Ten Facts About...

Ten Facts About Tutankhamun

Here are ten facts about the famous Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh, Tutankhamun.

TutankhamunFact One

Tutankhamun was only eight or nine when he became ruler of Egypt. As King at such a young age, most of the decision-making was made by two senior figures, likely to have been Ay (father of Nefertiti) and Horemheb, an army commander.

Fact Two

Tutankhamun was only King for about ten years before dying in his late teens. It was estimated that he ruled from 1333 BC to1324 BC.

Fact Three

Over the years, scientists have used available technology to determine the cause of Tutankhamun's death. The two most popular theories about his death are that he suffered a blow to the back of the head, either accidentally or deliberately (in other words, murder), or that he broke or fractured his leg which became infected - an infection that led to his death possibly only days later.

Fact Four

Tutankhamun may have married one of his half-sisters. It is thought that Tutankhamun's father was Akhenaten. Akhenaten was married to Nefertiti, who bore him six daughters. Akhenaten also had a lesser wife, Kira, who is believed to have given birth to Tutankhamun. It is thought that Tutankhamun married Ankhesenpaaten, one of the daughters of Akhenaten and Nefertiti. Confused?

Fact Five

Tutankhamun was born Tutankhaten. Akhenaten, Tutankhamun's father, wanted Egyptians to worship one god, the Sun God Aten, instead of the multitude of gods they already worshipped and the main deity Amun. The "Aten" at the end of Tutankhaten and Akhenaten's names refers to this (Akhenaten means "servant of the Aten" and Tutankhaten means "Living image of Aten"). Akhenaten's changes weren't too popular, so when Tutankhaten was in charge, he changed things back to how they were, reopening the various closed temples around the country, and changing his name to Tutankhamun. Incidentally, Akhenaten's original name before he started making changes was Amenhotep IV.

Fact Six

Despite being one of the most well-known of the Egyptian pharoahs to modern people, evidence of Tutankhamun's reign was obliterated shortly after his death. The ruler of Eygpt after the death of Tutankhamun's successor was Horemheb, who replaced Tutankhamun's name with his own on many monuments bearing Tutankhamun's name.

Fact Seven

Tutankhamun's tomb was discovered on 4th November 1922 by Egyptologist Howard Carter. It was was so well-preserved that we are able to get a more complete insight of Tutankhamun's life due. Tutankhamun's remains are still contained in his tomb in the Valley of the Kings at Luxor, Egypt. His famous burial mask is on public display in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo (in the only air-conditioned room in the building!).

Fact Eight

CAT scans on Tutankhamun's body in 2005 revealed that the King was about 5 foot, 8 inches tall (180 cm). He was of slight build but was well nourished.

Fact Nine

Tutankhamun and his wife had no children, although Ankhesenpaaten did miscarry twice. The bodies of two stillborn baby girls were mummified and placed in Tutankhamun's tomb in small coffins.

Fact Ten

Certain strange events are said to have happened after the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb and removal of items from it. The media at the time put this down to The Curse of Tutankhamun or the Pharaoh's Curse. Financial support for the the project that later led to Howard Carter's discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb came from Lord Carnarvon. However, in April 1923, seven weeks after the official opening of Tutankhamun's burial chamber, Carnarvon died after a mosquito bite on his cheek became infected. After lifting Tutankhamun's death mask, it was found that the pharaoh himself had a lesion in the same place on his cheek. At the same time of Carnarvon's death, the lights in Cairo went out (although this apparently was a fairly common occurrence) and back at home in England, Lord Carnarvon's dog Susie howled and dropped dead. Also quite spooky was the fact that Howard Carter's pet canary was eaten by a snake on the day of the opening of the tomb. The media speculated that a number of people involved with the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb died shortly afterwards, but tend to ignore the fact the the majority actually survived to a ripe old age, and most of those that died shortly afterwards were quite elderly or in poor health anyway.

Facts added 4th November 2008