November 4 is the day we remember the boy king Tutankhamun because, on this date in 1922, Howard Carter discovered his tomb.
Tutankhamun was born circa 1341 B.C.E.. His father was likely Akhenaten, who had forbidden the worship of many gods in favor of worshiping one, Aten, the sun disk. This had led to much social unrest in Egypt of that time. Following a 17-year reign, he was gone, probably forced to abdicate, and died soon after. His nine-year-old son, Tutankhaten, took over around 1332 B.C.E. He married his half-sister Ankhesenpaaten, who was the same age as he was. The couple had two children, one a miscarriage, and the second stillborn.
Advised by his regent Ay, Tut undid the reforms of his father and reinstated the Egyptian pantheon. The action settled things down, and he seems to have ruled peacefully for about ten years until he suddenly died. The current thinking is that it was from infection from a broken bone, but no one really knows what happened. Tut was buried in a smaller tomb, likely because his own was not ready. However, shortly after his death, General Horemheb seized power and immediately set about wiping Tutankhamun’s name from the official records, He virtually disappeared from history until his tomb was discovered all those years later.
Because of the unexpected death of the young ruler, the tomb was apparently assembled hastily. The antechamber was piled high, in disarray, with gold-covered furniture and dismantled chariots. The annex was full of more gold covered furniture, jars of precious oils and ointments and also food and wine. The burial chamber contained the gold covered shrines and coffins of Tutankhamun.
And finally, for an irreverent look at King Tut, check out this video by Steve Martin from Saturday Night Live.
Quotes about King Tut, Egypt, and Pyramids
When I die, now don’t think that I’m a nut, don’t want no fancy funeral, just one like old King Tut.–Steve Martin
You know, the ancient Egyptians had a beautiful belief about death. When their souls got to the entrance to heaven, the guards asked two questions. Their answers determined whether they were able to enter or not. ‘Have you found joy in your life?’ ‘Has your life brought joy to others?’–Morgan Freeman
From the heights of these pyramids, forty centuries look down on us.–Napoleon Bonaparte
They say the Pharaohs built the pyramids Do you think one Pharaoh dropped one bead of sweat? We built the pyramids for the Pharaohs and we’re building for them yet.–Anna Louise Strong
The pyramid shape is said to hold many secrets and amazing properties. One of them is a sense of wonder.–Vera Nazarian
The pyramids, attached with age, have forgotten the names of their founders.–R. Buckminster Fuller
Today the traveller on the Nile enters a wonderland at whose gates rise the colossal pyramids of which he has had visions perhaps from earliest childhood.–James Henry Breasted
History fades into fable; fact becomes clouded with doubt and controversy; the inscription molders from the tablet: the statue falls from the pedestal. Columns, arches, pyramids, what are they but heaps of sand; and their epitaphs, but characters written in the dust?–Washington Irving
Pyramids, cathedrals, and rockets exist not because of geometry, theories of structures, or thermodynamics, but because they were first a picture- literally a vision-in the minds of those who built them.–Eugene S. Ferguson
Ancient astronauts didn’t build the pyramids. Human beings built the pyramids, because they’re clever and they work hard.–Gene Roddenberry
Build your own pyramids, write your own hieroglyphs.–Kendrick Lamar
A country, after all, is not something you build as the pharaohs built the pyramids, and then leave standing there to defy eternity. A country is something that is built every day out of certain basic shared values.–Pierre Trudeau
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