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Tutankhamun Facts & Answers

Gold Tutankhamun Statue
Gold Tutankhamun Statue

Who was King Tutankhamun?

Tutankhamun was the 12th king of ancient Egypt’s 18th dynasty. His enduring fame is due more to the vast riches found in his tomb than for his achievements on the throne as he reigned for only nine years around c. 1300’s B.C.

How old was King Tut when he died?

Tutankhamun was only 19 when he died in c. 1323 B.C.

Where and when was King Tut born?

The Pharaoh Tutankhamun was born in Egypt’s then capital of Amarna around c. 1341 B.C. He died in c. 1323 B.C.

What were King Tut’s names?

Born Tutankhaten or the “living image of Aten,” King Tut changed his name to Tutankhamun after following his father onto Egypt’s throne. The new “Amun” ending to his name honours the Egyptian King of the Gods, Amun. In the 20th-century, King Tutankhamun became known simply as “King Tut,” “The Golden King,” “The Child King,” or “The Boy King.”

Who were King Tut’s parents?

King Tut’s father was the infamous Pharaoh Akhenaten Egypt’s “Heretic King” formerly known as Amenhotep IV. Akhenaten worshipped a single deity, Aten, rather than the 8,700 gods and goddesses found in Egypt’s religious pantheon previously. His mother was one of Amenhotep IV’s sisters, Queen Kiya although it has not been definitively proven.

Who was King Tut’s Queen?

Ankhesenamun, King Tut’s half-sister and daughter of Akhenaten and Nefertiti was his wife. They married when King Tut was only nine years of age.

How old was Tutankhamun when he ascended Egypt’s throne?

King Tut was elevated to Egypt’s pharaoh when he was nine.

Did King Tut and Queen Ankhesenamun have any children?

King Tut and his wife, Ankhesenamun, had two stillborn daughters. Their coffins were discovered inside King Tut’s tomb, set side by side for all eternity inside a larger wooden coffin.

What religion did King Tut worship?

Prior to his birth, the Pharaoh Akhenaten, Tutankhamun’s father overturned the established Egyptian religious practices and transformed Egypt into a monotheistic state worshipping the god Aten. This triggered upheaval and tumult across Egypt. Following his father’s death and his coronation, King Tut returned Egypt to its previous system of worship and reopened the temples Akhenaten had closed. For the duration of his reign, one of Tutankhamun’s and his regents’ focus was on restoring harmony and balance to Egypt.

Tutankhamun ordered temples that had fallen into disrepair under his father’s rule to be rebuilt. Tutankhamun also restored the wealth of the temple that had dwindled under Akhenaten. King Tut’s rule restored the rights of ancient Egyptians to worship any god or goddess they chose.

Where was King Tut buried?

King Tut was buried in the Valley of the Kings opposite modern-day Luxor in the tomb known today as KV62. In the ancient Egyptian era, it formed part of the sprawling Thebes complex.

How long did it take to discover King Tut’s Tomb?

The eventual discoverer of King Tut’s tomb, the British archaeologist Howard Carter had been excavating in Egypt for 31 years before his sensational discovery. Generously funded by the English Lord Carnarvon, Carter previous excavations led him to believe a major discovery was waiting for him when mainstream archaeologists were convinced the Valley of the Kings had been fully excavated. Carter found evidence in the area containing King Tut’s name including numerous funerary items, a faience cup and gold foil. After five years of excavating in the area, Carter had little to show for his efforts. Finally, Lord Carnarvon agreed to finance one final excavation season. Five days into the dig, Carter’s team found King Tut’s intact tomb, miraculously intact.

What did Lord Carnarvon ask Howard Carter when he peered into King Tut’s tomb for the first time?

When they breached the opening to the tomb, Lord Carnarvon asked Carter if he could see anything. Carter’s replied, “Yes, wonderful things.”

What treasures were buried with King Tut in his tomb?

Howard Carter and his team discovered more than 3,000 objects stacked in his tomb. These precious objects ranged from funerary objects to a gold chariot, weapons, clothing and a pair of gold sandals. A dagger forged from a meteorite, collars, protective amulets, rings, perfumes, exotic oils, childhood toys, together with gold and ebony statues were also found stacked haphazardly inside the tomb’s chambers. The highlight of the object found in King Tut’s tomb was his breath-taking gold death mask. King Tut’s sarcophagus was fashioned from solid gold intricately inlaid with inscriptions and precious gems and was laid inside two other ornate sarcophaguses. Carter also discovered a lock of hair in the tomb. This was later matched using DNA analysis to Tutankhamun’s grandmother, Queen Tiye, Amenhotep III’s chief wife.

What did a medical examination using the latest technology of King Tut’s mummy uncover?

Carter and members of his excavation team examined King Tut’s mummy. They found he was King Tut stood 168 centimetres (5’6”) tall and suffered from a curved spine. Inside his skull, they discovered bone fragments and a contusion on his jaw. Further X-Rays conducted in 1968 showed some of King Tut’s ribs, as well as his sternum, was missing. Later DNA analysis also conclusively showed Akhenaten to be King Tut’s father. The haste with which King Tut’s burial was prepared is shown by the abnormally high amount of resin employed in King Tut’s embalming process. The precise reason for this is unclear to modern science. Further examination showed King Tut had a clubfoot and wore orthopaedic shoes. Three pairs of these orthopaedic shoes were discovered in his tomb. Doctors speculate his clubfoot likely forced him to walk with a cane. Some 193 walking sticks made from ebony, ivory, gold and silver were uncovered in Tutankhamun’s tomb.

Facts About King Tut

  • The boy king Tutankhamun was born around c. 1343 BC
  • His father was the heretic Pharaoh Akhenaten and his mother is thought to have been Queen Kiya
  • Tutankhamun’s grandmother was Queen Tiye, chief wife of Amenhotep III
  • King Tut adopted several names during his short life
  • When he was born, King Tut was named Tutankhaten, in honour of the “aten” a reference to the Aten, Egypt’s sun god
  • King Tut’s father and mother worshipped Aten. Akhenaten abolished Egypt’s traditional gods in favour of one supreme god Aten. This was the world’s first example of a monotheistic religion
  • He changed his name to Tutankhamun when he restored Egypt’s traditional pantheon of gods and goddesses after he ascended the throne following his father’s death
  • The “Amun” section of his name honours the God, Amun, the Egyptian King of the Gods
  • Hence, the name Tutankhamun means “living image of Amun“
  • In the 20th-century, the Pharaoh Tutankhamun became known simply as “King Tut,” “The Golden King,” “The Child King,” or “The Boy King.”
  • Tutankhamun gained Egypt’s throne when he was just nine years of age
  • Tutankhamun ruled for nine years during Egypt’s post-Amarna period which lasted from c. 1332 to 1323 BC
  • He died at the young age of 18 or possibly 19 in c.1323 BC
  • Tut returned harmony and stability to Egyptian society after the tumultuous upheavals of his father Akhenaten’s divisive reign
  • The richness and enormous wealth on display through the artifacts interred with Tutankhamun in his tomb captured the imagination of the world upon its discovered as has continued to attract enormous crowds to Cairo’s Museum of Egyptian Antiquities
  • A medical review of Tutankhamun’s mummy using advanced modern medical imaging technology showed he had bone issues and a club foot
  • Early Egyptologists saw the damage to Tutankhamun’s skull as evidence he was murdered
  • A more recent assessment of Tutankhamun’s mummy indicated the royal embalmers were probably responsible for this damage when they removed Tutankhamun’s brain as part of the embalming process
  • Similarly, the numerous other injuries to King Tut’s mummy are now believed to be a result of the force used sarcophagus in 1922 to remove his body from his sarcophagus when Tutankhamun’s head was separated from his body and the skeleton had to be levered loose from the bottom of the sarcophagus where it had become stuck from the resin used to coat his mummy
  • To this day, stories of a curse associated with King Tut’s tomb thrive. Legend has it that anyone who enters Tutankhamun’s tomb will die. The deaths of nearly two-dozen people associated with the discovery and excavation of King Tut’s tomb has been attributed to this curse.

Timeline For King Tut

  • King Tut was born in his father’s capital of Amarna around c. 1343 B.C.
  • Amarna was built by Akhenaten, King Tut’s father as his new capital dedicated to the Aten
  • King Tut is believed to have reigned as pharaoh from c. 1334 B.C. to 1325 B.C.
  • King Tut was ancient Egypt’s 12th King of the 18th Dynasty during the time of the New Kingdom
  • King Tut died at the young age of 19 in c. 1323 B.C. The cause of his death has never been proven and remains a mystery to this day.

Family Lineage of King Tut

  • King Tut’s father was originally known as Amenhotep IV until he changed his name to Akhenaten
  • King Tut’s likely mother Kiya Amenhotep IV’s second wife was also one of Amenhotep IV’s sisters
  • King Tut’s wife was Ankhesenamun either his half or full sister
  • King Tut and Ankhesenamun were married when King Tut was just nine years of age
  • Ankhesenamun produced two stillborn daughters, which were embalmed and buried with him

Theories Surrounding King Tut’s Mysterious Death

  • Following the discovery that King Tut had a fractured femur or thighbone one theory suggested that in an era where antibiotics were unknown, this injury could have caused gangrene to set in followed by death
  • King Tut is believed to have frequently raced chariots and another theory suggested King Tut died during a chariot crash, which would account for his thighbone fracture
  • Malaria was endemic to Egypt and one theory points to malaria as a cause of death for King Tut as there were multiple signs of the malarial infection present in his mummy
  • A fracture discovered at the base of King Tut’s skull has been used to suggest King Tut was violently murdered with a spear. Suggested plotters behind King Tut’s possible murder include Ay and Horemhab who were removed from power when King Tut assumed the throne.

The Discovery Of King Tut’s Tomb

  • King Tut was buried in the Valley of the Kings in what is know today as tomb KV62
  • There is evidence his engineers lacked adequate time to construct a more elaborate tomb as King Tut’s tomb is significantly smaller than other tombs in the valley
  • Evidence of microbial growth found in the wall painting on his tomb suggests King Tut’s tomb was sealed while the paint in its main chamber was still wet
  • Tomb KV62 was discovered in 1922 by British archaeologist Howard
  • No more major discoveries were thought to be awaiting archaeologists in the Valley of the Kings until Carter made his astonishing find
  • King Tut’s tomb was filled with more than 3,000 priceless objects ranging from golden chariots and furniture to funerary artefacts, perfumes, precious oils, rings, toys and a pair of exquisite gold slippers
  • King Tut’s sarcophagus was fashioned from solid gold and was nested inside two other sarcophaguses
  • Unlike most tombs in the Valley of the Kings, which had been robbed in antiquity, King Tut’s tomb was intact. To date, it remains the richest and most well preserved most impressive tomb ever discovered.

Reflecting On The Past

While King Tutankhamun’s life and his subsequent rule proved to be short, his magnificent tomb has captured the imagination of millions. To this day we remain obsessed with the details of his life, his death and his opulent burial. The legend of the mummy’s curse associated with a spate of deaths amongst the team who discovered his tomb has entrenched itself in our popular culture.

Header image courtesy: pixabay

 

David Rymer BA MBT

David is a freelance writer, non-fiction and fiction author and university lecturer in journalism, marketing and law. He has been based in the Middle East for over a decade travelling extensively in the region, including Egypt indulging in his passion for archaeology. He amuses himself in his down time by writing.

David can be found at @daviddoeswords and www.zaharablu.com

Cite this article

David Rymer BA MBT, "Tutankhamun Facts & Answers," Give Me History, June 18, 2019, https://givemehistory.com/tutankhamun-facts-answers.

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