Who Was Tutankhamun?

wiseGEEK Writing Contest

The Life and Death of Tutankhamun.

(1342 – 1323 BC(E). The New Kingdom. 18th Dynasty)

He was born Tutankhaten to the Pharaoh Akhenaten (pron. Ark-en-are-ten) and his secondary wife, Kiya, in the new capital city of Akhetaten (now known as Amarna). He was born into a world where his father and step mother, Nefertiti, were considered to be heretics and God killers by the people of Egypt. Akhenaten had decreed that the ancient Gods being worshiped by his people were all to be replaced by a single God, Aten, symbolized by the sun disk. This is equivalent to the Pope, today, telling all Catholics that as of sundown, they all had to convert to Islam. The upheaval was unprecedented.

By the time Tutankhaten was five years old, he had already been taught how to read and write, how to ride and been given the basics of weaponry. He was a warrior-king in training. With the mysterious death of his father and the equally mysterious disappearance of Nefertiti, Tutankhaten took the throne at the tender age of nine. He was assisted in his duties by his Chief Advisor, Ay (pron. Eye-ya), who was possibly Nefertiti's father and had earned a high position in Akhenaten's court (Royal Vizier and Chancellor), and Horemheb, the Commander of the Pharaoh's army, also highly placed in the Amarna court.

The Boy King, now renamed Tutankhamun, reversed his father's decree regarding the worship of the Aten, and returned religious freedom to the people. The great city of Amarna was torn down to it's foundations, left to the merciless, creeping desert sands and was soon lost to history. The names of Akhenaten and Nefertiti were removed from all public places and erased from the official records of the day. They are remembered now only through fragments of information gleaned from dark corners where they were missed by those seeking to erase them.

Tutankhamun married his half sister, Akhasenpaaten (pron. Ark-a-sen-par-ten), one of the daughters of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, to consolidate his claim to the throne and to ensure his children had a solid blood claim after him. (Two tiny mummies were found with Tutankhamun in his tomb, believed to be his stillborn daughters.) To all accounts the relationship between the Pharaoh and his Queen was a loving one, as depicted on the back of his golden throne.

For nine years, Tutankhamun was taught to be a great ruler. He was taught to hunt, to track, to fight, to drive a chariot and eventually to drive a chariot while firing arrows with deadly accuracy. To be the Pharaoh, he had to be better, faster, tougher than the average man and he learned well. Horemheb taught him military tactics and how to be a General, Ay taught him political strategy and how to be a King, while they both coveted his throne.

Ay, by this stage an old man, succeeded Tutankhamun to the throne of Egypt and ruled for four years, he died without an heir and was replaced by Horemheb. Horemheb was truly a champion of the people. He began his reign by correcting the wrongs inflicted by Akhenaten, lowered taxes, he took the nobility to task over their treatment of the poor and the slaves, restored the temples and pulled Egypt out of the bubbling cauldron of revolt. He restored peace and, as he had no heir, appointed another general to succeed him as Pharaoh.. Ramesses I.

When the mummy of Tutankhamun was CAT-scanned in 2005, it was to prove or disprove theories of murder. According to analysis of the 1700 scans taken of the Boy King, he had suffered a severe injury to his left leg, just above the knee. The femur had been broken and the flesh opened in a deep wound that most likely became infected, gangrene set in and eventually killed him. Given the forces needed to break a femur, it was most likely caused either by a fall from a galloping horse or from a fast-moving chariot.

Not murder but a tragic accident.

submitted by Velvet Blackthorne