January 1931

The Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus. Volumes I and II.

Author Affiliations

By James Henry Breasted. Price, 4 pounds, 10 shillings. London: Cambridge University Press, 1930.

Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1931;47(1):164. doi:10.1001/archinte.1931.00140190175021

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The first volume contains general explanatory notes for physicians and other non-Egyptological readers, followed by a general and then a special introduction, and finally the translation with commentaries.

The second volume contains forty-six facsimile plates of the original papyrus and on the opposite page a line for line hieroglyphic transliteration. As one compares these two pages it is evident that illegible writing is not a modern acquisition.

This is the oldest surgical papyrus. While this copy was prepared about 1700 B. C., the original papyrus from which it was copied probably dates back to 2500 or 3000 B. C. The scribe copied only the first portion of the original roll. The author is unknown, but evidently was a surgeon of eminent learning and wide experience. Apparently, this papyrus was an account of his observation on injuries to the human body. He begins with the head and goes downward to the

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