Ancient History & Civilisation

BONUS CHAPTER

Ten Little Known Facts About Ancient Egypt

The Mummy

One of the greatest relics of ancient Egypt happens to be the mummies they left behind. They are a priceless entity that says a lot about the earlier inhabitants of this world; their mental ability, their fears, dreams and much besides.

The world is incredibly grateful that they kept these ancient bodies in such conditions, but pity on those who had to mummify these bodies.

The process of mummifying a body is not just difficult, but also gut-wrenching.

They first take an iron hook and draw the brain out of the nostril. Then, they remove every organ, except for the heart, which is considered to be the seat of the soul, and place them in different jars which are called canopic jars.

Ancient Egyptians Weren’t So Fond Of Hair

As many ancient paintings suggest, Egyptians loved wigs, but underneath that wig they were actually bald. They weren’t so fond of hair, so much so that it was customary for them to shave it off as often as possible.  

Admittedly, there are certain parts of bodily hair that need to be shaved off; it is not hygienic or attractive. But why the scalp, right? Well, granted that ancient Egyptians were quite brilliant, it’s only fair to say that they had a good reason for doing so. And scholars believe that it had much to do with hygiene—to avoid lice and fleas.

The Temperature of the Great Pyramid of Giza

No doubt that ancient Egyptians had a knack for math.

What displays their ingenuity in this area is the temperature level they created inside the pyramids, especially in the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Inside the Great Pyramid of Giza the temperature is constantly at 68˚. They created this artificial air conditioning in the middle of a merciless desert where the temperature can rise up to 115˚. Amazing craftsmanship, right?

Egyptians and Their Cats

Ancient Egyptians loved animals, but nothing was more cherished than their beloved cats. They were regarded as sacred creatures, as they represented the goddess Bastet.

A cat’s death was no less painful than the passing of a loved family member. In grief, the entire family would shave their eyebrows.

Egyptians also had cemetery for their cats. So when they died they would mummify their bodies and bury them along with a mummified mice and a bowl of milk, just in case they get hungry or thirsty in the afterlife. In 1888, about 80,000 cat mummies were found.

Killing cats was also seen as a morbid crime, one that resulted in a death penalty.

Ancient Egyptians Used Birth Control Pills

Yes, Egyptians embraced the idea of family planning by using quasi birth control pills. But their system was quite different and it might not have been one of their brightest creations.

To avoid pregnancy, they would mix honey, mud and crocodile manure and insert it inside a woman’s genitals before the evening of intercourse. Not a very pleasant medical treatment and there is no way of knowing it worked, but they did believe in it.

Use Of Moldy Bread To Treat Infections

In medicine, Egyptians have certainly made great advances. With little or no resources at their disposal, they did figure out ways of treating various maladies. And one was the way they treated infections with moldy bread.

But this was a medical treatment that was used more on peasants.

Test For The Pharaohs 

Competency is something that a leader has to prove to his subjects at one point or another. And in ancient Egypt, after 30 years of ruling, a pharaoh had to run around a fixed course to prove that his fitness is well intact.

Dwarfism In Ancient Egypt

People born with dwarfism in ancient Egypt were never discriminated. In fact they were highly valued.

They were often hired for jobs that required high security, mostly as gold workers. But it wasn’t because Egyptians found them trustworthy, it was only because they thought that if they stole and tried running away, they could easily be spotted out and captured.

The First Peace Treaty In The World

Yes, Egyptians were the first in the world to negotiate and sign a peace accord. In 1259 B.C. the Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II and the Hittite King Hattusili III signed a peace treaty, agreeing that in the event of foreign invasion they each would provide military aid.

The Egyptian-Hittite treaty ended the decade long feud between the two nations, and it became the world’s first peace accord. A copy of this relic is displayed at the entrance of the United Nations Security Council Chamber in New York.

Medical Specialization

To be productive or successful in any field of study one has to narrow down his or her focus only to that one specific area. We know this now - the Egyptians though, knew it thousands of years ago.

Egyptian doctors had specialized fields of study. They often focused on treating just one part of the human body. “Each physician is a healer of one disease and no more…. some of the eyes, some of the teeth, some of what pertains to the belly,” the historian and traveler, Herodotus wrote.

They even had names for these specialized doctors; for instance, proctologists in ancient Egypt were called ‘Shepherd of the anus”, and dentists were known as “Doctors of tooth.”

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