Scholars have long known that Egyptian pharaoh Seqenenre-Taa-II suffered a horrific death at some point in the 16th century BC, but the events surrounding the ancient kingThe final moments are the subject of debate, with some scholars claiming he was killed asleep as a result of a palace plot and others suggested he died on the battlefield.
A new study published in the journal Limits in Medicine pull in computed tomography CT images, as well as X-rays taken in the 1960s, to describe the possible circumstances that led to the violent destruction of Seqenenre.
As Stephanie Pappas reports for Direct science, Pharaoh’s’s CT scans revealed a series of potentially fatal head injuries, including a 2.75-inch blow to the forehead, a deep stab wound to the base of the skull, and a 1.25-inch incision over the right eye. Given the lack of defensive injuries, researchers conclude that warriors from the rival Hyksos dynasty captured and tied the ruler before brutally executing him on the battlefield.
“This suggests that Seqenenre was indeed in the front line with his soldiers risking his life to liberate Egypt,” says the lead author. Sahar Saleem, a radiologist at Cairo University, in one declaration.
Prior to the execution, Seqenenre’s captors likely tied his hands behind his back, leaving the king defenseless. The still tight position of his hands and wrists is indicative of “cadaveric spasm“A condition that ‘affects yr the limbs of individuals who underwent violent deaths and whose nervous systems were disturbed at the time of death,” according to the study.
Once Pharaoh’s hands were tied, numerous enemies attacked him, striking him with weapons such as daggers, double-edged swords and spears. for GizmodoGeorge Dvorsky, any of the severe head and face injuries could have been fatal, causing concussion, blood loss and intracranial trauma. Together, write Saleem and co-author Zahi Hawass, they were “almost certainly fatal.”
Based on the fracture position on Seqenenre’s forehead, researchers suggest that the attacker responsible for the injury was in an elevated position – for example, riding a horse. Otherwise, the king may have been sitting or kneeling. The aggressor probably used a “heavy object as sharp as a sword or an ax” to deliver the deadly blow, according to the study.
“In a normal execution of a bound prisoner, it can be assumed that only one attacker strikes, perhaps from different angles, but not with different weapons,” Saleem says in the statement. “Seqenenre’s death was more of a ceremonial execution.”
According to London Times‘Tom Whipple, early examinations of Pharaoh’s mother – discovered by modern scholars in 1881 – had recorded most of these injuries. But the new study offers additional insights, including “key information” represented by cadaveric hand spasms and previously unknown facial scars hidden by embalmers. Scans also showed that the ruler was in his 40s at the time of his death.
The statement notes that individuals in charge of preparing Seqenenre’s buried body for burial attempted to hide his head wounds under a layer of material that acted similarly to fillers in modern plastic surgery. Although researchers had previously attributed the poor state of mummy conservation to the lack of adequate supplies of embalmers, the apparent sophistication in these embellishment efforts runs counter to that line of thinking. like Gizmodo explains, it is more likely that Seqenenre embalmers only started the mummification process after it began to decay – a reasonable explanation given the difficulties associated with getting debris from the battlefield.
Seqenenre ruled southern Egypt during the year Hyksos the conquest of the northern territories of Egypt (circa 1638 to 1530 BC). Originally emigrants from the Levant, the Hyksos allowed the pharaohs to rule southern Egypt as long as they paid tribute to the Hyksos rulers.
Ancient sources speak of rising tensions between King Hyksos Apofisi and Seqenenre during the 16th century BC Apophis is said to have sent an inflammatory note to Pharaoh complaining that loud hippopotamuses in a pool in Thebes were disturbing his sleep and demanding that the sacred pool be destroyed.
Given the fact that Apophis lived 400 miles from Thebes, in the Hyksos capital of Avaris, Seqenenre saw his decree as a “grave insult”, according to Direct science. Archaeologists are not sure what happened next, but an account shows that Seqenenre called his advisers together after the incident, starting the bloody war that eventually led to his death.
Pharaoh’s sacrifice was not in vain. As Kristin Baird Rattini wrote National Geographic in 2019, son of Seqenenre Ahmose I later led an uprising that drove out Hyksos, reunited Upper and Lower Egypt, and began a prosperous era known as New Kingdom.
“Seqenenre’s death motivated his followers to continue the fight to unite Egypt and start the New Kingdom,” Saleem said in a statement.
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