Yo, what’s good? I’m Dan, and today we’re talking about some crazy stuff. You know how we all think ancient Egypt was all about mummies and pyramids? Well, turns out they were probably getting high too. Yeah, you heard that right. The historians thought weed wasn’t really a thing in those times, but they were wrong. Let me tell you all about it.
So, the ancient Egyptian civilization started around 3100 – 3050 BC, during what they call the Early Dynastic Period. But we don’t know much about it. We’re not even sure who the first pharaoh was, although some say his name was Nemes. Anyway, it all ended when Octavian became the first Emperor of Rome and Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire in 30 BC.
Now here’s where things get interesting. It was long believed that weed wasn’t used in ancient Egypt, but recent evidence suggests otherwise. See, before the 1930s, books on ancient Egypt didn’t mention cannabis use at all. Archaeologists were still learning how to decipher hieroglyphics back then, so they couldn’t identify all the medicines mentioned in the papyruses.
But in 1934, an article by Warren Dawson mentioned Cannabis sativa when discussing ancient Egypt. He wrote that its use was ‘rare.’ But the ancients apparently used it for uterine contraction, sore toenails, irrigating the rectum, and fever. Yeah, they were using weed for all sorts of things.
Scrolls dated to approximately 2000 BC found in Kemet (ancient Egypt) suggest that the Egyptians consumed weed for cataracts and sore eyes. And there are other scrolls from around 1700 BC and 1550 BC that mention weed being used for glaucoma and obstetrics.
But here’s where it gets really interesting. See, the Egyptians didn’t just use cannabis for medicinal purposes. They might have used it recreationally too. Researchers found traces of cannabis pollen on the body of legendary pharaoh Rameses II, who died in 1213 BC. And there were pieces of hemp found in the tomb of Amenophis IV, who died in 1379 BC. Traces of weed have been found in several other mummies too.
And get this, the Egyptian Goddess of Wisdom, Seshat, is depicted with a marijuana plant leaf above her head in numerous paintings. The feline Goddess of War, Bastet, is also linked to marijuana use in the region. Worshippers of several Egyptian gods probably consumed weed in religious festivals and activities.
Hemp is also part of the Cannabis sativa plant, and ancient Egyptians possibly used it to make rope, textiles, fine linen, and sails. There are references to cannabis hemp in the writings of the pyramids. It is suggested that a ‘three-ply hemp cord’ was found in the ruins of El Amarna.
Now, some historians are skeptical about all this. They say there’s no way ancient Egyptians could’ve had access to nicotine and cocaine, which were found in some mummies. But there’s evidence for weed being used in those times, so who knows?
Anyway, that’s all I got for you today. It’s crazy to think about how different ancient Egypt might have been from what we thought. Stay tuned for more history lessons from yours truly.