Imhetop, The First Architect

He is the builder of the Zoser amphitheater and is the first architect in history, as well as the first physician, and one of the most famous engineers of ancient Egypt elevated to the rank of idol after his death and became the god of medicine.

The name of Imhotep means "the one who comes in peace" and by displaying it in addition to dedicating himself, as we have seen, to medicine, he also studied astronomy, being able to develop thanks to the latter knowledge of mathematics and geometry that would serve as an architect.

Imhotep's main work was the funeral complex of the Step Pyramid of Saqqara, near Memphis. This construction required the extraction, transport, and modeling of literally thousands of tons of limestone, a material that until then had never been used in large constructions.

The weight of these stones was an actual nightmare that Imhotep solved using small blocks that were easy to transport and handle, creating the rectangular base of the pyramid of 140 x 118 meters, with its largest side from east to west with an original height of 60 meters.

Imhotep placed the burial chamber of King Djoser in the center, at the bottom of a well 28 meters deep and seven meters wide, built with granite and plaster, and sealed with a gigantic 3,500-kilo granite block, becoming the ideal of the Giza Pyramids and that of the other Egyptian pyramids.

His importance as a doctor lies in the fact that his teachings were copied into a papyrus in which all kinds of treatments for diseases were discussed, with pharmacological prescriptions and although at that time medicine and magic used to mix, Imhotep was the first to try to record clinical cases, that is, without mentioning causes or magic cures, being the first to provide a rational approach to the treatment of diseases and injuries. His remedies, discovered in the so-called Edwin Smith papyrus, included the use of drugs as a stupor, and multiple anatomical observations and surgical practices were recorded as well.

In the New Kingdom, he was worshiped as the protector of scribes, representing wisdom and education. In the 'Turin Papyri' from this period, he is also described as the son of Ptah, the chief god of Memphis, in honor of his role as a wise counselor.  

He is said to have extracted medicine from plants and treated diseases such as appendicitis, gout, and arthritis. At Memphis, he was served by his own priesthood and he was considered to be a mediator between men and the gods. It was believed that he could help people solve problems in their daily lives and cure medical problems.


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