Although Hippocrates is considered by many to be the father of Medicine, he is not really the first doctor in history (although his contribution is undeniable). That honor would fall to the Egyptian scholar Imhotep.
Imhotep means ‘he that comes in peace’. Born in 27th century BCE, Egypt, Imhotep was no only a physician but also an architect, astrologer, scribe, politician and priest.
He is a renowned scholar and contributed greatly to Egypt’s civilization. Apart from Amenhotep, he is the only other Egyptian to be deified.
Was Imhotep the father of medicine?
Although the step pyramid is considered his greatest achievement, he is also remembered for his medical treatises, where he considers that diseases and injuries are of natural origin rather than punishments sent by the gods or caused by spirits or curses.
Imhotep was practicing medicine and writing on the subject more than 2000 years before Hippocrates was born.
He is also believed to be the author of Edwin Smith’s Papyrus, an ancient Egyptian medical text, which contains almost 100 anatomical terms and describes 48 injuries and their treatment.
Thus, Egyptian medicine initiated by Imhotep was the first to analyze the disease from a rational point of view, renouncing mythological explanations.
Of the details of his life, very little has survived despite the fact that numerous statues of him have been found.
Some show him as an ordinary man who dresses in normal clothes. Others show him as a sage who is sitting in a chair with a papyrus scroll on his knees or under his arm.
Later, his statues show him with the beard, standing, and carrying the ankh and a scepter.