7 Things You May Not Know About Egypt

23 September 2017

Egypt is a country which is considered to have one of the longest histories in the world. Today, with its over 92 million residents, Egypt is the 15th most populated country on Earth. So, aside from pharaohs, pyramids and the Sahara Desert, what other interesting facts are there to know about Egypt?

"Tarot Reading Night!" (CC BY 2.0) by Kelly Hunter
It’s believed that ancient Egyptian women had more privileges and rights than any other women in the ancient world. While men in ancient times were most certainly the dominant sex in many other countries, Egyptian women were allowed to own a business, own property and even divorce their husbands. Egyptian women that were born into wealthy families had the opportunity to become priestesses or doctors in the time of Cleopatra and the Pharaohs.

Tarot cards are believed to have originated from Egypt. Now also a popular subject in the Western world, tarot readings are carried out to give a person guidance, foresight and clarification. The theory is that the tarot cards are thought to be hieroglyphical keys to life and the book of Tarot was believed to have survived the great fire that burned down the libraries in ancient Egypt.

The ancient Egyptians were the first country to have 365 days per year that were divided by 12 months and they also developed clocks. They had three different calendars – a farming calendar that had four months and three seasons, a lunar calendar that helped priests to know when to carry out ceremonies for the moon god Khonsu, and lastly, the astronomical calendar that helped them to observe the star Sirius which appeared at the beginning of the flood season.

Ancient Egyptians made the wig a fashion accessory, often indicating social status. History shows that both men and women would shave their heads and wear a wig to stay cool in the hot weather and to avoid lice. Richer people would wear wigs that were made from human hair, while the poorer men and women had wigs made from vegetable or wool fibres.
 
The Sahara is the largest desert in the world stretching over 3,630,000 square miles. It was once a grassland and fertile savannah, home to many animals and plants, but it began to dry out with climate change in 8000 B.C, changing it from lush green land to dry desert. The Sahara Desert is now a vast expanse of gravel plains, sand dunes, valleys and oases.

The ancient Egyptians believed in many gods and had unique gods for many different things. Depending on what danger they were faced with or what challenges they had in life, with over 2,000 gods to worship, their life and beliefs were balanced and met.
 
Many ancient Egyptian families had cats which were thought of as a sacred animal. Egyptians believed that owning a cat as a pet brought families good luck. The Egyptians also worshipped a cat goddess known as Bastet which was believed to be half woman and half cat. Hurting or killing a cat was considered very serious, with severe punishment and penalties.



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