Tutankhamun and 'The Curse'
Posted on 23rd December 2020
Tutankhamun came to the throne in 1333BC at the age of eight or nine. Being so young, he had to rely heavily on advisers to assist him in his reign.
Akhenaten, the previous Pharaoh had been unpopular with the people, no longer allowing them to worship the god ‘Amun’; to assert his authority, he made the people worship the Sun God ‘Aten’.
When Tutankhamun came to the throne, he re-established the old religion, worshipping ‘Amun’, a popular decision with the people.
Tutankhamun did not rule for long, around 1333BC – 1324BC. He died at around seventeen years old, possibly murdered or following an infected wound.
Much of what we know about Tutankhamun today is following the discovery of his tomb by English Egyptologist Howard Carter on 4 November 1922. It was almost completely intact and is the most complete royal tomb ever found.
The Pharaohs body was found with his royal mask on, made of gold and inlaid with precious stones including lapis lazuli, obsidian, carnelian, quartz and turquoise.
Over five thousand individual treasures were found in the tomb including Tutankhamun’s bed, statues and statuettes, including ‘the statue of Anubis’, models, games and bottles containing scents, ointments and wine; many of the items found were made of pure gold. The walls of the tomb were painted, showing the journey into the afterlife.
Also found in the tomb were the mummified bodies of two babies, believed to have been the stillborn children of Tutankhamun.
‘Curse of the Pharaohs’
On the day the tomb was broken into, an incident happened at Howard Carter’s house. His pet canary was found dead in its cage in the mouth of a cobra snake. At the time, this was interpreted as the royal cobra breaking into Carter’s house, as the cobra was the same as the one worn on the Pharaohs head.
Following this incident, people associated with the tomb started to die and these deaths were attributed to the curse.
The most famous death was Lord Carnarvon who financed the search for the tomb and was present when the tomb was opened.
He died on 5 April 1923 from an infected mosquito bite, only four months after the tomb was opened.
At the time, Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, claimed Carnarvon’s death was the ‘curse of the mummy’. This just fuelled the press and the media went wild for ‘the curse’.
Many deaths have now been attributed to ‘the curse’ including;
Arthur Cruttenden Mace, a member of Carter’s excavation team, who died of Arsenic Poisoning and Sir Archibald Douglas-Reid who was the Radiologist who x-rayed the mummy.
One death that seems to dispute ‘the curse’ is that of Howard Carter himself, who died of natural causes in London on 2 March 1939.
Tagged as: Junior Ancient Egypt
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