ABSTRACT

The ancient Egyptians apparently began to record their knowledge as early as the third millennium B.C. They developed hieroglyphic writing, which was used at first by carving on stone. Later, when papyrus was developed, with a brush-and-ink writing, a cursive script evolved, which is known as hieratic. This was written from right to left, with red ink for the headings and black ink for the actual text. Papyrus rolls were made by interweaving split river-reeds (Cyperus papyrus), pounding the crude mats under water, and drying them to form coarse brownish sheets. After being written upon, they were brushed with a delicate brush made from a frayed reed and were glued together at the edges to make a roll. These papyri form our chief source of Egyptian medicine history. Apart from these, some historians 84such as Herodotus (450 B.C.), Manetho (300 B.C.), Diodorus (60–57 B.C.), and Strabo (27 A.D.) provide more information. In addition, the monuments also provided a guide to medical study. For further reading, please see Catalogue of Egyptian Religious Papyri (1938, p. 82) and Grapow’s Altaegyptischen Medizinichen Papyri (1935a, p. 83). *