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Ancient Egyptian official, architect and doctor.

Imhotep was born as a commoner, but his unusual drive and ambition led to his rapid rise through the community of the 3rd dynasty. He came to the highest rank below that of pharoh, High Priest, and also Vizier.

His greatest architectural achievement was the design of the step pyramid at Saqqara, which was for the pharoh Djoser. This was a very influential piece of architecture that influenced Egyptian burial customs. He served through the reign of another three pharohs after Djoser.

He is said to have been a good poet, but it is for his medical works that he was remembered. When the Romans built temples within Egypt they put inscriptions on the wall praising Imhotep. This was because Greek physicians, who were integrated into the Roman Empire valued his works highly.

  • Egyptian History:
    If you know the name of any non-royal Egyptian, it is probaby Imhotep. He was a Renaissance Man. His many trades included: high priest, architect, doctor, vizier, and scribe. Imhotep was born poor but rose to fame during the reign of the Third Dynasty Pharaoh Djoser. He became Djoser's High Priest (the highest station below Pharaoh), and he lived long enough to serve the three Pharoahs following Djoser: Sekhemkhet, Khaba, and Huni.

    It was for Djoser that Imhotep designed Egypt's first pyramid. This pyramid wasn't the smooth-sided affair most of you are used to. Imhotep's pyramid was influenced by the mastaba, Egypt's then-current burial structure. It was Imhotep's thought that the Pharaoh deserved a grander burial structure than everybody else, so he was inspired to stack mastabas on top of one another as a tomb fit for the Pharoah. Thus, the Egyptian step pyramid was born at Saqqara. He also came up with the architectural theories that made the design and construction of the Pyramids of Giza possible.

    After his death, a cult began to worship him. He was deified as a god of healing and was worshipped by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans.

  • The Mummy & The Mummy Returns:
    Imhotep was the principal villain in both The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, and he was played by Arnold Vosloo. Although no mention of any other professions is made, he is identified in these films as a high priest. He is characterized to be way more evil than I remember from my introduction to Egyptian history, but this is Hollywood. At least they managed to match the name to one of the jobs.

  • Stargate SG-1:
    Imhotep also makes an appearance in Stargate SG-1's fifth season episode, "The Warrior," where he was played by Rick Worthy. "The Warrior" was a good episode, but it was obvious that the writers were just looking for an Egyptian name. At no time were any of Imhotep's professions mentioned. Two parallels were drawn between the Goa'uld Imhotep and the Egyptian Imhotep.

    1. The symbol marking his Jaffa was a step pyramid (upside down).
    2. He trained his Jaffa in a martial art known as mastaba.

    However, the second parallel only counts as half because as explained above the mastaba is a burial structure and the precursor to the step pyramid, not a martial art.

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