If you’ve ever seen the first two films in the Mummy franchise or the 1932 original, you might have the idea that Imhotep was a pretty bad dude. However, even his name suggests otherwise. “Imhotep” means “the one who comes in peace.” Imhotep was a 27th century BC Egyptian polymath who served under the Third Dynasty king Djoser as both chancellor to the pharaoh and as high priest of the sun god Ra.
Today, he is considered to be the first architect, engineer, and physician in early history. He was even one of the few mortals to be depicted as part of a pharaoh’s statue. Encyclopedia Britannica says “The evidence afforded by Egyptian and Greek texts support the view that Imhotep’s reputation was very respected in early times,” providing a stark contrast to his image in the movies.
Imhotep was the author of the first medical treatise to not include magical thinking, which was considered very remarkable. A copy of it is on display at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum in New York City. Noted in the treatise are several kinds of injuries, including 27 different head injuries, 3 arm injuries, 8 sternum injuries, and 6 throat and neck injuries.