The man began to master the banks of the Nile as far back as the distant Paleolithic. Findings of flint tools in the course of archaeological research have proved that the first sites of ancestors appear in Egypt about 700 thousand years ago. The first settlers in the Nile valley laid the foundation for the emergence and development of an amazing civilization. Ancient Egypt is not in a hurry to share its secrets, but gradually and meticulously opens the veil of humanity for its amazing and mysterious history.
✰ ✰ ✰
1. The role of priests in Ancient Egypt
One of the mysterious phenomena of Ancient Egypt is the activity of the priests. They were ministers of the temples, but at the same time they performed a number of state functions. The Egyptian pharaoh never started a significant undertaking without turning to the priests.
Egyptian clergymen were the link between mere mortals and gods. The priests and only the priests had the right to communicate with the gods. For each god in Egypt, a separate temple was built, where sacred actions took place. In the center of the temple was a statue of a deity. And here the most interesting, the priests treated the statue of the deity as a living person: they brought food, washed and changed their clothes. For example, in the temple of the god Amon-Ra, more than 60 actions were prescribed to evoke the favor of the Sun God. Respectful attitude to the gods, was brought up by the Egyptians from childhood. Among the revered stood Pharaoh – the embodiment of God on earth.
Ancient Egyptian priests were carriers of a large amount of knowledge, inaccessible to the simple Egyptian. The knowledge accumulated by previous generations was classified and transmitted strictly within the closed circle of the priests. As a result of long-term observations of the phenomena of nature, the movement of celestial bodies, human diseases and their manifestations, scientific conclusions were drawn and entered into the papyrus. Based on this knowledge, the priests successfully treated the disease, predicted the dates of sowing and harvesting.
Archaeologically confirmed that in ancient Egypt trepanation of the skull was already performed – a complicated surgical operation. Most likely, the priest-scientists already knew such a notion as the “Universe”. It did not work in the activities of the priests and without magical actions. With the help of infusions of herbs, intoxicating drugs were included in the trance in order to communicate with the deity. There were even special poses (a kind of yoga), which had to be taken before the statue of God, to cause his favor. But still, the main function of the priests was to maintain a harmonious order of things in the universe.
Faith in the magical power of ancient Egyptian temples and artifacts remains today. Rock stars, statesmen and politicians visit the ancient monuments of Egypt to cure or beg for success in their endeavors.
✰ ✰ ✰
2. Colored glass
In addition to the art of venerating the Gods, the Egyptians achieved high perfection in various crafts. In addition to the monumental construction of pyramids and statues, multifunctional tools, ancient Egyptians could make unique, beautiful things.
Thus, during the archaeological excavations in Scandinavia, in the Danish city of Albi, glass beads of blue were found. Researchers of various specialties have found out that this decoration made of glass was made by an ancient Egyptian master from Amarna.
For the product 4 millennium BC, the beads were really a work of art. Blue was deeply revered by the Egyptians, as it was the color of the waters of the Nile and the sea. And the Nile is life. The spills of the Nile provided yields of cereals and other crops on the fields cultivated by the Egyptians. It is not difficult to imagine that glass in that era was valued very highly. It could only be changed to very significant and equivalent materials. By supplying glassware to the northern peoples, the Egyptians received amber instead.
What did amber mean to residents of the Nile Valley? They believed that the Sun was hidden in it. And the most revered of the Egyptian gods is Amon or the god of the Sun Ra. In the accompanying things of the burials of Egyptian pharaohs, amber is found quite often. So, the exchange, according to the Egyptians, was equivalent.
In the case of material exchange, mutual spiritual penetration most likely occurred. Scandinavians could perceive some elements of the spiritual culture of the Egyptians and incorporate them into their mythology and beliefs.
✰ ✰ ✰
3. Women doctors in Ancient Egypt
Another unique phenomenon of Ancient Egypt was the actual equality of the sexes. Over time, the role of women in human society has lost its original meaning and reduced only to the function of procreation and housekeeping. In Egypt, women had a number of privileges along with men. They performed state functions, such as drafting legal documents, had the right to property. Vivid examples of the role of women in ancient Egyptian society are the queens Nefertiti and Hapshesut, in later history – Cleopatra.
To the areas where women were allowed, there was medicine. Records of papyri and inscriptions on tombs mention the names of one hundred female doctors. Women physicians were quite successful and they were trusted by their lives by high-ranking officials, and even by pharaohs. The first mention of a female doctor refers to the 27th century BC.
History has been preserved for future generations and its name is Merit Ptah. There is even her image, preserved in the necropolis of the pyramid of Sakkara. Maybe the Mankind did not even know about Merip, except for her son, who was the high priest. It was in his tomb found a clay tablet with a mention of his mother-doctor, where it is indicated that she specialized mainly in obstetrics. Treated also with the help of herbs and spiritualistic sessions, which was natural for that time.
The next name that came to us through the shroud of millennia is the female doctor Peshesht. Ancient sources say that she was not only a doctor, but also a supervisor over doctors. Perhaps this was the first resemblance of the first hospital, at the head of which was Peshesht
Respect for women doctors in ancient Egyptian society was expressed in special veneration. Their names are immortalized not only in the mention in the sources, but also in the creation for these women of certain hieroglyphs.
✰ ✰ ✰
4. The diet of the Egyptians
The development of archeology and other accompanying historical and physical and technical sciences made it possible to compile a menu of ancient Egyptians. French scientists have investigated 45 mummies for the presence and correlation of two carbon isotopes. The studies were truly colossal in nature. The time frame covered the period from 3500 to 600 BC
In the study, scientists drew attention to the fact that in mummies, carbon-12 predominates, but there is also an isotope of carbon-13. On the basis of the already available data on animals, the scientists determined the composition of the food, which was used by the ancient Egyptians. It turned out that most of them were vegetarians, they used meat very rarely. The created irrigation system in the Nile valley allowed the Egyptians to achieve high yield and nutritional value of cereals.
In the main diet of the Egyptians was wheat, barley. In the food added and products derived from Europe, containing starch (sorghum, millet). Vegetable food gave the inhabitants of Egypt all the minerals necessary for life. But the absence of fats and meat proteins promoted the development of certain types of diseases in people.
Another article used in food products was fish. Wall painting and writing give us an idea of the high development of fishing in ancient Egypt, but, surprisingly, the Egyptians consumed very little fish and seafood.
✰ ✰ ✰
5. Health problems
Once the conversation turned to a nutritious diet, it’s time to talk about the diseases that the ancient Egyptians were exposed to. Ancient sources give us a lot and at the same time very little information about people’s lives in the past. That is why, sometimes, wrong conclusions are drawn, when projecting modern ideas about life on the past.
Excavations of the necropolis near Tel-el-Marne showed the real living conditions of people in ancient Egypt. Investigation of the remains, which are about 3000 years old, showed that the average height of men was 158 centimeters. Women were 2-5 centimeters below.
Male and female skeletons indicated a high fatigue of the population. According to some signs, people lacked animal protein and elementary time for proper rest. Studies have also shown high mortality among adolescents. Among diseases, anemia has become widespread.
But you can not tear the fact out of the general context. Tel-el-Marne had the ancient capital of the pharaoh Akhenaten, who carried out radical reforms, which amounted to the introduction of monotheism in Egypt. Reforms were carried out forcibly. Therefore, studies of the remains of the necropolis show signs of an overstrain of human resources.
As you can see, Egypt has a fascinating and sometimes mysterious history. And what other mysterious discoveries the researchers are waiting for, time will tell.
✰ ✰ ✰
6. Drunkards of the Mikerin
Everyone dreams of leaving their mark in history, though tiny information about themselves or their activities. For example, the potters of ancient Greece, if they could not write, simply put a distinctive mark – left a thumbprint on the handles of their products.
Similarly, the workers and artists of Ancient Egypt left a trace of themselves and their activities in the form of graffiti on the walls of buildings in the construction of which they took part or on manufactured objects. Many of the drawings that have come down to us are humorous. For history, such “traces in the history” of the price are informative, and unlike official documents, they can tell a lot about the everyday life of people of that time.
So, thanks to such graffiti, scientists have established that when constructing monumental structures, the builders were divided into thousands. These thousands were smaller units of narrow specialization. The work of the groups led to a general result – the construction of a solid building or tomb of the pharaoh. Each unit chose a nickname, with the obligatory inclusion of the name of the pharaoh to which they worked. Some of them have come down to us, for example, and so funny as “Drinkers of the Mikerin.”
✰ ✰ ✰
7. The Blue Lotus
Ancient Egyptians deified not only animals, but also plants. The most revered flower was a blue water lily or, as it was called “blue lotus.”
The ancient Egyptian myth of the creation of the world, which has come down to us, asserts that the lotus flower was formed from the chaos of the prototype and gave birth to the sun god, who in turn became the progenitor of all life on earth.
The Egyptians perceived the behavior of the flower as the incarnation of the divine beginning in it. Lotus opened his petals in the early morning, just before dawn, exposing the world to the golden mean of his flower, and closed before sunset. From the consciousness of the priests and simple Egyptians, the flowers of the blue lotus migrated to the walls of churches, religious writings, monuments of civil architecture.
Lily flowers were widely used by priests in carrying out mystical rites and medicine. Women and men used flowers as decorations in their hair and clothes. The researchers also found that blue lotus flowers contain a vasodilator that can fight erectile dysfunction. Perhaps, it is this circumstance that causes his appearance in erotic art.
✰ ✰ ✰
8. The influence of Nubian culture
There is a history in the history of the Nubian pyramids
A lot of examples of mixing different cultures, Ancient Egypt also did not avoid this process, sometimes finds in the burials of elements of different cultures, in the absence of sufficient information, puzzles archeologists and historians, and, on the contrary, such discoveries are confirmed by a well-known historical fact.
It happened in the study of women’s burial in Upper Nubia. Historians already knew from written sources that around 1500 BC. Egypt conquered and subjugated the population of Upper Nubia. In the burial harmoniously intertwined Egyptian and Nubian burial traditions. The woman was buried in the Egyptian sarcophagus, but according to the Nubian tradition – on the bed in the embryo pose, with knees pressed to the stomach. At the same time, the embalming of the body was completely absent, which is not characteristic of the Egyptian burials.
An Egyptian amulet around the woman’s neck was found out of the accompanying burial of the ornaments, and there were no ivory jewelry found in large numbers in Nubian female burials.
So, in the example of one female burial place, scientists traced the long process of merging of two ancient cultures, and proved that this process was mutual. Egyptians, imposing their cultural traditions, simultaneously perceived the Nubian values in themselves.
✰ ✰ ✰
9. The egalitarian concept of marriage
The first taboos in the history of mankind were associated with sexual relations. At the official level, pre-marital sex in Ancient Egypt was not forbidden, but the state and society still expected from young Egyptians that they would create a family. Over time, a tradition has developed in Egypt, when young people entered into marriage before they reached the age of 20. Most likely, such early marriages were due to short life expectancy.
Unlike later cultures and civilizations, the state and religion in ancient Egypt did not affect the relations in the family. Most likely, it was a kind of social contract between the spouses. They discussed the use of premarital property, as well as property, acquired as a result of joint activities. An uneasy life created the basis for such an economic basis of marriage.
This egalitarian concept of marriage equalized the rights of men and women. Women, like men, had the right to file for divorce for any reason. But what is noteworthy, there are more things in the investigated women’s burials than in men’s. It is caused by the funeral tradition, or it really is the consequences of the property division in the divorce, in which the woman kept her property and received two thirds of the property acquired with her husband.
After the divorce, the Egyptians easily remarried, despite the fact that such actions were condemned by society. Information on family relations is supplemented by drawings and texts in which the ancient Egyptians appear before us as romantics, compassionate and monogamous people.
✰ ✰ ✰
Another fact from Egyptian history related to the plant. It would seem that such a garden culture, like a salad, does not fit very well with an aphrodisiac, but the creative Egyptians also saw in it some signs of a masculine beginning.
Firstly, it is a form of salad that is somewhat similar to a part of the male organism, and secondly, when cut, the juice allocated reminds the Egyptians of sperm or milk of the mother. By these signs, the Egyptians personified a salad with the God of fertility Min. It was this Egyptian God who was dedicated to lettuce.
On the antiquity of venerating a salad, says that Ming is one of the most ancient gods of the Egyptian pantheon. The first mention of the salad is found in tombs dating back to the 3rd millennium BC. But about 2000 BC. Salad steel to read in the sexual plane.
Maybe that’s why the inhabitants of the Nile Valley did not eat salad leaves, but used its seeds, squeezing oil out of them. The leaves were simply recycled. The resulting oil was used for medicinal purposes, added during cooking. Scientists also found the remains of oil from the seeds of salad on mummies, therefore, the Egyptians actively used the product when embalming their deceased.
A vivid example of the mystery of Egyptian history and culture. A simple vegetable garden became the embodiment of a deity on earth.
✰ ✰ ✰
It was interesting facts about Ancient Egypt. Thank you for your attention!
The author of the article: Valery Skiba