King Tut’s Mummified Erection May Provide Angle On Ancient Religious Conflict

800px-Howard_Carter_in_the_King_Tutankhamen's_tomb

Pic: Harry Burton (PD)

King Tutankhamun’s father was Ahkenaten, who among other things instituted a new heliocentric religion that led to the persecution of Egypt’s priestly class. Tut (incidentally, my favorite honky) rolled back much of his father’s radical changes, apparently something the priests wished him to continue in death.

Via HuffPost:

Egypt’s King Tutankhamun was embalmed in an unusual way, including having his penis mummified at a 90-degree angle, in an effort to combat a religious revolution unleashed by his father, a new study suggests.

The pharaoh was buried in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings without a heart (or a replacement artifact known as a heart scarab); his penis was mummified erect; and his mummy and coffins were covered in a thick layer of black liquid that appear to have resulted in the boy-king catching fire.

These anomalies have received both scholarly and media attention in recent years, and a new paper in the journal Études et Travaux by Egyptologist Salima Ikram, a professor at the American University in Cairo, proposes a reason why they, and other Tutankhamun burial anomalies, exist.

The mummified erect penis and other burial anomalies were not accidents during embalming, Ikram suggests, but rather deliberate attempts to make the king appear as Osiris, the god of the underworld, in as literal a way as possible. The erect penis evokes Osiris’ regenerative powers; the black liquid made Tutankhamun’s skin color resemble that of Osiris; and the lost heart recalled the story of the god being cut to pieces by his brother Seth and his heart buried.

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  • InfvoCuernos

    “walk with an erection” was how we used to sing that old Bangles song about walking like an Egyptian. I didn’t realize there was some factual basis to it.