The history of ancient Egypt is full of theories and speculations about historic events, how rulers were killed, and about the day-to-day life of ancient Egyptians. Though Egypt still remains an enigma for most of us, quite a few questions were answered after some tombs were unearthed.
Think about Egypt, and all these images of mummies crawling out of dimly-lit pyramids come to mind. (Thanks, Hollywood!) But Egypt has quite a few fascinating stories hidden behind its mysterious aura. Read on to know some interesting facts that will definitely transport you back in time:
1. King Tut may have been killed by a hippopotamus
Tutankhamun was an Egyptian pharaoh, who is colloquially referred to as King Tut. Since there are no records of his death, this topic has been the subject of considerable debate. Though there is some speculation that he might even have been assassinated, a CT scan taken in 2005 revealed that he had suffered a leg fracture and that the leg had become infected. Other theories were that a combination of malaria and Köhler disease II led to his death, or that he died of sickle cell disease.
Scans of King Tut’s body show that he was embalmed without his heart or chest wall, which is weird, because it is against traditional Egyptian burial practice. Some Egyptologists believe that King Tut might have been killed by a hippopotamus; Ancient Egyptians hunted the animal for sport, and statues found in King Tut’s tomb even depict him in the act of throwing a harpoon. Hippos are known to attack and kill; Some Egyptologists believe that his death might have been the result of a hunt gone wrong.
2. Both Egyptian men and women wore makeup
In the 21st century, male actors wearing makeup is common, but did you know that both male and female Egyptians wore makeup? The eye paint was usually green or black. The makeup served both practical as well as ritualistic purposes – It was thought to protect the eyes from the sun’s rays, repel flies, and ward off infection. The dramatic makeup also imitated the facial markings of the sun god Horus.
Cosmetics also reflected one’s rank in ancient Egypt – a sign of a wealthy woman was a portable cosmetics box.
During the reign of Ramses III, labourers quit working because they were not provided with balms and massage oils, which they considered essential for their well-being.
3. Unwrapped, the bandages of an Ancient Egyptian mummy could stretch for 1.6km
So all those movie scenes with a mummy stumbling behind you, its arms flailing about and bandages trailing behind – are actually possible!
4. Ancient Egyptians invented toothpaste
Of course there were no dentists back in the day, but ancient Egyptians contributed to innovations in dental hygiene with the invention of toothpaste – ingredients included the powder of ox hooves, ashes, burnt eggshells and pumice. I guess there’s no better way to wake yourself up than with bad breath!
Egyptians also believed in the afterlife. That would explain the toothpicks buried alongside mummies, apparently placed there so that they could clean food debris from between their teeth in the afterlife.
5. Ancient Egyptians believed in more than 2,000 deities
Egyptians worshipped different Gods so that life could be kept in balance. Each God had different “responsibilities”. The list of deities includes hawk-headed Sun God Ra, Goddess of moisture Tefnut, Anubis – the god of embalming and the dead, and many more!
6. Christianity was the religion of a vast majority of Egyptians from 400–800 A.D
7. Pharaohs were buried with models of their servants
But early pharaohs in ancient Egypt were buried with real servants – knocked on the head!
So if they gained consciousness later…well, let me not finish that sentence!
8. Peasants in ancient Egypt used a bag of mouse bones, fastened around the neck to cure bed-wetting
P.S – I wonder how many people wet their bed out of fear of the bones around their neck!
9. Egypt’s most famous queen, Cleopatra, was Greek!
Surprised? I bet you did not see this one coming!
10. The pyramids were not built by slaves
The men who built the pyramids were paid labourers and not slaves. Though their work was hard, it was done out of loyalty to the Pharaoh, and those who died during construction were bestowed the honour of being buried in the tombs near the sacred pyramids of their pharaohs.
Egypt never ceases to amaze!
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