Children in Ancient History: Chronology

Figure 1.--This is a panel from Pharaoh Tutankhamun's casket lid. It shows the young monarch with his wife, and half sister, Ankhes-en-Amun (spellings vary). It is a detailed depiction of both their clothes and hair styles.

The pasage of time and apucity of written records limits our knowledge of ancient times. The most texts exist from Greece and Rome and of course the Jews because of the Bible Despite the time expired we know of some famous boys from ancient history. The most famous is of course Alexander. There is also Jacob, Cicero, and Marcus. There are also many legends, the most important about Romulus and Remus to whom legend attribues the founding of Rome.


Issac may well be the first boy known to history. Abraham's adherence to God's command to bind and sacrifice his son Issac has been rndlessly debated by religious scholars. One scholar presents it as "an admirable exanple of proper pateral rule". That is the last we here of Issac until Abraham's funeral. [Kaas]


The 'downy-cheeked' David was dutifully carrying cheese and bread to his older brothers who were fightung the Philistines heard the bellowing tawnts of the arrogant giant Goliath. King Saul allowed him to challenge Goliath who he dispatch with a single slone. He then cut off Goliath's head with his own sword. David became a key player in the building of a strong Jewish state.

Tutankhamun (Egypt, 1320 BC)

The old priesthood exerted their influence and were able to restore the old religion after the brief reign of Amenhotep's successor, the boy king Tutankhamun. (It was his unspoiled tomb that was discovered by Harold Carter in the Valley of the Kings during 1922, perhaps the most famous discovery in all of archeology.) Tutankhamun became pharaoh when he was a boy of about 9 years of age. He is believed to be Akhenaten's younger half brother. He married his older half sister Ankhes-en-Amun. Normally little is known about minor pharaohs like Tutankhamun, but the fact that his tomb was never disturbed makes him one of the best known pharaohs. Tutankhamun's tomb is very small. It was probably built for some one of lower rank. Tutankhamun's early death may have caused it to have been pressed in to service for the young pharaoh as no more suitable tomb was ready for him. The tomb did not have elaborate paintings like many pharaonic tombs. The only part of his tomb complex that had wall paintings was the actual Burial Chamber. One of the scenes shows the "Opening of the Mouth Ceremony" where the senses of the deceased are restored. The person performing this duty is Ay, who succeeded Tutankhamun as pharaoh. Many of Egypt's imperial possessions were lost as a result of the disorders associated with the reign of Amenhotep IV and Tutankhamun.

Jacob (Israel)

Alexander the Great (Greece, 356-323 BC)

Alexander perhaps influenced the ancient world more than an other person until Augustus. Alexander matured early. A famous anecdote describes Alexander skillfully receiving envoys from Persia, the most powerful state of the ageat the age of 5 or 6 years. Philip and Olympias wanted nothing less than the best for their son, so when he was 13, his parents hired Aristotle from Athens to be his personal tutor. And it would be Alexander tht would ensure both rge recignition and diseminatiin of Aristole's works, both sciwbce and technology. Alexander at the age of 16 in 340 BC was made regent in Macedonia. Alexander became king at about age 20 when his father was asinated in 336 BC. He went on to conquer the known world. He is considered by many a visionary whose imperial vision included the peaceful co-existance of different nations and races.

Cicero (Rome, 106-43 BC)

Cicero was the greatest Roman orator, but is noted today as a statesman and philosopher. He witnessed the decline and of his beloved Roman Republic as a boy which inspired a life-long passion to save the Republic. As an adult he struggles herocally, but unsucessfully to save it. As a statesman he is seen to have been more honest than effective. He was an important participant in the significant political events of his time. His writings are now a valuable source of information on the political events of the era. It is his writings, however, that have powerfully influenced Western Civilization--perhaps the greatest single voice.


Nero when only 16 years old became empero when his mother poisoned his step-father Emperor Claudius. He came the absolute rule of an empire that encompased much of the known world. And there were nolimits on his power. He proceeded to endulge his adolescent passions--pop music, poetry, theater, and chariot racing. What teen agerhas no dreamed of such power. Nero actually had the power to do just that. And like most teenagers he came to resent his dimineering mother, evntually having her killed. He sought srardimas a singer oon the Roman stage and who would tell him thatvhe has little talebnt. He was esentially killed at age 30 years because he had never grown up.

Marcus (Rome, 137 AD)

Marcus of Rome: The Boy Magistrate. (Afterward the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus.) A.D. 137.


Kass, Elaine. The Behinning of Wisdom: Reading Genesis (Random House), 241p.

Brooks, E.S. Historic Boys (1913/14). This interesting book sketches the lives of 12 historic boys that have impacted history.


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Created: July 9, 2002
Last updated: 6:39 PM 3/26/2015