The Egyptian way of burying their dead and preserving their memories, have been fascinating kids since times immemorial. Who would not know about the mummies or the pyramids that are a famous tourist destination in that country. Tutankhamun or King Tut is one of the most famous Egyptian Pharaohs, probably because his tomb was discovered by archaeologists.
Since then, his remains have held people across the world in awe over the mystery surrounding his life and death. Before the spectacular discovery of his intact tomb in November 1922, Tutankhamun was a little-known figure. Kids love reading facts about Ancient Egypt. So we have compiled a list of astonishing facts about Tutankhamun for kids. Have a look at them below -
Birth and early years: Tutankhamun was born at Akhenaten in the year 1346BC. He became a Pharaoh at a tender age of nine in the year 1338. He reigned during the 18th Dynasty when the Egyptian Empire was at its peak.
Tutankhamun was born Tutankheten: Tutankhamun's father, Akhenaten wanted the Egyptians to worship just the sun god Aten, instead of their chief deity Amun or any other god. Aten at the end of Akhenaten and Tutankheten signified the same.
Tutankheten means 'living image of Aten' and Akhenaten means the 'servant of Aten'. Unfortunately, Akhenaten's changes did not go down well with his subjects. So, when Tutankhamun took over, he changed things back to how they were. He reopened the closed temples, restored the god Amun to his former glory and moved the capital back to Thebes. He even changed his name to Tutankhamun, which means the 'living image of Amun'.
He married one of his half sisters: It is believed that Tutankhamun has married one of his half-sisters. Akhenaten, Tutankhamun's father, was married to Nefertiti, with whom he had six daughters. Akhenaten also had a second wife, named Kira, who is said to be the mother of Tutankhamun. It is said that Tutankhamun married Ankhesenpaaten, one of the six daughters of Nefertiti and Akhenaten. Confused? So are we! A well-nourished leader: CAT scans done on the Tutankhamun's body revealed the he was around 5 feet 8 inches tall. He was of slight build, but well nourished.
The boy king: King Tut was nicknamed Boy King as he began ruling just at the age of nine. Since Tutankhamun was young, he needed help in governing the country. Hence, he was aided by his general Horemheb and vizier named Aye. Aye later succeeded Tutankhamun to the throne.
The king's death: There is no evidence of how Tutankhamun met his death. An x-ray done on the mummy found fragments of bones in Tutankhamun's skull, giving way to a theory that the young king was bludgeoned to death. But more recently, the experts concluded the damage to the skull might have occurred after the death, or at the hands of the crew or during the embalming process. Another theory stated that King Tutankhamun died of a broken leg.
According to National Geographic, a new CT scan of the mummy showed coating of embalming resin on the leg, suggesting that Tutankhamun broke his leg just before he died. He must have sustained the injury by falling from a chariot while hunting. The infection from the broken leg and other complications may have caused the death. DNA testing in the year 2010 suggested that Tutankhamun had malaria, which exacerbated the leg infection.
Mummified: Tutankhamun died at the young age of 18, and his body was mummified, which is how ancient Egyptians preserved their dead. He was buried hastily in the Valley of the Kings tomb, the burial place of his predecessors, surrounded by 5,000 priceless treasures.
Tutankhamun rein wiped out shortly after his death: In spite of his popularity, Tutankhamun's reign was eradicated soon after his death. Horemheb, the ruler of Egypt after the death of Aye failed to make a huge impact on the commoner. Rather, he was unpopular, primarily because of his assertive nature. He even replaced Tutankhamun's name with his own on several monuments.
Tutankhamun was not buried alone: Apart from the priceless funerary objects, two miniature coffins were also found in the chamber. Researchers suggest that the coffins contained Tutankhamun's daughter. Tutankhamun and his wife had no children. His wife conceived twice but suffered a miscarriage. The body of the stillborn baby girls were mummified and placed in his tomb in small coffins. Experts also say that Tutankhamun left no living heir, perhaps because he and his wife knew that they could conceive children only with fatal congenital disorders.
His tomb is connected to the stars: King Tut's tomb was buried in such a way that the constellation Orion was above the entrance to the tomb. The Egyptians believed that Orion was the soul of Osiris, the God of Afterlife. It is believed that Osiris continues to watch over King Tutankhamun.
Discovery of the tomb: Tutankhamun's tomb was discovered by a team of British archaeologists (Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon) in 1922 that is nearly 3,000 years after his death. The tomb was so well-preserved that the archaeologists were able to get a complete insight of Tutankhamun's life. It was common for the tomb raiders to steal the treasures buried with the Pharaohs. But they probably couldn't locate King Tut's tomb.
Contents of the tomb: The tomb was considered quite small for a Pharaoh king. It contained four rooms, the burial chamber, the antechamber, the annex and the treasury. The first room explored by Carter was the antechamber. It included pieces of four chariots and three funeral beds. The burial chamber contained the most prized items, the sarcophagus and King Tutankhamun's mummy. The mummy was placed in three nested coffins. The third one was made of gold and had the famous image, which has now become the symbol of King Tut. The last chamber contained treasures he would need in his afterlife.
The ancient Egyptians believed that a person would live in his afterlife the same way he did when he was alive. The treasures in the tomb included a gold crown, canopic jars, paintings, model boats, a golden throne, a cobra, his sandals and big trunks. His sandals had images of his enemies on the soles. So wherever he went, he trampled over his foes. The annex was filled with varied objects like oils, dishes, board games and others. The remains are still contained in his tomb, but you can get a view of his burial mask in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
A long time to research: It took 17 years for the archaeologist to go through all the items in the tomb and write down about each. One thing that Carte noticed was most of the items were just tossed into the tomb, rather than placed in an organized way. Another fact noticed by the archeologists was that the sarcophagus may have belonged to someone else, but the people later changed it to King Tut. It is said that the unexpected death of King Tut did not give his people enough time to make a sarcophagus for him.
The curse of Tutankhamun: It was reported than an inscription above the entrance to the burial chamber read: "Death will come to those who disturb the rest of King Tutankhamun". Some strange events are reported to have happened after the discovery of the tomb and removal of treasures from it. Media of those times related the mishaps to The Curse of Tutankhamun. The finance for the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb was aided by Lord Carnarvon. But in April 1923, that is just seven weeks after the official opening of the chamber, Carnarvon died due to a mosquito bite on the cheek. It was later found that the Pharaoh had a lesion in the same place on the cheek.
At the time of Carnarvon's death, the light in the city went out, and in his England home, his dog Susie died. Another creepy fact is that Howard's pet canary was eaten by a cobra on the day of the tomb opening. It was considered as proof of the curse as the cobra is the symbol of Goddess Wadjet, the patron of the kings and queens of Egypt. The media went on to speculate that most of the people involved in the opening of the tomb died shortly afterwards but ignored the fact that the majority survived to live long. And several of those who died shortly were in poor health or were elderly.
The writer is history buff & contributor at