5 Lesser-Known Facts About Ancient Egypt

Are you curious about ancient Egypt? Read on to find out some lesser-known facts about ancient Egypt that you didn’t know before.

Cleopatra was Not an Egyptian

Cleopatra VII, along with King Tut, is famously associated with ancient Egypt. Few know that Cleopatra was a descendant of Greek Macedonians. The only connection with “Egyptian” for Cleopatra was that she was born in Alexandria. When the Ptolemaic Dynasty ruled Egypt, most of the leaders had Greek culture. Cleopatra was known for being one of the first people of that dynasty to know how to speak the Egyptian language.

Love of Board Games

There were different games that were played in ancient Egypt, such as “Dogs and Jackals” and “Mehen”. However, the game that was most played was one of chance called “Senet” and dates back as far as 3500 B.C. The game was played on a longboard painted with 30 squares. Each player owned a set of pieces that moved along the board based on rolls of dice or the throwing sticks.

Pyramids weren’t Built by Slaves

Contrary to popular belief, pyramid builders weren’t slaves but paid laborers. These age-old construction workers were made of various skilled workers and temporary hands, and they took great pride in their work. Graffiti was found near the pyramids and the graffiti crews often had humorous names like the “Drunkards of Menkaure”. While the ancient Egyptians did keep slaves, they mostly used them for working in the fields and as servants for the household.

King Tut Might Have Been Killed by a Hippopotamus

Shockingly little is known about the life of pharaoh Tutankhamen, but some historians claim to know how he passed. He was embalmed without his heart or his chest wall in some earlier scans and the deviation from conventional Egyptian burial tradition suggests that he might have been horrifically injured before his death. A bite of a hippopotamus is said to have been the cause, according to some Egyptologists. The Egyptians used to hunt the beasts for sport, and there were statues depicting him in the act of throwing harpoons at the beast in his tomb.

Egyptians of Both Genders Wore Tons of Makeup

The ancient Egyptians were rather vain, but which civilization wasn’t? Both men and women in Egypt wore lots of makeup. They believed that makeup protected them against the gods Horus and Ra. To produce kohl, or a type of dark substance as eyeliner, the Egyptians would grind ores like malachite and galena. Wooden, bone, or ivory utensils were then used to apply the kohl around the eyes. Women would use red paint as cheek stain or blush and apply henna to color their hands and fingernails. Perfumes were made from oil, myrrh, and cinnamon and both genders used perfume. Aside from protection, makeup was believed to have healing properties.

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