This article lists unexpected facts about ancient Egypt in regards to its culture, customs, and religious ceremonies that are mostly unknown. Ancient Egypt was a fascinating place. Its mysterious civilization, powerful gods, and stunning pyramids have captured our imagination for thousands of years. Thanks to the abundance of evidence left behind by ancient Egyptians, we have been able to discover a wealth of information about their daily lives. We can read their words, see their houses, taste their dishes, step into their tombs, and even touch their well-preserved bodies. Yet, not everything about ancient Egypt is understood, and scientists are still working hard at unraveling its many intricate mysteries.
Egyptians Loved Makeup
Egyptians liked to look good. Both men and women wore makeup for aesthetic and therapeutic reasons. Green make-up around the eye, which they made from malachite and other copper minerals, was quite fashionable in their era. Red ochre, mixed with water, was applied to the cheeks and lips with a brush. Even after death, Egyptians took care of their looks by applying makeup on dead corpses, and cosmetics were often left in the tomb of the diseased.
They Invented Toothpaste
The Egyptians had a rough time with their teeth. It was common for their breads to hold grit and even sand inside it, which would quickly wear out their enamel. Although they did not have dentists back then, they did make a good effort to keep their teeth clean. Toothpicks have been found next to several mummy excavations, as well as toothbrushes made of wooden twigs.
More importantly, the Egyptians invented toothpaste, which back then mainly consisted of ox hoof powder, burnt eggshells, ashes, and a bit of pumice. It might not have given you a fresh morning breath, but it was effective in cleaning out germs that could cause cavities.
Cleopatra Wasn’t Egyptian
Cleopatra’s family moved from Greece to Egypt, and lived there for around 300 years or so. Even though she was born and raised in Egypt, to Egyptians she was still 100% Greek. She was a descendant from the Ptolemy family, who served under Alexander the Great. She was the only member in the family who spoke Egyptian, and ruled as a Pharaoh until Egypt was conquered by the Roman Empire.
Egyptian Junk Food and Overweight Pharaohs
Egyptians offered delicious banquets to their many deities, which were often consumed by Egyptian priests and their families. Researchers believe that this food was full of saturated fat, which caused artery clogging. This evidence was collected from wall inscriptions and x-rays of mummified priests that show clear signs of damaged arteries and heart disease.
It is also believed that pharaohs were often overweight, and not fit like Egyptian art depicts them. Egyptians drank plenty of beer and wine, and ate lots of bread that was high in sugar. Examinations have revealed that ancient rulers were commonly unhealthy and overweight.
The Human Fly-Catcher
Pharaoh Pepi II was the last ruler of Egypt’s 6th dynasty. It is believed that he ruled the kingdom for 94 years, however, some scientists argue that it was for 64 years, which would still make it the longest ruling period in ancient Egypt.
Pepi II hated flies, and he would pour honey over his naked male and female slaves to keep the annoying bugs off himself. Imagine having that job.
The Wonders of Egyptian Hieroglyphs
Ancient Egyptians wrote in hieroglyphs, which were little pictures, as opposed to letters. The writing took months sometimes, but it was incredibly intricate and beautiful. Unlike common grammar, the Egyptians used no punctuation, and they did not have any spaces in between their words. There are over 700 hieroglyphs in existence, all meaning something different.
Egyptians loved life, but they were fascinated with death and the afterlife. A pharaoh’s tomb would have everything that he or she needed for the next world, even a toilet sometimes. Peasant tombs contained things such as dishes, furniture, makeup, and jewelry. They believed that living in the afterlife was similar to living on earth, so they took what they thought was necessary with them.
People placed foods such as beer and wine in the tombs, so that the individual could keep feasting in death. It was also common to mummify beloved pets with their owners, and place them in the same coffins.
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