The Egyptians were one of the first great civilizations to have graced the face of the earth. Their magnanimity, exuberance, and opulence has marveled researchers, historians, archaeologists, and common people alike. The greatest of builders, the greatest of artists, the greatest of sculptors, and the greatest of warriors, the Egyptians have presented the ancient world with the best of the best. But all that we known about the Egyptians is either through what we’ve been taught in school or through the television and the internet. But there are some mind-boggling facts about the Egyptians that will shower light on a very mysterious and unknown patch of Egyptian history. History Pictures brings to you 8 such stupendous facts that maybe your teachers forgot to tell you in school!
1. Dancers Danced Naked
Dancers have adorned royal courts since the ancient past and the Egyptian pharaohs were no different from other ancient kings that wanted a little oomph and entertainment factor in their courts. Dancers in Egypt came from different lands, including India, Mesopotamia, Dilmun (present day Oman), and from tribal and barbaric communities in Europe. They all had different dancing styles, looked different, and spoke different languages. But the one thing that was common among them was that they all danced naked. The dancers would often just wear a belt or sometimes a skirt and would get down on the dance floor. They wore heavy jewellery and headgear. Dancers were not only women, but men as well, but young, beautiful men. Incense burned through out the court, as court musicians, mostly from the same land as the dancers, would play music all night long, and the Egyptian royalty would delve into wine and dance. This was Egypt’s version of modern day strip clubs.
How we hope we could have been a courtesan in the courts of Egypt dancing and celebrating.
2. Their Love For Pets
Who doesn’t love pets! Pets have been our partner since man met animals that could be domesticated. It doesn’t matter which animal do we keep as pets, what matters is the love and compassion we give and receive from the animal as well. Some people tend to go the old way and keep dogs, cats, or goldfish as pets, but there are some eccentric people in the world like Dali that tend to keep anteaters and other such quirky creatures as pets. The Egyptians were also a pet friendly civilization. We are all acquainted with their immense love for cats, but Egyptians also kept animals like dogs, ibises, falcons, and monkeys as pets. Their idea of keeping pets was pleasing the gods associated with the animal. For example the cat was a symbol of the goddess Bast while the dog was a symbol of the god Anubis. They also kept crocodiles of the Nile as pets to please the god Sobek. The priests of temples often fed the crocodiles of the Nile with their own hands.
3. They Were A Beer Loving Society
Though we would personally never recommend consuming alcohol, we cannot deny the fact that America is one of the largest consumers of beer in the world. The youth of today refers to beer as a soft drink rather than a hard drink, which is causing negative effects on the society. Nonetheless we will not get into the debate of beer or no beer. The Egyptians were one beer loving people. Archaeologists have found fermented barley in huge quantities which shows that they manufactured beer in huge volumes. So as such that we can see a number of carvings and paintings that depict people being paid in beer. Hieroglyphs on the walls of the pyramids and temples show how beer was also an important part of the Egyptian religion as it was offered to a number of gods and was consumed inside the temple premises as well while conducting or observing rituals and practices. Beer in Egyptian times was different from ours. It was dense as milk, sour, and a bottle of one would be enough to knock your socks off.
4. Women Wore Open Breasted Garments
Breast feeding in the open today is considered as a taboo by many societies around the world, as they considered the exposure of a breast as an indecent way of behaving in public. People have been censoring these ideas of nudity and art since a long time, but we have always seen that the ancient people had no problems with nudity and they never considered wearing no clothes as being indecent. This was also common with the Egyptians that allowed women to wear clothes that exposed a breasts. Hieroglyphs and carvings show women wearing garments that are open breasted. Elite and common women had the right to wear what they deemed fit. The Egyptians actually put rules on the length of the clothes, the color, and the material used. The cloth could be as short you want, but for long gowns, you had to be royalty or nobility at the least. The women wore a garment called a kalasiri which began from under the breast thus exposing it. One can see their goddess Nefertiti also wearing a kalasiri in paintings.
5. Kids With Eccentric Hairstyles
We cannot disagree that hairstyling has become an important part of the entertainment and fashion industry with hundreds of men and women joining training institutes to become world class haristylists. The word barber offends them as they see themselves as artists rather than barbers. Creating new hairstyles everyday, they find actors and models to showcase their art to the world, and it takes less than a minute in this internet friendly space to have an eccentric hairstyle trend through out the world. The Egyptians did this as well, but with their children. Records in the forms of carvings and paintings show that the Egyptians gave their children different and unique hairstyles that differed a lot from what the adults had. The children usually had a sidelock that hung on wither side of the face and was known as the sidelock of youth. It was chopped off once the child reached adulthood. It was mostly considered as a sacred practice than a normal fashion trend. The image shows a man named Nebamun with his children carrying the sidelock of youth on their heads.
6. A Wooden Mummy Was Displayed During Dinner
Imagine enjoying a feast with your friends at a posh restaurant in upscale Manhattan, and suddenly seeing two men enter the restaurant with the coffin, dragging it around showing it to each and every person dining in there. Weird, isn’t it? Well this was a common practice back in the day in Egypt. Whenever the royalty or nobility hosted a celebrating, two men would enter somewhere in between the party dragging around a wooden mummy all decorated with the adornments of the afterlife. The Egyptians did this to show the people that no matter how much you drink, dance, and celebrate, you will eventually end up like this inside a a wooden coffin. I would have definitely flipped out if a restaurant or cafe did this while I was celebrating an eve with my friends. But the Egyptians considered this customary as all those who dream of living lavishly need to be told that their end will always be death. The world we see today, needs the revival of these kinds of practices to tell people that lust and greed with only take you this long, Death will eventually come for us. Dark, eh?
7. Shoes Were Big Thing
The amount of importance we give to our shoes today is nothing as compared to what the Egyptians thought about this piece of apparel that is used to cover and protect our feet. Shoes were made for the simple purpose of protecting our feet from injuries and harm. But slowly we incorporated the idea of shoes into fashion and we now have shoes that are harmful when worn, but are worn for the upkeep of fashion. The Egyptians on the other hand, considered shoes to be sacred. What we have seen in their frescos and carvings is that Egyptians usually roamed around barefoot. Even the pharaoh roamed around barefoot. But the king had a designated individual to carry his shoes for him, shoes that he rarely wore. The shoes usually had the names and photos of their enemies so that they could trample them when they walked. The Egyptians considered that shoes were an amenity for the after life and hence had shoes placed in their coffins. The shoes of the afterlife were often made of either gold or silver depending on the economic status of the dead.
8. Making Funeral Portraits
We now have a lot of coffins and tombstones around the world that bear the image of the person buried as well. Practiced commonly in the World Wars to differentiate between people, this practice was considered weird during the medieval times but has been gaining popularity recently. The Egyptians practiced this as well, way before we thought of it. The Egyptians obviously did not have cameras so they did not place photos of the deceased on the coffin, but instead hired artists that would paint the portrait of the dead body’s face before it was lowered into the coffin. This was more popular in Egypt after Rome took over as it replaced the ritual of using funeral masks. The Egyptians adopted the practices of the Romans and began painting faces of the deceased on their coffins. This was first adopted on a public scale by Hellenes who was a descendant of the Ptolemies who ruled Egypt as a province of the Roman Empire. Archaeologists have found up too 900 funeral portraits and the accuracy of the portraits is astounding. The colors have survived thousands of years, which is testimony to the greatness of the Egyptians.