Neurological aspects of medicine in Ancient Egypt

J.J. van der Sande
Slotervaart Hospital, Amsterdam

Egyptian physicans had a great reputation for their skills. According to Herodotus, doctors in Egypt were specialists: doctors for diseases of the eyes, of the head, of teeth, etc. Although anatomical knowledge probably was modest, and magic certainly played a role, medical practice was performed in a systematic way. Several old Egyptian medical papyri show us how to handle problems concerning medical history, examination, establishing diagnosis determining prognosis, and treatment. The Edwin Smith papyrus (1600 B.C) mainly describes case-histories referring to injury, the Ebers papyrus (1500 B.C.) is a complete medical text with recipes for disorders covering the whole field of medicine, and the Hearst papyrus (1500 B.C) is a less systematically written compilation of prescriptions, probably a practising physician's formulary. More details will be presented, emphasising the neurological aspects.


Poster Session I
Friday, 20 June 1997, 12.15 - 12.45

Second Annual Meeting of the International Society for the History of the Neurosciences (ISHN) and 6th Meeting of the European Club on the History of Neurology (ECHN)

Leiden, The Netherlands