10 Feb Echoes of Egypt In The Modern World
When you think of ancient Egypt, you probably think of pharaohs and pyramids. Oh, and mummies of course. But there was much more to ancient Egyptian culture than you probably realize…
In it’s glory days, Egypt was perhaps the most advanced civilization in the ancient world. And you might be surprised to learn how many aspects of modern life, fashion, sports and architecture originated on the shores of the Nile, thousands of years ago.
Here are the 8 most surprising echoes of Egypt in the modern world!
The ancient Egyptians were the first people to go out of their way to care for their teeth. Dental hygiene was a major concern at that time. The bread they ate often contained grains of sand and other particles which wore down tooth enamel. Decaying, chipped, broken and missing teeth were common.
In an effort to preserve their chompers, the ancient Egyptians would clean their teeth with tooth picks, and scrub with a mixture of egg shells, rock salt, pumice, oxen hooves, mint and iris flower – the first toothpaste!
2. Breath Mints
Guess what? The Egyptians invented breath mints too! Bad breath – common as it was, for reasons we already mentioned – was associated with poverty and low social standing. So the more well-to-do members of society would freshen their breath with pellets made from frankincense, myrrh, cinnamon and honey.
The Egyptians were also the first to use eyeliner, which they called kohl. They made it from various materials, including copper, lead, and burnt almonds. It wasn’t all about fashion either – it’s thought that kohl also helped reduce sunburn, glare, and eye infections.
Another fashion trend that originated in the ancient Egypt was shaving. Shaving was a way to stay clean, and avoid lice and other pests. They would apply creams to their head, face and body, and rub off unwanted hair with a sharpened stone. Wealthier Egyptians would wear wigs to cover their shaved heads. Being unshaven was considered shameful and unclean.
Egypt was the birthplace of modern agriculture. It was here, in the Nile River valley, that the first plow was invented. It was pulled by men at first. But later, they devised a way to hitch it to their oxen with a harness and straps. This one invention revolutionized farming, making food production faster and easier than it had ever been in history!
In the ruins of Narmoutheos, an Egyptian settlement just south of Cairo, archaeologists discovered the very first bowling alley: a room containing a series of lanes, and balls of various sizes. Unlike modern bowling, where players try to knock down pins, it seems the object of this game was to roll your ball into a square hole in the middle of the lane.
7. Written Language
The earliest evidence of written language was made at Abydos, a settlement in Central Egypt on the banks of the Nile. Archaeologists discovered small tablets of bone and ivory which date back to around 3,300 B.C. These tablets were inscribed with Egyptian hieroglyphs, an early pictographic alphabet.
8. The Washington Monument
The Washington Monument is one of the most famous and beloved of our national monuments. Together with the Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial, it makes for an iconic scene, and a symbol of America and all that it stands for.
But did you know that the Washington Monument is really just a taller, modern version of an ancient Egyptian obelisk? These four sided, pyramid-like pillars used to decorate the entrance to temples up and down the Nile River. They were symbols of the sun god Ra, chief deity of the pantheon.