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Egypt was one of the most famous civilizations of the ancient world. The history of this kingdom is about 4 thousand years old. People were able to adapt to life in the Nile river valley. Here, on fertile and warm lands, man built his civilization. It has become very significant for history.
Ancient pyramids still amaze our imagination today. Egyptian masters mastered the production of glass and earthenware, there was their writing, mathematics, art, medicine, astronomy. In the XVIII-XIX centuries, a persistent interest in that era was formed, which led to the emergence of such a science as Egyptology.
Today, tourists come to this country not only to relax on the shores of the warm Red Sea, but also to touch the famous monuments of antiquity. And the mysteries of Ancient Egypt continue to haunt the minds of researchers.
Most of us know about this civilization not even from popular science films and publications, but from fictional and entertaining ones. As a result, we have developed stable myths about Ancient Egypt, which the time has come to debunk.
Ancient Egypt myths
Ancient Egyptians communicated with aliens. Many do not believe that such large-scale creations as the pyramids could be built by ordinary people, without the use of advanced technology. It is said that the Egyptians were helped by aliens. At least, quite a lot of evidence of the contact of this civilization with an alien is being demonstrated. Some TV shows specifically focus on this in order to attract the viewer's attention. The evidence is inconclusive. Scientists say that the Egyptians were skilled engineers, which allowed them to create large-scale objects without outside help. The triangular shape of the pyramid was best for the massive construction of the tomb. Unusual figures on the frescoes, according to Egyptologists, have a completely mundane explanation.
The pyramids were built by slaves. The pyramids themselves are a source of myth and mystery. The sheer scale of these facilities implies corresponding labor costs. It is quite logical that slave labor should be used for this, not hired labor. Who will voluntarily go to such a hellish construction site? This is how the myth appeared that the pyramids were built by slaves. In fact, the graves of the builders were recently found, these people were buried near the pharaohs and with honors. It is quite logical that the slaves had no right to this. Most likely, the pyramids were built by free workers who lived nearby in their settlements. These people ate well, and their diet included meat and beer. And no one beat them with whips, as shown in most films about that era. The large-scale project has inspired neighboring communities, making them proud to participate in the construction of the pyramid. And the labor productivity of hired workers has always been considered higher than that of slaves. Their attraction was trite more profitable.
The Egyptians invented hieroglyphs. We know the writing of Ancient Egypt by hieroglyphs. It seems that it was there that such letters were invented. However, scholars believe that the hieroglyphs came to the country along with the invading tribes from Western Asia. And these artistic symbols were not at all used to curse or perform magic spells. With their help, historical events were mainly recorded and inscriptions on graves were drawn up.
The mummies still keep their hearts intact. The famous Greek historian Herodotus wrote quite a lot about mummification. He suggested that the hearts of the mummies remain unchanged. In fact, in the process of preparing the body for such a ceremony, hearts were left either to the richest or the most influential persons.
Together with the pharaoh, his servants were also buried. Researchers have discovered the tombs of two eccentric rulers of the First Dynasty, next to which their servants were buried. It was believed that they would accompany the deceased in the afterlife and help him. As a result, many Egyptologists began to believe that such a tradition was adopted in the country. And she touched all three hundred pharaohs. However, archaeologists have debunked this myth. In fact, later rulers were buried with small figurines, which were supposed to serve as helpers in the other world.
The tombs were cursed. This myth is replicated by many movies. Those daredevils who dared to disturb the dead pharaohs were threatened with a curse. The most significant case was the story of Howard Carter and the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb. Of the 58 research team, eight died within 10 years of the discovery. This gave rise to the myth that the tomb was cursed. This theory is partially based on itself. The fact is that there was a fungus on the walls of the tombs, which could lead to a number of deaths. But most of them were accidental, they would have happened even if the researchers did not end up in the tomb. And the age of most of the dead was already advanced.
Cleopatra was a beauty. Cleopatra was considered the main beauty of the ancient world. The most influential men of that time became her lovers. This gave rise to the myth of her irresistibility and beauty. However, the portraits of the Egyptian queen, created during her lifetime, showed that Cleopatra had masculine features. In the standards existing in the West, this woman cannot be considered a beauty. Cleopatra had a large nose, a prominent chin, and thin lips. This image is in no way consistent with what was shown by Elizabeth Taylor in the famous movie. Nevertheless, one should not belittle her dignity - Cleopatra was smart and charming. Perhaps that is why she was able to win men's hearts.
Cleopatra was an Egyptian. And although her queen is strongly associated with Ancient Egypt, she was actually of Greek origin. Cleopatra was a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty that ruled Egypt during the Hellenistic era. This family was a descendant of one of the generals of Alexander the Great. Cleopatra became the last ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty. After a military defeat by the Romans and her suicide, she surrendered her country to the hands of the Romans. So Egypt became a province of the new empire.
The Egyptians had a cult of death. The huge Egyptian pyramids were built as resting places for the dead. Rich gifts were left in tombs, funeral rites were complicated, and mummies were sometimes embalmed for up to two weeks. It is easy to believe that the Egyptians were literally obsessed with the cult of death. The fact is that many objects that have been able to survive over thousands of years were in tombs and are related to death. In fact, the ancient Egyptians enjoyed life, this found an attitude even in burials. The objects housed in the tombs were intended for the life of the dead in a new, otherworldly world. And even the pictures on the walls show scenes of life. We see how the Egyptians were engaged in agriculture, hunting and fishing.
The Library of Alexandria was burned by the Arabs. According to legend, when the Arabs took over Egypt in 640, Caliph Omar ordered the burning of all the books in the famous library. They said that this heat was used to heat the saunas, the heat from the books lasted for six months. However, historians doubt the veracity of this myth. The fact is that written evidence of this story appeared only at the end of the XII century. If this was indeed the case, then why did no one write about it for 500 years?
We already know everything about Ancient Egypt. Many believe that a person has already received all the information in his own hands in order to form a complete picture of that ancient civilization. It seems that Egyptology has nowhere to develop. In fact, even today, fascinating discoveries are periodically made that provide new information about Ancient Egypt. For scientists, the process of making a mummy remains a mystery; with the help of modern technologies, based on the remains of the ancients, it is possible to draw new conclusions about their life and health. An example of such impressive discoveries is the "Sun Boat" recently found and recovered from the Great Pyramid of Giza. It is believed that this vessel was supposed to allow the dead pharaohs to help the sun god Ra in his eternal struggle with the demon of darkness, Apep. According to legend, every night Ra sits on a solar boat, fighting against evil, and at dawn, a triumphant deity travels across the sky, illuminating the entire earth.
The pyramids were not decorated. It is known that colorful hieroglyphs were present in the interior of many ancient Egyptian tombs. But for a long time it was believed that there was no decoration or decoration inside the pyramids. A secret door was discovered in the Great Pyramid, behind which hieroglyphs were found. These buildings themselves seem simple and austere. But today there is evidence that some of their parts, such as the inner columns, were red or white at one time. So this is not just a pile of stones as they seem now. The tombs of the pharaohs were made to be the most impressive structures in ancient Egypt. The pyramids were covered with smooth white limestone and polished until it was dazzlingly bright in the sun. Some of the parts of such a shell can still be seen on the Great Pyramid. The rest of the elements were removed centuries ago. Contemporaries wrote that the pyramids reflected both moonlight and sunlight. They could be seen from afar even at night. If this was not enough, then the keystone at the very top of the pyramid was decorated with gold or electrum (an alloy of silver with gold).
The ancient Egyptians look the same as their modern counterparts. It is believed that the people of Egypt have changed little over the centuries. In fact, migrant flows, numerous occupations and wars have influenced the face of the country's modern inhabitants. Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Turks came here. Of course, the descendants of those very ancient Egyptians live here, but you should not judge them on the basis of the appearance of modern inhabitants.
In ancient Egypt, all art is an image of characters going somewhere. It is a fairly common myth that ancient Egyptian art was limited to stylized figures looking to the side as if they were walking somewhere. In fact, there are many naturalistic and beautiful images of animals and people, testifying to the artist's observation ability and his different look. Art in Ancient Egypt was highly developed and reached incredible artistic heights, which we still cannot appreciate today. The masters worked on various materials: on glass, obsidian, gold, in the tombs, in addition to paintings, there were sculptures and papyri. And there are examples of how the artist approached his work with humor. In some, the picture is literally turned upside down. For example, the cats of the ancient Egyptians could graze geese.
The nose of the Sphinx was repulsed by Napoleon's troops. A popular legend says that for millennia the Sphinx resisted all adversity until Napoleon's troops came here. It happened during the Egyptian campaign in 1798-1801. The soldiers are said to have practiced shooting and shot the famous stone colossus off its nose. Nevertheless, there are records proving that the Sphinx lost his nose earlier. Europeans visiting Egypt often made sketches and sketches of the Sphinx. Drawings by Frederic Louis Norden, made in 1738, prove that the figure did not have a nose even then. This allows you to drop the charges against Napoleon, who was just born in 1769.
The Jews were slaves to the Egyptians. This statement seems quite logical, only the Bible gave birth to it. Historians have no evidence that the Jews were enslaved by the Egyptians. And there are no signs of harsh oppression either. And the disasters described in the Bible left no traces. It is worth trusting the records of the Egyptians, since they described their life and the history of the country in some detail.
The country name Egypt was born in this country. The very word "egypt" has Greek roots. Local residents called their country "ta-kemet", which means "black land". In this case, we are talking about fertile soil. The Egyptians called the desert "Red Land". The first Greeks who came to the country began to call it by the name of Memphis, Hikupta or Ayguptos.
Pharaoh was the king of the country. Pharaohs played a special role in the life of Egypt. These were not just the supreme rulers, but also the high priests. It was believed that these persons are gods who descended to earth, and after death they will continue their lives. The Egyptians believed that the first pharaoh was the god Ra.
All the pharaohs had many wives. There were no specific rules that set the number of Pharaoh's wives. For example, Akhenaten was very fond of his only wife. The pictures show how the family spends time together. Together with him, his wife went to church and received ambassadors. But Ramses II had five wives, each of whom bore the title of "great royal wife." In addition to them, this pharaoh also had many concubines.
All pharaohs were buried in pyramids. Ancient Egypt is famous for its pyramids. But their construction was a long and costly affair. So large stone pyramids were built only during the heyday of the kingdom. Then they began to build less durable structures of clay bricks, and then completely bury the pharaohs in tombs carved into the rocks.