Even so, ancient Egyptian doctors were highly respected and for good reason: their procedures seem to have been largely effective. The Hittites are known to have called upon Egypt to supply them with physicians as did the Assyrians and Persians. The Greeks had enormous admiration for Egyptian medical practices, even though they did not take the magical aspects of treatment very seriously. The Roman physician Galen (126 – c. 216 CE) studied in Egypt at Alexandria, and before him, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine (c. 460-370 BCE), made the same claims regarding disease that Imhotep had 2,000 years earlier.

Men and women could be doctors and a number are mentioned by name. Some of these are:

Merit-Ptah (c. 2700 BCE), the royal court’s chief physician and the first woman known by name in medicine and science.

Imhotep (c. 2667-2600 BCE), the architect for king Djoser who also wrote medical treatises and was later deified as a god of medicine and healing.

Hesyre (also known as Hesy-Ra, c. 2600 BCE), Chief of Dentists and Physician to the King; the first dentist in the world known by name.

Pesehet (c. 2500 BCE), Lady Overseer of Female Physicians and possibly a teacher at a medical school in Sais founded c. 3000 BCE.

Qar (c. 2350 BCE), Royal Physician under the reign of king Unas of the 6th Dynasty, buried with his bronze surgical instruments which are thought to be the oldest in the world.

Mereruka (c. 2345 BCE), Vizier under King Teti of the 6th Dynasty whose tomb at Saqqara is inscribed with more titles than any other in the vicinity. He was the overseer of the king’s physicians.

Ir-en-akhty (First Intermediate Period of Egypt, 2181-2040), whose wide range of specialties makes him unique in Egyptian medical history. Most doctors specialized in a single area while Ir-en-akhty held many titles.

Other doctors are named from the Middle Kingdom (2040-1782 BCE) down through the Ptolemaic Period (323-30 BCE) including the physician Cleopatra (not the famous queen) who wrote medical texts which are mentioned by later writers and were studied by Galen.