Monday, May 10, 2010

In Search Of... King Tut

What really killed Egypt's boy pharaoh "King Tut," who died in 1324 BC at the age of 19?  The 1970's TV show In Search of..., which I really liked as a kid, once did an episode (May 1979) that examined the boy pharaoh's life, including various hypotheses about his death.  Was he murdered, a teenage victim of court intrigue? You can watch a 10 minute segment from this episode by clicking HERE. "Scholars are not at all certain what caused the death of Tutankhamun" explains a Dr. James Braschler, then the head of the Institute of Antiquities and Christianity at Claremont College, in an interview shown near the end of this episode. "The mummy itself was somewhat decomposed because of  the excessive use of unguents and spices that the priests carried out.  And therefore the physical evidence is ambiguous. Some who have investigated suggest then that the death of Tutankhamun came as a result of respiratory ailments such as tuberculosis or pneumonia." Narrator Leonard Nimoy then immediately adds, "still others believe that his death may have been hastened by poison."  Nimoy goes on to theorize that court priests may have poisoned Tut while he was ill, because they feared losing influence and power over him as he aged from a young boy into adulthood.

As I wrote previously HERE, researchers announced in February that, using modern scientific technology, they had finally been able to determine conclusively what had killed King Tut.  As it turns out, he died of complications resulting from a compound fracture of his leg that he sustained after falling off a chariot on a royal hunting trip (and a severe malaria infection in his brain), not the more glamorous royal assassination. As an aside, James Brashler is still alive today.  He is now a "Professor of Bible" and Director of Graduate Studies at Union Presbyterian Seminary.  You can see his bio (and a current photo) on their website HERE.

No comments:

Post a Comment