UK

Tutankhamun Mummified With Erect Penis To 'Quash Religious Revolution,' Egyptologist Claims

04/01/2014 16:18 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 13:17 GMT
Hisham Ibrahim via Getty Images

Egypt's King Tutankhamun might have been embalmed in an unusual way – with his penis apparently mummified at a 90-degree angle, according to a new study.

Why, you ask? To help quash a religious revolution started by his father, of course.

Now, the connection between these two things may seem unlikely, but Egyptologist Salima Ikram, a professor at the American University in Cairo, has argued the erect penis may in fact point to an ancient religious struggle.

It was an attempt to make the young king appear as Osiris, the god of the afterlife, she has said.

According to ancient history, the erect penis evokes Osiris' regenerative powers, and was an attempt to counter attempts by King Akhenaten to establish a monotheistic religion, the researcher wrote in the journal Études et Travaux.

Tutankhamun's mummified penis eventually broke off from his body after the mummy was discovered, leading to speculation that it had been stolen.

Ikram has yet to encounter another Egyptian mummy buried with an erection. "As far as I know, no other mummy has been found thus far with an erect penis," she told LiveScience in an email.

Unearthed