King Tut Was Embalmed With an Erection

Illustration for article titled King Tut Was Embalmed With an Erection

That's right, folks. Tutankamen was buried with his penis at a 90-degree angle in order to fool his people into believing that he was Osiris, the ancient Egyptian god of the underworld.

The erection was not enough for Egyptologists to come to that conclusion on their own. Experts from the American University of Cairo also noticed that Tut was covered in black liquid and had his heart removed before mummification, to match Osiris's skin tone and burial by brother Seth.

But to what purpose? The Daily Mail article quotes Professor Salima Ikram as saying that Tut mimicked Osiris at his "most powerfully regenerative moment," which sounds to me like old-fashioned megalomania. Good thing to know that Egyptian pharaohs don't lose their penchant for vanity and self-aggrandizement even in death, though I hope the real Osiris never found out what the kid ruler did.


Image via Getty

Share This Story

Get our newsletter



Before we get bogged down, the link to Salima Ikram's original paper is here:…

As a side note (trust me, I'm an Egyptologist): the entire Egyptian kingship system was based on the origin story of Osiris, and later on the conflict between Orisis's son Horus and the usurping brother Seth. Also, Osiris is the legendary origin of mummification in Egyptian royal mythology, as, after jealous brother Seth hacked him into several pieces and distributed them far and wide, his sister-wife Isis (yep, incest) found all the pieces, put them back together and reanimated Osiris long enough to conceive Horus, which she did whilst hovering over his erect penis in the form of a hawk (erm, nope, me neither, there are many things going on here). Every king of Egypt claimed to be the living equivalent of Horus, who established his right to rule by defeating chaos, in the form of his uncle, and basically making everything okay. Once they died, kings took on the likeness of Osiris, who became ruler of the afterworld as he was, unfortunately, irretrievably dead as far as the conscious world goes.