Papyrus Ebers
The Ebers Papyrus is the largest, most beautiful, most important and only completely bequeathed scroll of ancient Egyptian medicine. The Ebers Papyrus is a unicum and the main source of knowledge about the old Egyptian medicine.

Name: The scroll is named after its publisher, the Leipzig explorer and Egyptologist Georg Ebers (1837-1898).

Acquisition: Georg Ebers purchased the papyrus scroll in Thebes (Upper Egypt) in the winter of 1872/73.

Storage: The Ebers Papyrus is the property of the university library of Leipzig since 1873.

Measurements: The scroll measures 18,63 m/20,37 yards in length and 0,30 m/11,81 inches in height.

Age: The scroll originates in the last quarter of the 16th century BC.

Origin: It is presumed that the Ebers Papyrus was found in a grave near Thebes.

Script/language: The text is written in hieratic script, from right to left in black ink; red is used for headings and indications of measurements.

Material and form: The Ebers Papyrus is a scroll consisting of 48 single papyrus sheets glued together. When discovered, the scroll was complete. For better conservation it was later cut into 29 pieces. Since the Second World War a few columns have been lost or damaged. In the presentation these columns are replaced by the facsimile produced by Georg Ebers in 1875.

Content and structure: The Ebers Papyrus is a brief textbook of 110 columns about Ancient Egyptian medicine. Columns 103-110 were written on the backside of columns 102-94. On the back of column I there is a famous calendar which includes the date of the Sotis rising in the 9th year of the reign of Amenophis I (1525-1504 BC). The Ebers Papyrus contains 879 individual texts, describing about 80 different illnesses and their treatments.


© Universitätsbibliothek Leipzig, 2016