King Tut Did What?

Most of what the general populous knows about the “legendary” pharaoh Tutankhamun does not pertain to his rule over Egypt. This is because he was not very impressive compared to rulers such as the various Ramses. His wide spread fame is due to the discovery of his basically untouched tomb in the Valley of the Kings in 1922 by British archaeologist Howard Carter. Even so, there are some interesting aspects about the boy king that people are not generally aware of.

Tut ruled from 1336 BC to 1327 BC. Through examination of his remains he is thought to have been around the age of 17 when he died, but he gained the throne of pharaoh at about the age of 8 or 9. It is commonly thought that he was the sun of Akhenaten. His wife and queen was Ankhesenamun who was the third daughter of Akhenaten and Nefertiti. Tut and his administration had a lot of work to do after his father left the Egyptian state in quite a mess. The old religion was restored and construction began to rebuilt destroyed temples of deities. Also, the capital was moved from Akhtaten back to Thebes.

Even though he is often thought not to be, Tut did have some historical significance. He could have continued with his father’s administration instead of going back to the old ways. This would have definitely had an impact on the Egyptian state. The best answer for why this did not happen is because Tut was so young when he ascended the throne. What does an 8 year old know about ruling such a vast and powerful kingdom as Egypt? For awhile, things were basically run by the viziers and administration. The priesthood also saw this time as a perfect opportunity to reestablish their authority in helping the rule Egypt.

Of course there is the controversy over how Tut died. Was it murder? Assassination? People are constantly working to discover the answer to this but it reality, does it matter?

3 thoughts on “King Tut Did What?

  1. I have also been thinking about the importance placed on King Tut in the context of Ancient Egyptian archeology. Like you mentioned, I think that the controversies surrounding King Tut’s death are sort of insignificance. I have seen all of the programs about King Tut’s death, where they examine the mummy and attempt to identify whether he was assassinated or if he died in an accident. The most recent program I watched suggested that he died in a freak chariot accident. It makes sense why many scientists are trying to understand how he died, since there is so much modern technology at their disposal. But at the end of the day, it seems as though identifying how he died is of little importance in the grand scheme of things.

    The more important examination of a pharaoh’s importance should be their historical contributions, rather than popularity. It does make sense why he is so popular, since his tomb is one of the most complete and well preserved. Yet spending so much time on examining his death seems useless. I was thinking about this dilemma in a modern context It would be as though archeologists looking at American history focused all of their time on president Chester Alan Arthur, a less known president, and ignored major historical figures like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and FDR. Historically speaking, King Tut did have some contributions, but not as much as other pharaohs. Asking the question, “does it matter” is actually a good thing, because it helps focus on the importance of archeology.

  2. This post sort of reminds me of this cartoon that was on years ago about a girl who waved around an Ancient Egyptian artifact, which led to King Tut coming back to life – as a nine-year old mummy. It was one of those silly Nickelodeon shows. But, I remember because all King Tut actually did in the show was proclaim how strong and invincible he was – but I don’t recall him actually stating what he did. So, you’re right – the facts you listed here are typically overshadowed by his fame as a “young boy king”. Besides the scholarly community, no one really talks about what he did during his 8/9-year long reign.

    I’ve also heard conflicting views on how King Tut died. There was a documentary once that argued he died because of murder. Personally, do I find it important? It could be – details surrounding King Tut’s death could lead to more insight into the political instability/stability during his reign. Will we ever find out? Most likely not. We can speculate as much as we want, but unless we find written records documenting what happened, what we have concluded from current context and King Tut’s remains is probably all that we will have to solve King Tut’s death.

  3. An interesting aspect you bring up that I don’t hear discussed too much was the uselessness of his age. He was still in effect a child, the throne would then have been run by his vizers and council. This I think is an important thing to realize when considering what types of changes took place. We’ve established in class that the collapse of their empire was due, in part, to the Temple’s strong hand in policy. King Tut’s father had mad a shift to try and diminish the power of the Temple to a certain degree. When King Tut ‘took power’ everything shifted back to the way things were before the ‘heretic’ king. So this seemingly insignificant shift, brushing the deviation of Akhenaten off, could have been an early decision that helped pave the way to collapse.

Comments are closed.