Imhotep was a vizier, wizard, and the first architect and physician known by name to written history. As the Pharaoh Djosèr’s Vizier, he designed the Pyramid of Djzosèr (Step Pyramid) at Saqqara in Egypt around 2630-2611 BC, during the 3rd Dynasty. He may also have been responsible for the first known use of columns in architecture. His name means the one who comes in peace.

Imhotep also served as chancellor to the pharaoh and high priest of the sun god Ra at Heliopolis. He was said to be a son of Ptah, his mother being a mortal named Khredu-ankh. He was revered as a genius and showered with titles. The full list of titles is: Chancellor of the King of Lower Egypt, First after the King of Upper Egypt, Administrator of the Great Palace, Hereditary nobleman, High Priest of Heliopolis, Builder, Sculptor and Maker of Vases in Chief. Imhotep is credited as the founder of Egyptian medicine, and as author of the Edwin Smith papyrus, detailing cures, ailments and anatomical observations. The Edwin Smith Papyrus was probably written around 1700 BC but may perhaps go back to texts written around 1000 years earlier.

Two thousand years after his death, his status was raised to that of a god. Imhotep became the god of medicine and healing. He was linked to Asclepius by the Greeks. As the son of Ptah, his mother was sometimes said to be Sekhmet, who was often said to be married to Ptah, since she was the patron of Upper Egypt. As he was thought of as the inventor of healing, he was also sometimes said to be the one who held Nuit (deification of the sky) up, as the seperation of Nuit and Geb (deification of the earth) was said to be what held chaos back. Due to the position this would have placed him in, he was also sometimes said to be Nuit’s son. In artwork he is also linked with Hathor, who was the wife of Ra, Maat, which was the concept of truth and justice, and Amenhotep son of Hapu, who was another deified architect.

The location for Imhotep’s tomb is still unknown. Many egyptologists have tried locating it but so far haven’t succeeded. The general consensus is that his tomb is located at Saqqara.