Tutankhamun, or King Tut as followers of the Boy King called him, ascended the Egyptian throne at age 9. Because Tut became king at an age when modern children would still be in third or fourth grade, he ruled with the help of advisors. Information on the British Museum's website suggests that two officials, a vizier and a general, ruled with Tut, both of whom succeeded him as king.
About the Boy King
Tutankhamun, Egypt's Boy King, emerged into the world's consciousness when archaeologist Howard Carter discovered his tomb in the 1920s. It is likely that Tut was the son of Akhenaten, as the boy king's birth name suggests. It reflected the boy's lineage from the pharaoh who worshipped the sun god, Aten. Tut came to the throne before he was a teenager and died at around the age of 17 or 18. Tutankhamun became the 12th ruler of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt, and his reign lasted from 1334 to 1325 B.C. His young age required that he take on advisors to help him rule, as he was too young to do so on his own when he was crowned king.
Ay, the Vizier
Ay, or Aye as his name is sometimes spelled, acted as vizier to King Tut. A vizier is an official of high rank in the government. According to the Tour Egypt website, Ay was among the advisors to Tutankhamun who suggested that Tut turn Egypt's society back to its old ways. Before Tut became king, Pharaoh Akhenaten -- Tut's rumored father -- turned the once polytheistic country into a monotheistic society when he declared that all Egyptians should solely worship the sun-disk god, Aten. Ay recognized the dissatisfaction that many Egyptians felt about the change from polytheism to monotheism under Akhenaten.
Ay, along with another Tut advisor, Horemheb, suggested that the boy change his name from his birth name, Tutankhaten, to Tutankhamun. The "aten" portion of Tut's name reflected Akhenaten's influence and lineage. The altering of the latter part of Tut's name to "amun" from the original "aten" signaled a change in the country's religious leanings. Whereas Tut's father Akhenaten espoused monotheism, Tut's reign marked a shift back to polytheism.
Horemheb, the General
Horemheb enjoyed a long military career before becoming an advisor to Tut. His career likely started under Amenhotep III and continued through Akhenaten's and Tut's reigns. Despite his lofty accomplishments, including later becoming pharaoh himself, little is known of the general. Horemheb was also responsible for future generations not knowing much about the Boy King. According to Tour Egypt, the general destroyed the records about Tutankhamun's reign when he himself became pharaoh.
Tut's Successors Become Kings
Both Ay and Horemheb eventually became kings of Egypt after Tut's death. Ay succeed Tutankhamun first, taking over the throne at about the age of 70. He married one of Tut's widows, Ankhesenamun. He reigned about four years, from 1325 to 1321 B.C. Horemheb took the throne after Ay died. His reign lasted almost three decades. He was the last monarch of the 18th Dynasty. Both Ay and Horemheb have been named as possible assassins of the Boy King. However, according to the BBC, Tutankhamun's death was likely the result of an infection resulting from a broken leg.
- British Museum: Tutankhamun, King of Egypt (1336-1327 BC)
- Tour Egypt: Ay, Successor to Tutankhamun
- Tour Egypt: Who Killed King Tut?
- History.com: 6 Secrets of King Tut
- BBC: Tutankhamun (1336 BC-1327 BC)
- Tour Egypt: Tutankhamun (King Tut) of the 18th Dynasty
- Tour Egypt: Horemheb, the Last King of Egypt's 18th Dynasty
- Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images