Are you some kind of historian, ready to absorb new history facts like a sponge? There’s all sorts of fun history to immerse yourself in. Maybe you’re a fan of Indian history or find yourself drawn to Irish history. The possibilities are endless, purely because anything that has happened becomes history.
What about Ancient Egypt? We all love a pyramid, don’t we? Especially when they’re really old. Why not test your knowledge and see how many points you can score!
20 Weird & Amazing Ancient Egypt Facts you didn’t know!
How much do you know about Ancient Egypt? Top up your trivia tank with these amazing facts!
1. THERE ARE MANY PYRAMIDS IN EGYPT!
There are around 130 pyramids today, and have stood firm agains the elements for thousands of years. Historians think that they were built by farmers and other labourers during the flooding season, and were paid for their hard work.
2. ONE FEMALE PHARAOH WORE A FAKE BEARD!
Hatshepsut was an Egyptian pharaoh. The only problem was, Hatshepsut was a woman, and female pharaohs weren’t always taken seriously. So she decided to do something about that. Surviving statues of Hatshepsut show her with a long, ancient Egyptian style beard. Although she probably didn’t wear it all the time, the beard helped her look more like the ancient Egyptian gods. Would you put on a beard if it helped you become pharaoh?
We’d put a Calippo on our chin if it meant getting free stuff.
3. MOST EGYPTIANS LIVED BY THE NILE!
People lived by the banks, because it provided water and food, and a means of transportation. Cars wouldn’t appear for several thousand years, so that would prove very handy.
4. PYRAMIDS WERE USED AS PHARAOH TOMBS!
These massive polyhedrons were used to house the bodies of the wealthy and powerful, and thought to help send the pharaohs to the next life. The Pharaoh’s mummies would be surrounded by riches for the afterlife, like this amazing golden mask of Tutankhamen which is now Cairo’s Egyptian Museum.
5. MUMMIFICATION REQUIRED A LOT OF BANDAGES!
The mummification process would use up to 1500 metres of thin strips of cloth. In between the many layers, priests would place small jewels and items to help them in the next life.
6. EVERYONE WORE MAKE UP!
Men and women would wear make up, partly to protect the skin from the hot sun, but as a way to imitate the gods and offer a sense of protection. They mostly used copper and lead for the green and black shades, which is not advised, ever. Seriously.
7. ANCIENT EGYPT GAVE THE WORLD MANY INVENTIONS!
Maybe because there was no television or comics to read, the Ancient Egyptians invented many things: paper, ink, toothpaste, ploughs, clocks, the police. Loads of stuff, basically.
8. ANCIENT EGYPTIANS WERE BIG FANS OF CATS!
Just like everyone loves to look at cat videos on the internet, the Ancient Egyptians worshipped cats. They loved them because they could catch rats, but believed them to be magical animals and were treated very well. When they passed away, they were mummified like pharaohs.
9. THEY CREATED A HIEROGLYPHS!
Hieroglyphics were a type of writing that used pictures and sophisticated symbols. In Greek, it means ‘sacred words’.
10. HIEROGLYPHS EVOLVED INTO OTHER TYPES OF WRITING TOO!
As well as hieroglyphs, three other types of writing began to evolve: hieratic, demotic, and coptic. Priests would use hieratic writing in their religious texts, while demotic writing was widely used by the public. Coptic writing began to use vowels. If you wanted to say hello, you’d write: ⲛⲟϥⲣⲓ.
11. THE ANCIENT EGYPTIANS INVENTED THE 365-DAY CALENDAR!
It was devised to help predict when the Nile would flood. The year would be split into three different seasons: Flood (September to January), Winter (January to May) and Summer (May to September).
12. THEY WORSHIPPED OVER 2,000 GODS AND GODDESSES!
That’s a lot, isn’t it? They had human bodies and animal heads and were each associated with a particular event or ritual in life. This is Anubis, a jackal god who protected graves and would judge people in the afterlife.
13. THE LARGEST PYRAMID IS IN GIZA!
It’s called the Pyramid of Khufu and weighs the same as 16 Empire State Buildings. No point even trying to pick that up, is there.
14. ANCIENT EGYPTIANS PLAYED BOARD FAMES!
They didn’t play games like Monopoly or Cluedo, but games which used early versions of dice and were based on chance. One game was called Senet and very similar to chess!
15. SOME PEOPLE BATHED IN SOUR MILK!
They did this because they believed it helped their skin. It’s not like anyone was going to drink the stuff.
16. TUTANKHAMEN’S TOMB WAS DISCOVERED IN 1922!
During an archaeological expedition in Egypt, a team led by British historian named Howard Carter discovered Tutankhamen’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings, along with many items which were placed alongside his mummy to take with him into the afterlife.
17. MOULDY BREAD WAS USED TO TREAT WOUNDS!
It sounds gross, but it’s true. The bacteria in the mould would act as an antibiotic and heal a cut. We hope they didn’t put the bread back on the table.
18. WE’RE CLOSER IN HISTORY TO CLEOPATRA THAN SHE WAS TO THE FIRST PYRAMIDS TO BE BUILT!
The three iconic pyramids in Giza were built around 2550 to 2490 BC. This queen was born in 69 BC, which was some 2400-ish years later. So they’ll have already looked pretty old by the time she took the throne.
19. MUMMIFICATION WAS EXTREMELY GROSS!
Before pharaohs were mummified, their brains were removed through the nostrils in a process called excerebration. Ancient Egyptians would leave the heart, because they believed it was needed in the afterlife.
20. PHAROAHS WOULD KEEP THEIR HAIR COVERED!
This was because they believed it separated them from the people they ruled over. Historians say that they often shaved their heads in order to avoid getting head lice as well.