Tutankhamun (alternately spelled with Tutenkh-, -amen, -amon), Egyptian twt-ˤnḫ-ı͗mn, [təwaːt ʕaːnəx ʔaˈmaːn]; approx. 1341 BC – 1323 BC) was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty (ruled ca. 1333 BC – 1323 BC in the conventional chronology), during the period of Egyptian history known as the New Kingdom. His original name, Tutankhaten, means "Living Image of Aten", while Tutankhamun means "Living Image of Amun". In hieroglyphs, the name Tutankhamun was typically written Amen-tut-ankh, because of a scribal custom that placed a divine name at the beginning of a phrase to show appropriate reverence.[3] He is possibly also the Nibhurrereya of the Amarna letters, and likely the 18th dynasty king Rathotis who, according to Manetho, an ancient historian, had reigned for nine years — a figure which conforms with Flavius Josephus's version of Manetho's Epitome.[4]

The 1922 discovery by Howard Carter and George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon[5][6] of Tutankhamun's nearly intact tomb received worldwide press coverage. It sparked a renewed public interest in ancient Egypt, for which Tutankhamun's burial mask remains the popular symbol. Exhibits of artifacts from his tomb have toured the world. In February 2010, the results of DNA tests confirmed that he was the son of Akhenaten (mummy KV55) and his sister/wife (mummy KV35YL), whose name is unknown but whose remains are positively identified as "The Younger Lady" mummy found in KV35.[


Tutankhamun was the son of Akhenaten (formerly Amenhotep IV) and one of Akhenaten's sisters.[8] As a prince he was known as Tutankhaten.[9] He ascended to the throne in 1333 BC, at the age of nine or ten, taking the reign name of Tutankhamun. His wet-nurse was a woman called Maia, known from her tomb at Saqqara.

When he became king, he married his half-sister, Ankhesenepatan, who later changed her name to Ankhesenamun. They had two daughters, both stillborn.[7]. CT studies released in 2011 revealed that one daughter died at 5-6 months of pregnancy while the other at 9 months of pregnancy. No evidence was found of congenital anomalies or the apparent cause of death in either mummy.[10]

Given his age, the king probably had very powerful advisers, presumably including General Horemheb, the Vizier Ay, and Maya, the "Overseer of the Treasury". Horemheb records that the king appointed him 'lord of the land' as hereditary prince to maintain law. He also noted his ability to calm the young king when his temper flared.[11]
Ay was the penultimate Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt's 18th dynasty. He held the throne of Egypt for a brief four-year period (probably 1323–1319 BCE[1] or 1327–1323 BCE, depending on which chronology is followed), although he was a close advisor to two and perhaps three of the pharaohs who ruled before him and was the power behind the throne during Tutankhamun's reign. Ay's prenomen or royal name—Kheperkheperure—means "Everlasting are the Manifestations of Ra" while his birth name Ay it-netjer reads as 'Ay, Father of the God.'[2] Records and monuments that can be clearly attributed to Ay are rare, not only due to his short length, but also because his successor, Horemheb, instigated a campaign of damnatio memoriae against him and other pharaohs associated with the unpopular Amarn
Tutankhamun's death at the age of 18 or 19, together with his failure to produce an heir, left a power vacuum that his Grand Vizier Ay was quick to fill: Ay is depicted conducting the funerary rites for the deceased monarch and assuming the role of heir. The grounds on which Ay based his successful claim to power are not entirely clear. The Commander of the Army, Horemheb, had actually been designated as the "idnw" or "Deputy of the Lord of the Two Lands" under Tutankhamun and was presumed to be the boy king's heir apparent and successor.[18] It appears that Horemheb was outmaneuvered to the throne by Ay who married Ankhesenamun, the widow of Tutankhamun, in order to legitimise his claim to the throne. Ay was certainly a powerful figure: he was close to the centre of political power at the royal palace for some 25 years under both Tutankhamun and Akhenaten. But this was probably still not enough, however, to legitimize his claims to the throne in the highly hierarchical society of Ancient Egypt, if he was of non-royal birth especially at a time of domestic upheaval without his marriage to Tutankhamun's widow. Since he was already advanced in age upon his accession, Ay ruled Egypt in his own right for only four years. During this period, he consolidated the return to the old religious ways that he had initiated as senior advisor and constructed a mortuary temple at Medinet Habu for his own use. A stela of Nakhtmin (Berlin 2074), a military officer under Tutankhamun and Ay—who was Ay's chosen successor— is dated to Year 4, IV Akhet day 1 of Ay's reign.[19] Manetho's Epitome assigns a reign length of 4 years and 1 month to Horemheb and this was usually assigned to Ay based on this Year 4 dated stela; however, it is now believed that figure should be raised by a decade to [1]4 years and 1 month and attributed to Horemheb instead as Manetho intended. Hence, Ay's precise reign length is unknown and he could have ruled for as long as 7 to 9 years since most of his monuments and his funerary temple at Medinet Habu were either destroyed or usurped by his successor, Horemheb.

Horemheb (sometimes spelled Horemhab or Haremhab and meaning Horus is in Jubilation) was the last Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty from either 1319 BC to late 1292 BC,[1] or 1306 to late 1292 BC (if he ruled for 14 years) although he was not related to the preceding royal family and is believed to have been of common birth.

Before he became pharaoh, Horemheb was the commander in chief of the army under the reigns of Tutankamun and Ay. After his accession to the throne he reformed the state and it was under his reign that official action against the preceding Amarna rulers began.

Horemheb demolished monuments of Akhenaten, reusing their remains in his own building projects, and usurped monuments of Tutankhamun and Ay. Horemheb presumably remained childless and he appointed his vizier Paramesse as his successor, who would assume the throne as Ramesses I.



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