The discovery of King Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922 was perhaps the world’s most important archaeological find. The only near-intact royal tomb to be preserved in the Valley of the Kings, it has supplied an astonishing wealth of artifacts, spurred a global fascination with ancient Egypt, and inspired folklore that continues to evolve today. Despite the tomb’s prominence, however, precious little has been revealed about Tutankhamen himself. In Tutankhamen, acclaimed Egyptologist Joyce Tyldesley unshrouds the enigmatic king. She explores his life and legacy as never before, and offers a compelling new window onto the world in which he lived.
Tutankhamen ascended to the throne at approximately eight years of age and ruled for only ten years. Although his reign was brief and many of his accomplishments are now lost to us, it is clear that he was an important and influential king ruling in challenging times. His greatest achievement was to reverse a slew of radical and unpopular theological reforms instituted by his father and return Egypt to the traditional pantheon of gods. A meticulous examination of the evidence preserved both within his tomb and outside it allows Tyldesley to investigate Tutankhamen’s family history and to explore the origins of the pervasive legends surrounding Tutankhamen’s tomb. These legends include Tutankhamen’s “curse”—an enduring myth that reaffirms the appeal of ancient magic in our modern world
A remarkably vivid portrait of this fascinating and often misunderstood ruler, Tutankhamen sheds new light on the young king and the astonishing archeological discovery that earned him an eternal place in popular imagination.
British Egyptologist Tyldesley (Daughters of Isis) adds her voice to numerous books and articles illuminating the life, reign, and death of the world's best-known pharaoh. Tutankhamen was the young 18th Dynasty king who famously rejected the chaotic and unpopular radical religious innovations of his sun-god-worshipping predecessor, Akhenaten, for the certainties of traditional Egyptian polytheism. Reigning for 10 years, 3,000-plus years ago, his untimely death at 18 plunged his country into a succession crisis that caused the 18th Dynasty to fall. Records of the early 19th Dynasty Ramesside kings, X-rays, autopsy evidence, and grave artifacts indicate that, contrary to popular belief, Tutankhamen probably wasn't a great or victorious general, didn't die of tuberculosis, and wasn't murdered by his successor, but likely died by accident, perhaps while engaging in the dangerous royal sport of ostrich hunting. While still a child, Tutankhamen married the third-born daughter of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, and Tyldesley presents the DNA analysis pointing to the likelihood that his wife was his older half-sister, guiding readers through the maze of complex royal family relationships and issues of identification of mummies. His mother was one of Akhenaten's secondary harem queens and his elderly successor, Ay, was possibly King Tut's great-grandfather. This is an authoritative, well-documented addition to a much-trodden field of inquiry. Photos, maps.