Imhotep (/ɪmˈhoʊtɛp/; Ancient Egyptian: ỉỉ-m-ḥtp “the one who comes in peace”; fl. late 27th century BCE) was an Egyptian chancellor to the Pharaoh Djoser, possible architect of Djoser‘s step pyramid, and high priest of the sun god Ra at Heliopolis. Very little is known of Imhotep as a historical figure, but in the 3,000 years following his death, he was gradually glorified and deified.
Traditions from long after Imhotep’s death treated him as a great author of wisdom texts and especially as a physician. No text from his lifetime mentions these capacities and no text mentions his name in the first 1,200 years following his death. Apart from the three short contemporary inscriptions that establish him as chancellor to the Pharaoh, the first text to reference Imhotep dates to the time of Amenhotep III (c. 1391–1353 BCE). It is addressed to the owner of a tomb, and reads: