Historical Perspectives on the Third Dynasty



Medical interest centers upon a period in the Third Dynasty (5345–5307 B.C.), when Egypt had an ambitious pharaoh named Zaser. Zaser, in turn had for his chief counselor and minister a brilliant commoner named Imhotep (whose name means "He who cometh in peace"). Imhotep constructed the famous step pyramid of Sakkarah near Memphis. The building methods used in the construction of this pyramid revolutionized the architecture of the ancient world.

Egypt gave the world some of the greatest personalities in the history of mankind. In this regard, Imhotep is singularly outstanding. In the ancient history of Egypt, no individual left a deeper impression than the commoner Imhotep. He was the world's first multi-genius. He was also the real father of medicine. In his book, Evolution of Modern Medicine (London, 1921, 9. 10), Sir William Osler refers to Imhotep as "the first figure of a physician to stand out clearly from the mists of antiquity."

In the early development of man, the family was the most important unit in existence. Through the years the importance of this unit has not changed. The first human societies were developed for reasons relating to the needs and survival of the family. The early African had to make hooks to catch fish, spears to hunt with, and knives. He searched for new ways of building shelter, gathering and raising food, and domesticating animals. Our use of fire today simply continues the process started by the early Africans—the control of fire. In the making of tools that sets man apart from all living creatures, Africans started man along the tool-making path.

With the discovery of metals and how to use them all Africa took a great leap forward. Man had learned how to take iron from the ground and turn it into spears and tools. Iron cultures spread rapidly across Africa and there were very few parts of Africa that were not influenced by these Iron Age cultures. Iron cultures had their greatest development in the area of Africa that is now the Eastern Sudan, in the great city-state of Meroe. The use of iron accelerated every aspect of African development and introduced a new danger—the eventual use of iron weapons in warfare.

The Nile River became a great cultural highway, bringing peoples and cultures out of inner Africa. These migrations by river led to the establishment of one of the greatest nations in world history—Egypt. In his book The Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of a Race from 4500 B.C. to 2000 A.D., the Afro-American Historian Chancellor Williams refers to Egypt as "Ethiopia's oldest daughter" and calls attention to the evidence to prove the southern African origin of early Egyptian people and their civilization.

Egypt first became an organized nation about 6000 B.C. Medical interest centers upon a period in the Third Dynasty (5345–5307 B.C.), when Egypt had an ambitious pharaoh named Zaser. Zaser, in turn had for his chief counselor and minister a brilliant commoner named Imhotep (whose name means "He who cometh in peace"). Imhotep constructed the famous step pyramid of Sakkarah near Memphis. The building methods used in the construction of this pyramid revolutionized the architecture of the ancient world.

Egypt gave the world some of the greatest personalities in the history of mankind. In this regard, Imhotep is singularly outstanding. In the ancient history of Egypt, no individual left a deeper impression than the commoner Imhotep. He was the world's first multi-genius. He was also the real father of medicine. In his book, Evolution of Modern Medicine (London, 1921, 9. 10), Sir William Osler refers to Imhotep as "the first figure of a physician to stand out clearly from the mists of antiquity."

The period in Egyptian history from the Third Dynasty to the first invasion of Egypt by the Hyksas, of Shepherd Kings, in 1700 B.C. is, in my opinion, the apex of the first Golden Age. The Western Asian domination over Egypt lasted about one hundred and twenty years and was ended by the rise of Egyptian nationalism during the Seventeenth Dynasty. During this period the pharaohs (or kings) at Thebes consolidated their powers and began a united campaign to rid Lower Egypt of Hyksas invaders.

When the invaders from Western Asia were finally driven out by the Pharaoh, Ahmose I, the splendid Eighteenth Dynasty was established and Egypt's second Golden Age began. Egypt's Golden Age did not belong to Egypt alone but included nations in Africa, mainly Kush and Ethiopia (which at certain periods in history were one and the same.) These nations farther to the south were the originators of the early culture of Egypt. Egypt at this juncture in history was no longer dependent on her cultural parents and was, once more, the most developed nation in the world.