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Imhotep, the one who comes in peaceImhotep (sometimes spelled
Immutef, ?mhotep, or Ii-em-Hotep, Egyptian ii-m-?tp) 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 years earlier.
|Imhotep, the one who comes in peace
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 separation 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 deified architect.
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.
Modern Cultural Impact
Imhotep is also the name of a fictional character
played by Boris Karloff in the 1932 movie The Mummy,
and of a similar character played by Arnold Vosloo in the 1999 movie The Mummy and
sequel The Mummy Returns.
The architect Imhotep most likely provided the name (but just
the name) for the character.
'Imhotep' is also the name of the mortuary priest in Agatha Christie's novel
'Death Comes as the
'Imhotep' is also the name of wide receiver Imhotep Durham for
the Virginia Cavaliers football team for the year of 2004.
'Imhotep' is also the name of a well-known French rapper from the group Iam.
'Imhotep' was used as a continuing in-joke in the BBC series Look
Around You, portrayed as an Easter Island monolith.
The name Imhotep was used by a minor Goa'uld in the Stargate
SG-1 episode 'The Warrior'. Spoiler: Imhotep
pretended to be a Jaffa, and led an army
of Jaffa in order to kill other Goa'uld and gain power. He was
killed by SG-1.