Friday, June 19, 2009

Imhotep the Alchemist?

Dr. Audran Labrousse did a lecture this evening on the changing view of Imhotep, Djoser's architect and the builder of the Step Pyramid, the world's first large stone building, from earliest times until today. The lecture was given at the Metropolitan Museum in New York and was fascinating.

Imhotep is referenced only once in his lifetime, on the base of a statue of the Pharaoh Djoser. By late Pharaonic times he came to be viewed by the Egyptians as a good of healing. Dr. Labrousse also had a photo of a statue of Imhotep wearing Greek clothing and also showed references to Imhotep from the Renaissance (!) and on into modern times. Dr. Labrousse also traced the development of the "myth" of Imhotep, from his being an architect, to a god of healing to his being mentioned in later European tradition as an alchemist of all things!

This was a really enjoyable lecture and if you have an opportunity to hear him give this lecture while he is in the United States, by all means go.

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