Imhotep

Posted on Posted in Main Blog, On The Shoulders Of Giants, Southern Griot
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A commoner by birth and the son of an architect, Imhotep became one of the most phenomenal and most talked about individuals of antiquity. He served under Pharaoh Djoser of the Third Dynasty as High Priest, Chancellor, Chief Architect, Scribe, Engineer, Physician, along with many other titles. He is considered the first architect, physician and genius in history. Imhotep was the master mind behind the building of the first pyramid, the step pyramid at Saqqara.

As one of the few commoners to ever be given divine status after his death, he was worshiped as a god for 3,000 years in Greece and Rome due to his talents and contributions. He is credited as the author of the Edwin Smith Papyrus which describes over 90 anatomical terms and 48 injuries. Imhotep founded a school of medicine known as “Asklepion”, which remained famous for 2,000 years, and he did so 2,200 years before the so called Greek “father of medicine”, Hippocrates, ever existed.  He was commonly known as the first figure of a physician, to stand out clearly from the mists of antiquity. Imhotep diagnosed and treated over 200 diseases, including 15 of the abdomen, 11 of the bladder, 10 of the rectum, 29 of the eyes, and 18 of the skin.

He performed surgery and practiced dentistry and was knowledgeable of the positions and functions of the organs as well as the circulation of the blood system. As a historic and medical figure, temples were erected and dedicated to him in Greece, which were turned into centers of medical teachings; he was also identified as the Greek God of medicine, Aesculapius. Imhotep was so profound that he is even incorporated into today’s modern doctors Hippocratic Oath which states, “I swear by Apollo the physician, by Aesculapius, Hygeia, and Panacea, and take into witness all the gods and goddesses, to keep according to my ability and my judgment, the following oath”…..

Imhotep gave the world a multitude of gifts which we still use today. Medical practitioners throughout history owe Imhotep a debt of gratitude. Architects throughout history owe Imhotep a debt of gratitude. This one man set the foundation for a future even he possibly could not dream of. Arguably one of the most influential people in the history, this Egyptian born multi genius gave the world the template for building Pyramids and other massive structures which are still erected and reflected today. Imhotep we stand on your shoulders.

J.A. Ward.

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