New research shows that King Tutankhamen was unusually mummified with an erect penis, amongst other anomalies, supporting a particular theory that surrounds his unusual death.
One of Egypt most famous Pharaohs is also one of Egypt's greatest mysteries. The discovery of King Tutankhamen's mummy and his golden treasures has mystified the world and continues to do so with every passing year. Recently, archaeologist and historians are looking at the youngest Pharaoh's penis for answers. So what is King Tut's penis telling us about ancient times? Aside from being well hung, the real question is why was King Tut the only mummy discovered with an erect penis. Since the discovery of his tomb, many have theorised that perhaps it was an accident, but upon further investigation many believe that King Tut was mummified in a specific manner to mimic the appearance of the Osiris, God of the underground.
King Tut's erect penis wasn't the only burial anomaly. The boy king was also coated in an unusual amount of black tar-like goo that stained him black. At the same time, his heart was missing, which isn't uncommon, but not finding a heart scarab in its place is. These facts support the theory made by its discoverer Howard Carter, who noted that the use of large amounts of black liquid seemed like an attempt to depict the Pharaoh as Osiris, as literally as possible. It is this same black fluid that many speculate caught on fire while he was entombed and is responsible for the mummy’s burnt appearance.
This theory has recently re-emerged thanks to a paper published in the Journal Etudes et Travaux by Egyptologist Salima Ikram, a professor at the American University in Cairo. According to Ikram, "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."
The reason for making the king appear as Osiris, Ikram theorises, may have been to undo a religious revolution brought about by Akhenaten, a Pharaoh widely believed to be Tutankhamen’s father.
Akhenaten had tried to focus Egyptian religion around the worship of the Aten, the sun god, going so far as to destroy images of other gods. Tutankhamun was trying to undo these changes and return Egypt back to its traditional religion with its mix of gods, which may be the reason he was mummified in this unique fashion.
As for the absence of Tutankhamen’s heart or heart scarab, Ikram believes it was not stolen, but may be an allusion to a famous story in the legend of Osiris when his body was cut apart by his brother Seth and the god's heart was buried. She also notes that the removal of King Tut's internal organs were unusually brutal and large, reminiscent to Seth's butchery of Osiris.
This is but one theory into the mystery of King Tut' mummy. Here at CairoScene, we find all of this fascinating, but in typical CairoScene fashion we are still hung up, on why his penis was the only erect mummy? If when we die, we get stiff, then how did they keep other mummies flaccid? Conversely, if we all die soft, then how were they able to arouse this king's corpse?
Do we really want to know? What we can say for sure is that this mystery is shaping up to be even larger than the pyramids and the question on how they were built.