Tutankhamun was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty, during the period of Egyptian history known as the New Kingdom or sometimes the New Empire Period. He has, since the discovery of his intact tomb, been referred to colloquially as King Tut. His original name, Tutankhaten, means “Living Image of Aten”, while Tutankhamun means “Living Image of Amun”. 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, and likely the 18th dynasty king Rathotis who, according to Manetho, an ancient historian, had reigned for nine years—a figure that conforms with Flavius Josephus’s version of Manetho’s Epitome. Check out some cool facts about the most popular pharaoh!
1. Tutankhamun is also referred to as the Boy King, and for good reason. He was just nine years old when he came to power.
2. He had changed his name. His real name was Tutankhaten, which translates as “living image of Aten”. His father, Akhenaten, wanted people to worship the Sun God Aten instead of the Old God Amun. When King Tut came to power, he reversed this and reopened closed temples. He changed his name to how we know him today ”Tutankhamun” which translates to “living image of Amun”
3. His mother was also his sister. Inbreeding was common among the Pharaohs of Egypt, as they wanted to maintain their pure bloodline. It is speculated that his father Akhenaten may have impregnated his daughter or step-daughter, who then gave birth to King Tut. Therefore, his mother was also his sister.
4. He never owned his own pyramid. Due to his sudden death, there was no time to build a pyramid for him as he had to be buried within 70 days. It has been revealed that he was hastily mummified and buried in a tomb which was smaller than the normal for a king, and was most likely built for a noble. Nonetheless, he was given a proper burial by the priests
5. He was the last ruler of his dynasty. King Tut did have a wife ,he married his half-sister, Ankhesenpaaten. However, they did not have any living children. This is because both their daughters were stillborn, possibly as a result of inbreeding. The bodies of the babies were mummified and placed in coffins that were found in King Tut’s tomb.
6. He was a minor King considering the achievements of his predecessors and during his reign, he did not have a powerful impact on his people. However, the discovery of his tomb and his great riches, has made him very well-known in the modern world.
7. It is highly likely that he was murdered. If the king was murdered, the list of suspects include his wife, his military commander, and his vizier. It could also have been an enemy soldier. CAT scans do show an injury to the back of his head, but it does not appear to have been a life threatening injury.
8. His tomb was discovered by archaeologist and Egyptologist Howard Carter on November 4 1922. When Carter discovered the coffin of King Tut, he was amazed at the strength of the resin that held the coffin together. He applied a lot of force but was unsuccessful in opening the coffin. He even placed the coffin under the blazing hot sun in the hope that it would melt the resin. After that failed, he decided to chisel off the resin. In doing so, he damaged the coffin and also some parts of the mummy.
9. It’s been revealed that he was very wealthy, and perhaps far richer than you can comprehend. While little information is known about his wealth when he was alive, the treasures found in his tomb indicated he was fabulously rich. His gold mask, which was placed over his head after being mummified, weighed 20 pounds. Apart from that Howard Carter’s team, who discovered his tomb, found around over 3,500 articles and it took them nearly 10 years to catalog everything they found inside the tomb.
10. King Tut wasn’t buried alone. As Howard Carter ventured further into Tutankhamen’s tomb, he discovered a treasury room brimming with priceless objects such as ritual jewerly gold figurines, small boats representing the journey to the netherworld and a shrine for the pharaoh’s embalmed organs. The chamber also held two tiny coffins that contained two fetuses.DNA tests suggest that one of the mummies is that of Tutankhamen’s stillborn daughter and that the other was possibly his child as well. Experts believe King Tut left no living heirs, perhaps because he and Ankhesenamun could only conceive offspring with fatal congenital disorders.
11. Tutankhamun’s tomb was constructed in such a fashion that the constellation Orion was directly above the entrance to his tomb. Egyptians believed Orion to be the soul of Osiris, the God of Afterlife. It is said that the God of Afterlife continues to watch over King Tutankhamun
12. He died suddenly at 18 years of age. Recent CAT scans on the mummy suggest that his death was caused a broken leg. His broken leg may have gotten infected and led to his demise. The fact that he had around 130 walking sticks buried with him in his tomb lends support to this theory.
13. His odd necklace rose many questions. King Tut’s necklace has an amulet at its center. Initially, the necklace confused archaeologists as they were unsure what material the amulet was made of. It was a natural glass from the Great Sand Sea in Egypt. Scientists later said that the glass was formed by the impact of a meteor with the sand. This gives rise to another intriguing question: on the necklace, there is a depiction of the sun traveling in the sky. Did the ancient Egyptians know of the origin of the glass?
14. King Tut’s sandals were found with him inside his tomb. They had drawings on the soles of his enemies. The placement of these drawings symbolizes King Tut trampling over his enemies.
15. He became a trend three millennia after his death. Women donned snake bracelets and gold dresses inspired by his iconic funerary mask, mummies haunted the silver screen and showgirls at the Folies Bergère in Paris performed a Tut-themed review. “Tutmania,” as it was known, once again swept the United States when a collection of objects from the pharaoh’s tomb toured the country from 1977 to 1979. The craze reached such a fever pitch that comedian Steve Martin mocked it in his 1978 song called “King Tut.”
16. His tomb was believed to be cursed. When Howard Carter entered the tomb, he noticed an inscription at the entrance which read, “Those who disturb the eternal sleep of the mummy shall face its wrath”. Shortly after the discovery of the tomb, many people associated with the expedition died. This led to widespread speculation that the curse was indeed true.
17. The curse was actually debunked. Scientists later noted that the people that had died were actually old or were unhealthy. Many people involved in the expedition who survived lived to a ripe old age and lead a healthy life. So, we can safely conclude that there was no curse of the pharaoh.
18. The refference number of his tomb is KV62.
19. He loved to hunt ostriches. Tutankhamun’s ostrich-feather fan was discovered lying in his burial chamber, close by the king’s body. The handle of the fan depicted a story. The feathers were taken from ostriches captured by the king while hunting in the desert to the east of Heliopolis . The embossed scene on the palm shows, on one face, Tutankhamun setting off in his chariot to hunt ostrich, and on the reverse, the king returning in triumph with his prey.
20. His heart is missing. The ancient Egyptians believed that it was possible to live again after death, but thought that this could only be achieved if the body was preserved in a lifelike condition. This led them to develop the science of artificial mummification.