Vizier reign of Djoser 2667-2648 BC.
    Imhotep (the Greek version of his name is Imouthes) was a man of obscure origins and was the son neither of a king nor of a vizier. He became the architect and vizier of king *Djoser of the Third Dynasty and he held the titles of 'Hereditary Prince', 'King's Sealer' and 'Royal Carpenter and Mason'.
    Today he is best known for the unique funerary complex which he designed and built for King *Djoser at Saqqara; this is the earliest known building in the world which was constructed of stone and indeed, *Manetho accredits Imhotep with the invention of building in stone. The central feature is a Step Pyramid; this was designed to mark the king's burial place and was probably a development of the earlier mastaba-type tomb. Many architectural innovations were used in this complex and new building techniques and materials were introduced. The extensive complex, with its courts and chapels, was never repeated although the pyramid form was retained for royal burials for several hundred years.
    Few facts of Imhotep's life and work are known, but the oldest Wisdom Texts (which unfortunately have not survived) were attributed to him, and he apparently acted as adviser to the king on many matters. A rock inscription of Ptolemaic date on the island of Sehel at the First Cataract recalls that *Djoser sought help and counsel from Imhotep following a seven year period of famine, and that this brought about successful results.
    It was as a physician that Imhotep was most revered, and he was deified and worshipped as a god of medicine and healing in the Late Period. Deification of kings or men was rare in Egypt and only a few rulers and wise men received such cults. Later, the *Greeks in Egypt identified him with their own god of medicine, Asklepios, and his chapel at Saqqara (known as the Asklepieion) became a centre to which cripples came from all parts of Egypt, in search of healing. He enjoyed widespread popularity, and buildings within various temple complexes were dedicated to him, including those at Karnak, Deir el Bahri and Deir el Medina. On the island of Philae, *Ptolemy V built a chapel in honour of Imhotep.
    He enjoyed great renown amongst both Egyptians and *Greeks, and statues of the later periods show him as a priest: his head is shaven and he holds a papyrus roll, the symbol of learning and wisdom. Although Saqqara was his chief cult-centre and presumably his burial place, all attempts to discover his tomb there have failed.
BIBL. Sethe, K. Imhotep der Asklepios der Agypten. (Unters. 2, iv). Leipzig: 1902; Hurry, J. B. Imhotep. Oxford: 1926.
Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by Rosalie and Antony E. David
* * *
(fl. 2660 BC)
   Vizier of Djoser of Dynasty 3. He is credited with devising the construction of the step pyramid, the first stone structure in Egypt. He had a reputation for wisdom and was deified after his death and worshipped as a minor deity. He is usually depicted as a seated scribe with an open papyrus on his lap. He was identified by the Greeks with Aesculapius, god of medicine.
Historical Dictionary Of Ancient Egypt by Morris L. Bierbrier

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.

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