This Just In: King Tut Was… Not So Hot, Akshully.

All of the major news outlets have been running stories in the last couple of days about the groundbreaking new discoveries related to the life of King Tut. Some recent DNA testing of mummies buried with him around the same time has revealed more details about his life, genealogy and appearance.

Most notably, there were overwhelming discoveries of congenital weaknesses in all of the mummies, as a result of inbreeding within the family.

Tut himself suffered from severe scoliosis, and malformation of the foot which caused him pain when he walked. He had a cleft palate, which was a trait he shared with his father. They were also able to narrow down his cause of death to a femur fracture and malaria, not murder as was commonly hypothesized.

They also discovered that he was in fact married to his sister, and was the product of a brother-sister union.

In short: EW.

On the bright side, it was ruled out that he suffered from a genetic disorder that may have caused feminine features and misshapen bones, including Marfan Syndrome.

It does make one question the unwavering devotion that people of the period may have shown to royalty. Would none of the subjects who may or may not have been repressed (um, construction of the pyramids? Hello?) question the ruler who would have been clearly outwardly frail?

And honestly. How did the guy get laid? Is that why he was married to his sister?? I know, I know. It was accepted at the time. But it makes you wonder why. Why would nobody want to marry a guy who looked like this:

Oh, that’s Snooki? From Jersey Shore? And she’s supposedly Italian? And female? My bad.

Being a huge history nerd, I was reminded of some other historic rulers that may have been less than sexy, but still got plenty of play.

Most notably above them was Henry VIII, who died obese, suffering from gout and also had an ulcerated leg injury from jousting that never healed. Somehow, he was married to six women, including Catherine Howard who was in her late teens when they married. Henry was in his late 40s.

Henry’s older brother Arthur was said to be “frail” throughout his life, supported by the fact that he died suddenly at only 15 years old. According to Wikipedia, he was also premature. Ouch.

“Born in the eighth month, as the physicians do prejudge,” yet “strong and able”. However, some historians suggest that he had been weak his whole life long, and that was what led to his death.”

(quote from, duh.)

Catherine of Aragon, painted by Michel Sittow

Oddly enough, both of these attractive male specimens were married to the same hottie- Catherine of Aragon. No seriously. Check out a portrait of her as a young woman. She was adorable. (By contrast, pics of Anne Boleyn? And Jane Seymour? Not so much. Are you convinced of my nerd-dom yet?)

King Francis I was a total pimp, having two wives and two official mistresses. There were also some rumored unofficial mistresses, including Anne and Mary Boleyn. Oh, and he had syphilis. Who can blame him- his wife Queen Claude was apparently very petite and had a hunchback as a result of scoliosis.

Over in Spain, there was Joanna (Juana) of Castille, also known as Joanna the Mad, who was thought to suffer from schizophrenia or manic depression. She was said to be one of the most beautiful monarchs in history, and Catherine of Aragon’s older sister.

Napoleon was known to be around 5’7”, and widely believed to suffer from Short Man Syndrome.

Nicholas II of Russia and his wife were related along “multiple ancestral lines,” resulting in children (Tsarevitch Alexi most notably) carrying genetic mutations and disorders including hemophilia.

The moral of this story: Power is awesome. No matter what your physical appearance, your status in life will guarantee you a lot of sex. But probably avoid doing it with your siblings. Or close cousins. I’m just sayin’.


7 thoughts on “This Just In: King Tut Was… Not So Hot, Akshully.

  1. This post had me laughing all the way through, but damnit……I PREFER to think of Henry as looking like Jonathon Rhys Myers, just the way HBO has neatly packaged him for me, tyvm!!!

    • Oh Gawd, me too! That show is my porn. History nerd + wicked hott men (I’m all about Charles Brandon/Henry Cavill btw)= nomnomnom!

  2. I love your blog and love your posts, obviously as I always read and often comment. This post? My all time favorite. Hands down. I’m a history nerd, too. I’ve read The Six Wives of Henry VIII and The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn and then the fiction that goes along with the non-fiction. Favorite movies are Elizabeth and The Other Boleyn Girl. Can’t get enough of all of it. Awesome post.

  3. I love historical non-fiction about the great artists and poets. I’m often looked at by my peers here in Kentucky like I hit my head on a blunt object. 🙂 Not exactly a good fit with the redneck, gun toting, flannel wearing crowds here.

  4. Okay sure, power/charisma/what have you. But those folks in ol’ Henry’s era were stinky. I visited Hampton Court this past summer and learned that the reason they kept moving from castle to castle back then was because the places needed to be thoroughly cleaned and aired every few months. Ewww, in your own words.

    • That is a vacation that I would LOVE to take. Army Boy has his heart set on Ireland, and I think it would be fascinating to see some of the English Castles as well. I am completely obsessed with Henry VIII, his wives and everything I can read about the time.

      For some reason I didn’t put together the b.o. thing, and thought that court progress had to do with the monarch’s boredom. It begs that the question be asked- would you go back in time to see it in its heyday if you could?

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