Friday, 20 January 2017

The Awesome Ladies project 2 - Merit-Ptah - scientist and physician

For my second awesome lady, I'm delving into the first scientist on my list – Merit-Ptah, named as the first female physician in ancient Egypt, and possibly one of the world's first named female scientists.

According to the blog post here: Merit-Ptah practiced medicine more than 5000 years ago, and is identified as "chief physician" in a hieroglyphic carving near the pyramid of Saqqara, in the old Egyptian kingdom's capital of Memphis.

According to this post the study of medicine was considered a worthy occupation for men and women alike, and combined prayer and natural healing methods along with study and practice.

In my internet chicken-scratchings, I can't find what discipline Merit-Ptah particularly studied, though, from my scratchings it seems that female physicians in ancient Egypt often focused on gynaecology and obstetrics. A later physician, Cleopatra (no relation to the queen as far as I can tell) wrote texts on childbirth, women's health and pregnancy that were studied for over 1000 years.

Also, according to Wikipedia, an impact crater on Venus was named Merit-Ptah in her honour.

This blog entry is a bit sparse, but I think I might do a bit more research on this one than just picking away at internet links. So I'll put this post up for now to keep myself honest, and move on to the next awesome lady.

Awesome lady three will be an artist – Helena of Egypt. Stay tuned. :)

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