(2667 BC - 2648 BC)

Egyptian Architect and Physician

The Life of Imhotep

Imhotep is known primarilly as an architect in Egypt. He built the country's first pyramid, the Step Pyramid at Saqqara for the king Zozer (who ruled between 2630 BC and 2611 BC). The pyramid is the first large stone structure ever built and it still stands today.

The Step Pyramid of Zozer
Imhotep's Step Pyramid for Zozer

In addition he is recognised as the world's first physician, a priest, a writer and astrologer. These achievements make him the earliest scientist in history known to us by name. Politically he was chief minister to Zozer and three other early Egyptian kings. Incriptions on statues describe his various roles and titles:

Imhotep founded a school of medicine in Memphis over 2,000 years before the Greek physician, Hippocrates. He is said to have extracted substances from plants and treated diseases such as appendicitis, gout and arthritis.

After his death he was deified and later associated with the Greek father of medicine, Aslepius. Both the Greeks and Romamns built temples to him and pilgrimages were made to these sites by people looking for cures. This continued until the Arab invasion of North Africa in the 7th century AD when Islam was introduced.

In modern times his name has been used in Hollywood horror films like The Mummy.

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Books From and

KryssTal Related Pages

Inventions from the period that includes early Egypt.

These are ancient words found in English from the Egyptian language of Pharoaic Egypt.

External Imhotep Links

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A brief history of Imhotep.

The Step Pyramid
An introduction to the world's oldest stone structure at Saqqara in Egypt.