" IMHOTEP : Evidences over three millenia "



 Inscriptions of lower Period :


Although most of the great Pharaohs were considered to be the sons of gods, none of them were honored as was our modest scribe Imhotep. His stature grew over the two and a half thousand years after his death… The people of The Old Empire, made of him a divinity associated with the great OSIRIS, the one who judged souls after death. This accession to the rank of divinity appealed to the popular mind; Imhotep had become the one to whom one prayed for healing or to have a child, (and in particular a heir that would carry on the line… )

After the Ramses dynasty, there were many vicissitudes, wars and invaders. The latter tried to impose their Laws on the two kingdoms of Egypt, but the people did not lose hope, and found again in their guide and great leader a healer who could help relieve their pain. Thousands of pilgrims came to Memphis and Deir el-Bahari to implore blessings from the Great Imhotep. They bore offerings, that were received by the clergy. Certainly all were not healed, but they returned home strengthened by the sharing of common faith in this atmosphere of liturgical songs and prayers.


Stele of Psenptais (-90 to -41) of Saqqarah - British Museum N° 1026 -
Named as a royal priest by the Pharaoh Ptolemy XII in -76.

Written on the stele is the long list of titles of Psenptais, and beside it is a map of the stars in the night sky,

Crown Prince and Governor, Guardian of the seals of the Old Empire of Egypt,
Scribe of God's book, Priest of the library and the House of the morning, Scribe of Ptah,
Priest of Ptah, High priest of Memphis, Priest of the sycamores…
Scribe of Bastet, of Osiris, of Osiris Apis, of Anubis, of Imhotep, son of
Ptah, Priest of the ram of Mende, the chief of the lake of Pharaoh.

And he continues the list of titles:

Helper to the King in raising the Djed pillar. Lord of the mysteries of Roseatu, of the necropolis, of Kemit, of the temple of Ptah, of the sky, of the Earth and of the underground world…

I pray to these 8 divinities and listen to their words:

Osiris, Great God, Lord of Roseatu, the first of the west, Great God who said:
- I shall give you an awe inspiring funeral

Apis Osiris, the chief of the west, the King of gods, the Eternal Lord who is the master of eternity, said:
- I shall give you all good things of the country of the gods

Isis, the Great Mother of gods, Eye of Re, Queen of the Heavens said:
- I grant that your Ba will come to your defense.

Nephthys, God's sister (of Osiris), who protects her brother, said:
- I shall make breath to come into your nose.

Harendotes said:
- I will make sure that your remains stay where they are buried.

Anubis on his Mountain, the head of the divine halls, great God and Lord of the Necropolis says:
- I will give you all the sweet odors of the Necropolis.

Imhotep, Son of Ptah, capable in all his actions, and great miracle-worker, said:
- I will give you a son who will be very healthy.

The Mother of gods of the West said:
- the dead of the West will welcome you in peace, and you will join them in joy.

And Psenptais adds this personal epitaph:

I was rich in all things; I had a very beautiful harem and yet I had reached 43 years without having a male heir. It is then that the consecrated God IMHOTEP, son of Ptah, gave me the son I wanted so much: he was perfect in form and I called him Imhotep-Petobastis. My wife, Taimhotep, the blessed daughter of the Father God and priest of Horus of Letopolis brought him into the world.


Stele of Taimuthes - British Museum 1027 (147) Saqqarah, 42 B. C.

The beautiful singer Taimhotep, the blessed, has a the wig that covers her shoulders, and a long pleated dress, addresses her prayers to the college of the 7 royal divinities:

Osiris - Sokar said:
- I shall give you a wonderful funeral in the necropolis of Roseatu.

Apis - Osiris the chief of the west, Great God, King of gods, Lord God of eternity said:
- I shall give you all beautiful things of the Country of the gods.

Isis the Great, the Mother of the gods, Eye of Re, and Mistress of the sky said:
- I shall make it possible to unite with all the rays of Re on the horizon.

Nephthys, the sister of the God Osiris, who protects her brother said:
- I shall give you the best breath of life.

Harendotes, the Great god said:
- I shall ensure that your son will succeed you in his Father's place

Anubis on his Mountain, the chief of the Divine Hall, said
- I shall give you the all good and perfect things you need

The goddess of the Necropolis in the beautiful region of the West said:
- May you travel with all peaceful feelings, among those who are transfigured, those worthy of praise…

There follows a passage on the stele of Psentais which thanks Imhotep the Great for giving him an heir, to whom he gave the double name of Imhotep and Petobastis.

" I made the high-priest happy (by the marriage). However, I have borne three girls without bringing a son into the world. Then with my spouse the high priest, we pleaded with the holy Imhotep, Son of Ptah, and who has miraculous powers, to give a son to us. He heard our prayers. Thus the Great God in his majesty revealed himself to the High Priest: perform great service in this magnificent place where my body lies, and I will reward you for it by the gift of a son. At this time he awoke and threw himself before the holy god upon the earth…

The text of Psentais continues to address Imhotep:

" As a reward, I conceived a boy. He was born in the year 6, on the 15th day, at the 8th hour in the reign of her majesty Cleopatra V. It was the feast day of the Saint-god Imhotep, son of Ptah. He resembled "the one who is the south of the wall"... All the people of Memphis cheered for him. We gave him the names of Imhotep and Petobastis, and everyone is delighted at his birth."

Also on the stele is information on the death and the funeral of  Taimhotep in the year 42 B.C, with a moving hymn evoking the fear and mystery of death.


Statue of Petobastis - of dark Granite and kept in the British Museum (N° 512)

- Can you enter, without being rejected,
- Can you leave without being kept behind,
- Can you stay in the Court of Osiris,
- Can you go into the Court of the Temple
- Can you go to Roseatu to all the feasts of Osiris on the first day of the year, when the sublime transfigured ones leave the Necropolis,
- Can your BA (soul) to live in the sky with Re
- Can your body remain healthy in the underworld of Osiris
(inscriptions on face B - Tablet XV-1)

The best beloved of the gods and of God the Father, Priest and scribe, Petobastis, addresses his Lord IMHOTEP, son of the God Ptah,: "I am your son, eager to be of service to your KA, every day of your feast and on all the feasts….…



Seated marble figure in the Museum of Brooklyn from Guizeh (37.1356) (26 /30th dynasty?)
"I greet you, Imhotep the Great, son of Ptah, born of Chereduanch (…)
Your father now, you become the friend of the wind of the North; your Ptah father acclaims you;
The (holy) Writings have been given to you, those that you prepared in your heart, every day………."


On the work of Imhotep according to hieroglyphs of the lower Period:

The forms of the God Imhotep's statues confirm the confidence and reverence felt for the him. Imhotep would intervene for anyone with a simple prayer and communicated the answer by dreams, (73-5). Also he would appear as a visions in full daylight (narrated Diadalos parag.57)

- He heals the sick, he is the chief physician, and the protector of virtue; he encourages material comfort and prevents misery. (1.203-15)

- he also takes on the role of Serapis (137-8), and creates poetry: this is confirmed by Manethos when he speaks of king Djeser. Besides this, the whole world recognized him as the Master of the written word. A detail in Nechautis recognizes him as "God of Literature", and clearly insists on the necessity of translating his Book of the Temple into Greek.

The written myths of Imhotep and his literary teachings are lost, but the cult of Imhotep returned through the reading of excerpts from various papyruses. From time to time, the cult of Imhotep is us described again in the readings of Mykerinos and of Mencheres, bringing us back directly to the IVth royal dynasty and to his tomb, which (until now) has never been recovered.


Enscribed on the Temple of Hathor, goddess of Denderah:

- a / West outside wall:

" Imhotep, the Great, Son of Ptah, said (to the king): I will give you the country of Pount with its products of incense and myrrh; I will send you the floods each year in its time. "

- b / Facade of the Pronaos (table XXII) enscribed: (on Imhotep's hospital)

"The king of Upper and Lower Egypt, the regent of the two kingdoms of Pharaoh, son of Ptah, Sovereign of the Pharaoh's Crown -- Offerings of incense for this sublime God…"

"The words of Imhotep the Great, Son of Ptah, the Great God of Denderah, the benificent heir, begotten of the one that is to the South of the wall"

"He comes to you, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, the Lord of the two Lands, Lord of Lords, the independent Governor, the Son of Re, Master of spirits who live eternally, Imhotep the Great, son of Ptah, resident of Denderah, brings you many pleasant things and he will honor you with a magnificent table of offerings, for eternity".

The King's words in honor of Imhotep:

- praises to you, divine son of Ptah, begotten at Memphis, sublime child, magnificent child of Cheret-anch, brought into the world at Tanen. Loving son to his Father, Imhotep is the one called the 'great power in both Lands',
- The one that rebuilds what has been destroyed in the Temple and gives back its original shape,
- The one that calculates all things, educated as was the Great god Thot (of Wisdom) to have an attentive heart, capable in action,
- The one who knows all kinds and styles of writing; (they are written in his heart),
- The one who knows all paths of thought, and was instructed in the measurement of grain, who abates the effects of famine, is educated in elocution, and is very scholarly in God's word,
- The one who quickens and protects pregnant women,
- The one who restores fertility to the sterile, those who pray to have a son,
- The one who keeps the children healthy child; The one who invigorates those who serve God; who relieves sickness, who brings the necessary flooding,
- Great and beautiful apparition still remaining on Earth, we can see you every day (!) Your mysterious form is evident in the cities and the countryside; your seat is raised up in the House of the gods, and those who are in the two sanctuaries are delighted to see you, for you give blessings to everyone who prays to you.
- Let your Ba (soul) live in the sky of Re, and may your body to be perfected in the underground world of Osiris.
- May you go in peace to the cave of the two big feathers, which built your body.
- Every day may you receive offerings of bread, of meat, of milk, and may all your needs be provided for.
- YES, you are Re for eternity. (In majesty, Imhotep is identified and integrated with Re).

This beautiful homage is immortalized on the stone, from a king to this modest scribe, whom he compares to Re the Great God, whose invisible rays bring men bread and the warmth necessary for life on earth. Imhotep's hands, which Akhenaton described as thousands of hands descending from the sky and reachinng to those men who wanted his blessings.


Inscription at the temple of Esna (text 107):

"Imhotep, the heir of the one who is to the south of the wall, who heals every illness with his art… "


Inscriptions at the temple of Edfou (Offerings of Ptolemy VI):

The words of Imhotep, Son of Ptah, his offspring, (of the one that is to the south of the wall), the sublime power, a guest in Edfou, great god that is above every man, the one who heals all illness in Egypt, (to Pharaoh):

- I give you the vision of the living soul of Re and the strength of the god Min, the bull of the gods.
- I give you snakes from the pediment of Re in your helmet and the current of the Nile on the right bank

     The sun god Re crosses the night in his boat             Lift of the sun over the Nile
[Image]     [Image]

The king answers him:

- I offer you incense that burns in fire, so that your nostrils will be embalmed. The Nile which comes from two sources will purify your majesty of that which has occurred to you, you will be completely cured of all pain.

Imhotep's reply:

I give you the country of Pount with all its riches, and Byblos with all its bounty.
I will open the underground cave of the two sources so that will they fill the Nile, and never cease,
So that the silt will flow over the country, and it will always be fertile.


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