From 1900 to 1100 B.C., a great civilization reigned over what is now present-day Greece. The Mycenaens created works of art, established trade with other nations and lived in great cities. And then suddenly, mysteriously, the Mycenaean culture collapsed. Greece fell into darkness.

Nomadic tribes came from the North to where a bustling, urbane civilization once stood. Trade ceased, and Greece turned inward. For 500 years Greece stood silent, in what historians now call the Greek Dark Ages. And then, almost overnight in historical terms, a new dawn broke over Greece. Homer created his epic poems the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey," emphasizing honor and virtue to his new countrymen. Trade resumed, once separate city-states united into a democratic republic. Classical Greece was born.

­Where did this meteoric rise to prominence come from? Scholars attribute much of Greece's development to its internalization. For 500 years it was peacefully allowed to redevelop itself, astoundingly without any outside threats. But the loftiest of the pursuits of the Greeks would not have been possible were it not for another nearby civilization, one that was established millennia before even Mycenae was founded. The culture was called Kemet. You know it as Egypt.

The civilization that built the Sphinx, raised the pyramids and built the world's first library also produced the world's first physician, created geometry and astronomy and were among the first to explore the nature of our existence. And they passed their knowledge along to the Greeks. Modern people, in turn, have benefited greatly from this early education.

It's well-documented that classical Greek thinkers traveled to what we now call Egypt to expand their knowledge. When the Greek scholars Thales, Hippocrates, Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato and others traveled to Kemet, they studied at the temple-universities Waset and Ipet Isut. Here, the Greeks were inducted into a wide curriculum that encompassed both the esoteric as well as the practical.

Thales was the first to go to Kemet. He was introduced to the Kemetic Mystery System -- the knowledge that formed the basis of the Kemites' understanding of the world, which had been developed over the previous 4,500 years. After he returned, Thales made a name for himself by accurately predicting a solar eclipse and demonstrating how to measure the distance of a ship at sea. He encouraged others to make their way to Kemet to study [source: Texas A&M].

In Kemet, Hippocrates, the "father of medicine," learned of disease from the previous explorations of Imhotep, who established diagnostic medicine 2,500 years earlier. This early renaissance man -- priest, astronomer and physician -- was described as "the first figure of a physician to stand out clearly in the mists of antiquity" by the British medical trailblazer William Osler [source: Osler]. In Kemet, Pythagoras, the "father of mathematics," learned calculus and geometry from the Kemetic priests based on a millennia-old papyrus.

None of this is to say that the Greeks were without their own ideas. On the contrary, the Greeks appeared to have formed their own interpretations of what they learned in Kemet. Nor did the Greeks ever deny the credit due the Kemites for their education. "Egypt was the cradle of mathematics," Aristotle wrote [source: Van Sertima]. But one could make the case that the Greeks also felt that they were destined to build upon what they'd learned from the Kemites.

The Kemetic education was meant to last 40 years, although no Greek thinker is known to have made it through the entire process. Pythagoras is believed to have made it the furthest, having studied in Kemet for 23 years [source: Person-Lynn]. The Greeks seem to have put their own spin on what knowledge they'd learned.

Plato's education may have expressed it best: The Kemetic Mystery System was based upon a wide array of human knowledge. It encompassed math, writing, physical science, religion and the supernatural, requiring tutors to be both priests and scholars.


1. James, George G. M.,(March 3, 2010).Stolen Legacy: The Egyptian Origins of Western Philosophy". Kritike: An Online Journal of Philosophy. 3 (2): 167–170. doi:10.3860/krit.v3i2.1536. ISSN 1908-7330

2. Bowman, Alan Keir. 1996. Egypt After the Pharaohs: 332 BC–AD 642; From Alexander to the Arab Conquest. 2nd ed. Berkeley: University of California Press

3. Ellis, Simon P. 1992. Graeco-Roman Egypt. Shire Egyptology 17, ser. ed. Barbara G. Adams. Aylesbury: Shire Publications, ltd.

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