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Review: Assassination/Tut

or

The Assassination of King Tut
What was the curse of the pharaoh?
Read: The Golden Age of Tutankhamun: Divine Might and Splendor in the New Kingdom by Zahi Hawass. Click right.

To suffer the early deaths of many of his relations?

To leave the home and the religion that he was raised in?

To shoulder the responsibilities for an empire at 10-years old?
To be considered means--not a man--to an end: restore the power of the priests of Amun?

Or is it to die at the hands of another?
Tutankhamun, one of the best-known figures from antiquity, is known for his riches, for the superstitions and rumor that sprang forth when Howard Carter found his tomb in 1922, for the wonder that surrounds the romantic imaginings about the ancient civilization and the power of pharaoh.

But more than anything, the modern world has been fascinated by the spector of so rich and potentially powerful king dying at 18.

Tutankhamun, because of the pull of the lore surrounding his life and death, has been the subject of many documentaries. And this latest offering is a feature-length investigation into the death of the the boy-king: THE ASSASSINATION OF KING TUT, is nothing if not sensational. Of course the subject has been visited before, most notably in Egyptologist Bob Brier's documentary and book of the same title: The Murder of Tutankhamen.

This time, Brier the investigator is replaced with a pair of American detectives: Gregory
Cooper, a former FBI agent and Provo, Utah police chief and Mike King, a former director of the Utah criminal Tracking and Analysis Project at the Attorney General's office, Salt Lake City.

Okay. So the first thing that comes to mind is: what do a couple of “policemen” know about ancient Egypt?
Howard Carter,
Egytian Museum A reasonable question. And detectives Cooper and King have their answers. They have taken a general interest in the mysterious death of Tutankhamun and married it to their criminal investigational skills.
Pictured left, Howard Carter in the tomb of Tutankhamun, 1922.
  Added to their own special talents, the detectives have had access to the best that forensic science can offer, along with a team of legal and forensic consultants and Egyptologists. That said. Cooper and King start out looking for
a murderer.
 
Many in the academic community are not convinced that Tutankhamun was murdered. They don’t rule out the possibility of murder, but are reluctant to label a death so far in the distant path as a crime. What most scientists want is concrete evidence. Cooper and King proceed to gather all of the physical evidence and to interpret the political environment and analyze the symbolism of the various tomb paintings, statuary and hieroglyphs for indications of murder.
Anubis, from Tutankhamun funerary goods
Cooper and King apply modern techniques and forensic science to identify the murderer
of the boy-king Tutankhamun. As Brier before them, Cooper and King considered the
chief suspects:
Horemheb before the god, Amun, Luxor Museum  
  • Ay, the chief advisor, was suspected because he was an advisor to Akhenaten, had been in his father Amunhotep III’s court. He “knew where all of the bodies were buried,” as it were. Cooper and King, surmised that from Tutankhamun’s coronation at 10 years, old until he reached 18, Ay would have held the power and might have resented relinquishing the reins of authority to a mere boy. After Tutankhamun’s
    death, the elderly married the boy-king’s wife, Ankhsenamun and was crowned pharaoh.


  • Horemheb the general of the armies, was suspected because he had enormous powers he could have defended himself against any accusations, with the might of Egypt’s armies. the high priest Maya and even the young king's wife, Ankhsenamun. All had access to the king, the means to commit murder and, it would seem, motive to kill the king, yet Egyptologists are divided. Some scientists aren't convinced that the king was murdered. Once Tutankhamun died, his wife Ankhsenamun reached out to a Hittite king,
    sending a request for “one of his sons”--she wanted to marry a royal personage.


  • Ankhsenamun, the young wife of the king--had been married to Tutankhamun when he was a boy. They likely grew up together and had hopes of building a great empire together. They had only each other. All the adults in their lives,
    Akhenaten, Nefertiti, Amunhotep III, and Tiye, were all dead. The religion they had been raised in, was now banished and she with her young husband had to uphold the state religion, the worship of Amun. Unfortunately, the couple suffered two miscarriages--the two premature babies’ mummified remains were entombed with Tutankhamun’s remains. Some have suggested that she Ankhsenamun felt that the boy king was
    infertile and thus sought to rid herself of him.


  • Maya, the treasurer was suspected and the reasons in his case are murkier, but basically he was suspected that he had misappropriated funds or had become used to living lavishly on the kings coffers and as the king came of age, he knew that time for improvident spending would soon end and, perhaps, that he would be killed for his indiscretions.
The pair of detectives are sincere and make a case for murder, as they survey the burial site artifacts. And finally, the x-rays of the boy-king which their forensic specialists conclude reveal a location on the back of the skull that may indicate a hemorrhage, perhaps one caused by a deliberate blow.

Dr. Ernst Rodin a professor of neurology and contributors’ analysis conclude that the king may have had a crippling disease that would have made him extremely susceptible to a blow on the head.
 
  Cooper and King along with an impressive team of forensic specialists, including a chief medical examiner, a forensic psychologist and law professor Alan Dershowitz but the conclusions align with modern thinking and are merely overlaid over the death of Tutankhamun--One even went so far as to suggest that Tutankhamun’s predecessor was “a Stalin, a Hitler.”  
Pharaoh Akhenaten, The Boston Museum of Fine Arts Cooper and King along with an impressive team of forensic specialists, including a chief medical examiner, a forensic psychologist and law professor Alan Dershowitz but the conclusions align with modern thinking and are merely overlaid over the death of Tutankhamun--One even went so far as to suggest that Tutankhamun’s predecessor was “a Stalin, a Hitler.”
Hymn to the Aten
  Incredible as it may seem, many overlook the world’s first known monotheist. Headstrong, reactionary--angry with the priests of Amun that threatened, not just his religion, but threatened the power of the king himself, Akhenaten believed fervently in one god. And came to insist, perhaps unwisely, that everyone except his god. Fanatical
in his approach, perhaps but a reading of Akhenaten’s The Hymn to the Aten should put the lie to careless pronouncements that infer some connection to mass murderers and the like.
 
But the film is worth watching--If for no other reason than for the views of Egypt, some intriguing discussions and for a look at the computer reconstruction of the face of Tutankhamun.
Purchase The Assassinationn of King Tut
 
  • See who Detectives Cooper and King decided was the murderer:

Cooper and King suspect
Tutankhamun senet board,
Egyptiam Museum We invite your comments on any aspect of this review. And we invite you to share your opinion: was Tutankhamun murdered? If you believe so why? If you think not, say why? Please include your name city, state or precinct and country. Your email address will not be published.
Share your comments:

More on Tutankhamun
Read More about TUTANKHAMUN in Dr. Zahi Hawass' latest book! Click below
More Movie & TV REVIEWS:
The Real Scorpion King
Golden Mask of Tutankhamun, Egyptian Museum

The Scorpion King
Your opinions . . .
I think that the suspicion that Tutankhamen was murdered by Ay is a reasonable guess, but I think that the detectives overlooked the fact that the murderer could have been one of King Tut's family members, since his actions of reinstating the other Gods and Goddesses enraged members of the family. I believe that Ay and Tut's wife had the motives and posibly could have conspired against Tut together. Ay might have been able to take advantage of her as he most likely had done in the past, using her younger age and inexperience against her without her knowing. Ay was like Tut's father so the young children trusted him, giving himself an advantage in later years. Perhaps, the commander and cheif of the army also had some sort of deal with Ay, getting himself the throne after Ay was deseased. He could have thought that the country would not survive with such a young Pharaoh, and knowing that Ay was old and would die in a few years, he had a perfect chance...and he took it. King Tutankhamen was murdered in my opinion by a small group of conspirators, all having something to gain...

-from gazd9

It is almost certain that he did not die of natural causes judging by injuries to his rib cage. He did not survive very long -days- after
sustaining those injuries which probably were the cause of his death. However, there is no irrefutable proof that they were the result of an assassination attempt in my opinion. Rarely in Egyptian historical accounts has the death or the nature of the death for a pharaoh been recorded. This is true even for benign deaths from old age such as Rameses II, or obvious murder/assassinations such as the wounds to Tao II Seqenenre's skull so vividly attest to. There were allusions to an assassination of a Middle Kingdom pharaoh, which is probable, and to an assassination attempt against Rameses III. Thus we can only speculate about Tutankhamun's passing. One thing to note: the New Kingdom and the especially the Amarna period, by having left so many glimpses into that time is more intriguing and baffling than probably any other period in Egyptian history.

em hotep,

Amir Bey
 
 
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