Join us as Lisa Worrall goes Outside the Margins.
Hello! waves hysterically
When the lovely Brandilyn asked me if I would jot down a few words once a month, I jumped at the chance. Let’s face it, we all know how much I like the sound of my own voice ☺ Although, having said that, I’ve been staring at the screen for the last hour wondering what on earth I could say that wouldn’t have you yawning and checking your watch. Then it occurred to me, you’re a writer, Lisa, write about writing. After a moments consideration I decided I couldn’t possibly pull that off so had to rapidly come up with something else. And that something else is that last thing I watched on television last night, a documentary about Tutankhamen, the boy king. (Well, laptop as it was on BBCiplayer)
I’ve always been fascinated by the mystery surrounding Tutankhamen, both of his life and his death. But the documentary and the amazing use of today’s technology (which quite frankly baffled me with its brilliance) put to bed one of history’s prevailing unanswered questions. What exactly happened to Tutankhamen? How did he die? How did he live? And most interestingly of all, who were his parents, completely with a little plot twist that any reader wouldn’t have seen coming. (Unlike some of mine)
Tutankhamen became king at around the age of 9, which in itself is amazing. Can you imagine the immense pressure of having the fate of the country in your hands, when all you’d rather be doing is playing with your friends? It’s thought he was about 19 when he died and the programme showed us a 3D image, using forensic technology, of what Tut looked like. It wasn’t the image some probably associate with a proud Egyptian pharaoh. After studying CT scans of Tut’s mummy, forensic pathologists discovered he was born with a club foot and also had a genetic disease called Kohler, which caused severe inflammation of the bones in his malformed foot. This would have meant that he had difficulty walking and was in great pain most of the time. This discovery put paid to the suggestion that Tut was killed in a chariot accident. The poor soul wouldn’t have even been able to drive a chariot. He would not have been able to proportion his weight correctly on the platform, which in his day would have merely been leather webbing. The other theory, of course, is that he was murdered, as there were bone fragments found inside the skull during previous x-rays of the mummy. The CT scan revealed, however, that the bone fragments broke off after mummification so couldn’t possibly have been caused by a blow to the head. So that put the murder supposition to rest. To really find out what probably caused Tut’s death, they had to look at his parents. But who were they?
Some had already put forward that Tut’s father was Akhenaten and, through DNA samples taken from both Tut and his proposed father, the doctors were able to confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are father and son. But who was his mother? Well, in the tomb of Akhenaten were found three other mummies. One an older woman, one that was dubbed The Younger Lady and a child. Further DNA samples were taken and it was discovered The Younger Lady was indeed Tut’s mother. But here’s the plot twist. After further investigation, DNA samples of The Younger Lady, Tut’s mother, and Akhenaten, Tut’s father, were compared and it was found they were brother and sister! Apparently, ancient Egyptians thought keeping the bloodline within the royal family kept the blood pure. Unfortunately, as science knows, incest creates very poor health in any offspring and the greater chance of defect.
Sadly, it was probably the fact that his mother and father were also brother and sister that killed Tut at such a young age. As well as the club foot, the doctors noted a definite pre-mortem fracture which hadn’t had time to heal in the young king’s left knee. Eventual investigation from certain physical traits in his father, his grandfather and great-grandfather, and in Tut himself, showed that the young king suffered from a form of epilepsy. So what do we gain from all this?
I’m sure there are those out there who wanted any of the great conspiracy theories to be true, after all, the writer in me does long for a good mystery but it doesn’t look as though Tut’s end was quite that dramatic. Taking into account the epilepsy, the fractured knee that hadn’t had time to mend and other governing factors, it looks as though poor Tut had a seizure which caused him to fall down and he broke his leg. Infection took hold and killed him.
It might not be as Hollywood an ending as people hoped, but I doubt it will stop him being one of the most famous figures in history. It certainly won’t change my mind. However it happened doesn’t really matter. It was still a life cut way too short.
I hoped that kept you awake and you didn’t fall face down in your coffee cup, and I shall see you next month when I shall attempt to entertain you once again. Happy November to you all!
~ Lisa Worrall
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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