Brooklyn Papyrus

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The Brooklyn Papyrus is kept at the Brooklyn Museum

The Brooklyn Papyrus (47.218.48 och 47.218.85, also known as the Brooklyn Medical Papyrus) is a medical papyrus dating from ancient Egypt and is one of the oldest preserved writings about medicine and ophiology.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] The manuscript is dated to around 450 BC and is today kept at the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

The manuscript[edit]

The Brooklyn Papyrus consists of a scroll of papyrus divided into two parts with some parts missing, its total length is estimated to 175 × 27 cm.[4][5] The text is on the recto side. The different numbers refer to the upper part (-48, 66,5 × 27,5 cm) and the lower part (-85, 66,5 × 27,5 cm) of the scroll.[3]

The manuscript is a collection, the first part systematically describing a number of different snakes and the second part describing different treatments for snakebites.[4][5][6][7] The manuscript also contains treatments of scorpion bites and spider bites.[2]

The papyrus scroll is dated in between 660 and 330 BC around the Thirtieth Dynasty of Egypt.[3][4][5][6][7] The text however is written in a style common during the Middle Kingdom which could suggest its origin might be from the Thirteenth dynasty of Egypt.[2]


The date of the scroll's discovery is not known. It was purchased around 1889 by Charles Edwin Wilbour and donated to the museum by his daughter Theodora Wilbour in the early 1930s.[3] The manuscript might originate from a temple at ancient Heliopolis.[4][5]

In 1989 French Egyptologist Serge Sauneron published an extensive description of the manuscript in his book "Un traité égyptien d’ophiologie - Papyrus du Brooklyn Museum nos 47.218.48 et 85" [2][4]

At present the manuscript is not on display at the Brooklyn Museum. The archive numbers are 47.218.48 and 47.218.85.



  1. ^ "Ancient Egyptian Medical papyri,". Retrieved 2012-10-24. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Australian Academy of Medicine & Surgery". Retrieved 2012-10-24. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Brooklyn Museum". Retrieved 2012-10-24. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f " (german)". Retrieved 2012-10-24. 
  5. ^ a b c d e " (german)". Retrieved 2012-10-24. 
  6. ^ a b c "Oxford University Press, Ancient Egypt medicine, page 355". Retrieved 2012-10-24. 
  7. ^ a b c "Medizinische (german)". Retrieved 2012-10-24. 


External links[edit]