Ten Little Known Facts about Egyptian Mythology

Egyptians kept animals as pets

Animals in ancient Egypt were greatly valued. They were treated with respect and profound affection.

So many different kinds of animals were raised as cherished pets in almost every household in Egypt. Cats and dogs were the most domesticated, but people also raised hoopoes, falcons, vervet monkeys, doves, geese, even lions and Sudanese cheetahs.

Ancient Egyptians loved their pets; as evidence shows they mourned at their death and did whatever was possible to heal their illness.

Ancient Egyptians loved Board Games

With the progress of centuries a lot of things change. But the one thing that has never experienced even a slight wobble is how we entertain ourselves by way of playing games. It’s a long lived human tradition that even ancient Egyptians can attest to.

Egyptians loved playing board games. After a long day of work they would gather and play the ‘Mehen,’ ‘Dogs and Jackals’ or ‘Senet’ for hours. Even for the Pharaohs, board games were indispensable; Tutankhamen, for instance, was buried with several board games, and as several paintings show Queen Nefertari was also fond of playing Senet.

Painting in tomb of Egyptian Queen Nefertari (1295–1255 BC)

Pharaohs were often overweight

So many paintings illustrate the Pharaohs as slim and fit beings. But the truth about their figure is quite different.

There was no end or limit to the daily offerings in ancient Egypt. And one of the most commonly offered items was food. The majority of the society was vegetarian, but for the pharaohs the people brought meals such as beef, bread, fruit, honey, cake, wine and beer, which were certainly luxurious but decadent. And as the remains of their bodies show, they certainly ate well and gained quite a lot of excess fat.

Studies show that most of them were diabetic and suffered from vascular calcification. The mummy of Queen Hatshepsut serves as the perfect example.

The Pyramids were not built by slaves

The Pyramid is one of ancient Egypt’s greatest and most astonishing relics. What inspired its formation is one aspect that could pique anyone’s interest, but what’s more amazing is how it wasn’t constructed by slaves.

Pyramids of Giza, by David Roberts (1849)

This majestic entity was actually built by skilled construction workers who weren’t exploited, but paid for their services.

Most of Ancient Egypt Remains Uncovered

As the world’s most historic destination, Egypt has attracted the attention of historians and archeologists who have certainly dedicated their time, knowledge and sweat to unravel her mysterious and colorful past. But it’s a huge country with a huge amount of desert sand.

Recently, archaeologists have found evidence that could lead them to yet another pyramid. And this one is believed to be 4,300 years old and harbors the remains of the mother of pharaohs. So it’s strongly believed that the world has yet to see more of ancient Egypt.

Women in Ancient Egypt

In ancient Egypt women were treated equally as men. In Egyptian mythology, goddesses were creators and protectors of the pharaohs; Ma’at, the goddess of balance and order; Nekhbet, the vulture goddess of Upper Egypt; Wadjet, the cobra goddess of Lower Egypt were but a few.

And so in society, women had equal - if not more - prominence as men. They had the liberty to participate in the economic, political and judicial arenas. They had the right to work, to divorce or remarry.

Pepi II: The Fly King

According to legends Pepi II was the Old Kingdom’s last pharaoh. He ruled for over sixty-four years after acceding to the throne at the tender age of six.

Pepi is often styled the “Fly King” and that was because he despised flies. And what’s interesting is how he would have naked slaves smeared in honey around him so as to keep the flies away.

Men Wore Makeup

Appearance is always something to care about. And in every generation women are known to be more self-conscious than men, but in ancient Egypt the men also worked equally as hard as women did on their appearance— yes, they wore makeup.

But they didn’t quite necessarily wear make up for vanity, it was simply because they believed that it had magical healing powers. They would often apply this make up, which was called Kohl, around the eyes using a sort of a liner made out of wood, ivory and bone.

The First Labor Strike in History

Ancient Egyptians were strong people who stood up for what they believed in. They loved and respected their pharaohs, but they weren’t afraid to fight back when their rights were being violated.

During the ruling days of the New Kingdom, in the 12th century B.C., there was a delay of payment for the laborers working at Deir el-Medina. The workers then, angered by this action, decided to organize a strike – the first in history. They entered a mortuary temple and demonstrated a sit-down until their demands were met. It wasn’t long before they ended up getting their deserved pay.

The Death of Tutankhamen

The young pharaoh, Tutankhamen, lived a very short life. He died at a young age and there is very little account of the kind of life he lived before his passing. Regarding how he died, however, recent studies seem to have an answer. 

Scans of his mummy shows that Tutankhamen was buried without his heart and chest wall, which meant that he died of a terrible wound, as in the one caused by a vicious attack of a hippopotamus.

Legend has it that Egyptians loved hunting this creature and this young price was known for his love of hunting.

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