Imhotep was a vizier, wizard, and the
first architect and physician known by
name to written history. As the Pharaoh
Djosèr's Vizier, he designed the
Pyramid of Djzosèr (Step Pyramid)
at Saqqara in Egypt around 2630-2611 BC,
during the 3rd Dynasty. He may also have
been responsible for the first known use
of columns in architecture. His name means
the one who comes in peace.
Imhotep also served as chancellor to
the pharaoh and high priest of the sun
god Ra at Heliopolis.
He was said to be a son of Ptah,
his mother being a mortal named Khredu-ankh.
He was revered as a genius and showered with
titles. The full list of titles is: Chancellor
of the King of Lower Egypt, First after the
King of Upper Egypt, Administrator of the Great
Palace, Hereditary nobleman, High Priest of
Heliopolis, Builder, Sculptor and Maker of Vases
in Chief. Imhotep is credited as the founder
of Egyptian medicine, and as author of the Edwin
Smith papyrus, detailing cures, ailments and
anatomical observations. The Edwin Smith Papyrus
was probably written around 1700 BC but may
perhaps go back to texts written around 1000
Two thousand years after his death, his status was raised
to that of a god. Imhotep became the god of
medicine and healing. He was linked to Asclepius
by the Greeks. As the son of Ptah,
his mother was sometimes said to be Sekhmet,
who was often said to be married to Ptah,
since she was the patron of Upper Egypt.
As he was thought of as the inventor
of healing, he was also sometimes said
to be the one who held Nuit
(deification of the sky) up, as the seperation
of Nuit and Geb
(deification of the earth) was said to
be what held chaos back. Due to the position
this would have placed him in, he was
also sometimes said to be Nuit's
son. In artwork he is also linked with
Hathor, who was
the wife of Ra, Maat,
which was the concept of truth and justice,
and Amenhotep son of Hapu, who was another
The location for Imhotep's tomb is still
unknown. Many egyptologists have tried
locating it but so far haven't succeeded.
The general consensus is that his tomb
is located at Saqqara.
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