When they talk about ancient times, a picture rises before our eyes of how uneducated people are engaged in harvesting and believe in evil spirits and curses. But these are stereotypes that have simply become entrenched in our head. The life of the Egyptians was so intense that even our contemporaries would envy it.
It seems that Ancient Egypt is a short period, because several lessons are given to it at school. But this is not the case. The prehistoric period of Egypt starts from 9000 BC. e. The first pyramids began to be built when mammoths were still walking on the ground. The state fell in the 7th century, shortly before the appearance of the Vikings.
There were no pharaohs in ancient Egypt. The word “Pharaoh” first appeared in the Bible and was translated as “palace”. The ruler was called the king or lord of two lands.
The full name of Iniotephus I sounded like this: “the hereditary prince, the great lord of the Theban nome, pleasing the king as the guardian of the gates of the South, the great pillar of the one who makes both lands live.” The first appearance of the title “Pharaoh” dates back to 17 AD. e. in the priestly annals.
The record for the longest time in power was set by Piopi II. And hardly anyone will be able to repeat it. Some scholars claim that he ruled for 94 years. He ascended the throne at the age of 6 and died before reaching his 100th birthday.
The power of the rulers was passed from father to son. But, if there were no heirs to the throne, a woman became the ruler. One of the first to ascend the throne was Hatshepsut. She, like men, should have worn a crown, scepter, flail, wand and false beard. Therefore, Hatshepsut is most often depicted with a beard.
Contrary to popular belief, the servants, wife and army were not buried along with the ruler. Firstly, the funeral was an expensive pleasure, and secondly, living servants were much more useful than mummified ones.
In the tomb, the king was supposed to feel at home. For a comfortable afterlife, everything needed was placed in the tomb. During excavations, archaeologists found boats, golden thrones, jewelry, perfumes and cosmetics inside the pyramids. In the next world, it was necessary to eat and drink something, so the deceased was given drinks and fruits. And of course, every self-respecting ruler should have a toilet in the tomb.
The Egyptians were among the first to domesticate animals. They domesticated the goat 9000 years ago, the cow 8000 years ago, 5000 BC. e. – a donkey, in 3000 BC. e. – goose. But the cats, beloved by the Egyptians, first began to live next to a person in Cyprus. Then they settled together with farmers throughout the Middle East.
On the day of the wedding, they did not arrange magnificent celebrations, they did not go to the temple, but simply exchanged gifts. After that, the young often moved to the house of their wife’s parents. It was economically profitable to start a family. The marriage helped to advance in the service or acquire property.
The Egyptians were the first to come up with the idea of wearing wedding rings on the ring finger. Ornaments were made of woven cane and leather. The rings symbolized eternal life and love.
In ancient Egypt, marriage contracts appeared. They were confirmed by the governor of the pharaoh. Under the contract, the husband was obliged to support his wife, and in the event of a divorce, return the dowry.
Judging by Hollywood films, the Egyptians covered themselves with only white rags. But archaeological excavations tell a different story. The fabrics were often not dyed, they remained a natural gray color. And if they painted, then in blue and green colors. Men wore a loincloth – shendite, and from about 1420 BC. e. tunics appeared. Women’s clothing consisted of a dress and a linen shawl. She was baggy and hid all the curves of her body. The husband could not dictate to his wife how she should dress.
Egyptian medicine would wipe its nose in many modern clinics. Each doctor had a narrow specialty and good knowledge of anatomy. After all, they mummified bodies. Doctors removed tumors, knew how to do heart bypass surgery and transplanted organs. Prosthetics were well developed. Craftsmen made artificial eyeballs, fingers, teeth and limbs. And the Egyptians invented antibiotics long before Alexander Fleming. Honey compresses were used to bandage and disinfect wounds.
The police are also a notion of the Egyptians. It appeared during the Middle Kingdom (approximately 2050-1800 BC). The police consisted of warriors and foreign mercenaries. The police ensured order in the city, fought against fraud, looked for criminals, made sure that the sellers in the markets did not weigh the buyers, guarded palaces and caravans. They were accompanied by service dogs and monkeys.
In their free time, the Egyptians were entertained with board games. The most famous is Senet, the ancestor of modern chess. The game appeared in the pre-dynastic period (about 3500 BC). According to legend, the god of knowledge Thoth created it to save the goddess Nut from the curse of Ra. Senet is an imitation of the afterlife. The exact rules are unknown, they have changed over time. The goal of the game is to remove all your chips from the field before the opponent.
In films about rebellious mummies, they like to talk about the ancient Egyptian language. But it doesn’t exist. Of course, the Egyptians talked, corresponded, wrote books, wills, and drew up contracts. But over the 40 centuries of the state’s existence, the language and writing have changed. Besides the main language, there were dialects. Egyptologists distinguish the Middle Egyptian, New Egyptian and Late Egyptian languages, as well as the highly specialized language of the pyramid texts. The phonetics of the Egyptians is still poorly understood. What the rebellious mummy is talking about is difficult for a modern Egyptologist to understand. What can we say about the librarian and the military man at the beginning of the twentieth century.
The Victorians were very passionate about Egyptology. They threw whole parties where they removed pieces of cloth from mummies or rented mummies to decorate the reception room.
Modern archaeologists do not need to open sarcophagi, unwrap mummies and disassemble them piece by piece. Research is carried out on a tomograph. With its help, you can find out the age, gender, social status, what a person was sick with during his lifetime, what he ate, and much more.