The mention of Egyptian civilization conjures up imagery of an era where the progress of science was astonishing yet the ancient beliefs and rituals ruled the roost! The civilization which is deemed as one of the most advanced and enigmatic ones to have existed on this planet still remains shrouded in mystery, at least partly. Despite the attempts of historians, anthropologists and numerous excavations, the mysteries of ancient Egyptian civilization remain hazy till date. The iconic pyramids, the so-called cursed tomb of King Tutankhamun, the obsession with animal Gods and Sphinx, ancient Egyptian food, the secrets and mysteries engulfing ancient Egypt are aplenty.
Listed below are 10 such amazing nuances of ancient Egyptian civilizations that still leave historians to roll up their eyes in amazement and disbelief:
1. Unexplained and Incredible Skill in Mathematics
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The ancient Egyptians were the undisputed leaders in mathematics, as is evident from the discovered scriptures and books. The inner sanctuary at the Abu Simbel main temple is one instance of the mathematical genius of the Egyptians. Here each year, twice the sun shines on the statues of the Gods Amun, Ra and Ramses II. The noteworthy thing is the sunshine does not fall on God Ptah. Ptah is the god of the underworld, and so does not get sunshine.
2. The Weird Ways of the Pharaohs
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The Egyptian monarchs called the Pharaohs had certain quirks that may make people raise their eyebrows in amazement. Pharaoh Pepi who reigned for 94 years, and became the longest-reigning monarch in the entire human history, lived so long by evading flies. He reportedly doused his servants in honey to ensure the flies stick to them. The ancient practice of burying the servants alive (or murdered) with their dead masters were in place in Egypt for several centuries. The Egyptians believed in the concept of life after death deeply.
3. Disrespect to the Sun Gods meant Death by Immolation
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The ancient Egyptians respected their gods tremendously, and the norm of worshiping certain animals as Gods is well-known. Any offensive act towards the Gods and their temples were regarded as heinous. The best history books on Egypt also point to this fact. The highest crime in this regard was any act of disrespect done to defame the Sun God Ra. If any person was proven guilty of this act, he/she was given the punishment of immolation or getting burnt alive. It was the highest form of punishment in ancient Egypt.
4. Strange Dislike of Hair
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This is another weird, possibly lesser-known fact about the people of ancient Egypt. They hated body hair, especially hair on the head. They were so obsessed with cleanliness as well as hygiene; hair seemed an undignified part of the body. Both women and men preferred shaving their head. However, they had no problem in wearing wigs. While a lot of ancient Egyptian paintings depict people with hair, the reality was different. The wigs served the purpose of a hat and saved the wearers from scorching sunlight.
5. The amazing Pyramid of Giza and its Legends
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A lot of legends and myths regarding the iconic Great Pyramid of Giza, the most famous one among Ancient Egypt Pyramids, continue to exist. Contrary to the theory of historian Herodotus, the Great Pyramid was not actually built by slaves; indicate the Archaeological evidence. The Great Pyramid was also known as Pharaoh Khufu’s tomb, but this view was challenged by historians later. They think it may have been built as an advanced astrological instrument. Another amazing fact about the Pyramid of Giza is that inside temperature remains 68 degrees Fahrenheit whereas external temperature hovers around 115 degrees Fahrenheit. This can be equated with amazing air conditioning invented in those ancient days!
6. Feline Love of the Ancient Egyptians
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Egyptians worshiped plenty of animals as Gods. However, their love and penchant for the cats was quite intense. They regarded cats as messengers of Goddess Bast who protected them from evil powers. When a pet cat died in ancient Egypt, the family members shaved off their eyebrows as a sign of grief. The cats were mummified and buried in cemeteries. Killing a cat was regarded as a grave offense and the offenders could be punished severely.
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7. The Riddle of Dendera Light
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The ancient Egyptians were the masters in science and technology – however astonishing that sounds. A massive stone relief carved on the walls of Egyptian Goddess Hathor’s temple in Dendera, it may have been the Egyptians attempt of creating electricity. While this theory has not been established with unanimity, it can be a possibility. The relief shows a snake inside a large ball of fire emerging out of a lotus flower. It comes close to an early specimen of an electric bulb in the 19th century called the Crookes tube. One noteworthy thing is where the stone relief was found, there was no evidence of traditional lamp being used.
8. The Lost Pyramid of Djedefre or Sun Temple
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One of the most mysterious and iconic structures of ancient Egypt, the ruins of Djedefre deserves a special mention. Located at the top of Abu Rawash hills, only five miles from the Great Pyramids of Giza – it is often called the lost pyramid. It was made by Djedefre — the son of King Khufu. There is a considerable dispute among the historians regarding its origin and intended purpose. There are theories of the pyramid construction being left midway and theories of it being ravaged later by invaders. A section of historians thinks it was actually a solar temple.
9. The Mystery surrounding the Death of Queen Nefertiti
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Queen Nefertiti was among the few female monarchs to rule Egypt. She was the spouse of Pharaoh Akhenaten and possibly the mother of Tutankhamun, the ill-fated Pharaoh. It is therefore, weird that no information or insight is available on her final resting place. Weird as it is, there is no mention of her demise in Egyptian history. Lots of theories exist including one being Nefertiti never being a queen.
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10. The Mystery surrounding the Demise of King Tutankhamun
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Egypt had many Pharaohs, but possibly the one who made the historians most curious is King Tutankhamun. The boy-king, who died at a shockingly young age of 19, had always been a source of curiosity for the historians. He reportedly suffered from several genetic disorders, but it is not certain what caused his early death. The king was embalmed sans his heart, and this led to the theory that his death might have been caused by a hippopotamus. Some historians also believe in the theory of a conspiracy born murder.
And, those were 10 of the most horrifying secrets of Ancient Egypt you perhaps never knew. Stay tuned for more interesting trivia!