NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Edwin Smith Papyrus, Ancient Egyptian medicine. This papyrus includes the world's oldest surviving surgical text. It was written in Egyptian hieratic script around the 17th century BC, probably based on material from a thousand years earlier. The front (recto) of the papyrus describes surgical cases. This is the back (verso) with medical spells and prescriptions. US archaeologist Edwin Smith discovered the papyrus in Egypt in the 1860s. This part of the scroll (two columns of text) describes spells against pestilence, fever, mental disorders, swallowed flies, and disease. For the full sequence showing the text on the scroll, see images C023/3425 to C023/3438.
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