Medicine in Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egyptian medicine provides us with some of the earliest written evidence of medical practice. Medicine was prescribed, surgery performed and ailments were diagnosed. Along the banks of the Nile, medicine began to develop, alongside innovations in Public Health. In Ancient Egypt there were sophisticated methods of treating some illnesses. There was surgery that seems hard to believe possible some 5000 years ago. There was a system of providing water and removing waste in many places. Perhaps most importantly for historians of the history of medicine, the ancient Egyptians began to write down their medicines and the way that they should be used.
|Doctors in Ancient Eygpt.||Doctors in Ancient Eygpt.
An overview of the work of doctors and physicians in Egypt.
|Alexandria and the development of medicine.||Alexandria and the development of medicine.
Discover how Alexandria became an influential seat of learning in the Ancient world.
|Surgery in Ancient Egypt.||Surgery in Ancient Egypt.
Surgical techniques, instruments and ideas from Ancient Egypt.
|Religion and Medicine.||Religion and Medicine.
Explore the ways that religion influenced medicine in Ancient Egypt.
|Mummification and medical knowledge.||Mummification and medical knowledge.
Find out how the famous mummification process influenced medical practice.
Evidence of Egyptian Medicine
Evidence of medicine in Ancient Egypt comes in several forms. Firstly there are scrolls. These, written on papyrus, are among the earliest written records of medical practice. The most famous of these scrolls are the Papyrus Ebers and the Papyrus Edwin Smith. These scrolls show us a number of things. The types of medicines and potions used are recorded. The prayers or chants that accompany the taking of the medicine are also recorded. For surgical procedures, the precise method of conducting the operation is recorded.
The papyrus evidence hints at a strong link between medical practice and religious beliefs. This is re-enforced by the second form of evidence. That is the paintings that remain. Here we see images of the gods alongside doctors. In tombs the evidence shows that there is a large link with a belief in the afterlife. This explains the careful process of mummification that took place throughout much of the Egyptian Civilisation.
Egyptian Medicine: Teaching Resources
Compare the Egyptian’s with medical practice in the Roman Empire to identify examples of continuity and change in medicine.