Egypt’s ancient civilization is known worldwide. It has garnered information, insights and even opinions of different languages. This added rumors and facts are twisted especially to those who have yet to visit Egypt and its historical discoveries. The twisted facts have taken root over time and thus, creating myths. The list below is a compilation of the famous myths of Egypt, which are debunked by professionals. Scroll down as you learn the truths!

Myth: The Pyramids were built with slaves

FACT: Employed workers had salaries.     

How the pyramids were built is one of the biggest mysteries of Egypt. The huge and impressive building complex of the pyramid together with the technology back then had raised questions. How the workers moved heavy stones, what process was used to move the block, the base of the complex and etc. With the heavy labour involved, workers were visualized as forced to work. Cartoons portraying Egypt and its slavery did not help. Speculations of aliens helping the Egyptians build the complex also added confusion.

Researchers however, have discovered ancient bureaucratic evidence of stamps and seals for tracking the workers’ operation. Animal bones showed quality meat was served for the workers with hundreds of bread jars. These showed workers are treated well and the offer of high-quality food gave them drive to work in the prestigious project.

Photo by HoremWeb

Myth: Slaves are also buried in the tombs when a Pharaoh dies

FACT: Only two Pharaohs from the first dynasty had their servants buried with them

The ritual of burying royalty with their body intact, wealth and properties had the researchers think it was carried on with the following Pharaohs. Archaeology proved this false when small figurines of the ‘shabtis’  were discovered in the burial. Shabtis are the carved images of the servants carrying with their tools to help the King in his afterlife journey.

Myth: The Egyptians were obsessed with death

FACT: Egyptians believed in the afterlife journey itself        

Mummifying the dead bodies, keeping property and wealth even after death, glorified the idea that Egyptians love death. The idea is stretched and it is not true. Egyptians are in fact, optimistic with a good next life. Tombs are decorated as preparation and murals often depict of people doing mundane but good lives to wish good luck to those who passed. Keeping the body intact made it so that they won’t have physical difficulties in the afterlife.

Myth: Cleopatra was Egyptian and incredibly beautiful

FACT: Cleopatra was average and she was Macedonian Greek

Cleopatra’s real appearance was unlike the seductress she was as portrayed in the Hollywood by Elizabeth Taylor. It was actually her noble demeanour and intellect that had people drawn to her. She was a descendant of Ptolemy I Soter, a general and companion of Alexander the Great. She was famous due to her political influence and with her relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony.   

Photo by Rijksmuseum

Photo by Wikilmages

Myth: Napoleon is responsible for destroying the Sphinx’s nose

FACT: It was destroyed way before Napoleon and his men arrived in Egypt.

At some point, Napoleon and his men were believed to have destroyed the Sphinx’s nose with their cannons when they arrived in Egypt in 1798. This was disproved however, when paintings of the Sphinx in the 18th century already had a destroyed nose. Al-Maqrizi a 15th century Egyptian Historian described that in the 1378 CE, a Sufi Muslim named Sa’im al-Dahr was executed when he destroyed the nose in protest to the idolatry after peasants offered and prayed to it for successful harvest.

Myth: Ancient Egyptians communicated with aliens

FACT: There was none.

What lead to this misunderstanding is the complexity and grandness of the ancient Egypt’s legacies. Alien Colonies are believed to have helped them in the construction when Egyptians were actually skilled engineers at their time even without the help of extra-terrestrial beings. Egyptologist stated that theories involving aliens were mundane and unrealistic.

Fun fact: Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon musk tweeted last year that the pyramids were built by aliens. Egypt then invited him to visit the pyramids to be educated and disprove his outlandish claims.

Myth: There is a curse when opening the ancient tomb

FACT: The explorers’ deaths had no relation to the curse 

Howard Carter and his men opened and explored King Tutankhamun’s tomb in the 1920’s. Later on, mysterious deaths occurred but this was disproved by a study from the British Medical Journal in 2002. The mean age of death to those who were involved did not show any significant relation to the curse nor was there any sign that those exposed were to die within 10 years.

Myth: Pharaoh’s are not fit unlike what their sarcophagi and drawings show

FACT: They are more likely obese according to their diet.

 When Pharaohs die, they are mummified and put in sarcophagi of lean frame. Ancient drawings and paintings depicting their identity also emphasize them in slender glory. Historians stated that priests and royalty ate butter, cheese, wine, dairy and beer daily. Honey-toasted wild gazelle, Honey cakes, spit-roasted ducks, jujubes and pomegranates – food rich in calories and cholesterol. Their mummies examined revealed that they suffered from diabetes, obesity, and heart diseases.

Photo by klimkin

Which of the following myths have you believed before? Some are convincing you can’t help but think they were true! Share what insights you gained in the comments below!

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Read our previous Egypt post which is

8 Ancient Egyptian Sites You Must Visit to Travel Back in Time

 in case you missed it!

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