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Howard Carter discovered 413 Shabti in the Tomb of Tutankhamun. Many of them are exhibited in the Egyptian Museum Cairo.

 

Shabti were placed in tombs among the grave goods and were intended to act as servants or minions for the deceased, should he/she be called upon to do manual labor in the afterlife.

 

Tutankhamun was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty (ruled ca. 1332–1323 BC in the conventional chronology), during the period of Egyptian history known as the New Kingdom.

He is popularly referred to 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.

The 1922 discovery by Howard Carter and George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon of Tutankhamun's nearly intact tomb received worldwide press coverage. It sparked a renewed public interest in ancient Egypt, for which Tutankhamun's burial mask, now in Cairo Museum, remains the popular symbol. Exhibits of artifacts from his tomb have toured the world. In February 2010, the results of DNA tests confirmed that he was the son of Akhenaten (mummy KV55) and Akhenaten's sister and wife (mummy KV35YL), whose name is unknown but whose remains are positively identified as "The Younger Lady" mummy found in KV35.

Life

Tutankhamun was the son of Akhenaten (formerly Amenhotep IV) and one of Akhenaten's sisters, or perhaps one of his cousins. As a prince he was known as Tutankhaten. He ascended to the throne in 1333 BC, at the age of nine or ten, taking the throne name Nebkheperure. His wet-nurse was a woman called Maia, known from her tomb at Saqqara. A teacher was most likely Sennedjem.

When he became king, he married his half-sister, Ankhesenpaaten, who later changed her name to Ankhesenamun. They had two daughters, both stillborn. Computed tomography studies released in 2011 revealed that one daughter died at 5–6 months of pregnancy and the other at 9 months of pregnancy. No evidence was found in either mummy of congenital anomalies or an apparent cause of death.

Reign

Given his age, the king probably had very powerful advisers, presumably including General Horemheb and the Vizier Ay. Horemheb records that the king appointed him "lord of the land" as hereditary prince to maintain law. He also noted his ability to calm the young king when his temper flared.

In his third regnal year, Tutankhamun reversed several changes made during his father's reign. He ended the worship of the god Aten and restored the god Amun to supremacy. The ban on the cult of Amun was lifted and traditional privileges were restored to its priesthood. The capital was moved back to Thebes and the city of Akhetaten abandoned. This is when he changed his name to Tutankhamun, "Living image of Amun", reinforcing the restoration of Amun.

As part of his restoration, the king initiated building projects, in particular at Thebes and Karnak, where he dedicated a temple to Amun. Many monuments were erected, and an inscription on his tomb door declares the king had "spent his life in fashioning the images of the gods". The traditional festivals were now celebrated again, including those related to the Apis Bull, Horemakhet, and Opet. His restoration stela says:

The temples of the gods and goddesses ... were in ruins. Their shrines were deserted and overgrown. Their sanctuaries were as non-existent and their courts were used as roads ... the gods turned their backs upon this land ... If anyone made a prayer to a god for advice he would never respond.

The country was economically weak and in turmoil following the reign of Akhenaten. Diplomatic relations with other kingdoms had been neglected, and Tutankhamun sought to restore them, in particular with the Mitanni. Evidence of his success is suggested by the gifts from various countries found in his tomb. Despite his efforts for improved relations, battles with Nubians and Asiatics were recorded in his mortuary temple at Thebes. His tomb contained body armor and folding stools appropriate for military campaigns. However, given his youth and physical disabilities, which seemed to require the use of a cane in order to walk (he died c. age 19), historians speculate that he did not personally take part in these battles.

Health and appearance

Tutankhamun was slight of build, and was roughly 180 cm (5 ft 11 in) tall. He had large front incisors and the overbite characteristic of the Thutmosid royal line to which he belonged. Between September 2007 and October 2009, various mummies were subjected to detailed anthropological, radiological, and genetic studies as part of the King Tutankhamun Family Project. It was determined that none of the mummies of the Tutankhamun lineage has a cephalic index of 75 or less (indicating dolichocephaly), that Tutankhamun actually has a cephalic index of 83.9, indicating brachycephaly, and that none of their skull shapes can be considered pathological. The research also showed that Tutankhamun had "a slightly cleft palate" and possibly a mild case of scoliosis, a medical condition in which the spine is curved from side to side.

Genealogy

In 2008, a team began DNA research on Tutankhamun and the mummified remains of other members of his family. The results from the DNA samples finally put to rest questions about Tutankhamun's lineage, proving that his father was Akhenaten, but that his mother was not one of Akhenaten's known wives. His mother was one of his father's five sisters, although it is not known which one. The team was able to establish with a probability of better than 99.99 percent that Amenhotep III was the father of the individual in KV55, who was in turn the father of Tutankhamun. The young king's mother was found through the DNA testing of a mummy designated as 'The Younger Lady' (KV35YL), which was found lying beside Queen Tiye in the alcove of KV35. Her DNA proved that, like his father, she was a child of Amenhotep III and Tiye; thus, Tutankhamun's parents were brother and sister. Queen Tiye held much political influence at court and acted as an adviser to her son after the death of her husband. Some geneticists dispute these findings, however, and "complain that the team used inappropriate analysis techniques."

While the data are still incomplete, the study suggests that one of the mummified fetuses found in Tutankhamun's tomb is the daughter of Tutankhamun himself, and the other fetus is probably his child as well. So far, only partial data for the two female mummies from KV21 has been obtained. One of them, KV21A, may well be the infants' mother, and, thus, Tutankhamun's wife, Ankhesenamun. It is known from history that she was the daughter of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, and thus likely to be her husband's half-sister. Another consequence of inbreeding can be children whose genetic defects do not allow them to be brought to term.

A further autopsy and genetic evidence in 2014 re-confirmed the 2010 findings that Tutankhamun was the product of a brother-sister relationship.

Death

There are no surviving records of Tutankhamun's final days. What caused Tutankhamun's death has been the subject of considerable debate. Major studies have been conducted in an effort to establish the cause of death. There is some evidence, advanced by Harvard microbiologist Ralph Mitchell, that his burial may have been hurried. Mitchell reported that dark brown splotches on the decorated walls of Tutankhamun's burial chamber suggested that he had been entombed even before the paint had a chance to dry.

Although there is some speculation that Tutankhamun was assassinated, the consensus is that his death was accidental. A CT scan taken in 2005 showed that he had suffered a left leg fracture shortly before his death, and that the leg had become infected. DNA analysis conducted in 2010 showed the presence of malaria in his system, leading to the belief that malaria and Köhler disease II combined led to his death. On 14 September 2012, ABC News presented a further theory about Tutankhamun's death, developed by lecturer and surgeon Dr. Hutan Ashrafian, who believed that temporal lobe epilepsy caused a fatal fall which also broke Tutankhamun's leg.

In June 2010, German scientists said they believed there was evidence that he had died of sickle cell disease. Other experts, however, rejected the hypothesis of homozygous sickle cell disease based on survival beyond the age of 5 and the location of the osteonecrosis which is characteristic of Freiberg-Kohler syndrome rather than sickle-cell disease. Research conducted in 2005 by archaeologists, radiologists, and geneticists, who performed CT scans on the mummy found that he was not killed by a blow to the head, as previously thought. New CT images discovered congenital flaws, which are more common among the children of incest. Siblings are more likely to pass on twin copies of harmful genes, which is why children of incest more commonly manifest genetic defects. It is suspected he also had a partially cleft palate, another congenital defect.

Various other diseases, invoked as possible explanations to his early demise, included Marfan syndrome, Wilson-Turner X-linked mental retardation syndrome, Fröhlich syndrome (adiposogenital dystrophy), Klinefelter syndrome, androgen insensitivity syndrome, aromatase excess syndrome in conjunction with sagittal craniosynostosis syndrome, Antley–Bixler syndrome or one of its variants, and temporal lobe epilepsy.

A research team, consisting of Egyptian scientists Yehia Gad and Somaia Ismail from the National Research Centre in Cairo, conducted further CT scans under the direction of Ashraf Selim and Sahar Saleem of the Faculty of Medicine at Cairo University. Three international experts served as consultants: Carsten Pusch of the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Germany; Albert Zink of the EURAC-Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Bolzano, Italy; and Paul Gostner of the Central Hospital Bolzano. STR analysis based DNA fingerprinting analysis combined with the other techniques have rejected the hypothesis of gynecomastia and craniosynostoses (e.g., Antley-Bixler syndrome) or Marfan syndrome, but an accumulation of malformations in Tutankhamun's family was evident. Several pathologies including Köhler disease II were diagnosed in Tutankhamun; none alone would have caused death. Genetic testing for STEVOR, AMA1, or MSP1 genes specific for Plasmodium falciparum revealed indications of malaria tropica in 4 mummies, including Tutankhamun's. However their exact contribution to the causality of his death still is highly debated.

As stated above, the team discovered DNA from several strains of a parasite proving he was infected with the most severe strain of malaria several times in his short life. Malaria can trigger circulatory shock or cause a fatal immune response in the body, either of which can lead to death. If Tutankhamun did suffer from a bone disease which was crippling, it may not have been fatal. "Perhaps he struggled against other [congenital flaws] until a severe bout of malaria or a leg broken in an accident added one strain too many to a body that could no longer carry the load," wrote Zahi Hawass, archeologist and head of Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquity involved in the research.

A review of the medical findings to date found that he suffered from mild kyphoscoliosis, pes planus, hypophalangism of the right foot, bone necrosis of second and third metatarsal bones of the left foot, malaria, and a complex fracture of the right knee shortly before death.

In late 2013, Egyptologist Dr. Chris Naunton and scientists from the Cranfield Institute performed a "virtual autopsy" of Tutankhamun, revealing a pattern of injuries down one side of his body. Car-crash investigators then created computer simulations of chariot accidents. Naunton concluded that Tutankhamun was killed in a chariot crash: a chariot smashed into him while he was on his knees, shattering his ribs and pelvis. Naunton also referenced Howard Carter's records of the body having been burnt. Working with anthropologist Dr. Robert Connolly and forensic archaeologist Dr. Matthew Ponting, Naunton produced evidence that Tutankhamun's body was burnt while sealed inside his coffin. Embalming oils combined with oxygen and linen had caused a chemical reaction, creating temperatures of more than 200 °C. Naunton said, "The charring and possibility that a botched mummification led to the body spontaneously combusting shortly after burial was entirely unexpected."

A further investigation, in 2014, revealed that it was unlikely he had been killed in a chariot accident. Scans found that all but one of his bone fractures, including those to his skull, had been inflicted after his death. The scans also showed that he had a partially clubbed foot and would have been unable to stand unaided, thus making it unlikely he ever rode in a chariot; this was supported by the presence of many walking sticks among the contents of his tomb. Instead, it is believed that genetic defects arising from his parents being siblings, complications from a broken leg and his suffering from malaria, together caused his death.

 

Aftermath

With the death of Tutankhamun and the two stillborn children buried with him, the Thutmosid family line came to an end. The Amarna letters indicate that Tutankhamun's wife, recently widowed, wrote to the Hittite king Suppiluliuma I, asking if she could marry one of his sons. The letters do not say how Tutankhamun died. In the message, Ankhesenamun says that she was very afraid, but would not take one of her own people as husband. However, the son was killed before reaching his new wife. Shortly afterward, Ay married Tutankhamun's widow and became Pharaoh as a war was fought between the two countries, and Egypt was left defeated. The fate of Ankhesenamun is not known, but she disappears from record and Ay's second wife Tey became Great Royal Wife. After Ay's death, Horemheb usurped the throne and instigated a campaign of damnatio memoriae against him. Tutankhamun's father Akhenaten, stepmother Nefertiti, his wife Ankhesenamun, half sisters and other family members were also included. Not even Tutankhamun was spared. His images and cartouches were also erased. Horemheb himself, despite a possible marriage to Nefertiti's sister, Mutnedjmet, was left childless and willed the throne to Paramessu, who founded the Ramesside family line of pharaohs.

Significance

Tutankhamun was nine years old when he became Pharaoh, son of god Ra, and reigned for approximately ten years. "The Egyptian sun god Ra, considered the father of all pharaohs, was said to have created himself from a pyramid-shaped mound of earth before creating all other gods." (Donald B. Redford, PhD, Penn State).

In historical terms, Tutankhamun's significance stems from the fact that his reign was close to the apogee of Egypt as a world power and from his rejection of the radical religious innovations introduced by his predecessor and father, Akhenaten. Secondly, his tomb in the Valley of the Kings was discovered by Carter almost completely intact—the most complete ancient Egyptian royal tomb ever found. As Tutankhamun began his reign at such an early age, his vizier, and eventual successor Ay, was probably making most of the important political decisions during Tutankhamun's reign.

Kings were venerated after their deaths through mortuary cults and associated temples. Tutankhamun was one of the few kings worshiped in this manner during his lifetime. A stela discovered at Karnak and dedicated to Amun-Ra and Tutankhamun indicates that the king could be appealed to in his deified state for forgiveness and to free the petitioner from an ailment caused by sin. Temples of his cult were built as far away as in Kawa and Faras in Nubia. The title of the sister of the Viceroy of Kush included a reference to the deified king, indicative of the universality of his cult.

Tomb

Tutankhamun was buried in a tomb that was small relative to his status. His death may have occurred unexpectedly, before the completion of a grander royal tomb, so that his mummy was buried in a tomb intended for someone else. This would preserve the observance of the customary seventy days between death and burial.

King Tutankhamun's mummy still rests in his tomb in the Valley of the Kings. On 4 November 2007, 85 years to the day after Carter's discovery, the 19-year-old pharaoh went on display in his underground tomb at Luxor, when the linen-wrapped mummy was removed from its golden sarcophagus to a climate-controlled glass box. The case was designed to prevent the heightened rate of decomposition caused by the humidity and warmth from tourists visiting the tomb

His tomb was robbed at least twice in antiquity, but based on the items taken (including perishable oils and perfumes) and the evidence of restoration of the tomb after the intrusions, it seems clear that these robberies took place within several months at most of the initial burial. Eventually the location of the tomb was lost because it had come to be buried by stone chips from subsequent tombs, either dumped there or washed there by floods. In the years that followed, some huts for workers were built over the tomb entrance, clearly not knowing what lay beneath. When at the end of the 20th Dynasty the Valley of the Kings burials were systematically dismantled, the burial of Tutankhamun was overlooked, presumably because knowledge of it had been lost and his name may have been forgotten.

For many years, rumors of a "Curse of the Pharaohs" (probably fueled by newspapers seeking sales at the time of the discovery) persisted, emphasizing the early death of some of those who had entered the tomb. However, a recent study of journals and death records indicated no statistical difference between the age of death of those who entered the tomb and those on the expedition who did not.

Legacy

If Tutankhamun is the world's best known pharaoh, it is largely because his tomb is among the best preserved, and his image and associated artifacts the most-exhibited. As Jon Manchip White writes, in his foreword to the 1977 edition of Carter's The Discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamun, "The pharaoh who in life was one of the least esteemed of Egypt's Pharoahs has become in death the most renowned."

The discoveries in the tomb were prominent news in the 1920s. Tutankhamen came to be called by a modern neologism, "King Tut".

 

Source : Wikipedia Encyclopedia. Here is a link to the excellent article with all the notes:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tutankhamun

   




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