It is difficult to find fault with a civilization that existed for 5000 years under a polytheistic system that fostered broadminded attitudes. The ancient Egyptians respected more than 80 gods, and also respected an individual’s right to worship which one or ones he or she chose. If a person invented a new god, that was okay too. This was a society that practiced religious freedom.
However, one man defied the system. He invented his own god. And then he made the mistake of declaring that his god was the only god, and that everyone must worship his god and no other god. Soon, bias, discrimination, and hatred developed. The man was Pharaoh Akhenaten, and his god was Aten. The unrest in his time continued until his son Tutankhamun became Pharaoh and he erased his father’s restrictive religion.
This history does give a person pause to think about what we conceive as religious freedom today. To think that one god and one way of thinking is the only correct way is to destroy acceptance and freedom.
There was no rain here for over 100 days. There are 249 fires burning in our province as we reach the end of our summer. I have personally never experienced a drought. It’s scary.
The area where I live is required to observe measures of water conservation – rules that are imposed on everyone. My household are doing their best to conserve and comply with the water restrictions. It gives me pause to think about how much society in western North America is dependent on water and how much we assume it will always be available in quantities that can support our wasteful habits.
During my research for my book Lexi and Imhotep to the Rescue I became so immersed in life in ancient Egypt that my mind was there, seeing everything and everyone and accepting it all. In fact, I was so immersed that I missed the obvious.
The ancient Egyptians lived in the middle of a desert. They had very little water. One documented drought in King Djoser’s reign lasted seven years! And we’re experiencing difficulties (249 fires) in less than 100 days!!
- In Egypt: during a drought there were no crops – people starved by the thousands in Djoser’s reign
- In BC: crops are down in yield about 20%
- In Egypt: there are no forests… therefore, no forest fires
- BC: Huge losses to the lumber industry
- Egypt: Water for personal use had to be carried from the Nile (in Dier-El-Madina they had to carry H2O 1.5 miles up hill
- BC: water flows from a tap in the home
- Egypt: little water for personal cleanliness or sanitation
- BC water is abundantly used in long luxurious showers, brushing teeth with the tap pouring, and toilet use, plus dishwashers and washing machines, pools, and lawn and garden watering.
- The ancient Egyptians used no water in toilets, only sand.
Personal cleanliness was extremely important to the Egyptians who “washed before every meal.” They had no soap so put together a ‘scrub’ made of powdered calcite, red natron, salt, and honey. Deodorants were made from ground carob-pod pulp or a mix of incense and porridge rolled into pellets which they rubbed on, much like a deodorant stick today. Egyptians were famed for their perfumes which were made from scented oils. They had ointments to keep skin soft and moist. Necessity mothered invention.
Water is the most important commodity on earth. Don’t waste it.