The London Medical papyrus

From Egypt
Late 18th Dynasty, around 1325 BC

A mixture of medical recipes and spells

Ancient Egyptian medicine was a mixture of the practical and the magical. Medical practitioners were often magicians. A few 'medical' papyri, such as the Edwin Smith papyrus, deal with the observation and treatment of ailments from a very analytical point of view. However, the majority are more like this example: probably used as a reference text by a physician/magician.

The text of The London Medical papyrus is a combination of recipes and magical spells for various ailments. It is particularly interesting because spells are used together with the cures. Some of the texts outline what should be recited when a particular cure is being applied, while others are for driving away evil spirits, which might affect the patient or the magician. The main concerns of the papyrus are skin complaints, eye complaints, bleeding (mostly incantations against miscarriage) and burns.

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More information


G. Robins, Reflections of women in the Ne (Atlanta, Georgia, Michael C. Carlos Museum, 1995)

J. Nunn, Ancient Egyptian medicine (London, The British Museum Press, 1996)

T. Bardinet, Les papyrus médicaux de lEgypt (Paris, Fayard, 1995)


Length: 123.000 cm (frame, sheet 1)
Width: 26.500 cm (frame, sheet 1)
Length: 123.000 cm (frame, sheet 1)
Width: 26.500 cm (frame, sheet 1)

Museum number

EA 10059



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