Ancient Egypt has always intrigued not just historians but tourists, film-makers, and common men too. Demi-god like Pharaohs, surreal wealth, enigmatic tombs and fascinating burial ceremonies; Egypt has it all which can captivate you to learn more about its ancient culture.
We are still in the process of knowing the vast complex civilization it was, but nonetheless, here are 15 lesser known tantalizing facts about Ancient Egypt.
1. First God had to do the deed
One of the first Egyptian creation myths involved Atum, the first being, reproducing by masturbating & swallowing his own semen. Atum is believed to be the source of everything in this world, and thus he is the creator of all life. He had both male and female aspects within himself. He then spit out the god of moisture & mist, literally naming it “spit” (Tefnut). Then he sneezed out the god of air & emptiness, literally naming it “sneeze”. Source
2. That the Jews were Egyptians slaves is debatable
There is no archaeological evidence whatsoever that suggests Jews were ever enslaved in Egypt. This all might be a hogwash purported for political interests. There is no supporting proof that about 2 million people fled Egypt. Also, there is no evidence in Israel that shows a sudden influx of people from another culture at that time. Source
3. Dwarfs were recognized possessing celestial gifts
In Ancient Egypt, dwarfs were seen as people who had celestial gifts, were treated with the greatest respect and enjoyed the highest social positions. Dwarfs served and worked directly for the king and royal household, and a number have been found buried in subsidiary tombs around those of the kings. Source
4. Ancient Egypt had proctologists (colon and rectal surgeon)
An ancient physician was usually a jack-of-all-trades, but evidence shows that Egyptian doctors sometimes focused on healing only one part of the human body. There is evidence to support that Ancient Egypt had proctologists and their term for the position literally translates to “shepherd of the anus”. Source
5. The Middle Kingdom of Egypt listed three genders.
Middle Kingdom of Egypt (2000–1800 BCE) might have been more progressive than most of the present day cultures. Inscribed pottery shards from the era list three human genders: tai (male), sḫt (“sekhet”) and hmt (female). Sḫt is often translated as “eunuch”. Source
6. There are over 1000 tombs in present day Egypt alone
Popularly known as the Indiana Jones of the 21st century, Sarah Parcak’s innovative work in space archaeology has shown that there are 7 pyramids, 1,000 tombs, and over 3,100 settlements in Egypt alone. Imagine the manpower and technology required to study the archaeological wealth. Source
7. The Egyptian Pyramids were not made by slaves but by paid laborers.
Evidence suggests that the massive tombs were built not by slaves but by paid laborers. These ancient construction workers were a mix of skilled artisans and temporary hands, and some appear to have taken great pride in their craft. Source
8. Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs were obese
Many ancient Egyptian Pharaohs were overweight and unhealthy, in contrast to their typical depiction. That was likely due to a sugary diet of alcohol, bread and honey. Examinations of mummies have indicated that many Egyptian rulers were unhealthy and overweight, and even suffered from diabetes. Source
9. Ancient Egypt had period care leaves for men
In ancient Egypt, men could take time off of work to care for menstruating wives and daughters. Before you hail ancient Egyptians as progressive, please note that men were forbidden from working on tombs while in contact with menstruating women. menstruation in Ancient Egypt was seen as the opposite of birth. Tombs acted more or less like wombs to the afterlife. If someone was in contact with a person who menstruated, then they might bring death into a place of spiritual rebirth, and thus disrupt the cycle of rebirth. Source 1 Source 2
10. Pyramids are architectural wonders
You know this right? But can you fathom the precision with which the pyramids were made? The Great Pyramid is made of 6.3 million tons of material which is more material than it took to build all the churches and cathedrals in England.The Pyramid base covers 13 acres and is flat and level to within 1cm. Source
11. Forget Platinum, I want meteorite stuff
The dagger found in Tutankhamun’s tomb was made from iron from a meteorite. The teenage king, was mummified more than 3,300 years ago. The elemental composition of dagger strongly suggests an extraterrestrial origin. Source
12. Killing a cat incurred death penalty
Forget about a murder, even an accidental killing could incur the death penalty. As a revered animal and one important to Egyptian society and religion, some cats received the same mummification after death as humans. Source
13. Ancient Egyptians had utmost respect for books
In ancient Egypt, any books found in ships coming into port, would be brought immediately to the library of Alexandria and be copied. The original would be kept in the library and the copy given back to the owner. Source
14. Ancient Egyptians accessorized their private parts
women in Ancient Egypt and 18th century France used to keep a scented pouch in their vagina for a while before presenting it to a prospective lover. They perhaps might be the earliest culture to recognize the use of fragrances in a sexual act. Source
15. Ancient Egyptians could have recognized cancer
TIL the first documented case of cancer dates back to Ancient Egypt, in 1500 B.C. The world’s oldest documented case of cancer hails from ancient Egypt in 1500 BC. The details were recorded on papyrus, documenting eight cases of tumors occurring on the breast. It was treated by cauterization, which destroyed tissue with a hot instrument called “the fire drill.” Source