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Imhotep was a legendary Egyptian architect, astrologer, physician, engineer, chancellor to the pharaoh Djoser, and high priest of the sun god Ra at Heliopolis. Imhotep lived in the late 27th century BC. It is unknown when and where he was born. Imhotep became a mythological character in Egyptian and Greek beliefs.
See the fact file below for more information on the Imhotep or alternatively, you can download our 23-page Imhotep worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Ancient people believed Imhotep was a god of medicine, architecture, fine arts, and scribes. Also he was sometimes believed to be the god of air, sky, and earth. He was the one who could stop the chaos.
- His name literally means “the one who comes in peace”.
- In the Oksirinh papyrus number 1381 (2nd century AD, the time of the Roman emperor Antonin), an unknown author reports how in a dream the god of healing, Imhotep, came to him and began to reproach him that he did not keep his vow to translate Egyptian text into Greek language. Waking up, the author realized that he was sick because of a violation of his vow, and he proceeded to translate the text and recovered.
DISCOVERIES AND INVENTIONS
- Imhotep was the closest man to the pharaoh Djoser. There are some words about Imhotep written on Djoser’s statue: “The keeper of the treasury of the King of Lower Egypt, the first after the King in Upper Egypt, the manager of the great palace, the main priest of Heliopolis, Imhotep, the builder, architect, and sculptor of stone vases”. And that tells us a lot about what an important person Imhotep was to the pharaoh.
- He was the first man who invented a legendary Egyptian pyramid style in architecture. He is considered to be the designer of the Pyramid of Djoser, a step pyramid at Saqqara in Egypt in 2630–2611 BC. This pyramid is considered to be the first stone building in history. It is situated in the Sakkara necropolis, next to Memphis. Thus, Imhotep serves as the founder of the architectural tradition of the entire ancient kingdom, built on the use of the pyramidal form in the design of royal burial grounds.
- Imhotep is also believed to be the first architect who used a supporting column in architecture.
- After his death, he became a true legend among Egyptians and Greeks for thousands of years. They believed he was the greatest physician in history. Greeks even equated Imhotep to their own god of medicine – Asclepius.
- In Egyptian mythology, Imhotep was considered the son of the Memphis creator, god Ptah, and more often, the lioness goddess Sekhmet. He was depicted as a young man sitting with a papyrus unfolded.
- There is also a second century papyrus, where Imhotep is mentioned as a son of the god Ptah. There is also information about his sister Renpetneferet and his mother Khereduankh. According to this papyrus, pharaoh Djoser wanted to steal Renpetneferet but Imhotep stopped him and rescued his sister. Additionally, there is a legend about the magical force of Imhotep. It is told that he fought an Assyrian sorceress in a magical duel.
- The Hellenistic Egyptian historian Manetho wrote that Imhotep “due to his extraordinary medical skills had a reputation as a Greek Asclepius and who was also the inventor of the art of architecture”.
- Imhotep is also credited with the foundation of Egyptian medicine. In particular, he is considered to be the author of “Papyrus Edwin Smith” – fundamental medical research, was written sometime between 1700-1550 BC.
- This papyrus first revealed the real causes of many diseases. In particular, there are 48 traumatic cases. Famous Canadian practitioner of the 19th century, William Osler called Imhotep the father of medicine.
- He was one of two men who were deified after death. Memphis became a place of the Imhotep cult. Lots of people came there with a hope to get cured.
- Scribes of those days considered Imhotep to be a god of writing, and always before the process of writing they poured some water on the ground in honor of Imhotep.
- American Egyptologist James Henry Breasted wrote: “In the priestly wisdom, in the composition of wise proverbs, in medicine and architecture, this remarkable man of the Djoser era became so widely known that his name was never forgotten. He became the inspiration of the scribes of future generations”.
DEATH AND LEGACY
- It is also unknown how and when Imhotep died. His revered tomb has not yet been identified.
- Archeologists from all over the world are still doing their best to find his tomb. It is believed that Imhotep’s tomb is hidden somewhere in the sands of Saqqara. There is no material legacy left except the beautiful and unique Pyramid of Djoser.
- Imhotep’s name sometimes appears in popular culture.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Imhotep across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Imhotep worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Imhotep who was a legendary Egyptian architect, astrologer, physician, engineer, chancellor to the pharaoh Djoser, and high priest of the sun god Ra at Heliopolis. Imhotep lived in the late 27th century BC. It is unknown when and where he was born. Imhotep became a mythological character in Egyptian and Greek beliefs.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Imhotep Facts
- Introduce Imhotep
- Ancient names
- Imhotep, the architect
- Check your knowledge
- Imagine Imhotep
- God Imhotep
- Stop the chaos!
- Let’s imagine
- The purpose of Pyramids
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Link will appear as Imhotep Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, April 8, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.