When we look back at the people of the past, we often think of them as backward and unsophisticated. Of course, the people of those days had some strange practices but they also came up with some brilliant ideas and innovations that never cease to amaze us.
So, we’ve gathered some facts about ancient civilizations that will blow your mind! While some of these facts are just plain weird, others show us that the people of those days were actually smarter than we think.
1. The ancient Romans used urine as mouthwash. Urine contains ammonia which makes it one of the best natural cleaning agents in the world. As a result, the ancient Romans preferred using pee to clean their homes instead of soap.
2. The ancient Romans believed having a crooked nose was a sign of leadership.
3. Mayans believed that anyone who was cross-eyed was favored by the sun god Kinich Ahau, who was also cross-eyed. In those days, children even went as far as dangling objects between their eyes in the hopes that it would artificially cross their eyes.
4. An ancient sword called the Sword of Goujian is almost completely preserved despite being buried for over two millennia. Discovered in a damp tomb in Hubei, China, the sword is still razor sharp.
5. In ancient China, there was a bizzare form of execution called Ling Chi or death by a thousand cuts. It involved the executioner removing small pieces of the victim’s body, eventually resulting in death. To test their skills, executioners would prolong this torture for as long as possible.
6. We have the ancient Egyptians to thank for the invention of toothpaste! They made it using rock salt, pepper, mint and dried iris flowers.
7. Many ancient Romans were lenient with their slaves. In the same way as modern employees, they used bonuses to incentivize productivity.
8. The ancient Indians practiced “Sati” which entailed burning a widow alive on her late husband’s funeral pyre. It was believed that the woman would follow her husband into the afterlife. Although this ritual was supposedly “voluntary”, there are a lot of contrary findings. In fact, there are many accounts of women being drugged or thrown into the fire against their will. This ritual is still practiced on rare occasions, though it has been banned.
9. It turns out that basketball has been around for a long time, not just in the form you would imagine. The ancient Mayans played a game where a ball had to be thrown through a loop, just like basketball. However, you couldn’t catch the ball with your hands and feet, only with your body. These games often ended in human sacrifices. Interestingly, being sacrificed was considered an honour in those times.
10. Ancient Roman women used a plant called Silphium as contraceptive. They used the plant so much that it went extinct.
11. There are more pyramids in Sudan than in all of Egypt.
12. Ancient Egyptian police officers trained dogs and monkeys which assisted them whenever they were on patrol.
Which of these facts fascinated you the most? Tell us in the comment section below.