History of Medicine – Some Aspects of Medicine in Pharonic Egypt

Jan 18, 2001Article, History

History of Medicine – Some Aspects of Medicine in Pharonic Egypt
Publication Status

1 (1st published 2001, Published on AAMS January 2001).

Dr Ashraf Alexandre SADEK

Prof. c. Université de Limoges France.

Review Status GR
Copyright Copyright of this article is vested in the author. Permissions for reprints or republications must be obtained in writing from the copyright holder. This article has been republished here with permission from the copyright holder.

The Earliest Medicine

Available Data

Were Ancient Egyptian Practioners Magicians?

Medical Studies And Specializations

Medical Organization And Hierarchy

Social Status Of Practitioners

Medical Helpers

Examples Of Medical Treatments

Medicine In Ancient Egypt – Selected Bibliography

Professor Ashraf Sadek



The Earliest Medicine

In the field of the History of Medicine, which civilization should be considered as having produced the earliest practice and documents? Abundant data led the Historians to show that Egypt has the primacy in this field as in many others. Yet, as far as scientific methods are concerned, most of the modern physicians were taught that Greek medicine was the first, due to such figures as Asclepios as the Patron of Medicine and Hippocrates (460-375 BC, 5th-4th cent. BC) as the founder and pioneer of scientific approach to healing methods. However, we should not forget that the Greeks (i.e. Solon, Pythagore) used to study medicine in Egypt and that Hippocrates himself, after spending several years studying in Egypt, was obviously influenced by Egyptian medical texts in writing his treatise.

In Earlier Antiquity, Egyptian Physicians were reputed as highly reliable: in 900 BC, Homer, in his Odyssey, speaks of Egyptian doctors as follows: ” In medical knowledge the Egyptian leaves the rest of the world behind.”

The Egyptian god Thut was the first Patron of Wisdom and Medicine in Human History, and the Egyptian Architect Imhotep, the Minister of the Pharaoh Jeser (3rd dynasty, 28th c. BC) is the earliest Medical Practitioner known.

For a long time and till the nineteenth century, our knowledge of Ancient Egyptian Medicine mainly depended on the reports of Herodotus, Strabon (c.58 BC-25 AD) and Diodorus the Sicilian (1st cent. BC) as well as that of Clement of Alexandria. With the achievement of the decipherment of Hieroglyphics in 1822 by J.-F. Champollion, the Egyptian Medical documents could be translated and then appreciated by our modern world from the second half of the nineteenth century onwards : the German scholar Brugsch began to translate the medical texts in 1853; he was followed by others, but it is the publication of the American scholar Breasted in 1930 which began to demonstrate the importance of medical sciences in Ancient Egypt.



Available Data

Beside the names of over one hundred physicians from Pharaonic Egypt which were found in papyry, ostraca, stele, tombs, temples or on various personal objects (vases, rings etc.), our main sources on Ancient Egyptian Medicine relies on about a dozen of papyri. Most of them are dated from the New Kingdom, 16th c. BC. However, their style, phrases and vocabulary are related to the Middle Kingdom, as well as their physical aspects : length (two to six meters), width (between 30 and 35 cm). Some of them have drawn their origin from the Old Kingdom. This means that many of these papyri are copies of earlier texts.

They are the papyrus Smith, Ebers, Hearst, Kahoun, Berlin, Brooklyn, London, London-Leyde, Chester-Beatty, Carlsberg, Erman and Ramesseum. They include diagnosis and treatment of diseases and surgery as well as pharmacological receipts and formulas; some of them describe hopeless cases of illness and accidents, or deals with mental disturbances or spiritual problems ( psychiatric and neurological cases). Eventually, we can find relatively few documents dealing with magical practices.

The following list of papyri is introduced in alphabetical order.

The Berlin Papyrus

  • Berlin Museum (since 1827). Nr 3038.
  • It belongs to Ramses 2nd reign, 19th dyn., 13th century BC., but it seems to be from the end of the 18th dynasty (c. 1350 BC.).
  • It was discovered in the beginning of the nineteenth century in a tomb at Saqqara. It was first studied by G. Passalacqua, followed by Brugsch in 1855, Lepsius in 1865, Wreszinski in 1909, Jonckheere in 1958, Ghalioungui in 1983 and at last Leca in 1988.
  • The papyrus deals with general medical cases and offers some similarities with some texts of Papyrus Ebers.

The Brooklyn Papyrus

  • Brooklyn Museum, (New York)- Acc. 47218-2, 47.218.138 and 47.218.48-85.
  • This is a collection of papyri which belong to the end of the 30th dynasty, 4th century, , or the beginning of the Ptolemaic Period. However, it is written with the Middle Kingdom style.
  • The place of its discovery is unknown. It was translated into French by Sauneron and published after his death, in 1989.
  • This papyrus deals only with snakes and scorpion bites, and the formulae to drive out the poison of such animals.

The Carlesberg Papyrus VIII

  • Egyptological Institute of the University of Copenhague.
  • It is dated from in between the 19th and 20th dynasties, New Kingdom ; its style relates it to the 12th dynasty.
  • It was first published by Iversen in 1939, then published in the famous German collection of Grundriss der Medizin der Alten Agypter (Table 2.2)
  • This papyrus deals with gynecology: of pregnancy, the sex of the fetus and the possibility of conceiving. It also deals with eye diseases e.g. ophthalmology.

The Chester Beatty Papyrus

  • British Museum, Nr. 10686. Chester Beatty V BM 10685, VI BM 10686, VII BM 10687, VIII BM 10688, XV BM 10695.
  • It is a collection of several fragments of papyri which were discovered in 1928 at Deir el Medina. They are dated from the 19th dynasty (13th cent. BC.).
  • Chester Beatty was a collector of antiquities; he gave many of them to the British Museum.
  • This collection was published by Jonckheere and Gardiner.
  • It is concerned with rectal diseases, and treats mainly one particular disease.

The Ebers Papyrus

  • Leipzig University Library
  • It was discovered in Thebes in 1962, and bought in 1872 by the German scholar Ebers.
  • It belongs to the beginning of the New Kingdom, 16th c. BC.. Its texts mention the 6th dynasty but its style is from the 12th dynasty, Middle Kingdom.
  • It was first published by Ebers in 1875, then by Joachim, Bryan, Ebbell and Van Deines, Grapow and Westendorf in 1958.
  • This papyrus contains 877 medical treatises on various diseases, both physical, mental and spiritual.

The Edwin Smith Papyrus

  • New York Academy of Medicine.
  • It is one of the most important Medical Papyri, together with the Ebers Papyrus. It is officially dated from the beginning of the New Kingdom (16thcent., c. 1550 BC). However, its style shows that it is an arranged copy –made during the Hyksos Period – of an old Kingdom document.
  • It was found in a Theban tomb, towards 1860. It was bought by the American Edwin Smith from a dealer of Antiquities in Louxor in 1862. It was little studied between 1962-1930, but, in 1930, was published by Breasted, who was at that time Director of the Oriental Institute in Chicago. It is thanks to Breasted’s publication of this papyrus that the world eventually became aware that the Ancient Egyptians has a proper Medical Science. Indeed, this papyrus deals with purely medical texts, without any magical aspects. It was then studied by German scholars in 1958 and 1966. A French publication was made by Banu.
  • The papyrus is composed of 17 pages recto, and 5 pages verso, altogether 480 lines written in Hieratic; it is 468 cm long, and 30 cm may have been lost; it is 33, 3 cm wide.
  • It deals both with cases of illness and surgical case. It gives 62 cases, 14 of which have known treatments, and 48 bear no mention of any treatment. They seem to be difficult cases of chronicle diseases or unknown illness. The presentation is very systematical, beginning with the head and ending with the feet !

The Erman Papyrus

  • Berlin Museum
  • It was given in 1886 by English Lady Westcar with another papyrus called after her.
  • It is dated from the beginning of the New Kingdom (16th century); it was first published by Erman in 1901.
  • It holds some medical formulae and a list of anatomic names (body and viscera) and about 20 magical formulae.

The Hearst Papyrus

  • University of California
  • Discovered in Deir el-Ballas (Upper Egypt) in 1899, it became the property of the California American Expedition : (Hearst Egyptian Expedition)when Reisner bought it for the University in 1901.
  • It is dated from the beginning of the New Kingdom (1500 B.C.).
  • It was first published by Reisner and Leipzig in 1902-1905, then by Wreszinski in 1922; a good publication by the famous Grundriss (Table 2.2).
  • It gives 260 medical formulae and deals with general medical cases. Some of its texts are close to those of Ebers Papyrus.

The Kahun Papyrus

  • University College of London UC 32057
  • 12th dynasty, Middle Kingdom, 19th century BC.
  • It was discovered by Petrie in 1889, in bad preservation state. It was published by Griffith in 1898, then by Stevens in 1975.
  • It is concerned with gynecology, and the sex of the fetus. It gives 35 formulae for treating gynecological affections and 48 formulae for veterinary affections.

The Leiden Papyrus

  • Rijksmuseum, Leiden 1343-1345
  • 18th-19th dynasties.
  • It was translated by Massart in Leiden, 1954.
  • It mostly deals with magical texts.

The London Papyrus

  • British Museum Nr 10059, since the beginning of the 20th century, it was housed in the Royal institute of London.
  • It belongs to the 19th dynasty (1300 BC.)
  • Its phrases are typical of the Middle Kingdom, they may even by earlier.
  • It was first published by Wreszinski in Leipzig, 1912, then in the famous Grundriss (Table 2.2).
  • It gives very few medical formulae, and mainly spiritual and magical texts.

The Ramesseum Papyri III, IV and V

  • Oxford Ashmoulian Museum
  • It belongs to the end of the Middle Kingdom or the Hyksos period (17th century BC.).
  • It was found by Quibell in 1896, together with 17 other papyri in a wooden box behind the Ramesseum temple in Thebes. It was published by Gardiner in 1955, then by Bans in 1956.
  • It deals with ophthalmic cases, gynecology and para-obstetrics practices, and pediatric subjects.

The Medical Ostraca

  • These Ostraca are from the 18th dynasty and from the time of the Roman occupation is from Amarna. It was published by Jonckheere in 1954.
  • It gives Medical prescriptions on hieratic ostraca.

The Zwiga Ostraca 278

  • Museum of Borgalino, Italy. Catalogue of the Borgalino.
  • It is from the Early Middle Ages and contains 2 pages in Sahidic Coptic.



Were Ancient Egyptian Practitioners Magicians?

At the beginning of our century, a lot of polemics took place among Egyptologists concerning the Physicians and Healers of Ancient Egypt; some scientists charged them with being mainly concerned with witchcraft and magical practices, while others pointed to the fact that the Ancient Egyptians, who were such fantastic architects and mathematicians, could not have been so ignorant in the field of Human health.

These polemics were due to the fact that some of the Ancient Egyptian medical texts are indeed mixed up with what was commonly called “magical texts”. These polemics came to an end in the thirties, when an American Egyptologist, James Henry Breasted, who was a good philologist dealing both with hieroglyphics and hieratic texts, managed to give a good study and translation of the Edwin Smith Papyrus, also called “The mysterious Book of the Physicians”.

This translation contributed to cast new light upon other important Papyri such as the Ebers, Kahoun, Hearst and the others. Until the beginning of the 20th c., these documents had been considered, as we said before, as “magical texts”. Two reasons may explain this:

The first reason lies in the inadequacy of the translations: the first translators obviously lacked comparative vocabulary and documentation in the field of medicine, so that these translations were more or less given in form of magical incantations, calling on the names of particular deities to heal the patients by performing special behaviors and gesture.

The second reason for including these magical aspects in medical texts, on the part of the physicians themselves, may have been a therapeutic “technique” aimed at favoring the patients’ healing by psychological conditioning. It should indeed be mentioned that, according to Ancient Egyptians, the human body is naturally healthy, and that illness is necessarily caused by an external agent, which may be a bad deity, a divine punishment or a curse; it was then necessary for the medical practitioner to neutralize such bad influence before dealing with the illness itself.

What is now certain and acknowledged by all Egyptologists is that these unrational aspects did not interfere with the scientific skill of the Physicians; on the contrary, it was a good psychological help and mental therapy of the patients.

In the case of consulting an oracle, the consultant priests used to tell frankly what the deity had decided for the illness of the patient, of course according to the priests own knowledge of the illness: whether the illness of the concerned person would be healed, or the illness of another person was incurable. This practice was more religious than clinical or rational, although in most cases they were right, due to their high medical knowledge, even if they attributed it to divine revelation.



Medical Studies And Specializations

From the first Dynasty (c. 3100 BC) onwards, it was possible to study medicine in specialized Institutes, per-ankh (house of life); some of them were very famous and would gain international reputation, such as the Imhotep per-ankh in Memphis or that of Saïs in the Delta during the New Kingdom and afterwards. These schools were protected by the pharaohs themselves: Thutmosis 3rd (18th dyn.), paid good attention to doctors; Ramses IVth used to visit regularly the per-ankh house of Abydos to consult the books.

Women were not excluded from medical studies. The first known lady doctor (Sinw.t) in history is Peseshet, 6th Dynasty, 25th cent. BC; not only was she a doctor, but even the head of a team of practitioners!

Physicians could be General Practitioners, but specialization was extremely developed, each part of the body being the subject of specialized studies, as witnessed by abundant monuments, and also by the father of Historians, Herodotus (5th c. BC): “The art of medicine thus divided amongst them; each physician applies himself to only one disease, and not more. All places abound in physicians; some physicians are for the eyes, others for the head, others for the teeth and others for the parts concerning the belly and others for internal disorders.” There were also surgeons, gynecologists, ophthalmologists, internists, proctologists, doctors for the cemeteries (hygiene and anatomy), rhinologists and dentists and even makers of false teeth, considered as craftsmen.

According to the available data, part of veterinary work, such as supervising and curing cattle, was ascribed to physicians; however, most of the veterinary practice was performed by laborers who had special experience and skillfulness.

Pharmacology used to be a part of the physicians’ studies and knowledge; however, it was sometimes attributed to a special cast of chemists.



Medical Organization And Hierarchy

The general name for practitioners was Sinw; this word is at the origin of the word “medicine”. Medicine was for everybody, the poor as well as the rich. Some practitioners were dedicated to ordinary people while others, called Sinw pr-c3, were dedicated to the Royal household and members of the Palace staff. Some of the latest bore the title of “Physicians delegated to foreign Lands”; they could be sent abroad by the Pharaoh upon the request of a foreign king looking for a reputed Egyptian Practitioner to heal his illness or the illness of one or some of his close people.

Another kind of doctors was the Sa.u, who had a spiritual function, close to that of psychiatrists; most of them were priests. Indeed, medical affairs were divided between a professional body of physicians and a therapeutic clerical body. They were complementary.

The army could have its own physician, as well as the boats or some social groups such as laborers, miners, etc.

The medical hierarchy was rather elaborate: at the bottom of the scale was the ordinary physician, Sinw, then the Chief Physician, Wr-sinw, then a Medical Inspector, Sah-sinw, above whom was the Director of Physicians (Overseer), Imj-ra sinw and eventually the Commander (Controller, master) of Physicians, Hr-tp-sinw. This classification is mainly attested in the Old Kingdom (2800-2300 c. BC).



Social Status Of Practitioners

Medicine was highly considered in Ancient Egypt, to the point that some Pharaohs added the title of Practitioners to their list of titles for praise. However, textual evidence shows big differences between the various kinds of practitioners.

The doctors attached to teams of workmen seem to have been treated on the same level as their patients: on the lists of food provided to these manual workmen, their doctors are mentioned at the end, with the same quantities as the workmen. Other physicians were associated with the clergy in processions or on other occasions, which means they may have had the same type of high social rank.

As far as financial standing is considered, big gaps appear between the various categories of physicians: whereas the workmen doctors received small rations of food for their work, other physicians were granted precious gifts; some of them would become very wealthy and could buy real estates or properties or beautiful tombs in the Necropolis, or cars (chariots dragged by two horses or more). Some kings or high officials could also grant “decorations” or rewards to their favorite practitioner. The State, or private persons provided salaries to many physicians, and private medicine flourished at some periods.



Medical Helpers

Physicians were assisted by various aids, who are largely attested in the textual data: they were nurses, masseurs, bandagists, embalmers, manicurists, hairdressers. Some of them had their own books, such as “the Book of the bandagists”. It is also clear that doctors were assisted by a young training person, whose job was to help and serve them.

Through this short survey on Medical practitioners in Ancient Egypt, we can see how developed was the field of Medicine, which is one of the major aspects of human civilization. As in many other fields, the modern world is indebted to Ancient Egyptians in the knowledge of the human body, diseases and healing.



Examples Of Medical Treatments

  • I – WOMEN



In describing the sexual act, a medical text mentions that “the man laid his heart in the woman”. This means that the Egyptians were aware of the maternal contribution to the fetus ; they understood that the sperm traveled to the uterus ; we don’t know whether they knew the ovaries, but it is clear that they considered the mother’s nutritional role via the placenta.

The exact duration of the pregnancy was known to them : an undated text specifies “up to the first day of the tenth month”, while another mentions 294 days (about 9 months). A 10 months gestation is mentioned in a couple of texts from the Roman period, in connection with the legitimacy of heirs. Another text mentions a shorter time of 182/200 days, that is 6 or 7 months.

From the Kahun Gynecological Papyrus, 1900 BC. :

Some documents from the Middle and New Kingdom indicate how to made a diagnosis of pregnancy, and how to know whether a woman can conceive : a first text advises to investigate the “vessels” of her breasts ; a second one states that the likelihood of becoming pregnant is proportional to the number of times a woman vomits while sitting on a floor that has been covered with the lees or sediment of beer and date mash. A third text specifies that a woman can become pregnant if on the day after an onion has been inserted into her vagina, the onion’s characteristic smell can be detected in her breath.


The Medical Papyri mention several receipts for contraception : they advise to insert into the vagina peccaries made of honey with a pinch of nation, a crocodile organ (?) in sour milk or sour milk alone or accacia gum ; all these products have been recognized as spermatocidal in the presence of vaginal lactic acid, and is is conceivable that sour milk might be an effective spermatocide.

How to know the sex of an unborn child, according to the Berlin Papyrus n. 3038, 18th dynasty, 1300 BC.

Bring wheat and spelt ; let the pregnant woman wet it daily with her urine, in two different bags. If they both grow, she will bear ; if the wheat grows , it will be a boy; if the spelt grows, it will be a girl. Recent investigations inferred that the pregnant woman urine samples might contain a substance that inhibit seed germination; Ancient Egyptians may have been close to the truth. This method provided correct predictions of the newborn baby’s sex in 19 per 40 cases, that is nearly 50%.


Some medical texts deal with medical problems that may arise at the time of delivery : Ebers Papyrus suggests a number of oil salts and aromatic resins for hastening birth when inserted into the vagina, as well as two magical procedures for preventing miscarriage ; the same papyrus also notes that if the baby says nj at birth, he will live ; if he says mbj or moans or turns his face downwards, he will die.

Women were delivered while squatting on two large bricks or sitting in a chair from which the center of the seat has been removed, as would become customary in medieval Europe.

Women in labor were assisted by two or three other women, not necessarily by a swnw (doctor) ; midwives and birth stool were frequent, most of the Egyptian pictures of birth show the infant emerging with his head first.


The Physicians knew that amenorrehea and dysmenorrhea (absence or painful menses, respectively) were abnormal and they administrated a variety of soothing aromatic oils and ointments for inflammation for the internal and external genitalia.


Many remedies for women’s diseases are described in both Ebers and Kahun Papyri; in Kahun can be found some texts concerning the eyes, mouth and legs as well as the lower abdomen and the public area (uterus). Treatments of uterine symptoms relied largely on methods that physicians thought would force it back to its usual alignment ; they did not use manipulation but rather drugs which were supposed to act directly, through various methods : having the patient sit or stand over the burning ingredients or directly inserting the remedies into the vagina or through the mouth .


Surgeons would use various cutting tools for their operations : sharp knives, blades struck from obsidan flint from the Old Kingdom which developed during the New Kingdom.

From the New Kingdom onwards, they used small metal knives of particular shapes and sizes, as well as tools such as hooks, forceps and “disposable” lancets and blades fashioned from reed stems, spatulas, spoons.

In some medical texts, we find “fire drill” which consisted of a stick and board used for starting fires by friction, as a cauterizing tool..

The surgical table of Kom Ombo

An interesting document can be seen in the temple of Kom Ombo, from the time of the Roman domination (1st cent. BC and 1st cent AD), dedicated to the gods Sobek and Haroeris.

The back corridor bears quite a big table of surgical instruments, divided into four horizontal rows. From top to bottom, we can see : knife blades, a seesaw, spoons, spatulas, forceps, pincers, perhaps to remove a strange element from the body, or for dental care ; small bags for drugs and a small scale used for measuring drugs (pharmacology was very precise) ; specula for dilating entrances to body cavities ; in the bottom register, two round forms may represent vases for bloodletting ; next to them is a papyrus scroll, two packages for needles or small instruments, a strange oval object which may be a cushion for holding needles, needles and cleaning tools for the womb after miscarriage.


Therapeutic bleeding is not mentioned in medical texts, although the papyri note that snake and scorpion bites can be cured by sucking blood from the wound and applying a tourniquet around the affected limb.


This very frequent infectious disease was known in Egypt in early history and down toto present times. It is caused by a parasite which reproduces itself on the banks of the Nile and of the channels. It enters through the skin and brings infection to the viscera, especially the liver and kidneys. It was very common in rural population who used to walk in still waters. Physician Egyptologists identified the mention of the symptoms of this disease in the document of Pharaonic Egypt, where it is mentioned numerous times in the papyri of Berlin, Hearst, London and Ebers. The treatment they discovered depended mainly on antimony sulfide.


Ophthalmology was a very important and necessary branch of medicine, for plain reasons : the bright light of Egypt, the hot climate, the dust, the insects and, more than all, the flies. The eye had a very high symbolical value in Ancient Egyptian religion : the eye of Horus, divided by Seth into 64 fragments, became the eye ouadjat.

About ten Papyri deal with ophthalmology ; although they were composed in the form we have in the Late Period, their receipts are probably to be traced back to the Middle and Old Kingdoms. Papyrus Ebers and Papyrus Edwin Smith are very important as far as ophthalmology is concerned. The Edwin Smith papyrus is the more important for clinical treatment. Some hints at ophthalmology are also to be found in the Papyri of Leiden, Harris and Chassinet.

Few specialists of the eyes are mentioned : one of them is Niankh-Douaou from the 5th dynasty (Old Kingdom); another one is Khouy, Chief Priest of Heliopolis who invented some eye drops; he was also a specialist of viscera and teeth.

Papyrus Ebers mentions eye drops (collyre)for the eyes and gives its receipt (n 4/19). Some samples of eye drops tubes are housed in the Louvre Museum ; they bear hieroglyphic inscriptions : Msdmt nfw, excellent collyre, black of Galene, good for clear eye sight, push the blood (relieves congestion), push away the pain. Other Museums, like the Berlin Museum, hold other objects for eye care.



Medicine In Ancient Egypt – Selected Bibliography

  • AVALON J., Imhotep, l’Esculape des Egyptiens, Aesculape, Paris, 1927.
  • BARDIS, P., ” Circumcision in Ancient Egypt “, in Indian Journal History of Medicine, 12, no1, 22-23, 1967.
  • BASUNI, M. A., The Pharaohs and Modern Medicine, Dar el-Maaref, Cairo (in Arabic).
  • BREASTED, J.H., The Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus, Chicago, 1930.
  • BRYAN, C.P., The Papyrus Ebers, London, 1930.
  • CAVE, A.J.E., ” Ancient Egypt and the Origin of Anatomical Science “, in Proc. Roy. Soc. Mec., 1950, 43, 568-571.
  • EBBELL, B., The Papyrus Ebers, Copenhague, 1937.
  • EBEID, N. I., ” Médecine égyptienne au temps des pahraons “, in Le Monde Copte no20, Limoges, 1990, p. 7-14.
  • EBEID N. I., Egyptian Medicine in the Days of the Pharaohs, Cairo, 1999.
  • GHALIOUNGUI, Paul, Health and Healing in Ancient Egypt, Cairo, 1965.
  • GHALIOUNGUI, Paul, The Physicians of Pharaonic Egypt, Cairo, 1983.
  • GRIFFITH, F. Ll, THOMPSON, H., The Lyden Papyrus, New York, 1974.
  • J. WORTH ESTES, The Medical Skills of Ancient Egypt, Revised Edition, Canton (USA) 1993.
  • JONCKHEERRE, F., Les Médecins de l’Egypte pharaonique, Essai de prosographie, in La Médecine égyptienne no3, Bruxelles, 1958.
  • KAMAL, Hassan, Ancient Egyptian Medicine, 2nd ed., Cairo, 1964 (in four volumes, in Arabic).
  • LECA, A.P., La Médecine égyptienne au temps des pharaons, Paris, 1983.
  • LEFEBVRE, G., Essai sur la Médecine égyptienne de l’époque pharaonique, Paris, 1956.
  • NUNN, J. F., Ancient Egyptian Medicine, British Museum, London, 1996.
  • PAHOR, A. L., ” Ear, Nose and Throat in Ancient Egypt “, part I, II and III, in The Journal of Laryngology and Otology, Birmingham, 1992.
  • RAHMAN, A. A., Medicine, Pharamcy and Chemestry in Ancient Egypt, Cairo, 1939 (in Arabic).
  • RIAD, N., Ancient Egyptian Medicine, Cairo, 1965 (in Arabic).
  • RIAD, N., ” Les maladies dentaires et leur traitement au temps des pharaons “, in Le Monde Copte no 5, Saint-Soupplets, 1978, p. 29-32.
  • RIAD, N. , ” Hygiène et médecine cosmétique au temps des pharaons “, in Le monde copte no 8 , Saint-Soupplets, 1979, p. 44-49.
  • VON DEINER, Grapow and Westendorf, The Grundriss, Table 2.2, vol I to IX, Berlin, 1954-1973.
  • WESTENDORF, W., papyrus Edwin Smith, Verlag Hans Huber, Berne, 1966.
  • ZUMLA, A and LULAT, A., Honey, a remedy rediscovered, in Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 1989, no 82, p. 384-385.



Professor Ashraf Sadek

  • Professuer Certifie in Egyptology at the University of Limoges, France.
  • Main editor of the Encyclopaedic Periodical Le Monde Copte

Professional Qualifications

  • PhD in Egyptology: University of Liverpool, United Kingdom, 1981.
  • Doctor in Egyptology: La Sorbonne, Paris IV, France, 1977.
  • DEA in Ancient History: La Sorbonne, Paris IV, France, 1974.
  • Master’s Degree in Ancient History: Limoges University, France.
  • BA in Egyptology: Cairo University, Egypt, 1969.

Professional Activities

  • 1986-1999: teaching at the University of Limoges, France.
  • 1986-1998: teaching at the University of Poiters, France.
  • 1984-1985: teaching at the University of Lyon, France.
  • 1981-1983: teaching at the University of Constantine, Algeria.
  • 1977-1981: preparing PhD in Egyptology.
  • 1976 onwards: co-founder and editor of Le Monde Copte.
  • 1973-1977: preparing a Doctorate in Egyptology.
  • 1970-1973: inspector at the Department of Egyptian Antiquities in Fayum, Egypt.
  • 1965-1969: student in archaeology at Cairo University.

Other Activities

  • Director of excavations in Egypt (1970-1973)
  • Many lectures for scholars and Egypt-fanciers in Europe, Egypt, USA & Australia
  • Organizer of many cultural, touristic and religious trips and pilgrimages to Egypt, with focus on Egyptology and Coptology, especially monasticism.
  • Supervisor of various dissertations for University students in France and Algeria.
  • Member of examination boards for MA and PhD submissions in France, Switzerland, Algeria, and Australia.
  • Member of several associations of Egyptologists and Coptologists.
  • Member of many international conferences in Egyptology and Coptology.
  • Scientific Adviser for various local cultural associations for Egyptology and Coptology such as: Kemet (Perigueux), France-Egypte (Limoges), Renaissance (Dijon), Club d’Egypt et du Proche-Orient (Limoges), Institut Orthodoxe Francais (Paris).
  • Deacon of the Coptic Orthodox Church; lecturer on the History of Eastern Churches and oecumenism for Christian groups and Churches mainly in France and Egypt.



  • The Amethyst Mining Inscriptions, volumes I & II, Aris & Phillips, Warminster, 1980/1985.
  • Popular Religion in Egypt during the New Kingdom. Huldersheimer Agyptologische Beitrag. 1987


  • L’incarnation de la Lumiere: le renouveau iconographique copte a travers l’oeuvre d’Isaac Fanous. Le Monde Copte, 29-31, Limoges, 2000. (in press)
  • Plus more than forty articles in various scientific both on Egyptology and Coptology.


  • In 1976, created and directed as main editor the French Encyclopaedical publication Le Monde Copte. Since 1986, Director of this publication, of which 32 volumes have been issued (Since #17, English and Arabic abstracts are available).