8 junio, 2024

The 11 Most Important Contributions of Egypt to Humanity

The contributions from Egyptone of the oldest civilizations of humanity, promoted a quite remarkable change of course in society in many aspects.

Among these contributions we can highlight his contribution in the arts, writing, technological advances, literature, architecture, religion and even science. In addition to having left their pyramids, temples and other architectural works for posterity.

The most important contributions of the Egyptian civilization

1 – The writing

The Egyptians developed a writing system to express the contents of the mind. At first, the system used was not alphabetical, but used images to express ideas.

Later, around 2,000 pictographic signs were used to write, which were reduced to 700 over time.

Finally, they developed the alphabet, which is found engraved on the Rosetta stone (kept in the British Museum).

2- Paper and ink

On the banks of the Nile River, a plant called «papyrus» existed in abundance. From this plant, the Egyptians created a kind of paper that received the same name as the plant. The papyri were arranged in large scrolls that were between 6 meters and 12 meters long.

Likewise, they extracted tinctures from plants, squeezing the leaves and stems of these. These dyes, which were used for writing, constituted an archaic form of ink.

3- Calendar

The ancient Egyptians were exceptional astronomers. They were able to predict lunar and solar eclipses, the flooding of the Nile River, the optimal time for planting and harvesting, among others. They were also knowledgeable about the movements of the planets, which allowed them to create the calendar.

The Egyptian calendar divided the year into 360 days and 12 months. Each month consisted of 30 days and each day had a duration of 24 hours. At the beginning or at the end of each year, they added five more days, which were destined for the celebration.

The Egyptian calendar was the basis for the calendar we use today, the Gregorian, which was developed by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582.

4- Mathematics and geometry

The ancient Egyptians were gifted in the areas of mathematics and geometry. They had knowledge of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Likewise, they knew the geometric figures and were able to calculate their area to measure the land.

Both mathematical and geometric knowledge were applied during the construction of the pyramids.

It should be noted that the oldest mathematical treatise belongs to the Egyptian civilization and is the Ahmes Papyrus, also known as the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus.

5- Pyramids and mummification

The ancient Egyptians are renowned for their works of art, especially their architectural works. The pyramids, the clearest example of the majesty of Egyptian architecture, were the tombs of the pharaohs.

The Egyptians believed that the spirit returned to the body after death. This is why the bodies of the most important people (the pharaohs) were preserved thanks to the application of certain chemical substances; this preservation process is currently known as mummification and is also a contribution from the Egyptians.

Later, the mummified body of the pharaoh was placed in a sarcophagus that had holes, to allow the spirit to re-enter the body.

The sarcophagus was kept in a chamber inside the pyramid, the walls of which were decorated with hieroglyphs that told the story of the pharaoh’s life.

Of the Egyptian pyramids, the pyramid built for Pharaoh Djoser at Sakkara is the oldest of all.

On the other hand, the largest and best known of the pyramids is the Pyramid of Giza, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World; This pyramid is about 145 meters high and required the use of 2,300,000 stone blocks for its construction.

6- Analgesics and anesthesia

The Egyptians made great advances in the area of ​​medicine, using plants to alleviate certain ailments.

The Ebers Papyrus, one of the oldest medical treatises, shows that the Egyptians knew how to harness the narcotics present in certain plants, such as the water lily, lotus, cannabis, and poppy.

In this sense, these plants were used as analgesics, which constitutes a contribution to medicine.

7- Antibiotics

According to Mark Nelson, editor of Tetracyclines in Biology, Chemistry and MedicineAlexander Fleming was not the first to discover the use of molds as antibiotics.

According to Nelson, the Egyptians were the first to discover the antibiotic properties of certain bread molds; this is what certain medical papyri suggest.

8- Philosophy

The ancient Egyptians also ventured into the field of philosophy. Ptahhotep was one of the most important Egyptian philosophers of the time; This figure was the administrator and vizier of Dyedkara – Isesi and is known for being the creator of the «Maxims of Ptahhotep».

These maxims are instructions in the form of proverbs that regulate certain aspects of life. Ptahhotep’s treatise predates the works of Confucius, Socrates and Buddha, which is why it represents one of the first documents on the philosophy of life.

9- Literature

The contributions of the ancient Egyptians were immortalized through writing and literature. They developed texts on astrology, metallurgy, and cooking.

Likewise, there are also Egyptian texts about legends of this civilization, interesting experiences, adventure stories, religious and philosophical thoughts, among others.

Among his prose writings, stand out The story of the two brothers (13th century BC) and Sinuhe’s story. Among the religious treatises, there are the texts on the pyramids, on the sarcophagi and the book of the dead. Likewise, there are historical texts on the various dynasties of Ancient Egypt.

10 – Irrigation

Crop irrigation was one of the great contributions of the Egyptians to agriculture. They were the first to create channels that carried water to the plantations continuously.

11- Surgical instruments

Egyptian medicine was one of the most developed and innovative, as stated in papyri found by archaeologists. One of his great achievements is the creation of different surgical instruments for the treatment of various conditions (cysts, fractures) and rhinoplasty or prosthesis placement techniques.

References

Baivab Ghosh. Contributions of the Egyptian Civilization to the World Civilization. Retrieved on May 2, 2017, from historydiscussion.net.
Bahaa, Ahmed (2012). 5 Contributions from Ancient Egypt. Retrieved on May 2, 2017, from prezi.com.
10 Major Contributions Ancient Egytians Made to Modern Medicine. Retrieved on May 2, 2017, from atlantablackstar.com.
Rice, Michael. Egypt’s Legacy. Retrieved on May 2, 2017, from archetypalmind.files.wordpress.com.
The Legacy of Egypt. Retrieved on May 2, 2017, from teachersites.schoolworld.com.
Ancient Egypt. Retrieved on May 2, 2017, from nsm6thgradesocialstudies.weebly.com.
Tydesley, Joyce. Ancient Egypt and the Modern World. Retrieved on May 2, 2017, from washoeschols.net.

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