Centers of Progress, Pt. 33: Memphis (Medicine) - HumanProgress - Deepstash
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Memphis, capital of ancient Egypt

Memphis, capital of ancient Egypt

Memphis is an important centre and capital of ancient Egypt, significantly advancing humanity’s understanding of medicine.

Memphis is the Greek name for the city, which the Egyptians called Men-Nefer (“beautiful harbour”) since at least the third millennium BC.

The archaeological zone at Memphis is now a designated UNESCO World Heritage site with tourists that flock to see the remains of the ancient city in the Memphis Open Air Museum.


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Memphis served as capital for almost three and a half millennia

Memphis served as capital for almost three and a half millennia

The area has been inhabited since Neolithic times and had a well-developed culture by about 3600 BC.

During the Old Kingdom (c. 2700–2200 BC), Egypt’s first golden age, Memphis was home to as many as 30,000 people, making it perhaps the world’s largest settlement at that time.


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Memphis is home to the earliest pioneer of medicine

Memphis is home to the earliest pioneer of medicine

  • The great medical innovator was Imhotep, the chief minister and head magician for the Third Dynasty Pharaoh Djoser (reigned c. 2686–2648 BC,) whose court was in Memphis.
  • The medical advancements made in Memphis were remarkable for the era, partly thanks to the practice of mummification.
  • The physicians of Memphis also developed many medical specializations. Each physician [was] a healer of one disease and no more, such as eye physicians or stomach physicians.
  • The physicians discovered many effective treatments and pioneered areas, including surgery, nutrition, pharmacology, and prosthetics.


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