The Kemetic Mystery System
It’s well-documented that classical Greek thinkers traveled to what we now call Egypt to expand their knowledge. When the Greek scholars Thales, Hippocrates, Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato and others traveled to Kemet, they studied at the temple-universities Waset and Ipet Isut. Here, the Greeks were inducted into a wide curriculum that encompassed both the esoteric as well as the practical.
Thales was the first to go to Kemet. He was introduced to the Kemetic Mystery System — the knowledge that formed the basis of the Kemites’ understanding of the world, which had been developed over the previous 4,500 years. After he returned, Thales made a name for himself by accurately predicting a solar eclipse and demonstrating how to measure the distance of a ship at sea. He encouraged others to make their way to Kemet to study
In Kemet, Hippocrates, the “father of medicine,” learned of disease from the previous explorations of Imhotep, who established diagnostic medicine 2,500 years earlier. This early renaissance man — priest, astronomer and physician — was described as “the first figure of a physician to stand out clearly in the mists of antiquity” by the British medical trailblazer William Osler . In Kemet, Pythagoras, the “father of mathematics,” learned calculus and geometry from the Kemetic priests based on a millennia-old papyrus.
None of this is to say that the Greeks were without their own ideas. On the contrary, the Greeks appeared to have formed their own interpretations of what they learned in Kemet. Nor did the Greeks ever deny the credit due the Kemites for their education. “Egypt was the cradle of mathematics,” Aristotle wrote . But one could make the case that the Greeks also felt that they were destined to build upon what they’d learned from the Kemites.
The Kemetic education was meant to last 40 years, although no Greek thinker is known to have made it through the entire process. Pythagoras is believed to have made it the furthest, having studied in Kemet for 23 years . The Greeks seem to have put their own spin on what knowledge they’d learned.
Plato’s education may have expressed it best: The Kemetic Mystery System was based upon a wide array of human knowledge. It encompassed math, writing, physical science, religion and the supernatural, requiring tutors to be both priests and scholars. Perhaps the aspect of the system that best represents this merger of religion and science is Ma’at.
Ma’at (/mi ‘yat/) was a goddess who embodied the concept of the rational order to the universe. “This idea that the universe is rational … passed from the Egyptians to the Greeks,” writes historian Richard Hooker . The Greeks’ name for this concept was logos.
In his “Republic,” Plato describes a dichotomy between a higher and lower self. The higher self (reason) pursues knowledge, reason and discipline. The lower self — the more prominent of the two — is base, concerned with more crude aspects like sex, addiction and other self-serving pursuits. Reason must ultimately win over emotion for a life to be worthwhile. Thus the emphasis of reason over all else was born. And the concepts of spirituality and reason began to diverge.
It is the survival of the Greek interpretation of Ma’at over the Kemites’ that may explain why schoolchildren learn that the Greeks provided the basis for our modern world.
IMHOTEP AND MEDICINE
Medicine in Ancient Egypt – The Asclepion/U. of Indiana (US)
Ancient Egyptian Medicine– Ancient Egyptian Virtual Temple
Medicine in Ancient Egypt Daily Life – Minnesota State Univ. at Mankato
For Every Malady Cure – (EG)
AIDS: Déjà Vu in Ancient Egypt? [RJ Albin]
About Horus [S Cass] – Encyclopedia Mythica
On the Eye of Horus,
What does the pharmacist’s symbol “Rx” mean? – The Straight Dope
A selected bibliography of Imhotep [R Rashidi],
About The Third Dynasty – TourEgypt
About thePhysicians of Ancient Egypt – Per Sekhmet
Just What the Doctor Ordered in Ancient Egypt [I Springer] – Tour Egypt
Objects from the Collection of Ancient Egyptian Art at M.C. Carlos Museum/Emory Univ. (US)
Practical Egyptian Magical Spells [RK Ritner] – U of Chicago
Some Magical Amulets & Gems – U of Michigan/HTI
TheInstruction of Ptahhotep (6th dynasty?)
The Papyrology Home Page [JD Muccigrosso]
Some brief notes on some famous Medical Papyri (Smith, Ebers, Kahun) [‘marrya’] – (IE)
About the Hearst Medical Papyrus – Center for the Tebtunis Papyri, Berkeley (US)
The Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus – Cyber Museum of Neurosurgery (US)
About theSmith and Ebers Papyri – CrystalLinks
About the Edwin Smith Sugical Papyrus [RH Wilkins] – via AANS
Surgery on papyrus [B Morris] – StudentBMJ
Surgical tools found in 6th dynasty tomb – ArabicNews.com
Earliest Egyptian Chemical Manuscripts [prepared by HA Ead]
Electronic Printed/Web-published material – Ruprecht-Karls Universität, Heidelberg (DE)
About the Alexandrian School (Herophilos, Erasistratos) – Univ of Virginia (US)
HISTORY OF ANCIENT EGYPT (KEMET)
A comprehensive list of Ancient Egyptian Kings, with Chronology [PA Piccione] – NorthWestern Univ. (US)
Egyptian Kings, Govenors and other Rulers – TourEgypt
The Ancient Egypt Site [J Kinnaer]
The World of Ancient Egypt Site [L Andreasson] – (SE)
The Rosetta Stone story [Strachan & Roetzel] – Minnesota State Univ. at Mankato
More about the Rosetta Stone– Cleveland Museum of Art
Egyptology.Com [G Reeder]
Herodotus’ Book II [transl. G Rawlinson] – The Tech, MIT (US)
The Galleries at the exhibit ‘Splendors of Ancient Egypt’ 1996, Florida Int’l Museum(US)
The Nile, the Moon and Sirius [R Weininger] – Tour Egypt
Egyptian Ethno-Zoology – Minnesota State Univ. at Mankato
Egyptian Herbal Medicine – PlanetHerbs
Brief Bibliographies of Notable Egyptian Gods [SC Knight]
About the Osiris Cult – Ministry of Tourism, Egypt
The Faces of Djed[L-A Jack] – Royal Ontario Museum (CA)
Digital Mummies [P. de Nijs] – (NL)
About Egyptian Mummies – Encyclopedia Smithsonian (US)
Mummy 1911-210-1 [MacLeod et al.] – J Royal Coll Surg Edinburgh, Apr 2000 (UK)
The Egyptian Book of the Dead [transl: EA Wallis Budge], via Lysator (SE)
Mummies and Disease in Ancient Egypt [C Johnson] – UIC College of Dentistry
Evidence of Poliomyelitis in Ancient Egypt [in Spanish] – Museo Virtual de la Sanidad (ES)
About the mummification process – British Museum
TheVirtual Mummy – Hamburg (DE)
Die Virtuelle Mumie [in German] – Hamburg (DE)
Tutankhamun: Anatomy of an Excavation – Griffith Institute (UK)
Did Akhenaten suffer from Marfan’s Syndrome? – Discovery Channel (CA)