

Health and appearance


Tutankhamun was slight of build, and was roughly 180 centimetre tall.http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061128084450.htm He had large front incisor
Incisor
Incisors are the first kind of tooth in heterodont mammals. They are located in the premaxilla above and mandible below.-Function:...

s 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
Akhenaten
Akhenaten also spelled Echnaton,Ikhnaton,and Khuenaten;meaning "living spirit of Aten") known before the fifth year of his reign as Amenhotep IV , was a Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt who ruled for 17 years and died perhaps in 1336 BC or 1334 BC...

 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
Scoliosis
Scoliosis is a medical condition in which a person's spine is curved from side to side. Although it is a complex three-dimensional deformity, on an X-ray, viewed from the rear, the spine of an individual with scoliosis may look more like an "S" or a "C" than a straight line...

, a medical condition in which a person's spine is curved from side to side.

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 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 (malaria and leiomyomata) combined, led to his death.

Probable product of incest


According to the September 2010 issue of National Geographic magazine, Tutankhamun was the result of a incestuous relationship and, because of that, may have suffered from several genetic defects that contributed to his early death. For years, scientists have tried to unravel ancient clues as to why the boy king of Egypt, who reigned for 10 years, died at the age of 18. Several theories have been put forth; one was that he was killed by a blow to the head. Another put the blame on a broken leg. As recently as June 2010, German scientists said they believed there was evidence that he died of sickle cell disease.

Research conducted by archaeologists, radiologists, and geneticists who started performing CT scans on Tutankhamun in 2005 found that he was not killed by a blow to the head, as previously thought. That same team began doing DNA research on Tutankhamun's mummy, as well as the mummified remains of other members of his family, in 2008. DNA tests finally put to rest questions about Tutankhamun's lineage, proving that his father was Akhenaten
Akhenaten
Akhenaten also spelled Echnaton,Ikhnaton,and Khuenaten;meaning "living spirit of Aten") known before the fifth year of his reign as Amenhotep IV , was a Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt who ruled for 17 years and died perhaps in 1336 BC or 1334 BC...

, but that his mother was not one of Akhenaten's known wives. His mother was one of Akhenaten's five sisters, although it is not known which one. New CT images discovered congenital flaws, which are more common among the children of incest. Siblings are more likely to pass on twin copies of harmful genes, which is why children of incest more commonly manifest genetic defects. It is suspected he also had a partially cleft palate, another congenital defect.

The team was able to establish with a probability of better than 99.99 percent that Amenhotep III
Amenhotep III
Amenhotep III also known as Amenhotep the Magnificent was the ninth pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty. According to different authors, he ruled Egypt from June 1386 to 1349 BC or June 1388 BC to December 1351 BC/1350 BC after his father Thutmose IV died...

 was the father of the individual in KV55
KV55
KV55 is a tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. It was discovered by Edward R. Ayrton in 1907 while he was working in the Valley for Theodore M. Davis. It has long been speculated, as well as much-disputed, that the body found in this tomb was that of the famous 'heretic king' Akhenaten...

, who was in turn the father of Tutankhamun. The DNA of the so-called Younger Lady
The Younger Lady (mummy)
The Younger Lady is the informal name given to a mummy discovered in the Egyptian Valley of the Kings, in tomb KV35 by archeologist Victor Loret in 1898. Through DNA tests this mummy has recently been identified as the mother of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun, and the daughter of Pharaoh Amenhotep III...

 (KV35YL), found lying beside Queen Tiye
Tiye
Tiye was the daughter of Yuya and Tjuyu . She became the Great Royal Wife of the Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep III....

 in the alcove of KV35, matched that of the boy king. Her DNA proved that, like Akhenaten, she was a child of Amenhotep III and Tiye; thus, Tutankhamun's parents were brother and sister. Queen Tiye held much political influence at court and acted as an adviser to her son after the death of her husband. Some geneticists dispute these findings, however, and "complain that the team used inappropriate analysis techniques."

While the data are still incomplete, the study suggests that one of the mummified fetuses found in Tutankhamun's tomb is the daughter of Tutankhamun himself, and the other fetus is probably his child as well. So far only partial data for the two female mummies from KV21
KV21
Tomb KV21 is located in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. It contains the mummies of two women, thought to be Eighteenth Dynasty queens. In 2010, a team including geneticist Carsten Pusch used DNA evidence to identify one mummy as the biological mother of the two fetuses preserved in the tomb of...

 has been obtained. One of them, KV21A, may well be the infants' mother and thus, Tutankhamun's wife, Ankhesenamun
Ankhesenamun
Ankhesenamun was a queen of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt. Born as Ankhesenpaaten, she was the third of six known daughters of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten and his Great Royal Wife Nefertiti, and became the Great Royal Wife of her cousin Tutankhamun. The change in her name reflects the changes...

. It is known from history that she was the daughter of Akhenaten and Nefertiti
Nefertiti
Nefertiti was the Great Royal Wife of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten. Nefertiti and her husband were known for a religious revolution, in which they started to worship one god only...

, and thus likely to be her husband's half-sister. Another consequence of inbreeding can be children whose genetic defects do not allow them to be brought to term.

The research team consisted of Egyptian scientists Yehia Gad and Somaia Ismail from the National Research Centre
National Research Centre
The National Research Centre is an Egyptian research and development center for multiple disciplines including agriculture, chemistry, biology, medicine, engineering and genetics. It was established in 1956 "to foster basic and applied scientific research, particularly in industry, agriculture,...

 in Cairo. The CT scans were conducted under the direction of Ashraf Selim and Sahar Saleem of the Faculty of Medicine at Cairo University
Cairo University
Cairo University is a public university located in Giza, Egypt.The university was founded on December 21, 1908, as the result of an effort to establish a national center for educational thought...

. Three international experts served as consultants: Carsten Pusch of the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Germany; Albert Zink of the EURAC-Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Bolzano, Italy; and Paul Gostner of the Central Hospital Bolzano.

As stated above, the team discovered DNA from several strains of a parasite proving he was infected with the most severe strain of malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

 several times in his short life. Malaria can trigger circulatory shock or cause a fatal immune response in the body, either of which can lead to death. If Tutankhamun did suffer from a bone disease which was crippling, it may not have been fatal. "Perhaps he struggled against others [congenital flaws] until a severe bout of malaria or a leg broken in an accident added one strain too many to a body that could no longer carry the load," wrote Zahi Hawass
Zahi Hawass
Zahi Hawass is an Egyptian archaeologist, an Egyptologist, and former Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs. He has also worked at archaeological sites in the Nile Delta, the Western Desert, and the Upper Nile Valley....

, archeologist and head of Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquity involved in the research.

Tomb


Tutankhamun was buried in a tomb that was small relative to his status. His death may have occurred unexpectedly, before the completion of a grander royal tomb, so that his mummy was buried in a tomb intended for someone else. This would preserve the observance of the customary seventy days between death and burial.

King Tutankhamun's mummy
Tutankhamun's mummy
On February 12, 1924, British Egyptologist Howard Carter and his team removed the lid on the third and last sarcophagus of the burial chamber in tomb KV62 revealing the mummy of Tutankhamun...

 still rests in his tomb in the Valley of the Kings
Valley of the Kings
The Valley of the Kings , less often called the Valley of the Gates of the Kings , is a valley in Egypt where, for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC, tombs were constructed for the Pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom .The valley stands on the west bank of...

. On November 4, 2007, 85 years to the day after Carter's discovery, the 19-year-old pharaoh went on display in his underground tomb at Luxor
Luxor
Luxor is a city in Upper Egypt and the capital of Luxor Governorate. The population numbers 487,896 , with an area of approximately . As the site of the Ancient Egyptian city of Thebes, Luxor has frequently been characterized as the "world's greatest open air museum", as the ruins of the temple...

, when the linen-wrapped mummy was removed from its golden sarcophagus to a climate-controlled glass box. The case was designed to prevent the heightened rate of decomposition caused by the humidity and warmth from tourists visiting the tomb.

Discovery of tomb



Tutankhamun seems to have faded from public consciousness in Ancient Egypt within a short time after his death, and remained virtually unknown until the 1920s. His tomb was robbed at least twice in antiquity, but based on the items taken (including perishable oils and perfumes) and the evidence of restoration of the tomb after the intrusions, it seems clear that these robberies took place within several months at most of the initial burial. Eventually the location of the tomb was lost because it had come to be buried by stone chips from subsequent tombs, either dumped there or washed there by floods. In the years that followed, some huts for workers were built over the tomb entrance, clearly not knowing what lay beneath. When at the end of the Twentieth Dynasty the Valley of the Kings burials were systematically dismantled, the burial of Tutankhamun was overlooked, presumably because knowledge of it had been lost and his name may have been forgotten.

Exhibitions




Relics from Tutankhamun's tomb are among the most traveled artifacts in the world. They have been to many countries, but probably the best-known exhibition tour was The Treasures of Tutankhamun tour, which ran from 1972 to 1979. This exhibition was first shown in London at the British Museum
British Museum
The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture in London. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its...

 from March 30 until September 30, 1972. More than 1.6 million visitors came to see the exhibition, some queuing for up to eight hours and it was the most popular exhibition in the Museum's history. The exhibition moved on to many other countries, including the USA, USSR, Japan, France, Canada, and West Germany. The Metropolitan Museum of Art organized the U.S. exhibition, which ran from November 17, 1976 through April 15, 1979. More than eight million attended.

In 2004, the tour of Tutankhamun funerary objects entitled Tutankhamen: The Golden Hereafter, consisting of fifty artifacts from Tutankhamun's tomb and seventy funerary goods from other 18th Dynasty
Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt
The eighteenth dynasty of ancient Egypt is perhaps the best known of all the dynasties of ancient Egypt...

 tombs, began in Basle, Switzerland and went on to Bonn Germany on the second leg of the tour. This European tour was organised by the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), and the Egyptian Museum in cooperation with the Antikenmuseum Basel and Sammlung Ludwig. Deutsche Telekom sponsored the Bonn exhibition.

In 2005, Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, in partnership with Arts and Exhibitions International and the National Geographic Society, launched a tour of Tutankhamun treasures and other 18th Dynasty funerary objects, this time called Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs. It features the same exhibits as Tutankhamen: The Golden Hereafter in a slightly different format. It was expected to draw more than three million people.

The exhibition started in Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles , with a population at the 2010 United States Census of 3,792,621, is the most populous city in California, USA and the second most populous in the United States, after New York City. It has an area of , and is located in Southern California...

, then moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Lauderdale is a city in the U.S. state of Florida, on the Atlantic coast. It is the county seat of Broward County. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 165,521. It is a principal city of the South Florida metropolitan area, which was home to 5,564,635 people at the 2010...

, Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

 and Philadelphia. The exhibition then moved to London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 before finally returning to Egypt in August 2008. An encore of the exhibition in the United States ran at the Dallas Museum of Art
Dallas Museum of Art
The Dallas Museum of Art is a major art museum located in the Arts District of downtown Dallas, Texas, USA, along Woodall Rodgers Freeway between St. Paul and Harwood. In 1984, the museum moved from its previous location in Fair Park to the Arts District, Dallas, Texas...

 from October 2008 to May 2009. The tour continued to other U.S. cities. After Dallas the exhibition moved to the de Young Museum in San Francisco, followed by the Discovery Times Square Exposition
Discovery Times Square Exposition
Discovery Times Square is an exhibition space at 226 West 44th Street in New York City that opened June 24, 2009 and specializes in traveling exhibitions...

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

.

In 2011 the exhibition visited Australia for the first time, opening at the Melbourne Museum in April for its only Australian stop before Egypt's treasures return to Cairo in December, 2011.

The exhibition includes 80 exhibits from the reigns of Tutankhamun's immediate predecessors in the Eighteenth dynasty, such as Hatshepsut
Hatshepsut
Hatshepsut also Hatchepsut; meaning Foremost of Noble Ladies;1508–1458 BC) was the fifth pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty of Ancient Egypt...

, whose trade policies greatly increased the wealth of that dynasty and enabled the lavish wealth of Tutankhamun's burial artifacts, as well as 50 from Tutankhamun's tomb. The exhibition does not include the gold mask that was a feature of the 1972-1979 tour, as the Egyptian government has determined that the mask is too fragile to withstand travel and will never again leave the country.

A separate exhibition called Tutankhamun and the World of the Pharaohs began at the Ethnological Museum in Vienna from March 9 to September 28, 2008, showing a further 140 treasures. Renamed Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs, this exhibition began a tour of the US and Canada in Atlanta on November 15, 2008. It is scheduled to finish in Seattle on January 6, 2013.

Curse



For many years, rumors of a "Curse of the Pharaohs" (probably fueled by newspapers seeking sales at the time of the discovery) persisted, emphasizing the early death of some of those who had first entered the tomb. However, a recent study of journals and death records indicates no statistical difference between the age of death of those who entered the tomb and those on the expedition who did not.

Aftermath of death


Although it is unknown how he met his death, the Amarna letters
Amarna letters
The Amarna letters are an archive of correspondence on clay tablets, mostly diplomatic, between the Egyptian administration and its representatives in Canaan and Amurru during the New Kingdom...

 indicate that Tutankhamun's wife, recently widowed, wrote to the Hittite king Suppiluliuma I
Suppiluliuma I
Suppiluliuma I was king of the Hittites . He achieved fame as a great warrior and statesman, successfully challenging the then-dominant Egyptian empire for control of the lands between the Mediterranean and the Euphrates....

, 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
Ay
Ay was the penultimate Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt's 18th dynasty. He held the throne of Egypt for a brief four-year period , although he was a close advisor to two and perhaps three of the pharaohs who ruled before him and was the power behind the throne during Tutankhamun's reign...

 married Tutankhamun's widow and became Pharaoh as a war between the two countries was fought, and Egypt was left defeated.

Significance


Tutankhamun was nine years old when he became pharaoh and reigned for approximately ten years. In historical terms, Tutankhamun's significance stems from his rejection of the radical religious innovations introduced by his predecessor and father, Akhenaten
Akhenaten
Akhenaten also spelled Echnaton,Ikhnaton,and Khuenaten;meaning "living spirit of Aten") known before the fifth year of his reign as Amenhotep IV , was a Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt who ruled for 17 years and died perhaps in 1336 BC or 1334 BC...

. Secondly, his tomb in the Valley of the Kings
Valley of the Kings
The Valley of the Kings , less often called the Valley of the Gates of the Kings , is a valley in Egypt where, for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC, tombs were constructed for the Pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom .The valley stands on the west bank of...

 was discovered by Carter almost completely intact — the most complete ancient Egyptian royal tomb ever found. As Tutankhamun began his reign at such an early age, his vizier and eventual successor Ay was probably making most of the important political decisions during Tutankhamun's reign.

Tutankhamun was one of the few kings worshiped as a god and honored with a cult-like following during his lifetime. A stela discovered at Karnak and dedicated to Amun-Re and Tutankhamun indicates that the king could be appealed to in his deified state for forgiveness and to free the petitioner from an ailment caused by wrongdoing. Temples of his cult were built as far away as in Kawa
Kawa, Egypt
Kawa is a town in Sudan. Located in ancient Nubia between the Third and Fourth Cataracts of the Nile. Noteworthy archaeological discoveries include several Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt era steles .-References:...

 and Faras
Faras
Faras was a major city in Lower Nubia in modern Egypt. The site of the city was flooded by Lake Nasser in the 1960s, and is now permanently underwater...

 in Nubia. The title of the sister of the Viceroy of Kush included a reference to the deified king, indicative of the universality of his cult.

In popular culture

See also: Ancient Egypt in the Western imagination

If Tutankhamun is the world's best known pharaoh, it is largely because his tomb is among the best preserved, and his image and associated artifacts the most-exhibited. As Jon Manchip White
Jon Manchip White
Jon Manchip White is the Welsh American author of more than thirty books of non-fiction and fiction, including Mask of Dust, Nightclimber, Death By Dreaming, Solo Goya, and his latest novel, Rawlins White: Patriot to Heaven, to be published in the second half of 2011...

 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."

The discoveries in the tomb were prominent news in the 1920s. Tutankhamen came to be called by a modern neologism, "King Tut". Ancient Egyptian references became common in popular culture, including Tin Pan Alley
Tin Pan Alley
Tin Pan Alley is the name given to the collection of New York City music publishers and songwriters who dominated the popular music of the United States in the late 19th century and early 20th century...

 songs; the most popular of the latter was "Old King Tut" by Harry Von Tilzer
Harry Von Tilzer
Harry Von Tilzer was a very popular United States songwriter.-Biography:Von Tilzer was born in Goshen, Indiana under the name Aaron Gumbinsky which he shortened to Harry Gumm. He ran away and joined a traveling circus at age 14, where he took his new name by adding 'Von' to his mother's maiden...

 from 1923, which was recorded by prominent artists of the time as Jones & Hare
The Happiness Boys
The Happiness Boys was a popular radio program of the early 1920s. It featured the vocal duo of tenor Billy Jones and bass/baritone Ernie Hare who sang novelty songs.-Career:...

 and Sophie Tucker
Sophie Tucker
Sophie Tucker was a Russian/Ukrainian-born American singer and actress. Known for her stentorian delivery of comical and risqué songs, she was one of the most popular entertainers in America during the first half of the 20th century...

. "King Tut" became the name of products, businesses, and even the pet dog of U.S. President Herbert Hoover
Herbert Hoover
Herbert Clark Hoover was the 31st President of the United States . Hoover was originally a professional mining engineer and author. As the United States Secretary of Commerce in the 1920s under Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, he promoted partnerships between government and business...

.

The interest in this tomb and its alleged "curse" also led to horror movies featuring a vengeful mummy.

Film and television

  • We Want Our Mummy
    We Want Our Mummy
    We Want Our Mummy is the 37th short subject starring American slapstick team the Three Stooges. The trio made a total of 190 shorts for Columbia Pictures between 1934 and 1959.-Plot:Two museum curators We Want Our Mummy is the 37th short subject starring American slapstick team the Three Stooges....

    , a 1939 film by the Three Stooges
    Three Stooges
    The Three Stooges were an American vaudeville and comedy act of the early to mid–20th century best known for their numerous short subject films. Their hallmark was physical farce and extreme slapstick. In films, the Stooges were commonly known by their first names: "Moe, Larry, and Curly" and "Moe,...

    . In it, the slapstick comedy trio explores the tomb of the midget King Rutentuten and his Queen, Hotsy Totsy. A decade later, they were crooked used-chariot salesmen in Mummy's Dummies
    Mummy's Dummies
    Mummy's Dummies is the 111th short subject starring American slapstick comedy team the Three Stooges. The trio made a total of 190 shorts for Columbia Pictures between 1934 and 1959.-Plot:The Stooges are used chariot salesmen in Ancient Egypt...

    , in which they ultimately assist a different King Rootentootin (Vernon Dent
    Vernon Dent
    Vernon Bruce Dent was a comic actor who appeared in over 400 films in his career. He co-starred in many short films for Columbia Pictures, frequently as the foil to the Three Stooges.-Early career:...

    ) with a toothache.

  • King Tut, played by Victor Buono
    Victor Buono
    Charles Victor Buono was an American actor and comic.-Early life and career:Buono was born in San Diego, California, the son of Myrtle Belle and Victor Francis Buono . His maternal grandmother, Myrtle Glied , was a Vaudeville performer on the Orpheum Circuit...

    , was a villain on the Batman TV series
    Batman (TV series)
    Batman is an American television series, based on the DC comic book character of the same name. It stars Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin — two crime-fighting heroes who defend Gotham City. It aired on the American Broadcasting Company network for three seasons from January 12, 1966 to...

     which aired from 1966 to 1968. Mild-mannered Egyptologist William Omaha McElroy, after suffering a concussion, came to believe he was the reincarnation of Tutankhamun. His response to this knowledge was to embark upon a crime spree that required him to fight against the "Caped Crusaders", Batman and Robin.

  • The Discovery Kids
    Discovery Kids
    Discovery Kids is an American website owned by Discovery Communications, Inc. created for children. Until October 10, 2010, it was an American digital cable specialty channel, owned by Discovery Communications with television programming for education of children. It was launched in October 1996...

     animated series Tutenstein
    Tutenstein
    Tutenstein is an animated television series, produced by Porchlight Entertainment for Discovery Kids based on the comic by Jay Stephens which was published in Oni Press' JetCat Clubhouse. This cartoon also airs on Jetix in Europe and Maxi TV in Turkey. It began broadcasting on November 1, 2003...

    stars a fictional mummy based on Tutankhamun, named Tutankhensetamun and nicknamed Tutenstein in his afterlife. He is depicted as a lazy and spoiled 10-year-old mummy boy who must guard a magical artifact called the Scepter of Was from the evil Egyptian god Set
    Set (mythology)
    Set was in Ancient Egyptian religion, a god of the desert, storms, and foreigners. In later myths he was also the god of darkness, and chaos...

    .

  • The first episode of the 2005 BBC
    BBC
    The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

     series Egypt: Rediscovering a Lost World focuses on the life and death of Tutankhamun and the serendipitous discovery of his tomb.

  • La Reine Soleil
    La Reine Soleil
    La Reine Soleil is a French animated feature film made by Philippe Leclerc. It was released in France on 4 April 2007. The animation was created by the Hungarian company Cinemon studios and special effects were created by Greykid Pictures, which was also responsible for compositing and some of...

    (2007 animated film by Philippe Leclerc), features Akhenaten, Tutankhaten (later Tutankhamun), Akhesa (Ankhesenepaten, later Ankhesenamun), Nefertiti, and Horemheb in a complex struggle pitting the priests of Amun against Akhenaten's intolerant monotheism.

Other media

  • "King Tut
    King Tut (song)
    "King Tut" is a novelty song performed by Steve Martin and the Toot Uncommons . It was released as a single in 1978, sold over a million copies, and reached number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Martin previewed the song in a live performance during the April 22, 1978 episode of Saturday...

    ", a whimsical 1978 song by (American comedian) "Steve Martin
    Steve Martin
    Stephen Glenn "Steve" Martin is an American actor, comedian, writer, playwright, producer, musician and composer....

     and the Toot Uncommons" (a backup group consisting of members of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
    Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
    The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is an American country-folk-rock band that has existed in various forms since its founding in Long Beach, California in 1966. The group's membership has had at least a dozen changes over the years, including a period from 1976 to 1981 when the band performed and recorded...

    ).

  • 1989 televison networks often advertised commercials for King Kuts dog food, complete with Anubis
    Anubis
    Anubis is the Greek name for a jackal-headed god associated with mummification and the afterlife in ancient Egyptian religion. In the ancient Egyptian language, Anubis is known as Inpu . According to the Akkadian transcription in the Amarna letters, Anubis' name was vocalized as Anapa...

    -styled canine animation and music to the tune of "Camel Caravan
    Camel Caravan
    Camel Caravan was a musical variety radio program, sponsored by Camel cigarettes, that aired on NBC Radio and CBS Radio from 1933 to 1954...

    ." The can label was also adorned with themed heiroglyphs.

  • The mummy of Tutankhamun is depicted as a villain in Raj Comics
    Raj Comics
    Raj Comics is an Indian comic book line published by a division of Raja Pocket Books.Raj Comics' best-known characters include Nagraj, Super Commando Dhruva, Doga, Parmanu, Shakti, Bhokal and Super Indian.-History:...

    's Nagraj, a Hindi
    Hindi
    Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

     superhero comicbook. In this series, his mask is the source of his power.

  • For "Transformers" the Decepticon
    Decepticon
    The Decepticons are usually depicted as the antagonists in the fictional universes of the Transformers stoyline and related comics and cartoons, and the enemies of the Autobots and the University of California Davis Aggies...

     character Frenzy repeats the name, "Tutankhamun."

  • The video game Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy
    Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy
    Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy is an original 3rd person action-adventure video game inspired by the mythology of Ancient Egypt for the Xbox, PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube consoles. The game was developed by Eurocom and published by THQ. It was released on November 10, 2003 in North America and...

    features a fictional representation of Prince Tutankhamun. Tutankhamun is the victim of an unnamed magical ritual which results in almost instantaneous mummification and extraction of what appears to be his "life force". In the instruction manual, the Mummy is described as young, inexperienced and naive.

  • The novel Tutankhamun (2008) by novelist Nick Drake [not the musician] takes place during the reign of Tutankhamun and gives a possible explanation for his injury and death (and the aftermath) set amid a murder mystery.

Names


At the reintroduction of traditional religious practice, his name changed. It is transliterated as twt-ˤnḫ-ỉmn ḥq3-ỉwnw-šmˤ, and according to modern Egyptological convention is written Tutankhamun Hekaiunushema, meaning "Living image of Amun, ruler of Upper Heliopolis
Heliopolis (ancient)
Heliopolis was one of the oldest cities of ancient Egypt, the capital of the 13th Lower Egyptian nome that was located five miles east of the Nile to the north of the apex of the Nile Delta...

". On his ascension to the throne, Tutankhamun took a praenomen. This is transliterated as nb-ḫprw-rˤ, and, again, according to modern Egyptological convention is written Nebkheperure, meaning "Lord of the forms of Re
Ra
Ra is the ancient Egyptian sun god. By the Fifth Dynasty he had become a major deity in ancient Egyptian religion, identified primarily with the mid-day sun...

". The name Nibhurrereya in the Amarna letters
Amarna letters
The Amarna letters are an archive of correspondence on clay tablets, mostly diplomatic, between the Egyptian administration and its representatives in Canaan and Amurru during the New Kingdom...

 may be closer to how his praenomen was actually pronounced.

Further reading


  • Andritsos, John. Social Studies of ancient Egypt: Tutankhamun. Australia 2006
  • Booth, Charlotte. The Boy Behind the Mask", Oneworld, ISBN 978-1-85168-544-8
  • Brier, Bob. The Murder of Tutankhamun: A True Story. Putnam Adult, April 13, 1998, ISBN 0-425-16689-9 (paperback)/ISBN 0-399-14383-1 (hardcover)/ISBN 0-613-28967-6 (School & Library Binding)
  • Carter, Howard and Arthur C. Mace, The Discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamun. Courier Dover Publications, June 1, 1977, ISBN 0-486-23500-9 The semi-popular account of the discovery and opening of the tomb written by the archaeologist responsible
  • Desroches-Noblecourt, Christiane. Sarwat Okasha (Preface), Tutankhamun: Life and Death of a Pharaoh. New York: New York Graphic Society, 1963, ISBN 0-8212-0151-4 (1976 reprint, hardcover) /ISBN 0-14-011665-6 (1990 reprint, paperback)
  • Edwards, I.E.S., Treasures of Tutankhamun. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art
    Metropolitan Museum of Art
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a renowned art museum in New York City. Its permanent collection contains more than two million works, divided into nineteen curatorial departments. The main building, located on the eastern edge of Central Park along Manhattan's Museum Mile, is one of the...

    , 1976, ISBN 0-345-27349-4 (paperback)/ISBN 0-670-72723-7 (hardcover)
  • Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, The Mummy of Tutankhamun: the CT Scan Report, as printed in Ancient Egypt, June/July 2005.
  • Haag, Michael. "The Rough Guide to Tutankhamun: The King: The Treasure: The Dynasty". London 2005. ISBN 1-84353-554-8.
  • Hoving, Thomas. The search for Tutankhamun: The untold story of adventure and intrigue surrounding the greatest modern archeological find. New York: Simon & Schuster, October 15, 1978, ISBN 0-671-24305-5 (hardcover)/ISBN 0-8154-1186-3 (paperback) This book details a number of interesting anecdotes about the discovery and excavation of the tomb
  • James, T. G. H. Tutankhamun. New York: Friedman/Fairfax, September 1, 2000, ISBN 1-58663-032-6 (hardcover) A large-format volume by the former Keeper of Egyptian Antiquities at the British Museum
    British Museum
    The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture in London. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its...

    , filled with colour illustrations of the funerary furnishings of Tutankhamun, and related objects
  • Neubert, Otto. Tutankhamun and the Valley of the Kings. London: Granada Publishing Limited, 1972, ISBN 583-12141-1 (paperback) First hand account of the discovery of the Tomb
  • Reeves, C. Nicholas. The Complete Tutankhamun: The King, the Tomb, the Royal Treasure. London: Thames & Hudson, November 1, 1990, ISBN 0-500-05058-9 (hardcover)/ISBN 0-500-27810-5 (paperback) Fully covers the complete contents of his tomb
  • Rossi, Renzo. Tutankhamun. Cincinnati (Ohio) 2007 ISBN 978-0-7153-2763-0, a work all illustrated and coloured.

External links