Slug: Ancient Egypt Fatimah Badawy
CAIRO, Egypt, Nov. 24th – How old do you think one has to be to be fit for rule of an entire empire? Twenty-five? Thirty? Fifty? And how strong do you have to be to maintain your position of power? It probably makes most sense to be old with experience and powerful with command to rule your people. But somehow, that wasn’t the case with Ancient Egyptians. Their rulers proved that power wasn’t just in appearance and perhaps wisdom developed early in their generations because King Tutankhamen was nine years old when he wore the crown of the king.
Genetic testing revealed that he was the grandson of the pharaoh Amenhotep II, and the son of Akhenaten of Egypt’s New Kingdom circa 1550 B.C. Before Akhenaten’s reign ended, he had reversed many of the ancient religious systems of the Egyptians, favoring the worship of a single god rather than continue with their known polytheism. That changed when King Tut, known as Tutankhaten as a prince, after his father for ten years before his death at the age of 19, around 1324 B.C.
King Tut’s reign was unlike his fathers in many respects. He returned his people to the worship of many gods and reminded them of their centuries old culture. These efforts of his were not unnoticed – he was honored and loved for it all.
However, research revealed that this formidable pharaoh of Ancient Egypt was most likely living with many disorders that weakened and eventually killed his immune system. The research indicated that the king had clubfoot and most likely walked with a cane. Other scans and genetic fingerprinting showed that he had several disorders that made his immune system vulnerable to any attacks.
It seems almost ironic that someone in the position of so much power was so weak, but King Tut proved that power didn’t necessarily need to come in physical form.
“I think at the moment we did not even want to break the seal [on the inner chamber of the tomb of Tutankhamen], for a feeling of intrusion had descended heavily upon us…. We felt that we were in the presence of the dead King and must do him reverence, and in imagination could see the doors of the successive shrines open one after the other till the innermost disclosed the King himself,” British Archeologist Howard Carter said in 1922.
King Tut commanded his veneration even thousands of years later in his tomb – if that’s not power of a successfully ruling king, then what is?