We might be the Pharaohs’ grandchildren but in truth the only information we do know about them is that they built the pyramids, mummified people, had too many gods and dynasties to recall, and any piece of info that stuck with you since your history class in fifth grade – that is if anything did! But what’s the point of memorizing names! Here are some cool facts to know about your ancestors that you won’t learn from your school history book.
1. We Invented Maths!
The earliest records of geometry come from Egypt, as their geometry specialists were called “arpedonapti.” The arpedonapti used ropes to calculate the area of lands, eventually passing this knowledge to Greece. Egyptians also worked out efficient ways of performing multiplication and division.
2. Egyptian Men and Women Had Equal Rights
Men and women of equivalent social status were treated as equals in the eyes of the law. This meant that women could own, earn, buy, sell, and inherit property. They could live unprotected by male guardians and, if widowed or divorced, could raise their own children. They could bring cases before, and be punished by, the law courts. They were also expected to replace an absent husband in matters of business. Yes, Egyptian women had equal rights before the term was even invented. We’re pretty badass that way – or at least we were!
3. We Were the First to Treat the Ill with Medicine Not Magic
The ancient Egyptians produced some of the oldest logs found of both medical procedures and medicine recipes. So far, there are nine separate papyrus logs that talk about how the Egyptians performed their medicine.
4. We Invented Surgical Tools
Tools meant for surgery were found within the Tomb of Qar, who was known as “the Physician of the palace and keeper of the secrets of the king.” Kept next to Qar’s head were several bronze surgical tools, each of which sported a hole as if intended to be hung up on a hook. Procedures documenting the removal of cysts and tumors were found in written logs of surgery.
5. Cleopatra Wasn’t Beautiful
Cleopatra VII, last queen of ancient Egypt, won the hearts of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, two of Rome’s most important men. Her coins show her in profile with a prominent nose, pronounced chin and deep-set eyes. The classical historian Plutarch wrote that her charm lay in her character, and in her beautiful voice.
6. We Were the First to Make Glass
The first proof that people were creating and using glass in crafts can be found back in 3500 BC, in the Egyptian civilization, mainly in the form of small glass beads. The Egyptians would go on to discover an efficient way of making vases. Ancient Egyptians also managed to master the art of making red glass, which was very hard to do due to the glass having to be fired in an environment without oxygen.
7. The Pyramids Were Not Built by Slaves
Archaeological evidence indicates that the Great Pyramid was in fact built by a workforce of 5,000 permanent, salaried employees and up to 20,000 temporary workers. They were housed in a temporary camp near the pyramid, where they received payment in the form of food, drink, medical attention, and, for those who died on duty, burial in the nearby cemetery. These workers were free men.
8. We Invented Toothpaste
The Egyptians invented the first recorded toothpaste specifically created and reported to help oral health. Found in papyrus documents, the recipe for an Egyptian-style toothpaste is a drachma (1/100 of an ounce) of rock salt, two drachmas of mint, a drachma of dried iris flower, and some pepper.
9. Hatshepsut Was Not the Only Woman Who Became a Pharaoh
On at least three or five occasions women took the throne, ruling in their own right as female kings. The most successful of these female rulers, Hatshepsut, ruled Egypt for more than 20 prosperous years. The first however was Sobeknefru, who ruled for 4 years.
10. We Invented Bowling
Archaeologist have found remains of bowling balls and pins in ancient Egyptian graves dating back to 3200 B.C.