Imhotep (which translated means, "he comes in peace”) was a Kemetic (ancient Egyptian) chancellor to the pharaoh Djoser. We credit Djoser with the architecture of the Kebu Neteru (more commonly known as Step Pyramid). There are many gaps in our knowledge of his life, and curiously, he became more respected, even deified about 2000 years after his death.
Imhotep was likely a genius in a real sense. In texts he has been referred to as a polymath, poet, judge, engineer, priest, scribe, astronomer, astrologer, and most frequently, as a physician. In fact, Imhotep documented the scientific method in the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus. These texts outline what we may now recognize as randomized clinical trials, where he administered medical treatments to varying groups to scientifically establish their effectiveness. Let's be clear: the scientific method was first documented by an African man. This fact is often ignored or deliberately withheld, although some scholars are attempting to keep these facts in the consciousness of the medical community (see a brief comment and the suggestion of an oath to Imhotep by Dr. Anthony Carl Pickett here).
As in many other cases (which I will write about more in other posts), common knowledge in our current time gives most of the credit for these revolutionary scientific and medical insights to the Greeks, specifically Hippocrates. Medical students, upon the completion of their training to this day recite the Hippocratic oath, although it has been revised since its first iteration. Interestingly, the original text of this oath does include a subtle and hidden acknowledgement of the Kemetic genius, Imhotep.The first line of the oath reads as follows:
" I swear by Apollo the Healer, by Asclepius, by Hygieia, by Panacea, and by all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will carry out, according to my ability and judgment, this oath and this indenture."
Obviously, this Greek text (likely written by Pythagoras), honors Greek deities related to health and medicine. The reference to Imhotep is Asclepius. At the time in history that Greek scholars were studying in Kemet, Asclepius became merged with Imhotep as a concept and deity. Consequently, it would be logical that the reference to Asclepius in the original Hippocratic oath is a reference to this Kemetic genius.
I begin my blog posts with the word "Imhotep" as a libation to this great African genius. I am not a genius in any stretch of the word, but I want to channel his ability to apply facts, history, and science to the things I share in this blog. I want to communicate fairly, clearly, and stay aware of my bias. I am coming in peace and hope to share useful and accurate knowledge. I love the truth more than I love being right and am open to changing my mind when presented with high quality information. Hotep (peace).