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The discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb almost a century ago threw up some serious questions and mysteries surrounding the young pharoah’s burial. The mummified remains of Tutankhamun [Credit: National Georgraphic]
Among the most bizarre rituals found in the tomb was that the king’s penis was embalmed at a 90-degree angle – the only mummy to have ever been found with this feature.
Egyptologists from the American University in Cairo have now claimed that this may have been carried out on purpose to make the king appear like Osiris, the god of the underworld, in an attempt to frighten religious revolutionaries.
At the time of his death in 1323 BC, the father of the teenage Egyptian king was said to be leading a religious revolution in the country.
It is believed Akhenaten wanted to destroy the belief in the Egyptian gods and instead worship a sun disc called the Aten.
Tutanhkhamun was trying to tackle this revolution when he was believed to have broken his leg and died from an infection
in the wound.
DNA analysis in 2010 also found traces of malaria in his system.
During mummification a decision was made to not only embalm the erect penis, but also to cover the king’s body in black liquid - similar in colour to the skin of Osiris - and remove his heart.
There was also no sign of a heart scarab, an amulet placed on dead bodies to demonstrate their ‘worthiness’ to travel to the afterlife and for resurrection.
Religious texts claimed Osiris’ heart was removed by his brother Seth and buried separately.
These three rituals, according to Professor Salima Ikram from the university, were done in order to make people think Tutankhamun was the underworld god.
Ikram’s claims are also bolstered by the fact unique decorations on the tomb showed the king as the god Osiris himself, while other tombs in the area showed the king being embraced by Osiris.
The erect penis evokes Osiris at his most powerfully regenerative moment, and is a feature of 'corn-mummies,' the quintessential symbols of rebirth and resurrection created in honour to Osiris,’ explained Ikran in her scientific paper.
Tutankhamun, who became pharaoh at the age of 10 in 1333 B.C, ruled for just nine years until his death. He was the last of the royal line from the 18th dynasty of the New Kingdom, one of the most powerful royal houses of ancient Egypt.
The king was succeeded by the high priest Ay for four years, who married Tutankhamun's widow Ankhesenpamon.
Ay was followed by the military leader Horemheb who ruled for 26 years until he ceded power to Ramses, founder of the 19th dynasty.
Stunning funerary treasure was found in his tomb, including an 24.2lb solid gold death mask encrusted with lapis lazuli and semi-precious stones.
Author: Victoria Woollaston | Source: Daily Mail [January 06, 2014]
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