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Tutankhamen : The Search for an Egyptian King

ISBN: 9780465020201 | 0465020208
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Perseus Books Group
Pub. Date: 3/6/2012

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In Tutankhamen, famed Egyptologist Joyce Tyldesley describes the life and times of the famed King Tut, offering a vivid portrait of the "Boy King" and the world he ruled, as well as a compelling exploration of the tall tales that have embellished his biography. King Tut ascended to the throne at the age of nine or ten and ruled until his death at the age of eighteen--and his youth and short reign have led some academics to dismiss him as an insignificant king. But Tyldesley shows that, although Tutankhamen's time as pharaoh was short and many of his policies were likely issued under the guidance of his advisors, his accomplishments were considerable. Tutankhamen presided over something of a renaissance in ancient Egyptian culture; his predecessor, Akhenaten, had made radical changes to state theology, and Tutankhamen's ten years as king were dedicated in a large part to reversing Akhenaten's theological program and returning to a more traditional form of religion, art, and writing. There are some missing links in the story of Tutankhamen's life--in particular the subject of his parentage, which scholars continue to debate--but Tyldesley uses clues from his tomb and analysis of ancient scripts to provide a fascinating account of Tutankhamen's reign and its significance. Tutankhamen is unique among the ancient kings of Egypt, for he continues to live a long life after his untimely death. Tutankhamen's tomb--the only intact royal tomb to be preserved in the Valley of the Kings--was uncovered in 1922, and since then has occupied a nearly mystical place in the popular imagination. Drawing on contemporary accounts, newspaper reports, and the writings of Howard Carter, the archaeologist who first discovered the tomb, Tyldesley recounts the exciting archaeological detective work that led to the tomb's discovery, and describes the international excitement that followed. In 1923, as it was becoming clear that the tomb was the greatest archeological find in history, the project's financier, Lord Carnarvon, suddenly and mysteriously died. His death prompted the first of many curse myths surrounding Tutankhamen, and even the deaths of Carter's canary and Carnarvon's dog have been attributed to mysterious spells and spirits that protect his tomb. Since those first days of discovery, King Tut's tomb has supplied an astonishing wealth of artifacts; spurred a global fascination with ancient Egypt; and inspired folklore and legends that continue to evolve today. Tyldesley reveals the truths behind these myths, using the death rituals and beliefs of ancient Egyptians to solve many of King Tut's mysteries. But many remain, in particular the myth of Tutankhamen's Curse, and Tyldesley explores its iterations and it roots. The discovery of King Tut's tomb has initiated a pervasive fascination with the myth of the curse--a fascination that reaffirms the enduring appeal of ancient magic, and reveals the fundamental linkages between Tutankhamen's age and our own. An astonishing account one of the greatest archeological finds of the last century and the young king it delivered to us, Tutankhamenexplores the realities of King Tut's life, while exposing the fabrications that have helped to define his legacy.


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