What is known about King Tut's life and death?

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dbello eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tutankhamen was the son of Amenhoptep IV (who changed his name about five years into his reign to Akhenaten) and a lesser wife Kiya.  Akhenaten ruled from 1350-1334 B.C.E. During that time he was responsible for a revolutionary break with the ordered religious beliefs of the ancient Egyptian pantheon, instituting the monotheistic belief in the Aten. Egyptian society was turned inside out upon his decree. Akhenaten moved the capital from Thebes to the new city of Armana. In the past the temples' innner sanctuaries were off limits to the common people, however Akhenatan opened them to the public.  These actions caused considerable concern among the priests and military elite.  From their perspective the pharoah's actions were irresponsible and could be destructive to the nation. Akhenaten died about 17 years into his reign. Since Nefertari's children were all female the throne passed to Akhenaten's son from a lesser wife.  Due to his young age historians and archaeologists alike agree that the visier Ay and the general of the army Horemheb groomed the young prince for his future. If they could dismantle all of Akhenaten's decrees, reinstitute the old religious practices in the name of the boy king all would be well. There is little doubt that these policies came from Ay and Horemheb in the name of Tutankhamen, which by the way was changed from Tutankhaten to Tutankhamen by Ay and Horemheb..

Tut died when he was about 18 or 19 years old.  Howard Carter's discovery of King Tut is the only one to date that was found in tact in The Valley of the Kings.  Archaeologists use the tomb as a sort of measure...for example, if this wealth was found in Tut's tomb...a minor king....what possible treasures could have been in the other tombs such as Ramses II etc.  The ancient Egyptians believed in life after death, immortality...they were the first resurrectionists...and when you really think about it, King Tutankhamen's legacy is definitely one of immortality. The minor king of a heretic pharoah is more well known in our present reality than he was ever known is his own.

Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

King Tutankhamun, who had changed his name from Tutankhaten, was born in 1343 B.C. He became Pharaoh at 9 years old in 1334 B.C. (counting backward to 0 C.E.). His father, Akhenaten, had instituted a change from worshiping 2000 gods (polytheism) to worshiping one god, the Sun god (monotheism). The people were up in arms over the change. This is why Tut changed his name: amun signifies many gods and aten signifies one god, like at the end of his father's name. During Tut's era, there were conflicts with the Nubians, but it is not believed that Tut died as a result of a wound in conflict with the Nubians. The general opinion, though not without controversy, is that Tut had an accident, maybe in a hunting accident, in which he suffered a compound fracture of his left thigh bone. A compound fracture is of such a severe nature that it punctures the flesh and skin. this theory hold that Tut died at the age of 18 or 19 from an infection related to this fracture. He had ruled for only 9 years.

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