Even though ancient Egypt is seen as one of the founding civilizations of our world, there are several details about its culture that have been left unnoticed throughout the years. When you think about the Egyptians, it's most likely that the only things that come to your mind are the pyramids of Giza, the images of sarcophagus, and mediocre movies starring Brendan Fraser. Yet, they were a culture that spanned for over 3,000 years and many of their technological, as well as cultural advances, determined the world we live today. Just take a look at how many things you use on regular basis were invented by them!
Living in the desert is not easy, and it is pretty common to get sand and grit stuck between your teeth. To avoid this terribly unpleasant sensation, the Egyptians started cleansing their teeth with toothpaste. According to a recipe that dates from the fourth century CE, they would create this paste by mixing iris petals, mint, rock salt, and pepper, whereas the older recipes state that the paste was made by mixing ground up oxen hooves with ash. Sounds refreshing, doesn't it?
The Egyptians did not only mind their oral hygiene, but they also wanted to have a nice and fresh breath. To do their ancient and legendary breath mints, they mixed fresh cinnamon and frankincense and heated it with honey. Afterwards, they cooled it down until it went solid. Yummy.
Even though Mesopotamians were the first culture to ferment barley in order to make an alcoholic beverage, it was really the Egyptians who brewed a beer with a similar consistency to the delicious cold ones we drink while watching the Sunday game. While the Mesopotamian drink was very thick and one would have to use a straw to drink it, the refresher that the Egyptians brewed was lighter, and it would be poured into glasses. Thank the Pharaohs for all that booze you've got cooling in the fridge!
Did you ever think of the Egyptians as narcissistic people? They were obsessed with their own personal hygiene, as well as their personal image. Because of this, they invented the handheld mirror, which they made by polishing different types of metal, such as copper and tin, until they could see their clear reflection in them. Being conscious of how they looked on their day to day basis, they catered their persona constantly, getting haircuts and shaving their bodies on a regular basis, because they deemed an excess of hair unhealthy. Keeping with these beauty standards represented quite an effort, though. Their priests actually shaved their whole body every three days. Could you keep up to their level?
Perhaps you guessed this one due to the images you've seen of Ancient Egyptians in movies, as well as in pictorial depictions such as hieroglyphs and the visage of sarcophagus. The eyeliner that the Egyptians invented was made from a mixture of soot and a compound of sulphur and lead called galena. They even invented a colored version of eyeshadow which was made by mixing galena with a dashing color called malachite. Pretty vain, right?
The Door Lock
We're just completely unaware of how much of our safety we owe to the Egyptians. The door-lock they invented was the first pin-tumbling to exist. The oldest one dates back to 4000 CE. This engineering marvel consisted of a bolt that had to be inserted into a hollow door that would be connected to a number of pins in the lock. Putting the right key into the lock would push the pins upwards, therefore pushing the bolt out of its place and allowing you to open the door. Such geniuses.
As wacky as it may seem, it was actually the Egyptians who paved the way for the sport of rolling a heavy ball down a lane and celebrating how accurate our throws can be. The oldest bowling alley that has been found lies in the settlement of Narmoutheos, a little more than fifty miles down south of Cairo. The site is believed to have been built between the second and third centuries CE. The rules for their game were different to the ones that we play to today, though. Back then, one wouldn't have to roll the ball to hit a bunch of pines at the end of the lane. Instead, one would to aim at a hole at the end of it. Sounds more difficult, doesn't it?
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