History of sickness and medical art 11 : Ancient Egypt 1

Surgical instrument of ancient Egypt

< Surgical instrument of ancient Egypt >


I introduce sickness and medical art of ancient Egypt.    





< Imhotep >

He was a higher flamen, the first-ever pyramid designer, and a superior physician. He was deified behind. 





Step Pyramid in Sakkara, Cairo 

< Step Pyramid in Sakkara, Cairo >

King Djoser’s Step Pyramid which he designed in the middle of the 27th century BC. 





The medical art of Egypt developed highly by the religious dynasty that continued for 3000 years.

The mural painting of the sepulcher, the papyrus, and tens of thousands of mummies clarify a situation of those days.

The oldest papyrus document of medical art was of the 20th century BC.

In the order from the old thing, they were written about obstetrics and gynecology, animal medicine, surgery, the prescription collection, and the magic.

The documents had included description that will go back to 4000 years BC.

The documents had included strong things of magical factor and religious factor, but there was the thing which was not so.


Herodotus had written about Egypt of the 5th century BC.

” Medicine is subdivided very much and the doctor treats only the illness of one kind, respectively. Many doctors are everywhere. There is the doctor of the eyes, the head, the belly, or the tooth, and there also is specialized doctor in case patient can’t tell a wrong part. …”














The doctor was employed by the nation.

There were the doctor belonging to the flamen, the ordinary doctor, the doctor chief, the doctor’s management supervisor, the Minister of Health, and the doctor of many levels of king’s palace.

The doctor was specialized highly, and was divided into the general, the ophthalmology, the digestive organ, the anus, the illness of uncertain cause, the dentistry, the medical test, and the occupational disease.

The medical care was free for campaigner and journeyer, but at times the doctor had gotten many rewards.

The doctor studied in the house of the life that attached to some shrines, and heard the experience of the aged, and learned the old documentaries of library.

The knowledge of dissection was based on livestock and the old literature, but was not based on making mummy.

In the medical examination, the doctor investigated carefully a patient’s appearance, the body odor, the conscious, etc., and recorded them.

Furthermore, the doctor measured bodily temperature and heart race, and performed percussion, and observed urine, defecation, phlegm.

Finally, the doctor evaluated the possibility of medical treatment to three steps, and notified of it in writing.





医 師











A old papyrus document

< A old papyrus document >

A description of bronchial asthma in the 17th century BC 




When treating according to the sacred medicine document, the doctor was not penalized even if he failed, but when acting contrary to the prescription, he was condemned to the death penalty.

There were the surgery assistant, the masseur, and the male nurse helping the doctor.


Next time, I write about treatment and drug.








Categories: culture+society, history+evolution, <english language, <japanese language, science, Series: History of sickness and medical art | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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