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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Mummy of Seqenenre Tao!

Seqenenre Tao II (I do not make these names up, I swear) was the almost-founder of ancient Egypt's New Kingdom. I don't want to bore you all with a run-down of Egypt's eras (we'll save that for another post), but essentially Tao wanted to take Egypt back from the Hyksos invaders who controlled the country during the Second Intermediate Period. He failed, but his son finally succeeded a few years later, ushering in the 18th Dynasty (Hatshepsut's dynasty!).

Why did Tao fail? Because he got hit in the head with an axe.



See that long blow at the top of his head? That's the spot. And the other arrows point to the spear that went through his skull.

Ow.

Based on the angle of wounds in his neck it is probable that Tao was lying down when the fatal blows were struck, possibly in battle or while he was asleep (but certainly not both). There are no wounds on his hands to indicate a struggle. However, because his mummification was fairly shoddy (the embalmers didn't even attempt to remove the brain), it has been hypothesized that he died in battle against the Hyksos and not at court.

If you're interested in reading more about Tao and his family, Pauline Gedge wrote a trilogy of books about the time period- The Hippopotamus Marsh, The Oasis, and The Horus Road.

I hope I didn't gross anyone out with the mummy pic!

Photo from About.com.

13 comments:

Amalia T. said...

Unconscious on the Battle Field, but since he was still breathing they wanted to make sure they finished the job? That might count as Asleep AND in battle! :)

Matthew Delman said...

I love the names of Ancient Egypt. It sounds like fantasy, until you find out that people were really named things like Seqenenre Tao and Tutankhamun. It's awesome.

Dreamstate said...

This is fabulous! I love the drama of ancient Egypt. My favorite period is the Amarna period, with Ahkenaten and the whole 'I'm changing the whole religion and moving the city' thing! Those Egyptians really knew how to shake it up.

Bethany Mattingly said...

I find these people's lives so fascinating! Thanks for sharing them with us.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Amalia- That just might count as both!

Matt- Yeah, the names are pretty crazy. It's even more complicated in actuality because the Egyptians didn't have the letter E. Our Western eyes don't like to see Sqnnr Tao or Hatshpsut.

Dreamstate- I like Amarna too. There's a lot of fun stuff in there!

Bethany- You're more than welcome!

Lisa and Laura said...

Ooh creepy! This is fascinating.

Lisa and Laura said...

Oh, and I just saw a clip about King Tut on...hmm, I can't remember which show now...but they said they think he died from malaria/broken leg and his parents were brother and sister. Again, fascinating.

Falen said...

i love me some mummy pics.
but not neccesarily bog mummies - those are just creepy...

Jemi Fraser said...

Mummies are very cool. My kids always love it when I tell them about the brain removal. :)

Wendy Sparrow said...

Awesome, possum. Either in battle or in his sleep... it was probably a quick death I'd imagine. Definitely not gross.

Terresa said...

The mummy pic is perfect. I need to go & grab my 3 elementary aged school kids now & show them this. Gross but cool.

Dominique said...

Dude, that is intense. I seriously hope that is not how I go. An axe to the head. Yikes.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Wow. That is quite the blog photo Steph! Too bad my 7 y.o. isn't here - he'd love it! :-)

These are the most fascinating posts.