History baffles us all. Sometimes with its enigma, sometimes with its mysteries. And one such mystery is the one with Pharaoh Tutankhamen or King Tut as he is sometimes called. Let’s delve into the story and try to unwind the mystery of the death of the youngest Pharaoh in the history of Egypt.
Tutankhamen The Boy King
The Boy King’s tomb was the only one discovered in an almost intact condition in the Valley of Kings because all the others had been looted by desert dacoits by that time. In 1922, Howard Carter made the discovery and immediately shot to fame. Another reason for this tomb being so famous or “infamous”, should we say was because of its “Pharaoh’s Curse”. It so happened that after the tomb was opened and examinations started, some examiners died in a strange manner one after the other.
The History Of The Boy King
Tutankhamen was the son of the renowned Pharaoh Akhenaten. It is guessed upon that the wife of Akhenaten, Queen Nefertiti was not the mother of King Tut, thus making the identity of his mother vague in the pages of history. A guess is made that King Tut’s mother is one of Akhenaten’s sisters but there is no solid corroboration of that. Baby Tutankhamen was wet nursed by one of his half-sisters, Meritaten as painted in one of the tombs of Amarna.
Tutankhamen was born as “Tutankhaten” which means “the living image of Aten” (Aten being the deity that his father worshipped) but he dropped this name of his after coming to power in lieu of the advice that the weather is getting affected because his name angered the gods. He took up the name Tutankhamen or “the living image of Khamen”.
Tutankhamen was married to Ankhesenamun, his half-sister from his father, and his wife, Nefertiti. He ascended the throne when he was a mere boy of 9 and was advised by his vizier, Ay who functioned as the Chanakya to his Chandragupta for a long time. He was accompanied by the commander-general, Horemheb in advising the young Pharaoh through his reign. After King Tut’s death, evidence points to the fact that Ankhesenamun married Ay before absolutely vanishing from the pages of Egyptian history.
Theories Of Death
There have been several theories based around the death of King Tut. First of all, from a biological point of view, he was a product of inbreeding. So genetic defect was rampant in him. He was low in immunity, possibly suffering from malaria and also from Kohler Disease maybe, a rare bone disorder which eventually made it difficult for him to walk, which is evident from the many walking sticks that have been found inside his tomb.
His skeleton raises the most obvious question of all times, how did he break his leg? This brings us to the Chariot Crash theory which was showcased in 2014 on BBC. It was assumed that the young king probably had an accident while he was traveling in a chariot, which resulted in the breaking of his legs and pelvis. This likely led to an infection, which eventually resulted in his early death. The deformed left foot of his points to a possibility of this kind, however, it is not certain that this theory is true. Some historians are also not very sure that only a fracture can kill the Boy King. It most certainly speeded the process but there were some other causes as well.
Strange Occurrence Within The Tomb Of The Pharaoh
It is most certainly not possible to say with confidence what killed King Tutankhamen ultimately. In light of this sentence comes the next point that the mummy was weird from the beginning if not after. The injuries and the position in which the mummy was kept were quite different from the normal ones and also the color of the mummy was not at all like the other ones which have been discovered. Firstly, the mummy is dark black in color which points to the fact that it might have got burned at the high temperature under which it was preserved. The embalming oil that is put on the mummy probably catalyzed the process. However in that case it must have been a very mild fire that only succeeded in charring the skin and not the flowers or the necklaces which adorned him. It is indeed a mystery.
There is also a hint towards foul play as there are a lot of strange things related to the boy King’s mummy. There is a tiny bone inside the skull of the Pharaoh, detached which points to the fact that the King might have suffered some injury to the head with a weapon which concludes the possibility of murder.
The heart which is supposed to be present for the individual to enter the afterlife is missing, the surgical incisions made to remove the internal organs while mummification is a little longer than the normal ones and the hands are kept at a lower position than it is usually kept in other Pharaohs. Tutankhamen has a nesting of coffins with the most inner one, the gold one being just enough to fit him inside. In fact, the autopsy of the mummy had to be carried out inside the coffin itself, even sunlight could not help in melting off the adhesives and oils used to settle the mummy inside the coffin. The missing number of ribs and pelvis, internal organs, and the unusual preservation of the mummy can also point to the fact that the King was suffering from something unknown to people till now or it could have just been a case of mishandling.
Historians have carried on research and some still go on as to why King Tut had such weirdness going on in his tomb while the rest of the pharaohs in the Valley of Pharaohs rested peacefully. Was it really some enemy at work during his times or divine intervention by the Egyptian gods?
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