Ancient Egyptian Medicine

Curius Institutio a Curatio Vetustas

The pyramids of ancient Egypt are perhaps one of the most celebrated monuments to the ingenuity and creativity of humanity. When one thinks of the contribution Egypt has made to the world, the majority of thought wonders to those majestically erected monuments of stone. However, Ancient Egypt has offered so much more. Homer in the Odyssey remarked,

In Egypt, the men are more skilled in Medicine than any of human kind.

The Egyptians were one of the first formally recognized civilizations to practice medicine in a systematic and well documented manner. The first recognized physician, Imhotep, was an Egyptian priest who is considered to be the father of medicine. This ancient civilization and its medicine reflect the modern approach to medical diagnosis and treatment. They documented their discoveries very specifically in the medical papyri by describing disease conditions, treatment, and prognosis. Herbal remedies and surgical treatments were widely used, and have been archived by the archeologists of our day. Finally, the ancient Egyptians were mystified by the afterlife, and much of their medical science resided in mummification.

The Museum of Medical Antiquity is here to serve as a testament to those civilizations who began the road of discovery that has culminated in our modern practice of medicine. Were it not for the ambition of the respective fathers of different medical traditions, the medicine of our day would not be as it is. This museum will serve as a scholarly tool, as well as a public forum for study and enlightenment of a most important facet of the history of civilizations.

(The stela in the header above (mirror images of each other) depicts Roma, a doorkeeper of the 18th or 19th Dynasty, 1539 B.C.-1292 B.C or 1292 B.C.-1190 B.C. As can be seen in the stela, he has a leg abnormality which requires him to use a cane. The text further eludes to diagnosis of club foot and poliomyelitis. (Citation))

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Note: This museum is part of a course at Creighton University, entitle "Cultures and Collections: From Cabinets of Curiosity to Cyberspace." Please click here to visit our course syllabus.





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Created: 10/15/2001 Updated: 12/11/2001