The vast majority of us learned about ancient Egypt in elementary and high school, and it’s likely that we all have the same basic set of references and images that come to mind when someone mentions the subject. Those are likely to be:
- The Great Sphinx
- King Tut
But while we may have the basics of ancient Egypt memorized enough to carry on a conversation about the subject, there are plenty of things most people don’t know. Call them secrets or interesting trivia, but they’ll probably surprise you.
Here’s 10 secrets of ancient Egypt to wow your friends and relatives with:
1. Who really built the pyramids?
No, it wasn’t slaves from Israel. As the fascinating website Ten Things Of.com notes:
“Egyptologists have determined that the Pyramids were built by paid Egyptian laborers. Evidence shows that around 20 – 30,000 laborers were recruited from poor families around Egypt to complete the enormous construction over a period of 20 years.”
The Egyptians were so known for the medical knowledge that rulers from other nations would ask the pharaoh to send physicians to treat them and their loved ones:
“Despite Egyptian doctors having an extensive knowledge of the medicinal properties of the plants around them, cures for ailments still included a magical spell.”
3. A different Jesus
In 2013, an ancient Egyptian text was deciphered that told of the crucifixion of Jesus, but there were some unexpected changes that will come as a surprise to most Christians:
“Instead of sharing his last supper with his 12 disciples, the text states that Jesus shared his last meal with Pontius Pilate, who offered to sacrifice his own son in order to save Jesus life. Even more shocking are the allegations in the text that Jesus was a shape shifter, with the ability to change from white to red or young to old.”
4. The female pharaoh
Yes, there was a female pharaoh, and her name was Hatshepsut. She came to the throne around 1478 BCE and Egypt enjoyed great peace and prosperity during her reign.
But years after her death, almost all traces of her were erased from the country:
“20 years after her death, her successors began a campaign of erasing Hatshepsut from history. Statues of her were destroyed and her name was scraped off the buildings built under her rule.”
Related: Women in ancient Egypt and the Matriarchal society that prospered for thousands of years
5. Feats of Strength
Did you know that the Egyptian pharaohs had to prove they were still able to be leader of their nation? It was an event known as Heb-Sed, which took place after a pharaoh had been in power for 30 years. But what they had to do sounds like something out of “Seinfeld”:
“The ceremony, which once initiated took place every three years until the pharaoh’s death, saw them dressed in a short kilt, with a bull’s tail on their back, as they were forced to run as fast as possible around a race track.”
If you were unable to finish the race, you were sacrificed and replaced. If that doesn’t give you performance anxiety, nothing will.
6. The White Pyramids
Yes, the pyramids were originally white, and this was accomplished by plating the surface with white limestone that had been polished. When the sun would hit the pyramid, it would shine in the sunlight.
Sadly, time and natural events took the white sheen off the structures:
“In 1301 CE, a massive earthquake hit Egypt and loosened many of the casting stones.
“The damage to the outer pyramids prompted rulers to reuse the stones to build mosques in Cairo. As impressive as it still looks, what can be seen now of the Great Pyramid of Giza is just its core structure.”
7. Sunken Cities
Thonis-Heracleion, which was one of the greatest cities of ancient Egypt, was missing for 1,000 years. It was rediscovered a couple of decades ago. Turns out it was underwater all along:
“Archaeologists excavating the site have found a host of perfectly preserved pillars of hieroglyphics, as well as statues of Greek Gods and rulers depicted in the fashion of Egyptian pharaohs. It is thought that the discovery of the lost city will transform our understanding of the deep connection between the ancient civilizations.”
As you can tell from looking at this list, the things we thought we knew about Egyptian history are outweighed by the many mysteries we didn’t know about until now.
For even more mysteries about ancient Egypt, take a look at this incredible video from Alltime10s:
Featured Image Via YouTube Screenshot