History Embalmed

Did Ay Kill King Tut?

Investigating the possible Murder of Tutankhamun
Background information about the possible murder of Tutankhamun and a prime suspect - Ay. In 1968 and 1978 x-ray examinations of the mummy of Tutankhamun revealed that the mummy of King Tut had a mysterious dense spot on the lower back of the skull. This lead to speculation that the young King Tut had been killed, or murdered, by a blow on his head. But did Did Ay Kill King Tut?

Did Ay Kill King Tut? - The Suspect Ay
Ay, the Vizier of King Tut, has been put forward as a prime suspect in the possible murder of King Tut.

But who was Ay and what relationship did he have with the Pharaoh Tutankhamun?

  • His Position: He rose to prominence as Master of Horses during the reign of Akhenaten (the father of Tutankhamun), then served as Grand Vizier to Tutankhamun during which time he held enormous power over the boy-king
  • Children of Ay: He was the father of Nefertiti who married Akhenaten
  • He became Pharaoh immediately after the death of King Tut

  • He usurped the throne from General Horemheb who had been designated as the Boy King Tutankhamun's "Deputy" and was the officially recognised as heir to King Tut
  • He reigned for just four years (1325 BC -1321 BC) - he was an old man, in his late sixties, when he became Pharaoh
  • His Wives: Tey and Ankhesenpaaten
    • Ankhesenpaaten was previously the wife of Tutankhamun. She was also the daughter Nefertiti and therefore the granddaughter of Ay
    • He married Ankhesenpaaten who was in her early twenties, against her wishes. She died mysteriously during his reign
  • Pharaoh Ay continued the ideals of the highly unpopular religion initiated by Akhenaten which worshipped just one god, the Aten instead of worshipping the old gods

Did Ay Kill King Tut? - Did Ay have the Opportunity?
As his Chief Advisor, Vizier and family member Ay would have had close contact with Tutankhamun. They would have probably had time alone together. Ay would have had the opportunity to kill King Tut, had he wanted.

Did Ay Kill King Tut? - Did Ay have a Motive?
Ay had a number of motives for wanting the death of Tutankhamun.

  • Politics - he was a leading figure in the politics and used being in the position of considerable power. Ay was responsible for the Tomb of Tutankhamun. It was ten times smaller than many other royal tombs. Only one room had wall paintings and these were extremely slapdash. Did Ay want to get rid of the Pharaoh as quickly and with as least fuss as possible?

  • Religion - Ay had been pivotal in the religious revolution which radically changed Ancient Egypt from a polytheistic religion, with many gods, to monotheism (the worship of one god). During his reign he continued these ideals. However, the young Pharaoh Tutankhamun had been put under considerable pressure to make compromises regarding the new religion as so many people were clamouring to revert to the old religion. Those most vocal about the old religion were the priests of the god Amun who had lost their position of power and wealth with the introduction of the new religion which worshipped just one god, the Aten. Tutamkhamun had been forced to leave the new city of Armana built to celebrate Aten and move back to Thebes, the central location of the priests of Amun. Ay would have been a firm supporter of the new religion and might have feared that this would be completely lost if Tutankhamun continued to rule

  • Money - revenue went to the state, rather than the priests of the old religion

  • Rivalry with General Horemheb - Ay might have believed that he should have been designated as  "Deputy" to Tutankhamun and officially recognised as heir to King Tut, rather than General Horemheb. Horemheb also favoured the old religion

Did Ay Kill King Tut?
Each section of this website addresses all topics and provides interesting facts and information about the Golden Age of Pharaohs and of Egypt and the mysterious death of King Tut. The Sitemap provides full details of all of the information and facts provided about the fascinating subject of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

Who Killed King Tut

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