Why is Tutankhamun so famous?

John Henrique Oct 31, 2020

Still very young, Tutankhamun was king of Egypt, however, despite his short reign, he became one of the most famous Pharaohs of this ancient empire.

Tutankhamun – colloquially known as King Tut – became pharaoh at the age of 9, and held the position until he was 19 years old.

A very short period of time to build a legacy, or even to build a new pyramid.

So, another site had to become his tomb, and many of the objects found with him were not even intended for his burial, bearing someone else’s name on them.

His eternal rest chamber had all the signs of having been set up at the last minute. Tutankhamun’s early death was a surprise.


Precisely because of its unusual location, Tutankhamun’s tomb, discovered in 1922, was sealed, with its interior intact.

Over the centuries, the chamber has not been plundered even once, and all the wealth that was placed in it was still preserved: a treasure appropriate for the burial of a Pharaoh.

There were more than five thousand objects, including jewelry, weapons, and sculptures, in addition to an impressive amount of gold.

King Tut’s coffin was made of thick leaves of beaten gold. Currently, it is worth more than U$1 million.

Daggers found in Tutankhamun's tomb.
Daggers found in Tutankhamun’s tomb. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons).

Details of the room slowly emerged from the mist, strange animals, statues and gold – everywhere the sparkle of gold.

Wrote Howard Carter, the Egyptologist responsible for the discovery, which was one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the 20th century.

The impressive objects found in the Pharaoh’s tomb helped archaeologists better understand what life was like in Ancient Egypt for the ruling class.


Tutankhamun’s popularity was greater after his death than during his lifetime.

Because he became a pharaoh as a child, many of the decisions made during his reign did not come from him, but from royal advisers and important figures in Ancient Egypt, such as Grand Vizier Ay.

Apparently, for much of the period when Tutankhamen was in power, he was just a puppet.

It is also worth noting that in 1332 BC, when Tutankhamun became Pharaoh, the empire was going through a crisis. His recently deceased father, Akhenaton, would have been largely responsible for it.

This is because Akhenaton suddenly decided to put an end to polytheism in Egypt, choosing the god Aton as the main deity that should be worshiped thereafter.

Tutankhamun facial reconstruction.
Tutankhamun facial reconstruction.

Akhenaton ordered the images of all other gods to be destroyed, much to the chagrin of the population and the powerful caste of priests in the kingdom.

With Tutankhamun, Egyptian polytheism was restored, and the empire’s relations with other civilizations were resumed, something that had also been neglected during the previous reign.

Fame after death

The reason behind Tutankhamun’s death is uncertain, and multiple theories try to explain it.

The first was that he was assassinated, but this was later denied.

Currently, researchers believe that a fracture in Tutankhamun’s leg, acquired during a hunt or perhaps in a fall, could have led to fatal complications.

In the end, however, the boy’s accomplishments during his life did not matter as much as the fact that his tomb was found sealed.

His gold, the unique coffin, the mask, the eccentric objects: that was Tutankhamun’s great legacy, his posthumous glory.

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Written by John Henrique

John has a degree in IT and is the founder of Hyperaxion. He is a science enthusiast and can usually be found reading a book or playing role-playing games.


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