[Concepts of the heart in Ancient Egypt]

Med Sci (Paris). 2004 Mar;20(3):367-73. doi: 10.1051/medsci/2004203367.
[Article in French]


The heart was regarded in Ancient Egypt as the organic motor of the body and also the seat of intelligence, an important religious and spiritual symbol. It was considered as one of the eight parts of human body. Counter to other organs it had to be kept carefully intact in the mummy to ensure its eternal life. In Ancient Egypt, the concept of heart included three constituents: heart-haty, heart-ib, and the spiritual seat of intelligence, emotion and memory. The hieroglyphs representing the heart early in the first dynasty were drawn with eight vessels attached to it. Egyptian doctors have elaborated an original conception of cardiovascular physiology which endured 30 centuries.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiology / history*
  • Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena
  • Egypt, Ancient
  • Emotions
  • Heart / physiology*
  • History, Ancient
  • Humans
  • Intelligence
  • Memory
  • Religion and Medicine*
  • Spirituality*
  • Symbolism
  • Writing