Hesyre was a high court official in ancient Egypt and lived about 2650 bc during
the reign of King Djoser. He managed to combine religious as well as secular
posts, and has the distinction of being the first recorded physician and
firstknown dentist in history. Healthcare developed at an early period in
ancient Egyptian history as is supported by the evidence from the skeletal and
mummified remains, from the artistic record, as well as from inscriptional and
textual sources. These textual sources, the medical papyri, provide details of
medical procedures undertaken, drugs employed and treatments provided - some of
which have influenced modern medical practice. What we know about Hesyre comes
from his impressive tomb at Saqqara, the walls of which are brightly decorated
with items of daily life. Additionally, the tomb contained six fine wooden
panels listing Hesyres titles, among them those relating to his practice of
medicine and dentistry.
An investigation into the connection between veterinary and medical practice in ancient Egypt
Ehrenkranz, N. J. and Sampson, D. A. (2008), ‘Origin of the Old Testament plagues:
explications and implications’, Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine 81, 31–42.
Filer, J. (1995), Disease (London: British Museum Press).
Forshaw, R. (2013), ‘Hesyre: the first recorded physician and dental surgeon in history’, in R. David (ed.), Ancient Medical and Healing Systems: Their Legacy to Western
Medicine, supplement to Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester 89
(Manchester: Manchester University Press), 181–202.
Ghalioungui, P. (1963