Things The Ancient Egyptians Couldn't Live Without

Many histories of ancient Egypt only deal with the lives of pharaohs. But everyday Egyptians also had interesting lives. They weren't just farming or building stone memorials and there were certain things they couldn't live without.

According to the Ancient History Encyclopedia, all Egyptians, no matter their social class, were encouraged to "let their face shine" — basically, do things that made them happy. So ancient Egyptians enjoyed sports, games, and festivals. Archaeological evidence suggests that they played various sports – a form of hockey, handball, archery, swimming, tug of war, gymnastics, and something called water jousting, which involved small boats. Players recreated ship battles in which they would try to knock over an opponent's boat.

History writes Egyptians also made board games to amuse themselves. They played Mehen, and Dogs and Jackals, but the most famous board game was Senet, which pharaohs also played. Senet was so popular that paintings showed Queen Nefertiti playing the game. King Tutankhamen was buried with it.

Games and sports were not the only activities that helped ancient Egyptians "let their face shine." People would often gather to watch performances, explains the Ancient History Encyclopedia. After these shows, Egyptians would indulge in a drink called heqet, a honey-flavored beer that resembled mead. They also had beer, but it was no Budweiser.

They were also kind of vain

When we see illustrations of ancient Egyptians, they are almost always wearing makeup. History reports both men and women often wore makeup because they believed it granted protection from the gods Horus and Ra. It's not the make-up we know today, but ancient Egyptians invented the idea of painting one's face. They ground malachite and galena into kohl, which evolved into the modern-day eyeliner. Women rubbed paint on their cheeks, like blush, and used henna to color their nails. Make-up for them was more than vanity; ancient Egyptians believed make-up had healing powers. History says they were probably right. Research showed the kohl protected them from eye infections. English Online also points out that some ancient Egyptians dyed their hair, applied perfumes, and wore lots of jewelry if they could afford it.

Ancient Egyptians venerated animals as incarnations of the gods they worshiped. As such, they tended to keep many animals as pets, per History. Cats were the most popular pets and were revered as an embodiment of the goddess Bastet. They also kept hawks, ibises, dogs, lions, and baboons. Ancient Egyptian police officers even used monkeys and dogs to assist their investigations.

Everyday life in ancient Egypt was all about a good work-life balance. They worked hard to feed their families, but also needed to have fun and enjoy themselves to prove to the gods they were worthy of riches in the afterlife.