Tutankhamen, or Tut as he is more commonly known, was an Egyptian pharaoh who ruled during the 18th dynasty (1333 1323 B.C.E.), or the New Kingdom.
Perhaps the most famous pharaoh, King Tut is known for being the boy king who rose to power at a young age and died under mysterious circumstances, having inherited the throne at the age of 9 or 10, dying at the age of 18.
Tut was the son of Akhenaton, the king who abandoned polytheism and introduced the sole worship of the god Aton. Tuts name was originally Tutankhaton, meaning living image of Aton. He changed his name to Tutankhamen after coming into power and breaking with the religion introduced by his father and reverting back to polytheism.
Not much is known about the reign of the boy king since the reason most are so intrigued by him today is his age and the fact that his tomb was discovered relatively intact.
We do know that when he ascended to the throne he married Ankhesenepatan, his half sister, who also changed her name to Ankhesenamen. They had no heirs as both their daughters were stillborn.
Considering that he was around 9 years old when he came into power, its believed that the young king had very influential advisors to help him rule the country. There are some reports that the General Horemheb was even appointed as lord of the land by King Tut in order for him to maintain the law.
It was during the 3rd year of his reign that the young king stopped the worship of the god Aton which his father had begun, and returned the god Amen to his original position of importance. Tut also returned the celebration of the traditional festivals and proceeded to build monuments to the older gods and restored them to their old glory.
The Restoration Stela gives an account of his effort to stabilize the government and to restore the temples and honors of the old gods after the Amarna period. He paid the priest and palace staff from his own pockets. He built a mortuary temple close to Medinet Habu, with two colossal statues, but they were usurped by his successors.
At the time of his death, the young king was only 18 years old and it has been speculated that he was assassinated. However, further research has determined that the cause of his death was more likely to have been a result of having been infected with malaria as well as an infection from a broken leg he had suffered. Its believed that a combination of the two caused his early death.
In death, King Tut became, perhaps, the most famous pharaoh to have ruled Egypt as a result of the discovery of his tomb. Discovered on November 4, 1922 by archaeologist Howard Carter, King Tuts tomb in the Valley of the Kings was the most intact tomb unearthed at the time, and since. Relics found inside include the kings gilded bed, his mummy, and the infamous golden mask. Two mummified fetuses were found in coffins that had been sealed by his name. These are believed to have been his children that were born prematurely. Though other kings may have been much more famous in life, none have been more known in death than this boy king!
Last Updated: August 03rd, 2011
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