Egypt Essay, Research Paper
Tutankhamen was born Tutankhaten in Malkata, a palace in the south of Egypt. To this day, his parentsis unknown, but most historians believe he is the son of the old Pharaoh Amenhotep III and his chief wife, Queen Tiye. Tutankhaten was born at a time of political turmoil because Amenhotep III’s regent and successor, Tutankhaten’s older brother, Akhenhaten was a religious misbeliever whose beliefs divided the country. The Ancient Egyptians were polytheistic, which means they believed in more than one god.
Akhenhaten believed in only one god, Aten, the sun disc, and because of that, he desecrated the temples and banned the worship of all other Gods in the Egyptian temples. Tutankhaten, though sometimes a resident at Akhenaten’s court, was seen as a leader for Akhenhaten’s opposition: Egyptians who refused (at least in private) to give up the old gods. These Egyptians watched in dismay as they saw the Egyptian Empire fall apart because Akhenhaten was more interested in Aten than in the governing of Egypt. Foreign powers began to notice Egypt’s sudden weakness and invasion seemed eminent. When Akhenaten died, they managed to place the nine-year-old Tutankhaten on the throne of Egypt. In an attempt to make the child look more like a man capable of ruling, they married him to Ankhsanpaaten, the late king’s daughter and wife. However, the nine-year-old did not govern his kingdom. His advisor and uncle Ay did that.
From the artifacts in his tomb, historians believe that the Pharaoh continued his normal pre-coronation life after he was crowned. Tutankhaten was a good pupil, and Egyptian records have him listed as “a scribe who has received the writing case”, or in other words, graduating with honors
Despite his delicate health, the young king indulged in riding, archery, and swimming. He also loved to hunt everything from antelopes to ostriches. When he was in the palace, Tutankhaten enjoyed relaxing with his numerous dogs and playing senet, a popular Ancient Egyptian board game. Tutankhaten paid little attention to the governing of Egypt because his advisors Ay and Hornheb handled it.
Tutankhamen died at the age of 18. The cause is unknown, but there are two major theories. The first is that because of his delicate health, Tutankhamen could easily fall prey to any passing illness. The second theory is Ay had him killed. From official letters and documents, Tutankhamen seemed to be getting slowly more interested in politics the older he became.
It is possible that he wanted to rule for himself now that he was 18, but Ay must have been reluctant to give up the power he had relished for nine years. Therefore, instead of handing the kingship over to Tutankhamen he disposed of the young pharaoh. Whatever the cause, Ay commissioned a hastily built tomb for Tutankhamen, placed him in it and married his widow, even though he was her grandfather! Ay died four years later, and Hornheb upraised the throne. However it was not until 1291 BC during the reign of Seti I, that Egypt was really rebuilt.
Tutankhamen’s fame today is due to his tomb and its contents, discovered in 1922 by the British archaeologist Howard Carter. It was the only Egyptian tomb with most of its treasures intact found in history. Tutankhamen’s grave contained 5000 treasures, the most famous of which a gold and cornelian mask burial mask worn by his mummy.
The discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb greatly supplemented our knowledge of Ancient Egyptian art and culture; while at the same time created a worldwide interest for all things Egyptian.