There’s no way anyone can talk about ancient civilization without bringing ancient Egypt into picture. For over 3000 years, ancient Egypt stood as the world’s most civilized nation-state, spawning a series of rich-cultures and fascinating fields of study that grabbed the attention of great scholars in the likes of Pythagoras, Thales and Empedocles among others.
From their enthralling art and architecture to their fascinating burial methods, there’s more about this ancient community that will definitely make you close conventional history books to search for more information about their veiled facts. With that in mind, here are 10 things you’ve probably never heard about the ancient Egypt.
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1. It was the training ground for a great majority of Greek philosophers
Ancient Egypt’s contribution to world-class civilization cannot be completely ignored… not with all the solid proofs that places them at the top. First, there’s Pythagoras who after receiving his education in Egypt, returned to Samos where he stayed for a little while before migrating to Italy. Then came Thales who travelled to Egypt to study Geometry before returning to Greek to surprise his contemporaries with his newly acquired mathematical abilities. The list goes on to include Anaximander, Anaximenes, Xenophanes, Zeno Melissus and the rest, all of which have contributed in making Greek the “father of civilization.”
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2. Their original name is ancient Kemet
We all know ancient Egypt, but only a few of us know about Ancient Kemet—the original name of ancient Egypt. At a time when the whole world was completely uncivilized around 3, 900BC, ancient Egypt had a well-developed religious system—commonly referred to as the mysteries, which turned out to be the first system of salvation, as well as the foothold of many religions that we would later come to have.
3. They were the inventors of hieroglyphics
Ancient Egyptian’s writing system consisted of pictograms—pictures that represented real words. Such pictures were extensively used in Egyptian’s tombs and a number of other places to tell the tales of war, culture and politics, all of which played a crucial role in making their ancient history believable. Over time, they started integrating other elements—such as alphabet-like characters—into their writing system, making it easy for them to scribble conceivable ideas and names for future generations.
4. Their ancient doctors were specialised
Although most of the ancient physicians were known for being jack-of-all trade, Egyptian doctors specialised by either focusing on a single disease or treating only a specific part of the body. That’s to say some of them could treat the eye, some the teeth, while a good number of them focused entirely on the belly and other parts of the body. In fact, each and every specialist had a specific name that clearly suggested his (or her) area of expertise to avoid creating confusion.
5. They kept animals as pets
Ancient Egyptians presumed animals to be an incarnation of their gods. They therefore kept them as pets. Among them, cats were particularly the most preferred type of pets as they were believed to be in a close association with goddess Bastet. Other pet animals included ibises, lions, dogs, baboons, and hawks among others.
6. Both sexes wore make-up
Make-ups were won by both sexes in Ancient Egypt. Turns out, these make-ups were actually not worn for beauty like a great majority of you would like to think, but to protect them from their two fierce gods, Horus and Amun Ra. Usually, they could make the cosmetics by grinding ores, such as galena and malachite, after which they could apply them on their eyes, fingernails, cheeks and hands. Likewise, they could prepare perfumes from myrrh, cinnamon and oil, all of which they believed had magical powers to protect them from common ailments.
7. They built the pyramid of Giza
Until date, no one has fully known how the ancient Egyptians actually built the Pyramid of Giza. To some, the pyramid must have been built by aliens. While to a great majority of the population, this ancient object of mystery must have been built by an army of ancient workers who took over 20 years to get the structure finalised. Either way, ancient Egyptians were in one way or another involved in getting the structure put together. As such, they are accredited for erecting one of the most astonishing architectural designs recorded in human history.
8. Egyptian workers knew about strikes
If you’re surprised by the rate at which present time Egyptians go on strike, you’d be shocked to learn their forefathers did exactly the same over 5000 years back. To begin with, there’s the infamous strike that took place in 1200BC, during the reign of King Ramses III. As recorded, the entire nation-state went into total backlash as workers building the Royal necropolis in Deir El-Medina flocked into a nearby mortuary and refused to leave alive if the government didn’t give them a grain pay rise.
9. What killed Pharaoh Tut?
If there’s an Egyptian Pharaoh that is well known—even by those who’ve never gotten the opportunity to go to school, then it ought to be Pharaoh Tutankhamen. But apparently, history has no records of his death. Until recently when a group of Egyptologists came up with a theory that suggested he might have actually been killed by a hippopotamus. This claim takes into account his sudden disappearance from Egyptian’s burial process as well as his habit of hunting for sports, all of which suggested that he might have suffered a mysterious bite from a fuming hippopotamus.
10. Egyptian women had rights
In an era where women were believed to be marginalised and universally discriminated against, Egyptian women enjoyed tremendous amount of freedom. They could trade, serve as judges, enter into legal contract and, even more surpassingly, make wills—unlike their Greek equals who were legally owned by their husbands.