The ancients were incredibly innovative people, literally building civilization from the ground up. They invented tools, they made beautiful art, and they built the Colosseum, for Heaven’s sake.
There is no doubt that the people in Ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt were doing a ton of things right. However, there were some things that they had yet to figure out.
Many of these had to do with hygiene, general cleanliness, and medicine. There were some truly gross things that these folksdid in their everyday lives that every person today would consider absolutely unimaginable.
For one, excrement from many different kinds of animals was used for many different purposes. It doesn’t end there, though…
Did you ever learn about these not-so-pleasant habits from ancient timesin school? I know that I sure didn’t! All I ever heard of werethe pyramids, brilliant astronomers, and gladiators. It really does give you some perspective, doesn’t it?
Thumbnail source: Wikimedia Commons 1, 2
1. Ancient Greeks Used Stones To Wipe
Yes, that kind of wipe. Sometimes shards from pottery were used to clean up as well. Both of these methods are pretty good explanations as to why hemorrhoids were a big problem of the time.
2. Laxatives Were Used To Treat Upset Stomachs
Laxatives in Ancient Egypt were used in a number of ways, and one of them was to treat diarrhea. The idea was to get the sickness out as fast as possible. Laxatives were also used about 3 times a month by men who were worried about overeating, spending an entire day going through the whole process. Remember that they did not have plumbing and had to clean up the resulting mess afterwards.
3. Ancient Greeks Collected Sweat
The sweat of athletes was thought to be medicinal if applied to aches and pains. Before performing, Ancient Greeks would oil up, and then compete naked in the dust and dirt. Afterwards, slaves would scrape the muck, sweat, and whatever else was on the athletes’ bodies and bottle it up.
4. Gladiator Blood Was Used To Treat Epilepsy
Roman doctors believed that consumption of fallen gladiators’ blood or of their livers would cure epilepsy. Not only was this misguided, but also a great way to spread blood-born illnesses.
5. Lice Was So Bad, Ancient Egyptians Gave Up On Hair
It is believed that one reason that Ancient Egyptians shaved their headsis because head lice was so rampant, andthey just had to shave everything. There doesn’t seem to have been any effective cure for lice, so the Egyptians had no choice but to live among them rather than eradicating them.
6. Pee Was Used To Clean
Ancient Romans used pee to clean their clothes, but even worse? They also used it as mouthwash. Eek.
7. Goat Dung Was Taken For Energy
Roman charioteers, and even the emperor Nero himself, drank solutions of goat’s dung either ground to a powder and mixed into a drink, or boiled with vinegar for a boost of energy.
8. Onion Juice Was Used As Contraceptive
In Ancient Egypt, men would rub onion juice down there before doing the deed to keep from getting a woman pregnant. Needless to say there were many unwanted and unexpected pregnancies.
9. Doctors Tasted Earwax
The Doctors in Ancient Greece were taught what certain bodily substanceswere supposed to taste like when healthy. Earwax was one of those substances. Yuck!
10. Ancient Greeks Smeared Crocodile Dung On Their Eyes
A solution of crocodile dung and water was used to treat scars around the eyes in Ancient Greece, which seems like a pretty good way to irritate eyes even further and give one pink eye.
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