Language Arts IV
9 December 2011
Tutankhamun, better known as King Tut, was unwanted by his subjects, ignored by his successors and forgotten for more than thirty centuries. Thanks to the discovery of his tomb by Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter, he has been reborn as Egypt’s most famous son, achieving true immortality. Tut was born during the Amama Age, around 1341 BC. His mother was believed to be Kiya and his father was Akhenaten. When Tut was born his given name was Tutankhaton which means “Living image of Aten”. Later it was changed to Tutankhamun which means “Living image of Amun”. In 1334 BC Tut was only nine years old when he became pharaoh, making him the youngest in history. Tut married his half-sister Ankhasenpaaten that same year. They had two stillborn children, leaving King Tut without a living heir. Tut accomplished little in his life. He neither expanded Egypt’s borders nor enjoyed victories like the pharaohs before him. After being pharaoh for ten years, Tut was mysteriously killed.
The young king’s short reign was a time of reconstruction following the devastation of his father’s latter years. The period was marked by a significant increase in artistic and architectural activity throughout Egypt. In the area of Thebes, a number of sculptures from the reign have been found at Karnak, either of the king himself or of deities represented with his facial features. The unfinished colonnade at Luxor was decorated during the reign of King Tut with portraits on the door jambs. An inscribed limestone lintel of Tut was discovered in Memphis, known as the “Rest-house of Tutankhamun”. Two red granite lions were found at Gebel Barkal. After being found, they were moved to a British museum. One of the lions were inscribed with a dedication text of Tut which was originally set up at Suld by Ay. There are many artifacts proven and unproven from the reign of the king. The previous listing (which is, necessarily, selective) gives some indication of the range of monuments and artifacts of Tut that have come down to us--from splendid long-dismantled temple precincts to the humblest of discarded seal impressions (Reeves 26).
Tut was at the top of the hierarchical pyramid of Egyptian society. The king’s contact with his people was very limited. He was always surrounded at court by his inner circle of advisers and friends. The king’s inner circle consisted of many people, but only four of their names have been found. Ay was the top man in the circle; he was called the God’s Father, serving as Pharaoh after Tut’s death. Horemhed along with Nakhtmin were military officers. They were the commander-in-chief of the army and the king’s deputies. Maya’s gifts are like those of Nakhtmin; they both have close personal attachment to King Tut. Maya had taken responsibility, not only for Tut’s burial tomb, but also for its restoration. As far as the names of these officials are concerned, Egypt during the reign of Tut is like a jigsaw puzzle for which most the pieces are missing. The majority of Tut’s administrators, priests, military men, or peasants, nothing whatsoever is known (Reeves 30).
The Valley of the Kings is a desolate place. It is located across the Nile River from the ancient city of Thebes (the modern-day Luxor). This valley supports no vegetation and provides no shelter from the relentless sun. This is the place where Egyptian pharaohs from three thousand years ago chose to be interred in tombs buried beneath the lifeless landscape. Surrounded in death by treasures of unimaginable value, the Pharaohs hoped to elude discovery by grave robbers who had violated the burial vaults of their predecessors. Their efforts failed, thieves pillaged all the burial tombs except for one, which was the one belonging to King Tut.
The most famous of all the kings found in the Valley of the Kings was King Tut. His tomb was in almost perfect condition. His tomb had been robbed once,...