Tutankhamen

Tutankhamen

[toot-ahng-kah-muhn]
Tutankhamen or Tutenkhamon, fl. c.1350 B.C., king of ancient Egypt, of the XVIII dynasty. He was the son-in-law of Ikhnaton and succeeded to the throne after a brief reign by Ikhnaton's successor. Under Ikhnaton the god Amon had been replaced by Aton, and the reaction in favor of Aton ended under Tutankhamen; thus, the king who had been known as Tutankhaton, changed his name. He also abandoned Ikhnaton's new capital, Akhetaton (Tell el Amarna), to return to Thebes, sacred to Amon; he restored the name of Amon, deleted from the monuments by Ikhnaton. The chief officer of state, Horemheb, controlled affairs, successfully stemming the tide of dissolution that had threatened to engulf the kingdom under Ikhnaton. The tomb of Tutankhamen was found (1922) almost intact by Howard Carter and the earl of Carnarvon in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor. Its great wealth of objects afforded a new store of knowledge on Egyptian sculpture and life of the XVIII dynasty. The contents of the tomb, including the mummy and the gold sarcophagus, are now in Cairo.

See studies by H. Carter and A. C. Mace (3 vol., 1923-33; abr. ed. 1972); C. Desroches-Noblecourt (tr., abr. ed. 1965); M. Carter (1972); B. Wynne (1973); E. L. Jones (1978); B. Brier, The Murder of Tutankhamen (1998).

orig. Tutankhaten

Tutankhamen, gold funerary mask found in the king's tomb, 14th century BC; in the Egyptian elipsis

(flourished 14th century BC) Egyptian pharaoh (r. 1333–23 BC) of the 18th dynasty. When he took the throne at about age eight, he was advised to move back to Memphis from Akhetaton, the city of his father-in-law and predecessor, Akhenaton. During his reign the traditional religion was restored after the changes made by Akhenaton. Shortly before he died, while still in his teens, he sent troops to Syria to aid an ally against a group connected with the Hittites. Because his name was among those stricken from the royal lists during the 19th dynasty, his tomb's location was forgotten and his burial chamber was not opened until 1922, when it was discovered by Howard Carter (1873–1939). Its treasures made Tutankhamen perhaps the best-known of the pharaohs despite his early death and limited accomplishments.

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