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Tut's death mask

Tutankhamun was an 18th Dynasty pharaoh most famous for his tomb, which was discovered by Howard Carter. As an actual pharaoh, his successes are debated: since he came to the throne aged nine, how much of his actions were his, and how much were those of his officials? He died at 18, after only nine years of rule, so he didnít have time to do all that much.

Tutankhamun came to power after Akhenatenís Amarna Period, and his Restoration Stela proclaims how he returned the old gods to Egypt and put things right. He moved the capital city back to Thebes, restored temples, had a few wars, and then died. Itís been shown through modern investigations that he probably wasnít killed by his vizier, Ay, but a lot of media likes to say he was anyway. (He was probably killed by complications arising from an injury he got in a chariot accident while hunting and malaria. There's also speculation that he had temporal lobe epilepsy.)

He is the only pharaoh popularly known by a nickname: "King Tut".

Relevant Tropes:

  • A Child Shall Lead Them: He was nine when he came to the throne.
  • Ancient Egypt: Obviously.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Akhensenamun, his wife, may have been his half-sister. Or his first cousin depending on whether Tut was the son of Akhenaten or of Akhenaten's brother Smenkhkara.
  • Evil Chancellor: Ay, his vizier. It was originally thought that Ay murdered him, but subsequent examinations of his body makes this unlikely.
  • Historical Beauty Update: Tutankhamun had an overbite, a slight cleft palate, and a club foot, and was probably not what we'd call handsome. You'd never know it from his funeral mask, though.
  • History Marches On: It was long thought that Ay killed Tut, but evidence shows that he probably died from a broken leg that got infected, and he also had malaria. Despite this, many works say he was murdered because it makes for a better story.
  • I Have Many Names: As all pharaohs did, had five different pharaonic names.
  • Irony: Tut died young as pharaoh and was part of a dynasty that was quickly discredited. As a result, he becomes utterly forgotten among the Egyptians... especially the tomb robbers, who overlooked his paltry little hole and went for the pharaohs that had more valuables. Jump Cut to the 20th century, when archaeologists uncover Tut's mostly intact tomb and all the historic wonders inside. As a result, King Tut is one of the most recognized pharaohs of our day.
  • Mummy: Tut is most famous for his tomb: while all the others were robbed in antiquity, his was robbed in the 20th century by Howard Carter.
  • Retcon: When Seti I drew up his Abydos kinglist, Tut (along with his father Akhenaten and his successor, Ay) was missing. Instead, Horemheb's reign began after the death of Amenhotep III (the predecessor of Akhenaten, and Tut's possible grandfather).
  • Royal Decree: The Restoration Stela.
  • Sudden Name Change: Changed his name to Tutankhamun from Tutankhaten when he changed Egypt's religion. (We know because artefacts in his tomb sometimes have both names.)
  • Tangled Family Tree: Married his half-sister, and recent DNA tests prove he is the product of Brother-Sister Incest.

References to the man in media:


  • "King Tut" by Steve Martin.
  • "Dead Egyptian Blues" by Trout Fishing In America.


Western Animation
Ancient Egyptian HistoryUsefulNotes/EgyptRamses II
True Art Is IncomprehensibleImageSource/ArtThe Roman Republic
Turner Broadcasting SystemAdministrivia/Useful Notes Pages in MainThe Two Certainties In Britain

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