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King Tut Essay, Research Paper

King Tutankhamen: The Mysterious Pharaoh of Egypt

King Tutankhamen was not an important pharaoh, or a successful one.

However, he is the most famous pharaoh, thanks to the incredible and exciting discovery

of his tomb by Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon in 1922 1. The young pharaoh?s tomb

may not have been the biggest, most elaborate tomb, but he and his family had at their

command the wealth of the greatest period of Egyptian history 2. King Tutankhamen?s

fame today is due to his tomb and what was found in it. It was the only Egyptian tomb of

a pharaoh with most of its contents intact, found in history 3.

King Tutankhamen was born over 3,000 years ago. No exact date is known 4.

Tutankhamen was believed to be born in Malkata, a place in Southern, Egypt 5. To this

day the true parentage of Tutankhamen is unknown 6. Most historians believe that

Tutankhamen is the son of the old pharaoh, Amenhotep III and his chief wife Queen

Tiye7. Because his parentage remains a mystery, it is very possible that he could even be

the blood of a common town?s person 8. King Tutankhamen, only nine years old, was

crowned as pharaoh in 1336 BC in Memphis 9. He was still a child when he was pharaoh

and thus King Tut still carried out normal childhood events while he was pharaoh. King

Tutankhamen began school at four years of age as did other well-born Egyptian children.

He learned to read and write. King Tutankhamen was a very good writer and a great

quantity of scribal equipment was found placed in his tomb 10. He was a good pupil and

graduated with honors 11. As a pharaoh, King Tutankhamen had a great diet. The

contents of his tomb reflected a diet of breads and cakes made of barley and wheat,

seasoned with spices and sweetened with honey. Dates, figs, grapes, almonds, and fruit

of palm were considered desserts. He possibly could have snacked on watermelon seeds;

eleven baskets were found when his tomb was excavated. he drank wine at mostly every

meal and was amply supplied with thirty large jars of vintage wine for his afterlife 12.

Tutankhamen practiced many activities in his spare time also. King Tut indulged in

riding in his chariots, fishing, archery, and swimming 13. Hunting was a true love for

King Tutankhamen. He hunted antelopes, waterfowl, hare, gazelle, ibex, ostriches, and

even the powerful dangerous hippopotamus 14. King Tutankhamen had numerous dogs

that he loved to play with while he was relaxing in the palace 15. King Tutankhamen

could have possibly collected walking sticks also. One hundred thirty walking sticks

were found in his tomb. They were decorated with ebony, ivory, silver, and gold. The

use of boomerangs as a spare time activity is also suggested because several of these were

also found in his tomb 16. King Tut was also entertained by playing senet, an ancient

Egyptian game 17.

Clothing was a very important thing in King Tutankhamen?s time. The dressing

of a pharaoh was a very big ritual event that was carried out in front of favored courtiers.

Tutankhamen was well equipped for this event. Many of his clothing items were placed

in his tomb with him when he was buried. Clothing, sandals, necklaces, jewels, a pair of

mirror boxes, and a life-size mannequin were all found in his tomb. The mannequin was

cut off at the elbows and above the hips. It was the same size as Tutankhamen and was

probably used to display options he had for robes and elaborate jeweled collars. King Tut

usually wore his customary knee length kilt with a triangular loin cloth tied around his

waist underneath it. Occasionally King Tutankhamen wore undershirts which were

adorned with embroidery around the neckline. These simple garments represented a

significant investment of labor. Some of his undershirts are estimated to have taken three

thousand hours to complete. Many cosmetic cases were found in King Tutankhamen?s

tomb also. This suggested that he wore makeup along with a lot of other Egyptians. The

main feature he enhanced with makeup was his eyes. Everyday he outlined his eyes in

kohl, a paste of ground malachite mixed with liquid. This created a dark liquid to define

his eyes, resembling the eyeliner of today 18.

Tutankhamen married his half sister, Ankhesenamun soon after his crowning of

pharaoh. This marriage was an attempt to make King Tut more capable of ruling Egypt

in the public eye 19. Although, they did not have any children together, two female

fetuses were found buried next to Tutankhamen. These are believed to be their stillborn

daughters 20.

Tutankhamen was worshipped as a living god, having immense power and wealth,

like all the other pharaohs of ancient Egypt. He had numerous responsibilities also. He

had the responsibility of building monuments that would please the gods, he had to

perform ceremonies to ensure fertile land for the growing season, and he had to make

offerings to gain the gods? favor for Egypt. King Tutankhamen also made all of the laws

was the commander-in-chief of the army. Along with all of his other duties, King

Tutankhamen also had to rebuild Egypt after the horrible rule of Akhenaton. He did all

of this while being in his early teenage years 21.

Tutankhamen had official guides to generally guide him in the affairs of the state

because he was a child pharaoh. Tutankhamen had two official guides, Aye and

Horemheb, who were both court officials. Aye was of higher ranking than Horemheb 22.

A lot of Tutankhamen?s brief reign was spent rebuilding and restoring Egypt to what it

was before Akhenaton reigned 23. Akhenaton, during his rule, abolished Egypt?s main

religion, which was polytheism. Akhenaton proclaimed Aten as the one and only god.

He forced people to abandon their other gods and convert to monotheism. Tutankhamen,

during his reign, brought back the old religion and changed the country back to their old

ways 24. Tutankhamen?s changes in religions greatly pleased the priests and the general

public of the ancient faith. Tutankhamen also enlarged and improved the temples of gods

25. King Tut?s restoration policies had a positive effect on all of Egypt. Under his

leadership the country grew stronger then before and the people of the country profited

26. Tutankhamen?s reign was a very successful one, considering how short his rule

lasted. Tutankhamen?s rule was very brief. His rule began when he was approximately

nine years old and ended when he had an unexpected death at the age of eighteen 27.

The unexpected death of King Tutankhamen happened when he was eighteen. To

this day no one knows for sure why or how he died. Historians have created two major

theories that explain the cause of King Tutankhamen?s mysterious death 28. Some

scholars believe that King Tut inherited the physical frailty that plagued many Egyptian

royals of the time and died from tuberculosis 29. Although, a modern autopsy was

performed in the 1920?s when king Tut?s mummy was found. His skull had a wound

caused by a forceful blow or fall 30. With this knowledge of an injury to the head, King

Tutankhamen?s death could have been an accident or a murder. When King Tut reached

the age of eighteen he was able to make decisions on his own and rule Egypt without the

help of his advisors Aye and Horemheb. Some historians believe that the powers behind

the throne did not want this and therefore murdered the boy king 31. Aye is the historians

main suspect in the murder of King Tut. Aye was ranked above Horemheb, therefore,

Aye would be the next king if King Tut died childless. King Tut died childless, leaving

Aye to rule the throne 32. No matter how or why King Tutankhamen died, he did and in a

very mysterious way.

The discovery of King Tutankhamen was very exciting . It is one of the most

famous discoveries in the whole world. The discovery took place over 3,000 years after

King Tutankhamen died. In November of 1922, Lord Carnarvon funded an expedition to

the Valley of the Kings. The British archaeologist, Howard Carter, led the group 33.

Lord Carnarvon had already been searching for King Tutankhamen?s tomb for seven

years. Britain had owned Egypt for many years, but now the native population wanted its

freedom. This revolt made Lord Carnarvon very uneasy and so he decided that this

would be the last digging season to look for King Tutankhamen?s tomb 34. Howard

Carter had been digging in the Valley of Kings since 1903 and made few important

discoveries. He was beginning to believe that there was nothing left to find. Then on

November 4, 1922 the beginning of the staircase to King Tutankhamen?s tomb was found

35. The two archaeologists kept digging and on November 26, 1922 Howard Carter and

Lord Carnarvon entered the tomb 36. When they entered they realized that King

Tutankhamen?s tomb was not made for a pharaoh at all. When a pharaoh is crowned their

tomb is started, but because the tombs are so elaborate for the kings it takes many years to

complete them. Because King Tutankhamen died so shortly after he became pharaoh, his

tomb was not ready. Aye was the man who arranged King Tutankhamen?s funeral. Aye

put King Tutankhamen in a tomb made for a nobleman instead 37. When Carter and

Carnarvon discovered the tomb King Tutankhamen?s mummy lay within many shrines

and coffins. The first layer that was opened was the outer shrine. The pall frame was

opened next. After these the second and third shrine were opened. Inside the third shrine

lay the inner shrine. Lastly, laying inside the inner shrine was the sarcophagus. The

sarcophagus is where King Tutankhamen?s coffin laid. It was carved from a single block

of the hardest quartzite. The sarcophagus was a golden-yellow color and was elaborately

painted and engraved with pictures and Hieroglyphics. All of the shrines were painted

and carved but the sarcophagus was the most elaborate. The sarcophagus was opened up

to find three coffins inside one another. these coffins fit together like Russian dolls. The

lid of each coffin was modeled to look like the dead pharaoh, Osiris. He was wearing a

broad collar and wristlets. His arms were crossed across his chest to clutch the symbols

of kingship, the crook and the flail. Each coffin was elaborately designed and plaited in

gold 38. King Tutankhamen?s face was covered by a stupendous mask covered in gold

and elaborate decor on the innermost coffin. This coffin is made of 22 carat gold and

weighs 296 pounds. It is estimated to be worth 1.5 million dollars 39. ?For an Egyptian

pharaoh. death was just an unfortunate crossing point between tow lives.? 40 After his

human death, Tutankhamen?s life and his position as pharaoh would carryon in his

afterlife. His tomb was filled with the numerous items a pharaoh would need in the

afterlife 41. When discovered, King Tutankhamen?s tomb contained over 5,000 treasures.

The most famous of these was the cornelian and gold mask worn by his mummy 42.

Carnarvon and his men began to prepare for the removal of King Tutankhamen?s coffin

and objects in the tomb. They got packing crates and boxes ready 43. When it came time

to go into the tomb and excavate the coffin Carnarvon became very ill. Twelve days later

he died 44. This was just the beginning of the well-known ?Curse of Tutankhamen.?

Rumors began to spread rapidly about the curse and that death would overcome anyone

who disturbed the eternal rest of the pharaoh. people connected with the tomb began to

drop off in rapid succession. Georges Benedite, the head of the Department of Egyptian

Anquities at Louvre Museum in Paris, died shortly after Carnarvon. A.C. Mace, a

member of the Carnarvon-Carter expedition, died shortly after Benedite 45. The

pharaoh?s curse was being blamed for all of these deaths. Over twenty consecutive

deaths were considered by some to be the revenge of Tutankhamen. Public chaos led to

investigation of written curses which might have been written on Egyptian artifacts. No

curse has ever been found on any Egyptian artifacts. Although, even today the legend of

the curse has not been forgotten 46. The discovery of King Tutankhamen?s tomb greatly

supplemented our knowledge of Ancient Egyptian art and culture. At the same time it

created a world-wide interest for all Egyptian things 47.



1Pemberton, Jeremy & Putnam, James. Amazing Facts About Ancient Egypt. p 7.

2Editors of Time-Life Books. Egypt: Land of the Pharaohs p.34

3?Tut?s Legacy?, http://www.norfacad.pvt.k12.va.us/project/tut/tut6.htm

4Landau, Elaine. The Curse of Tutankhamen, p.10.

5?Tutankhamen?s Interests?, http://www.norfacad.pvt.k12.va.us/project/tut/tut3.htm

6?Tutankhamen?s Early Life?, http://www.norfacad.pvt.k12.va.us/project/tut/tut2.htm

7Ibid. ?Tutankhamen?s Early Life?,


8Landau, Elaine. The Curse of Tutankhamen, p. 10.

9Murdoch, David. Tutankhamen: The Life and Death of a Pharaoh p. 42.

10Editors of Time-Life Books. Egypt: Land of the Pharaohs p. 152.

11?Tutankhamen?s Interests?, http://www.norfacad.pvt.k12.va.us/project/tut/tut3.htm

12Editors of Time-Life Books. Egypt: Land of the Pharaohs p. 149.

13?Tutankhamen?s Interests?, http://www.norfacad.pvt.k12.va.us/project/tut/tut3.htm

14Ibid. ?Tutankhamen?s Interests?,


15?Tutankhamen?s Interests?, http://www.norfacad.pvt.k12.va.us/project/tut/tut3.htm

16Editors of Time-Life Books. Egypt: Land of the Pharaohs p. 152.

17?Tutankhamen?s Interests?, http://www.norfacad.pvt.k12.va.us/project/tut/tut3.htm.

18Editors of Time-Life Books. Egypt: Land of the Pharaohs p. 154.

19?Tutankhamen?s Early Life?, http://www.norfacad.pvt.k12.va.us/project/tut/tut2.htm

20Murdoch, David. Tutankhamen: The Life and Death of a Pharaoh p. 42.

21Ibid. Murdoch, David. Tutankhamen: The Life and Death of a Pharaoh p. 40.

22Landau, Elaine. The Curse of Tutankhamen, p. 12.

23Ibid. p. 12.V 5 Landau, Elaine. The Curse of Tutankhamen, p.12)

24Ibid. V p.12.

25Ibid. V p.12.

26Netzley, Patricia D. The Curse of King Tut, p. 12.

27Landau, Elaine. The Curse of Tutankhamen, p. 12.

28?Tutankhamen?s Death.?, http://www.norfacad.pvt.k12.va.us/project/tut/tut5.htm

29Landau, Elaine. The Curse of Tutankhamen, p. 12

30Eschle, Lou. The Curse of Tutankhamen p. 10.

31Eschle, Lou. The Curse of Tutankhamen p. 10.

32Netzley, Patricia D. The Curse of King Tut p. 14.

33Eschle, Lou. The Curse of Tutankhamen p. 7.

34Ibid. IV p7.

35Ibid. IV p8)

36Ibid. IV p12)

37Pemberton, Jeremy & Putnam, James. Amazing Facts About Ancient Egypt. p. 8.

38Reeves, Nicholas. The Complete Tutnakhamen, p. 100-110.

39Pemberton, Jeremy & Putnam, James. Amazing Facts About Ancient Egypt p.8.

40Murdoch, David. Tutankhamen: The Life and Death of a Pharaoh p. 32.

41Ibid. Murdoch, David. Tutankhamen: The Life and Death of a Pharaoh p. 32.

42?Tut?s Legacy?, http://www.norfacad.pvt.k12.va.us/project/tut/tut6.htm

43Eschle, Lou. The Curse of Tutankhamen p. 15.

44Ibid. p16.

45Green, Robert. Tutankhamen, p. 56.

46Ibid. p.58


47?Tut?s Legacy?, http://www.norfacad.pvt.k12.va.us/project/tut/tut6.htm

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