Positive Progress Through The Benevolent Use Of Knowledge

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Science of the Pharaohs

Medical Composition

The scientific subjects that concerned the ancient Egyptian were confined to mathematics, medicine, chemistry, and astrology.

What we found shows the development and progress the ancient Egyptian achieved in these sciences. Accuracy was the most important characteristic, in addition to science that enabled him to build lofty edifice on scientific basis.


What we found consisted of mathematical problems and exercises and its ideal solutions, but we found neither theories nor rules. For instance what we found in some papyruses such as in “ Rand’s Papyrus ” where there was a table to divide odd numbers on 2 and some mathematical.


A circular piece of land its circumference is 9 khit (carat) find its area?

A circular vessel of 9 cubit height and 6 cubit circumference, what is the quantity of grains that fill it?


The standard dry measure was Bushel (a measure of grains equals 8 gallons nearly i.e. 32½ liters). As for liquid measure there were other measures of different names, but they did not match any measures that are used now.

To measure the length they used two kinds the first is the Royal cubit (long) which equals 52.3 cm and it was used in architecture, the second is the ordinary cubit (short) which equals 45 cm.

For distances they used a unit called fluvial unit equals 10305 km (20, 000 cubit).

Areas and weights:

Area unit is “ mest gat ” = 100 square cubit.

(⅔ Acre, acre = 4000 square meter).

Weight unit is “ dubn ” = 91 grams.

Time Measurement:

Time was measured by years, and the year was divided into 12 months, every month was 30 days, and the month was three weeks 10 days each. The year was divided into three seasons each was four months: - flood season, winter, and summer.

The length of an hour varied according to the seasons. To measure time they used sundials and water glasses which were accompanied by a graduation to set the length of an hour according to the months.

At the end of the year 5 complementary days were added so that the days of the year were 365 days. The day was 24 hours divided equally into day and night. The day was twenty four hours divided equally into day and night. The length of an hour varied according to the seasons.

To measure time they used sundials and water glasses which were accompanied by a graduation to set the length of an hour according to the month.


The Egyptians were concerned about studying astronomy and due to the dry climate of Egypt and to the absence of fogs except rarely, the study of the skies was easy. The positions of the groups and the orbits of the plants were known because the observation processes began in as early time.

The most two important groups of stars were:

First: The Great Bear seven stars and they were known as the immortal stars.

Second: the Arion (Saho) group and it was worshipped.

The most important star they knew was (Sirus) or (Sotis) because its appearance was a sign of the flood. Its appearance was celebrated at dawn in summer as a religious feast.

This star was considered Isis’ soul and there is a fable that says that the tears shed by Isis on the anniversary of her husband’s Osiris death were the source of the flood.

Texts were found on tombs from the mirth dynasty and these texts were known by diametrical calendar or the diametrical star clock, these texts were given the names of the “ dicons ”

i.e. the stars that appear every 10 days at the time of the rising of the sun and they counted 36 stars of it. The texts were put on the tomb to help the dead distinguish the day from the night.

These texts developed and became more accurate as in Ramsis’ the sixth tomb. In the tombs of some of the kings of the modern state we found a statue of a sitting man who has a net of stars.

Also we found in the attached texts, concerned with the first and the sixth day or every month, the position of the stars in every hour: a star over the left ear then a star over the right ear and etc.

As for the position of the Zodiac it joined the Egyptian astronomy in the Ptolemaic and the Greek era.

Concerning the year and its length astronomers eliminated the lunar year which consisted of 360 days yet they preserved the division of the year into 12 months each of 30 days then they added 5 false days to make the year correspond with the feats of astronomy.

During the harmonic era there were 2 calendars: The civil calendar (the formal) and the solar calendar (The astronomic).

In the formal calendar the year consisted of 365 days and there were no leap years, this means that the year missed a day every four years. This calendar (in respect to Julius Caesar) on the 19th of June.

As for the astronomic calendar (the solon) it consisted of 365 ¼ days therefore by the passage of the time a day was added every 4 years to the calendar and this the formal year (the civilian) precedes the astronomic year by a month every 120 years, and the two calendars correspond every 1460 years for four days.

The astronomic calendar was used in agriculture and appointing the religious feasts. One of the Greeks called Censorious deduced two dates in two years in which a simultaneous rising of Sirius and the sun happened during the days of the pharaohs, and we reached texts which tell us the days of the rising of Sirius.

The importance of these texts lies in determining the periods of the rule of the kings during whose role a rising of the star Sirius.

Medical Composition:

It is well known that the ancient Egyptians worked with medicine and anatomizing the human body and as well treated a lot of diseases compositions we found were written on papyrus and three of them go back to the time of the twelfth family and they are of the oldest papyri.

Some of these compositions were written in hieroglyphic and not in Hieratic as usual (this shows that it was made up before it was written by a long time). One dealt with the hard limbs and another contained amulets and prescriptions for the pregnant and the nursing woman.

I respite of what the ancient Egyptians had reached in medicine, magic was from the essential matters in treat neat for them. They believed that most of the diseases were caused by the devils, thus medicine was used along with the amulets.

Medicines contained bloods and fats of the animals, herbs, honey, and known liquids. They also made ointments and it was mixed with honey or with the fats of the animals like geese fat.

The Egyptians practiced surgery and were excelled at it but they did not recourse to it except for treating injuries.

Edwer Smith’s papyrus was found explaining the right surgery to treat the injuries of the head and the chest. Another papyrus called after I Bris Blizbeg contained information about the surgical treatment of first blisters and cysts caused by burns, sound, on obstetrics and gynecology.

Do not you agree that the ancient Egyptians had studied and penetrated many fields that were complex, difficult to comprehend and mysterious for old nations and in spite of that the ancient Egyptians excelled in it?


Like all the ancient nations the ancient Egyptians believed in magic and in the presence of mysterious forces that controlled them. Thus they practiced magic and excelled in it. Different kinds of magic were mentioned in many of the ancient Egyptian literature.

We found that the ancient Egyptians devoted whole papyri to talk about nothing but magic. We also found records that contain amulets against diseases and maladies. The ancient Egyptians made for everyday in the year a magic characteristic which nukes bad luck or an in between one. Thus, they made up a calendar of good fortune days and misfortune days to refer to when they need.

We find in a papyrus a group of dreaand their interpretations each dream starts by “ if a man sees himself in a dream ” then follows a brief description of the dream then a phrase shoring whether the dream is a good one or a bad one and finally comes the interpretation of the dream.

For example.....

If a man sees himself in a dream eating the meat of a donkey, good it means his promotion.

If staring in a deep well repaired.

If staring in a deep well, bad, it means the ruin of his possessions, that is cannot be repaired.

If sitting on a tree, good, it means curing of diseases.

According to this papyrus, the Egyptians practiced the interpretation of dreams penetrating the psychiatry of the dreamer and interpreting what he sees in his dreams.

Problems were solved by consulting fortune tellers. The high positions in the state, even the position of the king was decided sometimes through the inspiration of a fortune teller. Disputes between the opponents were solved by fortunetellers as many papyri stated.

There are also long amulets which contain small wraps of papyrus, with mysterious texts for protection from din asters written on. The pharaonic magic continued even after Egypt’s merge into the Roman Empire.

The ancient Egyptians used magic in life necessities:

To stop the hurricane and the storm, to protect one in the desert against the beasts or in water against the crocodiles, and every where in Egypt against snakes and scorpions and therefore the pyramids of the king were supplied with amulets against hazards.

Magic as well helped on giving birth was recited while preparing medicine and it fought all poisons and diseases. It fought the evil dead who were believed to leave the tombs and look for eirl spreading diseases. Therefore, the ancient Egyptians used amulets for protection from hazards. As well mothers used to hang amulets to their young for their protection.


Discovering the agriculture was from the most important matters that changed the course of life of the ancient Egyptians before Christ, in that manner man transferred from life of hunting to the life of agriculture, and the ancient Egyptian transferred from life of wandering to the life of residence and settling.

The agricultural era started 8000 or 10,000 years ago (i.e. since the Neolithic period). And as we know Egypt’s culture was an agricultural first and the circumstances of the ancient Egyptian were better than the circumstances of other nations.

Although his life was hard he reaped the fruits of his work this satisfactory situation was due to the river Nile and to the stable climate. With the renewal of the flood, the ancient Egyptians had to plow the land, then to sow the seeds and to look after the yield until its harvest.

The agricultural year started after the retreat of the water of the flood. The land was prepared quickly before cultivation in order not to dry and solidify. This process included: cleaning the irrigation canals, filling up the holes, replanting the hand and putting limit signs in the fields.

This enormous work needed collective efforts and therefore. This work was inevitable that the Egyptians thought that it is a necessity in the After life, and since the Middle state the rich out Oshbanic statues, as we mentioned before to substitute them in the after life.

After preparing the land cultivating the crops starts sometimes they used canals for irrigation but almost they lift the crops to grow without more irrigation. Then in the modern state they used the continuous irrigation system.

Spring was the season of the harvest that usually ended in may then the land was lift uncultivated for two months before the arrival of the new flood and if the land was high it was irrigated by the Archimedean screw (shadoof) which raised water.

The most important crops were grains (like wild wheat, ordinary, and barley corn, and flax) flax was one of the important crops and was cultivated to get fibers for making linen cloth. Papyrus was one of the most important crops and it was used in writing.

The Egyptians used ploughs to breakup the land and as for the solid soil for which the plough is nit suitable it was broken up by axes and hocs. At the harvest time the grains were collected by wooden sickles then gathered in big baskets and transferred to stores on donkeys.

After collecting the grains the processes of threshing and hulling then storing comes. Cattle did the threshing, and it means separating the grains from straw, and during threshing the dead spikes were eliminated.

Hulling took place using wooden fans where the air resulting form the fans hulls the grains and at last the grains were transferred to silos for storage.

After the harvest, taxes must be paid, theoretically all Egypt’s lands were owned by the pharaoh but there were lands owned by individuals.

The pharaoh bestowed lands to temples, nobles, and some individuals. Therefore they had to pay the taxes.

In addition to the abovementioned important crops, there were tow more important crops: Oil and wine, and infect they were extracting industries. Oil substituted grains in barter and it was used in cooking, lighting and in the manufacture of perfumes ointments and mummifying. Oil was extorted from jerboa fruits, castor Oil plant, flax, sesame, radish, and as for wine it was extracted from grapes and dates.

Breeding and taming cattle and birds were the results of agriculture. It was not bred only for food but also because it had an important role in worship purposes and religious rituals where sacrifices were given everyday.

In addition to cattle the animals of the desert were bred like dears and gazelles. The cattle were tattoo marked using a two horn shaped instrument. The Egyptians peasant was proud of his cattle.

As for the birds, they tamed ducks and geese in addition to wild birds. Hunting the birds was a sport practiced by using a hooked hunting stick. As for cats it roused the birds in order to hunt them easily.


No comments: