Considered an unremarkable ruler, Tutankhamun (1336 -1327 B.C.) was made famous in 1922 by British archeologist Howard Carter who uncovered for the first time a tomb untouched by tomb raiders. The tomb was that of Tutankhamun. Actually very little is known about Tutankhamun. He was 8 or 9 years old when he took the throne and died around the age of 17 of unknown causes. His rule is known primarily for a reversal of his father’s decision of honoring Aten, the sun god, before Amun, who was considered the king of the gods. Tutankhamun restored the old religion of Amun.
A great deal of what we know about what Tutankhamun did for fun is derived from what we know about Egyptian society and their leaders, the pharaohs. The pharaohs were the religious and political leaders of ancient Egypt who owned and ruled the land and whose power was only matched by the gods themselves. The immense amount of wealth in their tombs demonstrates how materially rich their lives were. So given their status as gods, what the pharaohs did for fun would have been the best and most extravagant of what the culture offered at the time.
Based on tomb paintings, leisure time for a pharaoh was a grand affair, including hunting, fishing, music, games and parties. There were lavish banquets with hired cooks, entertainment and food and drink. The board game Senet, which comprised a grid of 30 squares and 10 pawns, was also popular. Most likely Tutankhamun played Senet, as a game board and pieces were found inside his tomb. Additionally, Tutankhamun as religious head would have presided over and participated in a variety of Egyptian religious festivals.
What is known about Egyptian festivals has been culled from manuscripts and monument inscriptions. According to “Festivals In Ancient Egypt,” although little is known about the festivals, the large number of them and their annual nature signaled they were important cultural events. The festivals included a procession, food offerings, singing and dancing, as well as a banquet. Many of the principal festivals honored the gods, including Tutankhamun’s patron, Amun. In addition to stately meals, beer and wine were part of the celebration.
Beer & Wine Drinking
Although he was a young pharaoh, Tutankhamun would probably have imbibed both beer and wine, especially being the head of so many religious ceremonies. Beer and wine were central components of Egyptian culture for adults and children alike, which is evidenced by the fact that there was a deity assigned to protect each part of the brewing process. Pharaohs had their own royal breweries, so Tutankhamun had access to the most talented brewers and the best beer in the region. In fact, modern brewers made Tutankhamun Ale, the recipe for which is based on beer residue found in a village called Amarna that dates back to the time of Tutankhamun. If you are curious about what King Tut drank and you have some spare cash, the ale is ranked as one of the 10 most expensive beers in the world!
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