The history of the Ancient Egypt has always cultivated the fascination of people towards this great civilization. The Ancient Egyptians are without a doubt one of the most prolific and advanced empires of all times, from both the technological and social points of view. It comes as no surprise that archeology has a special sub-science referred to as Egyptology. However, the numerous inexplicable aspects of the Ancient Egypt have also stemmed numerous myths and misconceptions. Furthermore, the propensity towards believing these false notions is also emphasized by several Hollywood productions that paint a romantic, surreal picture of the society at that time. Let’s explore a few of them.
1. The legendary beauty of Queen Cleopatra
It is easy to understand why a misconception that stems from the works of Shakespeare and is perpetuated in virtually all plays and movies stands to this very day. However, Roman coins from that period tell a completely different tale. In fact, Queen Cleopatra VII was anything but beautiful. The bulky nose, her pronounced chin and the small lip line are features that cannot be associated with beauty, irrespective of the cultural archetype of femininity. On the other hand, historical records indicate that she was an extremely charismatic and intelligent figure.
2. The ancient Egyptians fascination with death
To think that the ancient Egyptians borderline obsession with the mummification techniques, the imposing architecture of tombs and the intricate burying rituals performed indicates they were preoccupied with death is a huge mistake. In fact, all these aspects show us how much the Egyptians glorified and celebrated life, even after death. Death is regarded only as a transitional phase to the afterlife and all the rituals are set in place to ensure the safe passage of the deceased and continuation of the spirit.
3. Aliens played a role in the development of the Ancient Egypt civilization
It may be very tempting to associated things that we do not fully comprehend with alien contact, but that would simply constitute an insult to the brilliant achievements of the Ancient Egyptians. In spite of the fact that conspiracy theorists argue that the pyramids could not have been built with the technology of that era and that not even modern science can replicate their architecture, bringing aliens into the equation is presumptuous and has no rational basis. Moreover, let’s not forget that Egypt was home to some of the most renowned scholars, mathematicians, architects and astronomers in recorded history.
4. We already know everything there is to know about Egypt
False, archeologists uncover new elements that shed more and more light on the intricate nature of the Ancient Egyptian society every single day. For example, quite recently they discovered a full-scale model of the so called “solar boat” inside the Great Pyramid! In case you did not know, this vessel was allegedly utilized by the Sun God Ra on his never ending battle against the demon of darkness named Apep. The fact that it was placed inside the tomb suggests that Ancient Egyptians believed that the pharaohs’ role was to assist Ra on his journey after their death.
5. Ancient Egyptians invented hieroglyphs
There are in fact two misconceptions encompassing the hieroglyphs: their authors and their purpose. To put it simply, while some consider hieroglyphs a creation of the Ancient Egyptians, other erroneously believe that these characters represent spells, incantations and curses. While nobody knows for certain when or where the hieroglyphs were invented, as historical evidence suggests they originated from the Western Asian tribes. Furthermore, hieroglyphs constitute historical event depictions and harmless inscriptions.
6. The intricate interior decorations of the pyramids
In all fairness, sometimes objects with interior decorative purposes are found within the walls of pyramids. However, these cases are quite scarce and in most cases, the pyramids are rather empty and austere on the inside. Another recent archeological discovery suggests that the support pillars were painted with dull red/white hues and have minimalistic hieroglyphic inscriptions.
7. All pharaohs were buried with their servants
The recorded history of Ancient Egypt teaches us that killing the servants and burying them alongside the deceased pharaoh was only practiced by two rulers of the First Dynasty. Therefore, people simply love to generalize “exciting” and strange practices for all the other pharaohs, which is exactly how this myth was born. In fact, after the first two pharaohs, live servants were replaced by “shabtis”, which are essentially figurines that would allegedly come to life at the command of the dead pharaoh.
8. The pyramids were constructed exclusively with slave labor
It appears that not even the reports of famous Greek historian Herodotus are flawless, considering that he is responsible for spreading this false notion back in the 5th century B.C. The misconception that slave labor was employed in the erection of the pyramids was debunked when archeologist discovered the tombs of builders in the immediate proximity of these structures. It is necessary to point out that the honor of spending your afterlife by the side of the divine rulers was never awarded to slaves. Therefore, the truth is that the pyramids were constructed by highly trained and talented masons with Egyptian origins, no matter how much the Bible or Hollywood state otherwise.
9. The Israelites and their exodus from Egypt
Speaking of the Bible, the literal interpretation of the sacred texts as well as the confusion between fables and history has led many people to believe that millions of Israelites were prisoners of the Egyptians who eventually pulled off a mass getaway. Don’t forget that Ancient Egyptians were excellent record keepers! Therefore, the sheer fact that there is absolutely no mention about millions of Israelite slaves, the ten plagues that have presumably befallen Egypt or the mass exodus should be enough to question the historical value of the Bible.
10. The Pharaohs’ placed curses on their tombs
The pharaoh’s curse is just one of those stories that sound too exciting to be false, but the truth is that there is no basis for the assumption. Lord Carnavron’s death – the sponsor of the original expedition inside the Great Pyramid – has nothing to do with the Tutankhamun’s curse. In fact, from all the members of the expedition, 8 of them died within 12 years, whereas the leader (Carter) passed away 16 years later. However, considering that mysterious coincidences are often employed to justify simple facts, there are still people who believe in the pharaoh’s curse.