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Tutankhamen: The Search for an Egyptian Kingby Joyce Tyldesley
Synopses & Reviews
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 Tutankhamens 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 Tutankhamens ten years as king were dedicated in a large part to reversing Akhenatens theological program and returning to a more traditional form of religion, art, and writing. There are some missing links in the story of Tutankhamens 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 Tutankhamens 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. Tutankhamens 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 tombs 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 projects financier, Lord Carnarvon, suddenly and mysteriously died. His death prompted the first of many curse myths surrounding Tutankhamen, and even the deaths of Carters canary and Carnarvons dog have been attributed to mysterious spells and spirits that protect his tomb. Since those first days of discovery, King Tuts 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 Tuts mysteries. But many remain, in particular the myth of Tutankhamens Curse, and Tyldesley explores its iterations and it roots. The discovery of King Tuts 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 Tutankhamens 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, Tutankhamen explores the realities of King Tuts life, while exposing the fabrications that have helped to define his legacy.
"British Egyptologist Tyldesley (Daughters of Isis) adds her voice to numerous books and articles illuminating the life, reign, and death of the world's best-known pharaoh. Tutankhamen was the young 18th Dynasty king who famously rejected the chaotic and unpopular radical religious innovations of his sun-god-worshipping predecessor, Akhenaten, for the certainties of traditional Egyptian polytheism. Reigning for 10 years, 3,000-plus years ago, his untimely death at 18 plunged his country into a succession crisis that caused the 18th Dynasty to fall. Records of the early 19th Dynasty Ramesside kings, X-rays, autopsy evidence, and grave artifacts indicate that, contrary to popular belief, Tutankhamen probably wasn't a great or victorious general, didn't die of tuberculosis, and wasn't murdered by his successor, but likely died by accident, perhaps while engaging in the dangerous royal sport of ostrich hunting. While still a child, Tutankhamen married the third-born daughter of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, and Tyldesley presents the DNA analysis pointing to the likelihood that his wife was his older half-sister, guiding readers through the maze of complex royal family relationships and issues of identification of mummies. His mother was one of Akhenaten's secondary harem queens and his elderly successor, Ay, was possibly King Tut's great-grandfather. This is an authoritative, well-documented addition to a much-trodden field of inquiry. Photos, maps. Agent: George Lucas, Inkwell Management." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book News Annotation:
This is a detailed yet accessible presentation. The author is highly expert, yet writes for a serious general audience, offering thorough discussion of King Tut--the archaeological evidence, the research, and the speculations about his life and death. Sixteen color plates support the text. Tyldesley is affiliated with the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology, U. of Manchester, UK. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
An expert Egyptologist sheds new light on the life of King Tutankhamen, revealing the startling truth behind his mysterious legacy.
The discovery of King Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922 was perhaps the world’s most important archaeological find. The only near-intact royal tomb to be preserved in the Valley of the Kings, it has supplied an astonishing wealth of artifacts, spurred a global fascination with ancient Egypt, and inspired folklore that continues to evolve today. Despite the tomb’s prominence, however, precious little has been revealed about Tutankhamen himself. In Tutankhamen, acclaimed Egyptologist Joyce Tyldesley unshrouds the enigmatic king. She explores his life and legacy as never before, and offers a compelling new window onto the world in which he lived.
Tutankhamen ascended to the throne at approximately eight years of age and ruled for only ten years. Although his reign was brief and many of his accomplishments are now lost to us, it is clear that he was an important and influential king ruling in challenging times. His greatest achievement was to reverse a slew of radical and unpopular theological reforms instituted by his father and return Egypt to the traditional pantheon of gods. A meticulous examination of the evidence preserved both within his tomb and outside it allows Tyldesley to investigate Tutankhamen’s family history and to explore the origins of the pervasive legends surrounding Tutankhamen’s tomb. These legends include Tutankhamen’s “curse”—an enduring myth that reaffirms the appeal of ancient magic in our modern world
A remarkably vivid portrait of this fascinating and often misunderstood ruler, Tutankhamen sheds new light on the young king and the astonishing archeological discovery that earned him an eternal place in popular imagination.
About the Author
Dr. Joyce Tyldesley holds a first class honors degree in archaeology from Liverpool University, and a doctorate from Oxford University. She is currently a lecturer in Egyptology at the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology, Fellow of the Manchester Museum and Honorary Research Fellow at Liverpool University. She has acted as consultant on several television projects and has excavated extensively in Egypt and Europe. Her previous books include a sequence of popular biographies of Egyptian pharaohs, with particular emphasis on the lives of prominent Egyptian women. She lives in Bolton, England.
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