Ancient Egypt was one of the most advanced human civilizations, and it gave birth to a culture so rich that a whole field of study is dedicated to it today. Although Egyptian art, architecture, religion and myths have become the subject of interest throughout the world, there are still plenty of thought-provoking things you need to know about the famed pyramid builders.
Fact 1: Cleopatra was the queen of Egypt, but she was not Egyptian! She was of Macedonian Greek decent and the last of her dynasty to rule Egypt. She occupied the throne from 323 BCE, the death of Alexander the Great, to about 30 BCE. Cleopatra was the first in her family to speak the Egyptian language.
Fact 2: The impressive pyramids of Egypt were built as burial chambers for kings, as tombs for the Pharaohs and their families. The royal burials were filled with all the necessities a Pharaoh might need in the afterlife, including a wealth of gold and jewels.
Fact 3: Giza, the pyramid of King Khufu, is the largest Egyptian pyramid. It is 147 meters (482 feet) tall and incorporates about 2.3 million stone blocks, weighing approximately 2.5 to 15 tons each.
Fact 4: Over 130 pyramids have been discovered in Egypt.
Fact 5: The afterlife had an immense importance in Egyptian culture. They believed that by preserving the dead body through mummification, the soul would live on in the afterlife. During the process of mummification, which took several days, the Egyptian’s removed the person’s organs with a very careful procedure so to preserve its true physical appearance. The heart was the only organ left in place because the Egyptians believed the heart to be the center of the persons being and intelligence.
Fact 6: Both men and women in Ancient Egypt wore makeup! Green and black eye make-up has become synonymous with the Ancient Egyptians. However, Egyptians also wore rouge and perfumed oils that softened the skin and protected them from the harsh desert climate.
Fact 7: There were more than 700 hieroglyphs in the Egyptian alphabet. Each hieroglyph represented a different object, sound or action.
Fact 8: The Ancient Egyptian civilization spanned over 3,000 years and is one of the longest lasting societies in the world.
Fact 9: The Egyptians worshiped more than 2,000 gods and goddesses.
Fact 10: Egyptians were fascinated with cats. They were connected to numerous gods and goddesses, but they first entered the Egyptian households as guardians against mice, rats and snakes.
Fact 11: The most famous cat deity was Bast. She had the head of a cat and the body of a woman and became a household goddess, the protector of women, children and domestic cats.
Fact 12: Death Shall Come on Swift Wings To Him Who Disturbs the Peace of the King... –was supposedly engraved on the exterior of King Tutankhamen’s Tomb. King Tut was very young when he died and until recently it was speculated that his tomb contained a curse. Why? Well, a few months after the young Englishman Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon opened Tut’s tomb, Carnarvon died from a mysterious illness. By 1929, 7 years after the tomb was opened, eleven people connected with its discovery passed away due to “unnatural causes”. However, in 2002, Mark Nelson a medical scholar at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, completed a study which allegedly showed that the curse of King Tut never really existed.
Fact 13: Many wall paintings depict Egyptians, young and old, playing board games! Popular games included “Mehen” (snakes), “Dogs and Jackals” and “Senet”. Senet was a game for two, with seven pieces per player and a long board with 30 squares.