The Art of Ancient Egyptian Medicine
Throughout history, there have been many diverse beliefs associating ailments and death with witchcraft, demons, astral influence, or the will of the gods. Although the Egyptians believed that the reason for internal illness was the evil gods punishing the body, but they also believed that man could treat external problems. In addition to their supernatural ideations, the ancient Egyptians also provided modern historians with a great deal of evidence that they had a working knowledge of human anatomy and extensive surgical skills for their time. Inscriptions from the Rosetta Stone, an ancient artifact, led to documentation of the Papyri. This script gave extensive descriptions of medical practices and surgeries performed by the Egyptians. These documents include the Ebers Papyrus, the Edwin Smith Papyrus, and the Hearst Papyrus. Many of these experimental practices have contributed greatly to the field of medicine that we know today.
To begin with, the Egyptians did believe that wounds and injuries with external causes could be healed could be healed by the hands of physicians, but when there was no obvious reason for an ailment, the physicians would turn to the gods. These physicians were usually priests of Sekhmet or Selket who would turn to the spirits and magic to heal the unwell, which probably resulted in a “placebo effect.” Along with their beliefs in divine healing, the Egyptians were regarded as being one of the first documented groups in history to have practicing medical Porterfield 2
physicians. While Egyptians did not conduct major surgery as performed today, these physicians had a great deal of knowledge about the human anatomy for their time, and they made great progress in surgical knowledge. To name only a few ancient documented medical procedures, Egyptian physicians actually excised organs through a small incision made to the groin, and they inserted hooks through a nostril, and broke the bones in the...
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