(Smithsonian Magazine) The reign of Ramesses III, the second pharaoh in Egypt’s 20th dynasty, was not the most stable chapter in the empire's history. There were endless wars with the “Sea Peoples” (naval raiders in the Mediterranean region), which drained the treasury, bad weather that interrupted food supplies, along with political unrest. All this led to a successful murder plot against Ramesses III in 1155 B.C. Now, new CT scans of Ramesses III’s mummy are shedding more light on how this god-king met his end.
In 2012, eminent Egyptologist Zahi Hawass and Cairo University radiologist Sahar Saleem scanned Ramesses III mummy and revealed that an assassin cut through his esophagus and trachea, killing him almost instantly. But a new book by the pair, Scanning the Pharaohs: CT Imaging of the New Kingdom Royal Mummies makes the story a little more complicated, suggesting that the pharaoh was likely murdered by multiple assailants.
The mummy scans show that Ramesses III had one of his big toes hacked off, as Stephanie Pappas at LiveScience reports, and that the wound never had time to heal, meaning it likely happened at the same time his throat was slit.
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