Who Was King Tut?

J. Beam

Nebkheperure Tutankhamun, or King Tut as he’s became most widely known, was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty, ruling for a period of time between 1833 and 1824 BC. Though little is known for certain about him and his rule of Egypt, including his suspected lineage and his death, most experts agree that the pharaoh began his reign at a very young age — somewhere around ten years of age. King Tut is not considered a major figure in ancient Egyptian politics, but the discovery of his tomb in 1922 made him one of the most famous.

Due to his fame, replicas of King Tut's sarcophagus are widespread.
Due to his fame, replicas of King Tut's sarcophagus are widespread.

Though King Tut’s parentage is suspect, it is believed that he changed his name from Tutankhaten to Tutankhamun shortly after succession to the throne. At such a young age, he was more of a ruler by figure than of wisdom and was most likely influenced by the senior members of the court, specifically Ay, who became pharaoh after him.

King Tut’s rule was short lived, as was his life. His death is estimated to have occurred somewhere around the age of 19 years of age. The cause of death has been disputed based on research his entombed body since the discovery of his tomb. Early researchers concluded that he may have been murdered by a blow to the head while more recent research concluded that he most likely died from an infection acquired after a broken leg.

Though historically and politically speaking, he was not a major player in Egyptian history, King Tut is probably the world’s best-known Egyptian pharaoh due to the discovery of his tomb, which is one of the best-preserved Egyptian tombs ever found. It was discovered by Howard Carter in November of 1922.

Being so well preserved, King Tut’s tomb was a windfall of ancient artifacts. These artifacts, along with the reconstructed mummified body of Tut, have become one of the most viewed displays of ancient Egypt in museum exhibits around the world. The contents have captivated audiences ever since the near decade long excavation of the tomb was complete. Besides precious jewels and metals, funeral furniture and other burial relics have provided historians with a fascinating glimpse into the past.

Though the discovery of King Tut’s tomb has shed some light on his life and death, researchers and historians continue to study the pieces of well-preserved artifacts and inscriptions as well as his body. He remains one of the greatest Egyptian mysteries of all time.

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Discussion Comments


@BoatHugger: King Tut was married to his half-sister Ankhesanamun at the age of 9. Ankesanamun was 13 when they were married. King Tut and his wife were married at a young age, but pre-puberty marriages were common among royalty back in those days. Most unions were between brother and sister to secure the families place in royalty.

King Tut’s wife had two failed pregnancies. Her first pregnancy ended with a miscarriage of a 5 month old female fetus. Her second pregnancy was a stillborn baby girl.


Was King Tut married?

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