When you think about ancient Egypt, you probably think of mummies, pyramids and cursed tablets. But did you know that there are many ancient Egyptian inventions still used today? Ancient Egypt boasts one of the largest collections of antiquities and monuments in the world. It also had an immense cultural impact on surrounding ancient and modern civilizations, spanning topics including language, mathematics, and architecture. However, ancient Egypt was also known for its wide variety of inventions that are still used today. Read on for 10 of the most important Ancient Egyptian inventions.
Earlier civilizations, such as those that emerged in Mesopotamia, had largely treated physical and mental illnesses as the work of the gods and attempted to treat them using religious and magic remedies performed by priests or even exorcists. It was in ancient Egypt that medicine as we know it today developed.
Although the supernatural still played a large role in their understanding of health, the Egyptians had a far more scientific approach to curing sickness, creating medicines from natural resources, such as minerals, herbs, and animal products, and also performed early forms of surgery. As early as 2200 BC, there were institutions known as Houses of Life, where medicine would be practiced by doctors and priests. Dedicated to the improvement and protection of human life, these centers could even be considered a forerunner of the hospital.
Not only did the Egyptians introduce a huge number of new medical concepts, but they were also responsible for the world’s first public health system. Around 1500 BC, the village of Deir el-Medina was established for the craftsmen and laborers working on the royal tombs in the nearby Valley of the Kings. As well as their monthly wages, food supply and servants, these workers were also given a shared physician to see to their health concerns and help heal any complaints.
Even when they were sick, it is thought that the workers still received their rations: the first recorded evidence of sick-pay! As benevolent as this sounds, it is important to remember that this system was only put in place so that the pharaohs could ensure a stable supply of workers to complete their magnificent tombs.
Nonetheless, the progress made in hygiene, diagnosis, and cures shows that much of modern medicine is indebted to the innovations and understanding developed by the ancient Egyptians.