The Ancient Egyptians are full of surprises.
Yes, they had interesting beliefs in the Afterlife — can you really take it with you? Who knows. No one’s come back to prove or disprove their theory.
Yes, they had oodles of wealth — at one time, it was said that there was more gold in Ancient Egypt than there was sand.
And yes, they believed in hosts of gods and living a fair and just and honest life built upon the laws of Ma-at.
But here are a few interesting facts that make them more modern than we give them credit for.
Pre-Nup Agreements. Yes! The Ancient Egyptians actually put these into effect! Prenups were created to make sure that wives were provided for if marriages failed. Women in Ancient Egypt had rights just as men did, and could enter into contracts, serve on juries, and own property. Pre-nup agreements strongly favored women, in fact, because they often promised cash so they could continue to live as needed without their husband. But, such agreements sometimes came with a price — upfront payments were often expected by the husband to guarantee the wife’s financial security after a divorce. Once divorced, both men and women could remarry as soon as they wanted and usually did so. In fact, it was encouraged!
Cures for Hangovers. The Ancient Egyptians liked to party. A lot. So of course they had remedies for hangovers. In one case, it’s suggested that the sufferer should wear a necklace made of leaves from the Alexandrian laurel. It was a common remedy for headaches in general, and so also considered a remedy for those fuzzy morning-afters. Odds were it didn’t work, though. But we can’t discredit the ancients for trying.
They used birth control. Much like the Ancient Egyptians loved their wine, they also loved sex. They were open about sexuality, and understood the consequences behind it. So much, in fact, that they used birth control methods that rivaled our own, at least in concept — none of us would probably be using any of their ingredients today. But check this out:
- The Ancient Egyptians ingested plant extracts that inhibited ovulation, much like today’s contraceptive pill.
- They used barrier methods that prevented sperm from passing the cervix.
- Certain minerals were mixed with sour milk, resulting in contraception similar to today’s spermicides.
Cool, right? Seems the ancients weren’t so “ancient” after all!
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