30 Interesting Facts about Egypt

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1Ptolemy II

In ancient Egypt, under the decree of Ptolemy II, all ships visiting the city were obliged to surrender their books to the library of Alexandria and be copied. The original would be kept in the library and the copy given back to the owner.


2. In Ancient Thebes, there was a fairly successful band (Sacred Band of Thebes) of warriors consisting entirely of 150 gay couples. They were chosen based on the idea that "you fight better when trying to impress your lover."


3. The Great Sphinx of Giza is so old that its first restoration dates to 1400 B.C. when it was already a thousand years old.


4. In Ancient Egypt, the deceased bodies of beautiful and high ranking women were left to decay for 3 to 4 days before being sent off for embalming. They did this to discourage necrophilia.


5. Despite his wealth, King Farouk of Egypt (1920-65) was a kleptomaniac, going so far as to steal a pocket watch from Winston Churchill. Once, having suffered a nightmare in which he was chased by an angry lion, he went to Cairo Zoo and shot all the lions in their cages.


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6Hatshepsut

Hatshepsut was the first female ruler of ancient Egypt who acted as a full pharaoh. In art, she had herself depicted as a male ruler; she wore a false beard, had her breasts reduced and de-emphasized, and her shoulders portrayed as broad and manly. She brought Egypt into a period of prosperity.


7. Cyril of Alexandria claimed that "camel" is a Greek misspelling in the phrase "it's easier for a camel to thread the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter heaven." He claimed camel was actually "kamilos," meaning rope.


8. The Great Pyramid of Giza was once covered in highly polished white limestone before it was removed to build mosques and fortresses.


9. Egyptian pharaohs were often fat. They had high-sugar diets that were rich in bread, honey, beer, and wine. Examinations of various royal mummies show that many suffered from obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Hatshepsut, Egypt's most famous woman pharaoh, was obese and had tooth decay.


10. In ancient Egypt, men could take time off of work to care for menstruating wives and daughters.


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11Wadi Al-Hitan

Wadi Al-Hitan (Whale Valley)- located in the western desert in Egypt contains the fossilized remains of whales that show their evolution from life as a land-based animal to becoming an ocean-going mammal.


12. In ancient Egypt, couples were considered married whenever they moved in together. Wedding ceremonies were reserved for the upper classes.


13. In Ancient Egypt, dwarfs were seen as people who had celestial gifts, were treated with the greatest respect and enjoyed the highest social positions.


14. There is evidence to support that Ancient Egypt had proctologists and their term for the position literally translates to "shepherd of the anus."


15. Egypt has compulsory military service for males, but only if they have a brother. If they have no siblings or only a sister, they are exempt.


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16Pharoah Pepi II

In Ancient Egypt, Pharoah Pepi II despised flies so much that he would keep naked slaves smeared with honey near him in order to keep flies away.


17. In ancient Egypt, pharaohs were always depicted in paintings and statues wearing a ceremonial prosthetic beard. Since the pharaohs were regarded as children of God, the beard also indicated divinity, and was thus worn even by female pharoahs like Hatshepsut.


18. There was a group of raider colonies in ancient Egypt who terrorized the Mediterranian coast, that has gone relatively unidentified to this day. They are collectively known as the Sea Peoples, and according to Ramesses II, no one knew how to fight against them or could withstand them.


19. In Ancient Egypt, killing a cat, even accidentally, incurred the death penalty.


20. The Siwa Oasis in Egypt has long practiced a tradition of homosexual relationships and marriage that Egyptian authorities have sought, with increasing success, to suppress.


21Egyptian workers

Some workers in ancient Egypt were paid in bread and beer, with highly paid workers earning several hundred loaves of bread per day.


22. In Ancient Egypt, there was a man called the Slitter, who prepared the dead body for embalming by cutting it open and then immediately running away while everyone chased him and attacked him with stones for harming the body.


23. Menes, the first Pharaoh that ruled lower and upper Egypt was killed by a hippopotamus.


24. In ancient Egypt, Iron was known as "Ba-en-pet" meaning, "Metal of Heaven" since humans hadn't discovered the process of smelting iron ore and the only source of Iron then was through fallen meteors.


25. In Ancient Egypt, the elite dined off meat, fruit, vegetables, and honey-sweetened cakes enhanced by the finest of wines, but the poor were limited to a more monotonous diet of bread, fish, beans, onions, and garlic washed down with a sweet, soupy beer.

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