Living among the locals

Ancient Egyptian myths debunked

Luxor, Egypt

Intrigued by the pyramids and other outstanding landmarks, the world has been captivated with solving mysteries and finding answers pertaining to Ancient Egypt. But most of the stories you read are based on either outdated research or historical misunderstandings. Here are a few myths debunked and clarified:

1. Slaves built the pyramids

Because the Pyramids of Giza were the highest buildings for almost four millennia, it is almost hard to imagine how an ancient culture with no technology that we currently understand made them happen. One of the common myths is that the Pharaohs enslaved an army of laborers to build them.

But, thanks to recently discovered gravesites, researchers have confirmed otherwise. They found that the builders were native Egyptians who were probably residents of villages near the construction site.

Excavations also showed that those builders mainly ate beef, a delicacy at the time, and were paid a regular income. This means that they definitely weren’t slaves. 

2. Enslaved Israelites

Apart from the Abrahamic account, which might not have been a literal depiction, there is no historical evidence that confirms that Israelites were enslaved in Ancient Egypt.

The exhaustive hieroglyphic recordings left by the Egyptians never mentions keeping a race of slaves.

The growing Egyptian economy at the time contradicts the narrative that says millions of immigrants left Egypt, which would have probably hindered any economical progress.

3. Servants were buried with their pharaohs

To the disappointment of some who prefer to hold a vilified image of the Ancient Egyptians, servants were not buried along with their Pharaohs.

Apart from a couple of eccentric kings of the First Dynasty, archaeological findings debunk the otherwise widely held belief that this was common practice.

Instead, Pharaohs were buried with small figurines called shabtis intended to serve them in the afterlife.

4. Forget everything you know about Cleopatra

A descendant of Ptolemy, Cleopatra ruled Egypt as part of the Greek Ptolemaic Dynasty of the Hellenistic era. She is believed to have no Egyptian blood. Rather, she had a natural curiosity to learn the Egyptian language.

This is not to mention that her beauty was a myth. Surviving Roman coins show her with a large nose, protruding chin, and thin lips.

Click here for an original version of this article

About Yasmin Helal

Having lived in the GCC, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Iraq, and Iran, Yasmin is a journalist who enjoys writing travel and culture features.

6 thoughts on “Ancient Egyptian myths debunked”

  1. While traveling all over Egpyt I was looking for seashells for a friend. Couldn’t find any anywhere but at the Pyramids in Cario. Imagine that!

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *