The Magic and Science of Ancient Egyptian Medicine

2606 Words May 23rd, 2013 11 Pages



PAGE 1. Introduction 1 2. The Edwin Smith Papyrus 2 2.1 Authorship 3 3. The Ebers papyrus 3 4. Human anatomy and physiology 4 4.1 Head, heart and thoracic cavity 4 4.2 Limbs and Injuries 5 4.3 Disease, Illness and their remedies and cures 6 5. Medicine and Dispensing 7 6. Conclusion 8 7. Bibliography 9

Page 1

1. INTRODUCTION A broken bone, a runny nose, stomachache, toothache, headache or strange lumps and bumps; these are just a few of the ailments that have plagued man
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When one reads the Edwin Smith Papyrus, it is very apparent that it was written during a war in order to treat war injuries. Page 3. 1. AUTHOURSHIP There has been much debate as to who the author was. A major part of the papyrus was written by one scribe, with only a small section being written by another. Some attribute the text to Imhotep, an architect, high pries and physician of the Old Kingdom (3000-2500BCE). Imhotep was a famous magician but “medicine was the mistress he most zealously wooed.” (Hurry 1926:23). The highest office that he held during his lifetime, was that of vizier to the Pharoah and that title must have held him in high regards with his patients. He moved in the highest of social circles and rendered fine service the bodies and spirits of this he treated. It has even been said that he, Imhotep, rather than Hippocrates, is the true father of medicine.

3. THE EBERS PAPYRUS The Ebers Papyrus (c.1550BC) is full of incantations and disgusting applications, which are intended to turn away disease-causing demons and it also includes 877 prescriptions. It may, if ancient medical terminology has been correctly interpreted, contain the earliest account of tumors. Even though it consists of incantations, which are meant to turn away disease-causing demons, it also contains evidence of empirical practice and observation. Some examples of remedies found in the

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