Ten Interesting Facts on Ancient Egypt

Egypt's history has always been holding a fascination for many of us - take a look at some interesting and surprising facts here!

Egyptian Women enjoyed freedom and a wide range of rights!

Women in Ancient Egypt may have appeared socially inferior to men in public but women were not denied any financial or legal independence. 

Image - Fayum portrait of a woman (encaustic wax on wood), Coptic, (2nd Century) / Egyptian, Louvre, Paris, France, 39x19 cms, © Bridgeman Images

The Egyptians saw animals as incarnations of the Gods!

Hawks, lions, baboons and dogs were animals that were extremely popular among ancient Egyptians. Animals were mummified and buried with their owners after they had died. 

Image of Anubis, Egyptian god of the dead from a chest in the form of a shrine, from the tomb of Tutankhamun (c.1370-52 BC) New Kingdom (wood), Egyptian 18th Dynasty (c.1567-1320 BC) / Egyptian, Egyptian National Museum, Cairo, Egypt, (C14th BC), © Bridgeman Images

Cleopatra was originally part of a long line of Greek Macedonians

Cleopatra traced her families origins back to Macedonian Greece and Ptolemy I Soter, one of Alexander the Great's generals. Ptolemy ruled Egypt after the death of Alexander in 323 B.C. .

Image of Cleopatra (69-30 BC), preparatory study for 'Cleopatra Testing Poisons on the Condemned Prisoners' (oil on canvas), Cabanel, Alexandre (1823-89) / French, Musee des Beaux-Arts, Beziers, France, © Bridgeman Images

Women also ascended the throne in Ancient Egypt 

Few women made it into the highest office and into the highest position of Pharaoh. Women who were believed to have royal blood were considered by Ancient Egyptians as divine. 

Image of a Statue of a Ptolemaic Queen, perhaps Cleopatra VII, 200-30 BC (dolomitic limestone), Egyptian Ptolemaic Period (332-30 BC) / Egyptian, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA, 62.5x22x15 cms, © Bridgeman Images

The first Ancient Egyptian unified kingdom surfaced around 3,200 B.C

In Ancient Egypt there were three primary kingdoms, the Old Kingdom 'Age of Pyramids', Middle Kingdom 'Golden Age' and the New Kingdom 'Imperial Age'. 

Image of EGYPT. TEMPLE OF LUXOR. Avenue of the Sphinxes, At the back, the first pylon or monumental gateway built by Ramses II. Ancient Thebes, © Tarker / Bridgeman Images

Egyptian Society consisted of a descending hierarchy of the gods, the king, the blessed dead and humanity!

Image of Anubis attends Sennedjem's Mummy, from the Tomb of Sennedjem, The Workers' Village, New Kingdom (mural), Egyptian 19th Dynasty (c.1292-1187 BC) / Egyptian, Deir el-Medina, Thebes, Egypt, © Bridgeman Images

There were two forms of writing in Ancient Egypt, Hieroglyphs and Hieratic Writing

Hieroglyphs were often used for decorative display on monuments/tombs. 

Image of Funerary papyrus of Djedkhonsouefankh depicting the judgement of the deceased, Third Intermediate Period (papyrus), Egyptian 21st Dynasty (c.1069-945 BC) / Egyptian, Egyptian National Museum, Cairo, Egypt, © Bridgeman Images

Hieratic script was used from the 1st dynasty until about 200 BCE. Hieratic script is a cursive form of writing. Priests used hieratic writing in the transcription of religious texts for more than several centuries. 

Image of Fragment of the Ebers Papyrus, New Kingdom, c.1550 BC (papyrus), Egyptian 18th Dynasty (c.1567-1320 BC) / Egyptian, University Library, Leipzig, Germany, (C16th BC), © Archives Charmet / Bridgeman Images

Ancient Egyptians were mathematicians and scientists

The Ancient Egyptians developed ways to measure time and distance. They applied their scientific and mathematical knowledge to the construction of monumental architecture. 

Image of Planetary orbits, plate 18 from 'The Celestial Atlas, or the Harmony of the Universe' (Atlas coelestis seu harmonia macrocosmica) depicting the Ptolemaic and Tycho Brahe systems, pub. by Joannes Janssonius, Amsterdam, 1660-1 (engraving), Cellarius, Andreas (c.1596-1665) (after) / German, © Bridgeman Images

The River Nile was the source of the Ancient Egyptians wealth

Ancient Egyptian cities were located along the River Nile. The Nile was used for irrigation and water grew rich and profitable crops. 

Image of the Nile River Between Luxor and Esna, Qina, Egypt (photo), © Peter Langer/Design Pics/UIG / Bridgeman Images

Egyptian Pharaohs were both heads of state and the religious leaders of their people

Pharaohs of the Ancient Egyptian people held two remarkable titles, 'Lord of the Two Lands' and 'High Priest of Every Temple'. The gods were represented by the Pharaoh's presence on on Earth. The ruling pharaoh built temples and performed many rituals that honored the gods. 

Image of Tuthmosis III (c.1490-39 BC) (Basalt), Egyptian 18th Dynasty (c.1567-1320 BC) / Egyptian, Louvre, Paris, France, © Bridgeman Images

 

Read more about Ancient Egypt and the Valley of Kings

 

Sources: 

https://www.history.com/news/10-little-known-facts-about-cleopatra#:~:text=While%20Cleopatra%20was%20born%20in,lasted%20for%20nearly%20three%20centuries

https://www.history.com/news/11-things-you-may-not-know-about-ancient-egypt

https://www.britannica.com/place/ancient-Egypt

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