From Big Medical Encyclopedia

PAPYRUSES MEDICAL — one of the most ancient monuments of medical literature for which writing material was produced from stalks of the papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) — a perennial herbaceous plant of family sedge.

P.'s most in m is found by archeologists in the territory of Ancient Egypt. The m knows 10 P., to-rye the first owners (Hirst, Edwin, Smith's papyruses), or in the place of a find (the papyrus Kakhunsky, from Ramesseum), or according to the name of places of storage (the papyrus Berlin, Leiden, London), or by name the first publisher (Ebers's papyrus) are called or by name.

The most ancient of them belonging to the period of the Average kingdom (20 — 18 centuries BC) contain only impregnations of texts of various medical contents. So, in the Kakhunsky papyrus there are data on treatment of animals, the description of female diseases and obstetric care; in the papyrus from Ramesseum — data on gynecology and on treatment of «nonflexible members»; Hurst's papyrus contains chapter about diseases of bones, in the Berlin papyrus No. 3038 — about pre-natal sex determination of the child etc.

All of them along with a statement of methods of treatment, prescription records and anatomic descriptions contain considerable reli-giozno-magic stratifications, especially pronounced in the London and Leiden papyruses.

From all Ancient Egyptian P. m the greatest value have Ebers's papyrus relating to the period of the New kingdom (17 — 11 centuries BC) and surgical papyruses of Edwin, Smith (16 century BC).

Ebers's papyrus found in 1872 represents the treatise preferential about internal diseases. As it is possible to judge from its contents, treatment of diseases was hl. obr. symptomatic, the diagnosis was made on the basis of external examination, palpation, sometimes and listenings of the patient. Specialization of the doctors who were engaged in treatment of internal diseases was rather high. Also elements of the doctrine about diseases of female generative organs, eye diseases, diseases of teeth (sealing was applied) were developed, nek-ry surgical receptions (a craniotrypesis, overlaying of tires were widely used at changes, etc.). The surgical papyrus of Smith described for the first time in 1930 is attributed to Imkhotep — the idolized doctor, the architect and the statesman of the Ancient kingdom, represents a systematic statement of fundamentals of surgery; it is supplied with drawings and, probably, served as the manual. On fields of the manuscript numerous marks are found: «This medicine good», «To me was succeeded to cure this disease». In this P. of m there are no elements of magic.

Studying of maintenance of P. of m has not only historical interest; many to lay down. the means described in P. by m find application for the people, to-rykh they are made by ancestors.

See also Meditsina , Medical literature .

Bibliography: Bekshtr A. G. Medical papyruses, V. S. Golenishchev's Meeting, SPb., 1909; World history, under the editorship of E. M. Zhukova, t. 1, M., 1956; G of are about w H. Die agyptischen medizinischen Papyrus und was sie enthalten, Miinch. med. Wschr., S. 958, 1002, 1935; it, Untersuchungen iiber die altagyptischen medizinischen Papyri, Bd 1 — 2, Lpz., 1935 — 1936; L e a k With h. D. The old Egyptian medical papyri, Lawrence, 1952;

Lefebvre G. Essai sur la m^decine 6gyptienne de T^poque pharaonique, P., 1956; S i g e-r i s t H. E. Anfange der Medizin, Zurich, 1963.

H. A. Bogoyavlensky, B. of H. Palkin.