BBC History Revealed
How did Ancient Egyptians keep flies at bay?
While most Egyptians coped the best they could with shooing away flies in the hotter seasons, a pharaoh – making the most of nearunlimited resources and divine image – could get others to endure the buzzing pests. Pepi II, who ruled during the sixth dynasty (late third millennium BC), purportedly decreed that his rooms should include a slave covered in honey to attract swarms of flies away from him.
Yet there were some flies that Egyptians didn’t want to keep off. The insect came to symbolise persistence and tenacity, so golden flies would be presented to soldiers who had distinguished themselves in battle.