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When Architects Were Gods

Updated: Mar 19



It's been a while, but do you believe me with I tell you there was once an architect who was worshipped as a God? That's right hard to believe. Talk about an ego. Actually, I've known a couple of bosses like that, but I degress. The architect in question is Imhotep and he did all of this without social media. Talk about talent.


Imhotep was an ancient Egyptian architect, engineer, and polymath who lived during the 27th century BCE. He is considered to be the first known architect in recorded history and is credited with designing the first known stepped pyramid, the Pyramid of Djoser, in the city of Saqqara.


Imhotep's architectural innovations were revolutionary for their time. The Pyramid of Djoser, for example, was the first large-scale stone structure in Egypt, and its unique design, featuring six stepped levels, was a departure from the traditional mastaba tombs that preceded it. Imhotep's use of stone, instead of the more common mud-brick, meant that the pyramid was able to withstand the test of time and still stands today as a testament to his architectural genius.


In addition to designing the Pyramid of Djoser, Imhotep is also credited with designing the mortuary complex that surrounds it, which includes a temple, a palace, and a series of courtyards. This complex, known as the 'Hekaib', was the first known example of a royal funerary complex in Egypt, and it set the precedent for all future such complexes in the country.


Imhotep was not only a brilliant architect but also a skilled engineer. He is credited with designing a series of waterworks, including a system of canals and dams, that helped to control the flooding of the Nile and allowed for more efficient irrigation of crops. He also designed a system of sluices that helped to control the water flow in the canals, which allowed for more precise irrigation.


In addition to his architectural and engineering accomplishments, Imhotep was also a respected physician, astronomer, and scribe. Talk about a resume! He was so highly respected in ancient Egypt that he was considered a god and was worshipped as the god of medicine and wisdom. Probably still had to chase down his invoices.


Imhotep's legacy lives on today, not only in the monuments he designed, but also in the many architects, engineers, and scientists who have been inspired by his work. He stands as a symbol of the incredible achievements of the ancient Egyptians, and his contributions to architecture, engineering, and other fields continue to be studied and admired by scholars and experts around the world.


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