Interesting Facts about Egypt

 Interesting Facts about Egypt that Most People Don’t Know

Egypt, with its pyramids, land of pharaohs, and majestic cats, has fascinated people for centuries. From mummies to the mighty Nile River, this ancient land holds many secrets and interesting facts that often go unnoticed. In this article, we will explore some lesser-known but interesting tidbits about Egypt that most people don't know.

Cleopatra was not an Egyptian

Cleopatra, one of history's most famous queens, is often famously associated with ancient Egypt. However, she was not ethnically Egyptian but originally of Greek Macedonian descent. The Ptolemaic dynasty, to which Cleopatra belonged, was founded by one of Alexander the Great's generals after his conquest of Egypt in 323 B.C. Cleopatra was actually one of the first members of the Ptolemaic dynasty to speak the Egyptian language.

The practice of mummification didn’t start in Egypt

When we think of mummies, all we can imagine is Tutankhamun’s casket in Egypt. However, you will be surprised to know that the practice of mummification didn’t start in Egypt. The process was first performed religiously by a tribe called Chinchorro in South America. It was about 2,000 years before the Egyptians started doing it.

King Tut was killed by a hippopotamus

Many historians believe that the young King Tutankhamun may have been killed by a Hippopotamus bite. Egyptians used to hunt beasts for sport as they hated and considered Hippos bad omens. As per a Few Egyptologists, the king’s death might have been the result of a hunt gone wrong. 

Scans of the young boy’s body show that he was mummified without his heart or his chest wall. The major difference from the traditional Egyptian burial practice suggests that the king may have suffered a horrific injury resulting in death.

The pyramid of Giza is not the biggest in the world

The Great Pyramid of Giza built over 4,500 years ago, is a true engineering marvel. It is not only the tallest but also the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and is aligned with remarkable precision. However, the Pyramid of Giza is not the biggest in the world. The Great Pyramid of Cholula, a man-made mountain in Mexico is about twice as big as the Pyramid of Giza.

The Egyptian pyramids were not built by slaves              

For many years, it was believed that the great pyramids of Egypt were built by Israelite slaves. However, it is not true! Recent discoveries have shown that the people who took on the job were paid voluntary laborers. They belonged to respected Egyptian families recognized for their work. And, they only participated in building the opulent tombs out of sheer loyalty towards their pharaohs.

Egyptian women had many rights and privileges 

Despite being socially viewed as lesser to men, Egyptian women enjoyed a great deal of freedom back in the time. Women have the right to a members of the juries, buy and sell properties, make wills, and enter into prenuptial contracts. They even had the right to divorce and remarry. Egyptian women who used to do jobs the same as men usually received equal pay as well.

The Egyptian calendar was designed to predict flooding

For Egyptian farmers, the flooding of the Nile has been an important natural cycle. To create an accurate calendar at first, the Egyptians used information like floods, harvests, and rising water levels. However, due to differences in calculations, the calendar was inaccurate.

Then they recorded the yearly appearance of Sirius (the Dog Star). Since it occurred on the exact 19th day of July of the Julian calendar, it was marked as the first of the year.

Egyptians of both sexes used to wear makeup

While cosmetics are commonly associated with modern beauty standards, the ancient Egyptians were no exception. Both men and women in ancient Egypt used to wear copious amounts of makeup, which they believed gave them the protection of the gods Horus and Ra. They used a substance called kohl, made from grinding ores like galena and malachite, to darken their eyes and eyebrows. Research has shown that Kohl also had magical healing properties, protecting the eyes from the sun's glare, infections, and repelling insects.

Egyptian women would also put henna on their hands and fingernails, color their cheeks with red paint, while both men and women wore perfumes made from oil, cinnamon, and myrrh.

Egyptians kept many animals as pets

The ancient Egyptians saw animals as avatar of the gods. They were probably one of the first civilizations to keep animals as household pets. Egyptians were particularly fond of cats and considered them sacred as cats were associated with the goddess Bastet. Egyptians also had great respect for hawks, lions, ibises, and baboons. Many of these creatures were often mummified and buried with their owners. Other animals like dogs and monkeys were specially trained to work as helper animals. 

The ancient Egyptians forged one of the oldest known peace treaties

The Egyptians were no strangers to conflicts and conquests, but they also recognized the importance of diplomacy. One of the earliest peace treaties on record, the Treaty of Kadesh, was signed between the ancient Egyptians and the Hittites Empire in the 13th century B.C. Ramses II and Hattusili III (Hittite King) negotiated a peace treaty after the Battle of Kadesh as no one got the victory. The treaty marked the end of hostilities between the two kingdoms and established a mutual alliance against invasion by common enemies.