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Similarities Between Tutankhamen and Antiochus VI Dionysus of Persia

by Alfred Jones

Although there was a thousand years which separated these two young men in time, the circumstances of their lives were indeed astonishing. Both came to power when they were children, both had weak fathers, both had strong female figures in their early lives and both were watched over by powerful military men. Many believe that both were subjected to the control of others for selfish gain. Both came to their respective thrones in very troubled times.


Coin depicting Antiochus VI Dionysus

After the death of Alexander III, his vast empire was there for the taking, by his own words – to the strongest. General Ptolemy took Egypt, Lysimachus took the Greek homeland and General Seleucus took what is today Persia. It is with the Persian Empire that our story unfolds. Although General Seleucus was himself a strong and capable person, those who followed him were very dissimilar. Wars and conflict were constantly in evidence.

It was during this time that a king by the name of Alexander Balas, a weak and insecure man, who was fighting for control in 150 BC. In order to gain an ally, he married the daughter of King Ptolemy VI of Egypt who bore the name of Cleopatra Thea. She was an intelligent, highly motivated and capable person. They had a son which they named Antiochus Epiphanies Dionysius Thea. Upon the death of his father, he became Antiochus VI Dionysus. He was placed in the hands of the General of the Army, a powerful man by the name of Diodotus Tryphon, who made a spectacular presentation of the young king to the people and gave every reason to believe that he was truly the boy’s protector. The young king died mysteriously a short time thereafter and Tryphon became king.

A thousand years before these events were similar troubled times in Egypt, a young man became Pharaoh. His name was Tutankhamen. In the study of events having taken place one, two or three thousand years ago, there is no certainty regarding what truly happened. We have to do the best we can based on the evidence we have at any given point in time. We believe that Tutankhamen was the son of Amenhotep IV and that the Queen, Nefertiti was also a strong person in her own right. It is also believed that she had a major influence on the life of the young boy.

History tells us that Amenhotep IV was a most controversial character who created much chaos in Egypt. During his lifetime, there was a powerful general by the name of Horemheb, who, many believe was a part of the family of those who provided for the boy.

And so we have the beginning of the similarities. Troubled times in the land, a weak father, a strong cadre of female figures, a strong military man and a boy – who when he became king, was instructed to assist with the agenda of those around him. His life was like that of Antiochus VI Dionysus – short. As was the case with General Tryphon, ultimately General Horemheb became Pharaoh of Egypt.

Is history recycled? Do events re-present themselves for whatever purpose? The Seleucid Empire did not survive. With the death of Tutankhamen, the end of the l8th dynasty was in sight. The lives and circumstances of both these young people and the similarities are interesting and perhaps nothing more than that. I felt that I needed to report my findings in this regard none the less for whatever purpose.

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