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The Edwin Smith Papyrus: Updated Translation of the Trauma Treatise

By Gonzalo M. Sanchez and Edmund S. Meltzer


This volume contains the original hieratic text, complete transcription into hieroglyphs, transliteration, English translation, philological apparatus and copiously illustrated medical commentaries for the forty-eight clinical cases of the Edwin Smith Papyrus, as well as extensive bibliographical resources, and a lucid introduction exploring the importance of the document, the history of previous scholarship, and distinctive aspects of the current edition. It offers an authoritative treatment of the Egyptian text, which clarifies the meaning of many passages from the papyrus and points the way to their correct medical interpretation. The Edwin Smith Papyrus (ESP) is the first comprehensive trauma treatise in the history of medicine. Not only is the ESP the source of numerous anatomical and functional concepts of the nervous system, it is the basis for the development of modern objective clinical thinking, establishing the foundations of modern medicine more than a thousand years before Hippocrates. The volume features an impressive array of medical material that reveals the precise conditions described by the ancient physician and explores the Egyptian contribution to modern diagnostics, clinical practice, and methodology. This publication sets the standard in the presentation of ancient medical documents. It also includes the previously unpublished translation of the papyrus by Edwin Smith himself.

The Edwin Smith Papyrus: Updated Translation of the Trauma Treatise

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    400 pages (42 figs, 18 plates, full color)

    8.5 x 11 inches

    ISBN 978-1-937040-01-7 (hardcover)

    ISBN 978-1-937040-26-0 (PDF)

    October 2012

  • Table of Contents

    List of Illustrations

    Foreword, by W. Benson Harer Jr., M.D.


    Note on Transliteration

    Note on Column and Line Numbering



    Medical Introduction, by Gonzalo M. Sanchez M.D.

    Philological Introduction, by Edmund S. Meltzer Ph.D.


    Visual Index


    Cases on the Main Body of the Papyrus “Recto”


    Appendix 1: Types of Injuries in the Edwin Smith Papyrus

    Appendix 2: Neurological Symptoms and Signs in the Edwin Smith Papyrus

    Appendix 3: Case Type and the Verdict III: “A Medical Condition that Cannot be Handled/ Dealt with”

    Appendix 4: Medical Considerations regarding Nasal Anatomical Terminology

    Appendix 5: Edwin Smith’s Handwritten Notes Featuring His Attempted Translation of the Edwin Smith Papyrus with Brief Commentary


    Works Cited

    General and Medical Index

    Philological Index

    Plates: The Edwin Smith Papyrus

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