10 Interesting Facts about Ancient Egypt
Compared to today, Egyptians had some similarities and differences to the way we act. Ancient Egyptian food seems to be very similar to the foods we eat today.
However, the way in which Egyptians make their medicines is quite different. Since Egyptians could only use what they had around them, they were very limited in making both medicines and other products like toothpaste.
It seems quite odd to believe the things they used in their toothpaste. Another unusual aspect of Egyptian life was the use of make-up. Make-up could be seen on both humans and other objects.
Egyptians were both creative and unusual in terms of what we see today.
Yet, they were a very progressive society, inventing unique solutions to their problems by trying different methods in order to resolve a conflict. Today, we still use some of these inventions.
1. Egyptians had cures for their ailments
Compared to other ancient civilizations during this time, Egypt seemed to have the best physicians. They seemed to detect and figure out the ailments plaguing Egyptians.
Unlike today, the Egyptian doctors could not just run down to the store for medicine, they had to create their own remedies. One such recipe for treating a stomachache was made by mixing together milk from a cow with some grain and honey.
After thoroughly combining these ingredients, the doctor would cook it. This concoction would then be smoothed over the infected area.
In other words, the doctor would rub this mixture over the victim’s stomach.
Another remedy for treating a headache was for the doctor to combine flour, wood, mint and incense together by crushing them. Then like the stomachache, the doctor would rub it on the patient’s head.
Other ways that Egyptians tried to cure their ailments included praying to the god of health. Prayers were important to Egyptians and they would always pray when a family member or friend was experiencing health problems.
If praying didn’t work, the Egyptians would consult an exorcist who knew some spells to place on the afflicted patient.
2. Both men, women and statues wore make-up
If you look at pictures of Egyptian women like Cleopatra, heavy make-up can be seen on their faces. Therefore, it is believed that they wore make-up during this time.
Even though photographs or pictures of famous historical figures may misinterpret the actual look of a person, the people of Egypt were known to wear make-up.
Not only did women wear make-up, but so did men. They would wear eye shadow, red rouge on their cheeks and lots of perfume.
Oddly enough, the Egyptian people would also put make-up on the statues too to show the true look of an Egyptian. Besides wearing make-up for cosmetic reasons, Egyptians also wore make-up for medical and religious reasons.
To make the make-up, Egyptians would crush up certain plants into a powder and then add water. After mixing it together to make a smooth consistency, they would apply it to their face.
3. Egyptians invented the toothbrush and toothpaste
Whenever you brush your teeth, you may thank the Egyptians for inventing the tools and procedures for brushing your teeth.
Egyptians were known for having trouble with their teeth and incurring frequent toothaches. This was brought about by the grain that they grew in the soil to make bread.
With sandy soil, sand was usually found in their bread. The sand and dirt caused problems for their teeth.
Being tired of tooth pain, Egyptians had to think of a way to decrease their likelihood of getting toothaches. Therefore, toothbrush and toothpaste were invented to make their teeth healthier.
Unlike the fluoride and mint flavor in the toothpaste we have now, Egyptian toothpaste was quite different. Ancient Egyptian toothpaste was made with ashes and eggshells that were crushed and ground into a fine powder.
Water was then added to make the paste. Another element to the toothpaste could be the hooves of animals that would be ground up.
4. Egyptians preserved their leaders as mummies
Even though Egyptians were known for wrapping the deceased bodies of their family members or friends in cloth to preserve the bodies, this process came later.
Other methods were tried first and not all bodies were mummified. Only distinct leaders were embalmed and became mummies.
First, Egyptians dug holes in the sand and would bury them there. When the light weight of the sand did not keep the bodies underground, they realized they had a problem.
Also, animals would dig them up. Then the Egyptians encased the bodies in coffins. That provided some protection.
However, then the Egyptians designed the mummification process. After the person died, his or her body was drained of all fluids. hen the body was embalmed with another preserving solution.
This allowed the body to remain more lifelike and less decay which became known as embalming. The final part of the process was to wrap the bodies in white cloths in another attempt to preserve the body as much as possible.
5. Egyptians built many pyramids
Despite seeing only a few pyramids in Egypt, the ancient Egyptians built many pyramids. Today, less than a hundred pyramids still stand.
The most renowned pyramid is the Pyramid of Giza. This pyramid is quite large and has been well preserved.
During ancient Egypt, many leaders were known to be great because they fought wars or acquired more land for Egypt. However, Khufu was known as being a harsh leader, but he had many pyramids built during his reign.
However, this came at a cost. Many Egyptians had to pay through their taxes for the materials and labor costs of these pyramids.
For years, many people did not know why the Egyptians built these pyramids during their ancient civilization.
However, after historians were able to enter the pyramids and investigate the mummies that were found there, they realized that the only mummified bodies were those of prominent leaders.
6. Egyptians used hieroglyphics
Hieroglyphics is considered to be the oldest written form known to exist. Despite being credited with writing, not all Egyptians knew how to write hieroglyphics.
Actually, only a small amount of people knew how to write. Hieroglyphics may not have been easy to learn since it consisted of several hundred symbols representing letters and words.
As historians began to learn about hieroglyphics, they became aware that hieroglyphics may have only been written due to it being difficult to pronounce the words.
It seemed that the words did not have vowels in them, so pronunciation proved problematic.
When hieroglyphics were discovered, an Egyptian book became known in its history to be used by the Egyptian people. The book was called The Book of the Dead.
Ironically, this is not even a book. These were spells that were found on cave walls and random pieces of papyrus.
7. Egyptian girls married very young
Marriage was an important aspect of Egyptian life for both men and women.
Women usually were married during their teenage years. Egyptian men usually married in their twenties.
There was not a large age difference between the Egyptian men’s and women’s ages when they married.
However, slave women or peasants may get married as young as twelve years old.
Usually, a woman would remain in her parent’s home until she got married. Then she would leave her parent’s home and live with her husband.
8. Egyptians developed agriculture
Growing crops was a common part of Egyptian life in the ancient civilization. Due to the close proximity of the Nile River and very fertile soil, harvesting crops seemed like an obvious way to grow food.
Therefore, Egyptians grew grain and wheat and made it into bread.
Egyptians were known for eating a lot of bread. Other crops that were grown include celery, nuts, peas, and several other fruits and vegetables.
On other parts of farmland, Egyptians would raise livestock and eat the meat from quail, pigs and cows. Spices for seasoning could also be found in an Egyptian diet.
They had mustard and dill.
9. Irrigation in ancient Egypt
The Nile River was probably the most important landform for the Egyptians. Known for having fertile land near the river, the Egyptians used this soil to plant their food.
Crops were a vital part of their life for survival.
Occasionally, the river would flood. Even though this flooding seemed detrimental to their growing of crops, it helped them later.
When the water receded, it left behind more fertile soil. This flooding was caused by the melting of the snow.
Soil near the Nile River was so fertile the appearance of it looked black.
Besides their livelihood, the Nile River was used for transportation purposes. Rafting to another area of Egypt could be done on the Nile River.
For fun, children and adults would swim and bathe in the Nile River. It was typical for Egyptians to bathe every day and the Nile River made it very convenient for the Egyptians.
10. Ancient Egyptians played sports
When people think of games in ancient civilizations, wrestling and chariot racing usually come to mind.
Even though Egyptians were known for playing those games, they also did other activities as well. Many Egyptians took enjoyment from archery and storytelling contests. The storytelling involved relaying stories and having them judged.
Besides outside games, the Egyptians played board games. One game was called Senet and it was believed to be played on a board that had three rows of squares.
Even though the game is believed to be thousands of years old, the actual way to play the game is still unknown. The layout of the game board was discovered from wall drawings.
The rules of the game have only been created recently for people to play using that same board.
Another board game is Mehen using a round board. There are several spaces around the board and several game pieces move around the board.
Some of these games have evolved over time and are still played today.
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