While the land of pharaohs, mummies and majestic cats is widely known and recognized, there are many interesting facts about Egypt that a lot of people don’t realize.
Most of the Land in Egypt Is Unused
Egypt is the 15th country with the highest population in the world, with 99% of the country’s people living on just 5.5% of the land. The majority of the population lives near the River Nile because this is the only arable land in the country. Much of the rest of the land is desert and can get very hot which makes it quite uninhabitable except by the rural Bedouin tribes that have lived there for hundreds of years.
Egyptian Calendar Was Invented to Predict Flooding
The flooding of the Nile has been an important natural cycle of Egyptian farmers. To develop and precise an accurate calendar at first, Egyptians used the raising water levels, floods, and harvests, but since the floods were arriving within an 80 days, which made the calendar inaccurate.
Then they switched to recording the yearly reappearance of Sirius (the Dog Star) in the eastern sky. It was a fixed point which perfectly coincided with the yearly flooding of the Nile. It occurred the 19th day of July of the Julian calendar and it was defined as the first of the year.
Hippos Were Hated
Hippos were considered bad omens and were associated with the evil god Seth. They were more dangerous than crocodiles and they often capsized boats traveling the Nile King Tut may have been killed by a hippopotamus. Some Egyptologists believe that King Tut might have been killed by a hippopotamus. Ancient Egyptians hunted the animal for sport, and statues found in King Tut’s tomb even depict him in the act of throwing a harpoon.
Pyramids Weren’t Built by Slaves
In fact, recent excavations and discoveries have shown that the pyramid builders were in fact fair paid voluntary laborers who took on the job of building the opulent tombs out of loyalty to their pharaohs.
They were in fact from Egyptian families who were very highly respected for their work and if they did die during the construction, they were honored by being buried in tombs near the sacred pyramids. These tombs were the ones recently discovered that allowed scientists this new insight into the history of the formidable structures.
The Practice of Mummification Didn’t Start in Egypt
When you think of mummies, the image of Tutankhamun’s casket comes to mind as well as all the countless mummy movies you may have seen. However, the process of mummification was actually first practiced religiously by a tribe in South America known as the Chinchorro about 2000 years before the Egyptians were doing it. The Egyptians evolved it and made it their own. A process which took around 70 days and was intended to help guide their people into the afterlife.
Cleopatra Probably Invented the First Vibrator
Ancient Egyptians were definitely not shy when it came to sexual pleasure. In fact, many academics have agreed that Cleopatra filled a box with angry bees and then placed it against her genitals for pleasure. The buzzing of angry bees inside the box created a vibrator-like sensation that she used for masturbation. Even though Cleopatra was ethnically Greek, her invention was obviously inspired by her rule of Egypt.
Egyptian Loved Their Cats
Cats were considered sacred. For ancient Egyptians, having a cat in the purring in the house would guarantee good luck. They were so fond of cats that if one killed it accidentally, it resulted in a death penalty. Ancient Egyptians shaved off their eyebrows when their cat died.