Medicine 189 purpose of explaining the meaning of the sentences. These glosses may have helped the Egyptians of the Eighteenth Dynasty, but for us they add to, rather than diminish, the difficulties. The title of the passage is: The beginning of the science of the physician; to know the movement of the heart and to know the heart; there are vessels attached to it for every member of the body.' An explanatory gloss follows, stating that by placing the fingers upon the region of the heart and upon the head and limbs, the action of the heart will be perceived through the vessels leading to each member, that is to say, the pulse can be felt in various parts of the body because of the vessels that radiate from the heart. There is, of course, no hint of any knowledge of the circulation of the blood (although some writers have read this meaning into the text),1 nor indeed is there any mention of blood: all that was perceived was the sympathy of the pulse with the beating of the heart itself. The Egyptians certainly regarded the heart as the most important organ of the body. It was held to be the seat of intelligence and of all the emotions (they attached no importance at all to the brain), and its presence in the body was so important that it was not even removed from the body during mummification, but was carefully left, together with its great vessels, in its place in the thorax, although all the other viscera were removed. The text, after this introduction, proceeds to enumerate the vessels that communicate with each part of the body, stating what was conveyed by them, and continues with a description of the behaviour of the heart under various conditions. Nothing like a system of physiology can be reconstructed from this obscure and garbled passage, although one or two facts emerge quite clearly. One of them is the importance of 1 It is scarcely necessary to say that this modern view is absurd, for long ages were destined to pass before the difference between arterial and venous blood was either observed or appreciated, and before the discovery of the lymphatic vessels.