Ah Egypt, the land that was once home of the Pharaohs and the mummies and (probably) dark, mysterious forces. And of course, aliens. The more we hear about it, the more puzzled we get. Let’s take a look at some of the stranger facts about ancient Egypt and see if we can understand the culture a little more.
And when we say hate, we mean hate. They believed it was unhygienic to have hair on the body. Every bit of hair was shaved off. The hair you see in Egyptian paintings and carvings was the wigs they wore. Most likely, they wore these wigs as hats to protect them from the sun and not as ‘hair’.
An ancient Egyptian wig hubpages
In Egypt, makeup was a necessity. They believed that green or black eye paint protected them from the sun, flies and infections; it also was homage to the facial marking of the sun god Horus. Laborers under Ramses III quit because they were not given balms and massage oils, which they considered necessary.
18th Dynasty wooden face mask amazonaws
It is believed that ancient Egyptians invented the toothpaste, sort of. They used a mixture of ingredients, like the powder of ox hooves, burnt eggshells, pumice and ashes to brush their teeth. So important was dental hygiene that mummies were buried with toothpicks beside them, all prepared for the afterlife.
Dental work in ancient Egypt youtube
Later pharaohs were found to be buried with models of their servants but the early pharaohs were buried with their real servants. The servants would be knocked unconscious by a blow to the head and buried. No, don’t think about what happened if they woke up later.
A mummy at the British Museum wikipedia
Yep. From about 400-800 A.D., Christianity was the religion of the majority of Egyptians. After the Muslim conquest in the mid-10th century, Islam became the majority religion. The Coptic language also faded away and has mostly been replaced by Arabic.
Coptic and Arabic inscriptions at an old Cairo church wikipedia
Born in Alexandria, Cleopatra came from a long line of Greek Macedonians who had descended from Ptolemy I, one of Alexander the Great’s most trusted lieutenants. The Ptolemaic Dynasty ruled Egypt from 323 to 30 B.C. Cleopatra was the first from the Ptolemaic Dynasty to speak the Egyptian language.
Cleopatra with the god Horus dreamstime
Unlike other women around the world, Egyptian women could own property, serve on juries, and make wills. If they worked outside home, they received equal pay. They could divorce and remarry. They even entered pre-nup contracts where they listed items they brought at the time of marriage and could take away after divorce.
Artwork of female dancers and musicians lolwot
Ancient Egyptian art may show pharaohs as slim and fit, but examinations of mummies have shown that the pharaohs were pretty wide around the waistline. Their diet consisted of wine, honey, beer and bread, high in sugar, which contributed to their obesity. Many of them also suffered from diabetes.
A sarcophagus kinja
Despite over two centuries of warfare between the Egyptians and the Hittites for the lands of modern day Syria, no clear winner emerged. In 1259, both empires were facing other threats; Ramses II and Hattusili III negotiated a peace treaty and promised to help each other against any third aggressor.
Kadesh Treay, Akkadian on terracotta aenigmaunveiled
Take the main temple in Abu Simbel. Twice a year the sun shines on the faces of gods Amun and Ra and pharaoh Ramses II; it doesn’t shine on the god of the underworld Ptah, seated next to them. The two days the sun shines on Ramses are his birthday (October 22) and the day of his coronation (February 22).
Temple of Abu Simbel vacationstogotravel
It was rather lucky to be born with dwarfism in ancient Egypt as it assured you a job, most likely as a gold worker. Anyone with visibly different looks (giants, unusual facial features, etc) was likely to get a job in the gold industry because if they absconded with the metal, they would be easier to track.
Seneb, overseer of palace dwarves, and his wife arcedc
Not in the way we know it of course. To avoid pregnancy, they would make a mixture of mud, honey and crocodile dung. Then they would insert this mixture into a woman’s vagina before she indulged in the act of sex. Crocodile dung is acidic, which was good for killing sperm.
Egyptian women gave birth in crouching or kneeling positions mcgraphics
Egypt is a hot place, where temperatures hit 114 degrees Fahrenheit. In this hot climate, the temperature inside the Great Pyramid of Giza remains at a stable 68 degrees Fahrenheit. To top that off, earth’s average internal temperature is also reported to be 68 degrees. Did the Egyptians know that and somehow recreate that?
The Sphinx and Pyramid of Giza newlinetravel
If any animal on earth can inspire such devotion, it’s probably the cat. Cats in ancient Egypt had their own religious cult movement for a while. When their pet cat died, every family member would shave off their eyebrows. If someone killed a cat, they were thrown into a poisonous snake pit. Cats were mummified and buried with their own mummified rats and a bowl of milk.
A cat mummy at th British Museum sciencenews
Unlike other doctors of the past who seemed to work on every part of the human body, ancient Egyptian doctors would devote themselves to the study of one part. Historian Herodotus wrote about how “each physician is a healer of one disease and no more”. They had specific names for each kind of doctor; the most interesting of which was a proctologist being called ‘shepherd of the anus’.
An eye doctor scooppick
While the work of building the pyramids must have certainly been harsh, evidence indicates that the workers were not slaves as has been suggested before. The workers were artisans and temporary hands and they gave their crews names (‘Drunkards of Menkaure’, ‘Friends of Khufu’) that they scribbled near the monuments they worked on.
Skilled workers of the pyramids atlantablackstar
When laborers working on building the royal necropolis at Deir el-Medina under pharaoh Ramses III did not receive their payment of grain, they organized one of the world’s first sit-ins. They entered nearby temples and refused to work until they were given their overdue rations.
Ramses III offering incense wikipedia
By now it is well-known that before a corpse would be bandaged up, its internal organs would be removed. Its brain would be pulled out through the nostril. All these organs would be placed in canopic jars except the heart. The heart was not removed because it was regarded as the seat of the soul.
Process of mummification gezimanya
In order to rule over Egypt, Pharaoh Hatshepsut wore the traditional pharaoh’s wig on her chin and took on the title of ‘king’. However, it has been suggested that later pharaohs tried to remove the memory of this unconventional ‘king’ by defacing her monuments and leaving Hatshepsut-shaped gaps in the artwork.
Pharaoh Hatshepsut historyforkids
There has been some talk of the Pyramid of Giza being the exact center of earth’s landmass, though that has been hotly debated. Yet, the three pyramids of Giza line up with the three main stars of Orion’s Belt. The Nile takes the place of the earthly version of the Milky Way. Orion was linked to the Egyptian god of rebirth and afterlife, Osiris.
Orion’s Belt and the pyramids at Giza pachamama
Every pyramid that has been discovered has been robbed. It is believed that Tutankhamun’s pyramid was robbed shortly after his death and the robbers, caught in the act, dropped a bag of rings on their way out of the tunnel. The big triangles were like neon signs telling robbers where the kings’ treasures lay.
Inside a pyramid kinooze