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Imhotep, a high official to Djoser, King of Egypt (2667-2648 BC)

Imhotep was a high official of the Third-Dynasty king Djoser, and the architect of the king's tomb, the Step Pyramid. The Egyptian historian Manetho credits Imhotep as being the inventor of the technique of building in dressed stone.

In the Middle and New Kingdoms Imhotep was credited with writing a number of 'instructions' and works on medicine, though none has survived. From the Late Period he was revered as a god of learning and medicine, and was particularly associated with the cults of Ptah and Thoth. In a story dating to the second century BC, Imhotep is a magician who is able to read the ancient records in the library of the Temple of Thoth at Hermopolis.

The Greeks identified Imhotep with their god of medicine, Asclepius. His cult centre at Saqqara became the focus of pilgrimage for people seeking healing. Votive offerings such as ibises and bronze figures of Imhotep were dedicated, and clay models of affected limbs and organs left in the hope of receiving relief. Other important chapels of Imhotep were located at Deir el-Medina and Philae. Imhotep was one of the few non-royal individuals to be deified.

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Most complete collection of Michelangelo's drawings, £25.00

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