LIFE in the ancient city of Rhinocolura may have been tough, but at least residents didn’t have to deal with nosy neighbours.
According to legend, the enormous Egyptian fortress was a prison populated entirely by thieves who’d had their schnozzes cut off.
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The ancient Egyptian city of Rhinocolura is said to have been populated entirely by people who’d had their noses cut off[/caption]
Built 3,000 years ago near the city of Gaza, the Greeks are said to have named it after the deformed faces of the people who lived there.
Their noses were removed before they were sent to the metropolis as punishments for their crimes, according to ancient-origins.net.
Once convicted they were sent to Rhinocolura for life, locked within city walls guarded by soldiers in towers up to 66 feet (20.12 meters) high.
The idea was that anyone who escaped would be instantly outed as a runaway due to their disfigured faces.
A depiction of punishment in ancient Egypt[/caption]
Life in the city was hard, according to ancient historians, with little water to go around and criminals left to largely govern themselves.
At least, the Egyptians believed, any victim of crime in the brutal metropolis was a criminal himself.
If it existed at all Rhinocolura was likely built around 1300BC.
There is little historical evidence of it from that period, leading some experts to dismiss the city as a myth.
Most historical accounts of the fortress came thousands of years after it is said to have been built.
A brief history of Ancient Egypt
Here's everything you need to know…
- The Ancient Egyptians were an advanced civilisation who at one point ruled over a huge portion of the globe
- The civilisation was founded about 5,000 years ago when ancient people set up villages along the River Nile
- It lasted for about 3,000 years and saw the building of complex cities centuries ahead of their time – as well as the famous Great Pyramids
- The Ancient Egyptians were experts at farming and construction
- They invented a solar calendar, and one of the world’s earliest writing systems: The hieroglyph
- The Egyptians were ruled by kings and queens called pharaohs
- Religion and the afterlife were a huge part of Ancient Egyptian culture. They had over 2,000 gods
- Pharaohs built huge elaborate tombs to be buried in, some of which were pyramids – at the time among the largest structures in the world
- The Egyptians believed in life after death, and important people’s corpses were mummified to preserve their bodies for the afterlife
- The Ancient Egyptian empire fell in 30BC due to a mix of factors, including wars with other empires and a 100-year period of drought and starvation
According to Greek historian Diodorus Siculus, the city was located on a stretch of desert along the border between Ancient Egypt and the Land of Israel.
He wrote in the first century BC that it was founded by the Ethiopian king Actisanes as a place of exile for those found guilty of robbery.
Those who were sent there were punished by cutting off their noses.
Another Greek historian, Strabo, wrote that Rhinocolura was settled by Ethiopians who had attempted to invade Egypt and were subsequently punished by having their noses cut off.
There’s plenty of evidence, also, to support that removal of the nose was a popular judicial punishment in ancient Egypt.
The nose is one of the most expressive parts of the body, and removing it caused severe impairment of both the body and the individual’s personality.
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