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Personal Hygene
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Daniella
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2005 4:46 am    Post subject: Personal Hygene Reply with quote

I was just wondering what the ancient Egyptians used to clean themselves with and if they cleaned their teeth at all. And how about washing the laundry or what did the women use for their periods? Or how did they cut their hair or cut their finger and toe nails? So many questions, I know.
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2005 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure, I'm sure Kmt-sesh can answer this better than me, but...
I think for washing they just bathed in the Nile (watch out for those crocodiles!) but i think rich people had their own baths. Priests would bathe in their own sacred temple pool. They didn't have soap, but I'm sure they used perfume (probably only for the rich people, as it's pretty expensive). I'm not sure, I'm guessing here but did they also use oils to moisturise their bodies from the drying effects of the sun? That would, again, probably be limited to the wealthy, especially if they were perfumed oils.

I don't think Egyptians ever cleaned their teeth-because their teeth were in a really bad way, because bits of sand accidentally got into the bread, and if you've ever eaten a SANDwich (ha ha! Laughing ) at the beach, you'll know how annoying that is-the Egyptians had that every day and it gradually wears away teeth! Ouch!! I have heard claims that the Egyptians used 'toothpaste' made from mint, iris root, myrrh and salt, but I'm doubtful about that because Kmt-sesh dismissed that 'Egyptian toothpaste' claim as bunkum, I think...

I'm not sure how Egyptians washed clothes, I think they just washed them in the river. I've heard someone say to me at the British museum, that the way they bleached linen was to wash it in urine! Shocked But I thought that's what the Romans did, and the Egyptians had a cleaner method-I think they just left the linen in the sun, and the sun bleached it, but I'm not sure.

I'm very sceptical of claims that the Egyptian women used tampons, but I think they had 'sanitary pads' that would be washed. I'm not sure how the Egyptians viewed periods-I think they thought of them as unclean, but that could be a misconception, a mix up with more modern views.

I think knives were used to cut hair and nails, they had razors for shaving too. I wonder if the longer hair clippings were used for wig making?
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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isisinacrisis had some good answers there, but being the windbag that I am, I'll chime in, too.

When the Egyptians were particularly mindful of hygiene was when they partook in most any religious occasion--attending a festival, going to a shrine or temple to pray, visiting a cemetery, that sort of thing. These people weren't obsessed with hygiene day in and out (like Monk--I love that TV show!), but there are plenty of admonitions inscribed on tomb walls that clearly tell us how serious the Egyptians were expected to be about their cleanliness in religious matters.

And actually they did use soap, isisinacrisis. It was Irish Springs and it left them smelling fresh and clean.

Okay, I made that up. But natron was in fact used to produce a crude sort of soap or detergent. I don't know much about the forms of bleaches they used other than that, once again, natron was often involved. This salt-substance was used in many, many ways. Temple priests chewed it (gag!) to purify their mouths. But of course the Egyptians made ample use of bleaches for their linen garments to be rendered so bright.

There is no evidence for any manner of dentistry. Life was hard on the Egyptian tooth. People suffered horrible abscess (including Pharaohs), and you're right about the sand getting in everything they ate. It would be like chewing on sandpaper every day. And the poor were known to stretch their bread dough with sand!

As for shaving, they had very sharp bronze razors. We have numerous very-well crafted examples in our exhibit at the Field. Finger and toe nails? I have no idea. I imagine some sort of sharp blade was used to trim them or a sort of rasp to file them. It's funny you asked about that, Daniella, because as odd as it might seem, I've often wondered about that very question. We have handy-dandy little clippers to keep our nails tame, but what exactly did the ancients use? I mean, they certainly had to do something, or everyone in the ancient world would have looked like that man from India in the Guiness Book of World Records with fingernails that hang in curls halfway down his body (again, gag!).

And then there are the women during their "time of the month." Actually women in ancient times did not have periods. That was an invention of modern sitcoms for the sake of a good laugh.

Okay, I made that up, too. Of course the women used a sort of pad. You've probably heard of the amulet known as the tit--here's a perfect example of one. Woops, sorry about that. Wrong one. Here's a perfect example of one, honest!

Anyway, the leading theory on exactly what the tit is, is the "tampon" of Isis. Note that it's even red, to represent her blood. Some call it her "girdle" to make it easier to discuss, but "tampon" is a better word. It is a small wad of linen folded just so for the purpose. And as a profoundly religious and superstitious society, the Egyptians did tend to look upon women in their period as unclean. It is likely women who worked as chantresses in temples were sent away at this time. There are many cultures throughout the world who have practiced the same proscriptions, and some wrongly see it as an insult to women; it's really not. Blood itself is seen as unclean in many cultures, and that's the root of it.

I hope some of this is helpful in your quest to understand Egyptian hygiene, Daniella. And I hope I gave you a couple of chuckles along the way. Knowing my luck I've just offended everyone with my little amulet joke above. What can I say? I'm a baaaaad boy. Twisted Evil
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Daniella
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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 3:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, thanks isisinacrisis and kmt_sesh for the information!

Quote:
It's funny you asked about that, Daniella, because as odd as it might seem, I've often wondered about that very question.


Yeah I was wondering about that for some time now. Wouldn't it be hard to cut them with a knife?

Quote:
or everyone in the ancient world would have looked like that man from India in the Guiness Book of World Records with fingernails that hang in curls halfway down his body


Oh yeah! I remember him! Man, the things people do for attention, eh? I mean, how did he....well, do anything? I hope he had a wife cause masterbation would be awefully tricky! Laughing

Quote:
known as the tit


Laughing What a funny name! Laughing

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Woops, sorry about that. Wrong one


Laughing Laughing Laughing Holy crap I just about *** myself when that popped up on my screen! Laughing I love it!

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What can I say? I'm a baaaaad boy.


That's what I love about you, sesh! Razz
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isisinacrisis
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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I admit that most of the above topic I posted was pure guesswork-kmt sesh, if there are any mistakes and I wrote anything wrong, let me know?

I always thought the Egyptians were one of the cleanest of the ancient cultures, even outside of religious matters-but that would have depended on how rich you were as well.

Not sure if I'm correct, but natron was a bit like baking soda apparently. Did the Egyptians have bleaches?? I thought their chemistry wasn't up to scratch to invent such substances (contrary to the people who believe the Egyptians actually invented chemistry, some of these people have very weird claims!) what were those bleaches made of-natron? Or even urine? Confused

I really do not believe the tit (or tyet) was a 'tampon' in the modern sense of the word-it wasn't put inside that part of a woman's body. That seems too modern an invention (and wouldn't a wad of linen shoved up there hurt like mad???) I think the tyet was a sanitary pad, but a reusable one, put underneath that part of the body, but certainly not inside it!!! And it was worshipped by the Egyptians as being Isis's blood-I thought goddesses were too 'divine' to suffer such monthly horrors! Laughing (as a woman, I am rightfully allowed to say that!)

HOLY **** KMT! That amulet...you were the one who said the Egyptians were conservative about sex. That little amulet you posted has disproved that outright! Laughing
Anyway, you posted the wrong kind of 'Egyptian porn'-if you wanted a 'tit' you should have posted a bare breast! I'm not sure if there are any Egyptian pictures of bare tits, but if there's one shaped like, erm, that one, then you never know...
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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 2:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

isisinacrisis wrote:
Quote:
what were those bleaches made of-natron? Or even urine?


Honestly, the extent of my knowledge of ancient Egyptian bleaches is that sometimes natron was employed. I have no idea about the urine. The Egyptians had a keen handle on chemistry for their time, and knew the properties of numerous chemicals and minerals.

Quote:
I really do not believe the tit (or tyet) was a 'tampon' in the modern sense of the word-it wasn't put inside that part of a woman's body. That seems too modern an invention (and wouldn't a wad of linen shoved up there hurt like mad???)


What's so hard to believe about that? A woman inserting a wad of cloth up her shd (hat is the ancient Egyptian word for it!) to staunch the flow of blood, is hardly a modern concept. As to how uncomfortable it may have been, well, I truly cannot comment on that--I've never even used a suppository, which is about as close a comparison a man can make (okay, another might be a catheter, which I'm also happy to say I've never had to experience Surprised ). But don't think of coarse cloth like muslin; the Egyptians were expert weavers and produced incredibly soft textiles, too. Their linen was a highly valued commodity all over the ancient Middle East.

Quote:
And it was worshipped by the Egyptians as being Isis's blood-I thought goddesses were too 'divine' to suffer such monthly horrors! (as a woman, I am rightfully allowed to say that!)


That's a good point about the tit amulet, but remember, in this regard the Egyptian deities were much like the later Greek gods: they were fallible and imperfect, modelled after the people of the civilizations which created them. Egyptian gods could even die--such as Set or Apophis--but naturally they were magically reborn. Anyway, Isis was regarded as one of the premier goddesses of mothers and families and was supposed to be regarded as the ultimate mother and woman. Hence she gave birth like a mortal and lactated like any mother, and hence she could have her monthly visitor like any woman.

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HOLY **** KMT! That amulet...you were the one who said the Egyptians were conservative about sex. That little amulet you posted has disproved that outright!
Anyway, you posted the wrong kind of 'Egyptian porn'-if you wanted a 'tit' you should have posted a bare breast! I'm not sure if there are any Egyptian pictures of bare tits, but if there's one shaped like, erm, that one, then you never know...


Laughing Laughing Laughing I was hoping you gals might get a chuckle out of that. I was searching under the key words "Egyptian amulet" when I was looking for the tit, and that's one of the photos that "popped up." I couldn't resist. But you needn't regard it as anything naughty because that's not at all how the ancients viewed these little statuettes.

It got me thinking about Egyptian fertility, in fact, so I wrote a post about that topic, if you're interested.

And there are lots of reliefs and papyri illustrations that show the bare breasts of women. It was extremely common. Egyptologists speculate that it was an artistic convention only and do not believe women actually walked around with their boomers hanging out.

"Boomers," mind you. That's the proper historian's term, although many scholars favor "lung warts." Very Happy
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Osiris II
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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think to properly define it would be "Hooters", kmt_sesh...
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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Boobs, boobies, tits, knockers... loads of lovely terms for that part of the female anatomy.
And of course, there's the breastfeeding pictures, Isis and Horus and the like-I can't believe I forgot that. The ones with the older child pharaoh suckling on Isis's mammaries always reminds me of a certain Little Britain sketch. Bitty. Wink it's a shame they don't show it in America, because that show is FUNNY!!!
Anyway, on the subject, I'm a bit sceptical of the claims women in ancient Egypt walked around topless or with dresses that exposed their boobs, as is claimed on many websites. Not that I'm a prude, but I'm sure the straps of such dresses covered the nipples. But would exposing bare breasts in public, when doing normal daily work, have been considered immodest? Would it have been considered sexually uggestive to the men, or is this just modern misconception again?

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Egyptian gods could even die--such as Set or Apophis--but naturally they were magically reborn


Actually, that's Osiris, not Set, of course. He's the one who's death made him famous.
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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Anyway, on the subject, I'm a bit sceptical of the claims women in ancient Egypt walked around topless or with dresses that exposed their boobs, as is claimed on many websites.


I don't think women actually did that, either. I'm taking my cue from what most Egyptologists have written--at least the material I've read. If I remember correctly, the exposed breasts in reliefes has to do with the artistic convention of showing both halves of the body in completeness, as with both arms and both legs. You still usually see only the one boomer hanging out (or hooter, or lung wart, or knocker...pick your favorite), but the exposed breast is meant to solidify completeness.

Quote:
But would exposing bare breasts in public, when doing normal daily work, have been considered immodest?


From what I understand about how women were supposed to conduct themselves in ancient Egyptian society, I believe it would have been quite immodest to expose one's breasts. Men could work in skimpy kilts or loincloths or nothing at all and are often depicted that way in the artwork, but note that when women are depicted, even if one breast is shown bare, the rest of the body down to the ankle is completely clad.

Quote:
Actually, that's Osiris, not Set, of course. He's the one who's death made him famous.


Osiris isn't quite the fit I was looking for. He was regarded first as mortal, then murdered, and finally resurrected as devine. I selected Set because of how often in royal tombs we see pharaohs harpooning miniature hippos--an animal manifestation of Set. The act of killing Set was an act of preserving maat, but of course Set himself was always magically resurrected--only to be slain all over again, and again, and again...

The same for Apophis. This poor creature suffered every single night. We see in royal funerary literature such as the Amduat, Book of Gates, and Book of Caverns how every night Apophis is fettered and slaughtered so that Re may be reborn in the morning to bring light back to creation, but of course Apophis was always magically resurrected--only to be slain all over again, and again, and again... Wink
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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2005 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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If I remember correctly, the exposed breasts in reliefes has to do with the artistic convention of showing both halves of the body in completeness, as with both arms and both legs.


I don't think that makes much sense because the legs were clothed as well as most of the body. And the way the dresses were made and where the straps are, you're tit just pops out when you twist you're upper body (trust me, I've tried it). Plus the material was sometimes sheer and you could see the nipple through it anyway. The subjuct being painted still could of been portrayed in complete fullness with her breast covered. And I can think of numerous statues in which the breasts bare.

And also, kmt_sesh if your theory is correct then why don't we see the one nut of the men? Or an ass cheek, maybe? Razz
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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2005 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, I just remembered my avatar. She is bare breasted, is she not? Now, I know that she is an acrobat, but when the servants and dancers and acrobats were topless, don't you think the other women could of been like that too?

And notice how perfect the acrobats breast is? I mean I tried that position, and it just doesn't work that way, one word...gravity. Laughing
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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2005 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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And the way the dresses were made and where the straps are, you're tit just pops out when you twist you're upper body (trust me, I've tried it).


I'm just passing along what I've read from the experts. Women walking around bare-breasted just runs counter to the mores of the society. As for the legs, you can see their shapes through the dresses, especially on the translucent variety. But these art historians and Egyptologists probably haven't tried to wear these dresses and bend and twist in them like you have, so maybe they don't understand the physics of titty balistics? Very Happy

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And also, kmt_sesh if your theory is correct then why don't we see the one nut of the men? Or an ass cheek, maybe?


Damn, that's a good one. LOL We do often see in Egyptian reliefs the hoo-hoos of naked men, but there's not enough detail to denote one nut or two. (I keep thinking of the coffee question with sugar cubes: "One lump or two?")

Quote:
And notice how perfect the acrobats breast is? I mean I tried that position, and it just doesn't work that way, one word...gravity.


That's the beautiful thing about art. You can make the human body and all its parts behave however you want them to. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2005 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've always thought that Egyptian women who even worked as some sort of farm hand were breast-naked. But, I do know that they didn't always show their breast. I'm pretty sure they didn't have bras and that they wore a kind of silhouette dress which covere the whole body, but that's no help at all. Although I do agree that it does counter most of the percieved morals about the Egyptian.

Maybe they didn't think of the breast as something sexual, but as a sign or symbol of motherhood and new-born life. Since, as we all know thats the part where babies breast feed. So, since they were a kind of conservative society, yet they do not show such interest in hiding their breast, then probably thats the answer for it. That the breast wasn't percieved as much sexually as it was thought to be a symbol of motherhood and new life, I suppose.
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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's certainly possible, Dampwater. I don't think men have changed that much in the past 3000 years--we men are predictable that way--unless it's a sign that we are just becoming more horny through the ages! Shocked
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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I'd have to agree with you kmt. I mean what is more exciting in life than a woman's breast. Actually, that makes me want to see one right now ( i kid Laughing )

But, this thought just kind of hit me, while i was replying to this thread. Since they didn't cover their breast, and the Egyptians were for the most part of their daily routine conservative, then it would only make sense that they did not consider the breast as something sexual, but mayeb a more fundamental aspect of the life cycle. But, this is only my opinion, unless our perception of Egyptian women's explicitness of their breast or that the Egyptians were conservative sexually, then this might be a valid answer.
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