Poor Ramses III. During his tenure as Egypt’s reinging Pharaoh, from 1186 to 1155 BC, his kingdom suffered perpetual war, struggled with economic turmoil and took a nose dive after his death, never to see a king of any real merit again during the New Kingdom, the era when Egypt’s power was at its peak. To add insult to injury, new evidence just emerged the the Pharaoh’s throat was slit, likely by members of his harem.
The BBC reports:
The first CT scans to examine the king’s mummy reveal a cut to the neck deep enough to be fatal. The secret has been hidden for centuries by the bandages covering the mummy’s throat that could not be removed for preservation’s sake.
Scans of Ramesses III revealed a deep, 2.7-inch wide wound to the throat just under the larynx, which the medical scientists say was probably caused by a sharp blade and could have caused immediate death.
Just how Rameses III died has puzzled historians for years. In 1155, ancient documents indicate that members of his harem, along with one of the king’s two known wives, attempted to kill him during a palace coup. But experts disagree on whether or not this assassination was successful.
Though the newly discovered cut to the Pharaoh’s neck doesn’t completely solve the mystery, historians suspect that this slice almsot certainly killed Ramses III. Within the wound, they found a Horus eye amulet embedded, most likely inserted during the embalming process to promote healing in the afterlife.
More from Smithsonian.com: