Ancient Egyptian Medicine
Ancient Egyptians were an advanced culture especially in medical technology which includes; the books of medicine, treatments of disease and illness and the study of the body and its functions. Archeologists and Historians have learned about these people through papyri found mostly in tombs of great pharaohs and viziers. Unfortunately, there are not many completed texts so we lack information on many things including how they diagnosed illnesses. Our understanding on many of the aspects of Ancient Egyptian medicine comes from these incomplete but thorough papyri. The most famous book of medicine discovered is the Ebers Papyrus. The “medical papyri” as it is also known as is the oldest book ever discovered. It is 110 pages long and contains about 900 prescriptions recipes all dating back to 1500 B.C.E. Archeologists can only suspect that the Ebers Papyrus came from the tomb of a swnw (physician) at Thebes because tomb robbers never recorded where they took them from. The Edwin Smith Papyrus, named after their owner, contained information on healing bruises, cuts, and bones. Hearst Papyrus was found containing much of the same information as the Ebers but in Upper Egypt with a later date. This shows that the information was widespread and that teachings of one physician would travel. There was even more specific books like the Kahun papyrus from 1850 B.C.E. that seems to be a textbook of gynecology. Physicians used the books to find a remedy, dosage and quantity or medicine, disease which it should be used for and appropriate spell. Treatments for disease begun in the earlier times as exorcism like rituals. The disease was thought of as a demon that needed to be cleaned from the soul. The sick would wear amulets with gods on them to protect them and make them better and also say prayers. But there was some herbal treatment. Hartshorn was said to be a “demon expeller” but also a pain reliever. Common foods...
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