Tutankhamen

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Tutankhamen

Tutankhamen or Tutenkhamon (tōōt´ängkä´mən, –ĕngk–), fl. c.1350 BC, 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 Under Ikhnaton the god Amon had been replaced by Aton, and the reaction in favor of Aton ended under Tutankhamen; thus, the king who had been known as Tutankhaton, changed his name.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).

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