Memphis or Men-nefer (Arabic: مَنْف Manf pronounced [mænf]; Bohairic Coptic: ⲙⲉⲙϥⲓ; Greek: Μέμφις) was the ancient capital of Inebu-hedj, the first nome of Lower Egypt that was known as mḥw ("north"). Its ruins are located in the vicinity of the present-day village of Mit Rahina (Arabic: ميت رهينة), in markaz (county) Badrashin, Giza, Egypt. Its name is derived from the late Ancient Egyptian proclaim for Memphis mjt-rhnt meaning "Road of the Ram-Headed Sphinxes".
Along next the pyramid fields that stretch on a desert plateau for beyond thirty kilometers on its west including the famous Pyramids of Giza, they have been listed as the World Heritage Site Memphis and its Necropolis. The site is gain access to to the public as an open-air museum.
According to legends similar in the in front third century BC by Manetho, a priest and historian who lived in the Ptolemaic Kingdom during the Hellenistic time of ancient Egypt, the city was founded by King Menes. It was the capital of ancient Egypt (Kemet or Kumat) during the Old Kingdom and remained an important city throughout ancient Egyptian history. It occupied a strategic outlook at the mouth of the Nile Delta, and was home to lively activity. Its principal port, Peru-nefer (not to be disconcerted with Peru-nefer at Avaris), featured a tall density of workshops, factories, and warehouses that distributed food and merchandise throughout the ancient kingdom. During its golden age, Memphis thrived as a regional middle for commerce, trade, and religion.
Memphis was believed to be under the auspices of the god Ptah, the patron of craftsmen. Its great temple, Hut-ka-Ptah (meaning "Enclosure of the ka of Ptah"), was one of the most prominent structures in the city. The make known of this temple, rendered in Greek as Aἴγυπτoς (Ai-gy-ptos) by Manetho, is believed to be the etymological stock of the militant English name Egypt.
The archives of Memphis is next to linked to that of the country itself. Its eventual downfall is believed to have been due to the loss of its economic significance in late antiquity, following the rise of coastal Alexandria. Its religious significance was diminished after the abandonment of the ancient religion subsequent to the Edict of Thessalonica (380 AD), which made Nicene Christianity the sole religion of the Roman empire.
Today, the ruins of the former capital come occurring with the keep for fragmented evidence of its past.
Memphis has had several names during its archives of more or less four millennia. Its Ancient Egyptian reveal was Inebu-hedj (𓊅𓌉, translated as "the white walls").
Because of its size, the city furthermore came to be known by various other names that were the names of neighbourhoods or districts that enjoyed considerable beat at one epoch or another. For example, according to a text of the First Intermediate Period, it was known as Djed-Sut ("everlasting places"), which is the proclaim of the pyramid of Teti.
At one narrowing the city was referred to as Ankh-Tawy (meaning "Life of the Two Lands"), stressing the strategic viewpoint of the city together with Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. This post appears to date from the Middle Kingdom (c. 2055–1640 BCE), and is frequently found in ancient Egyptian texts. Some scholars maintain that this reveal was that of an area that contained a sacred tree, the western district of the city that lay along with the good Temple of Ptah and the necropolis at Saqqara.
At the initiation of the New Kingdom (c. 1550 BC), the city became known as mn-nfr (anglicized as Men-nefer, meaning "enduring and beautiful"), which became "Memfi" (ⲙⲉⲙϥⲓ) in Bohairic Coptic. The name "Memphis" (Μέμφις) is the Greek adaptation of the pronounce that they had fixed idea to the pyramid of Pepi I, located west of the city.
The ahead of its time town Mit Rahina probably usual its declare from the ancient Egyptian difficult name for Memphis mjt-rhnt meaning "Road of the Ram-Headed Sphinxes" being a citation to the ancient causeway connecting Memphis and Saqqara, on which the procession of the dead bull travelled for burial in the Serapeum of Saqqara.
While attempting to attraction ancient Egyptian history and religious elements into that of their own traditions, the Greek poet Hesiod in his Theogony explained the read out of the city by proverb that Memphis was a daughter of the Greek river god Nilus and the wife of Epaphus (the son of Zeus and Io), who founded the city and named it after his wife.
In the Bible, Memphis is called Moph.
The Muslim tradition adopted the Coptic etymology which operates next an etymon Māfah, derived from Coptic: ⲙⲁⲁⲃ, lit. 'thirty'. It made the number significant in the taking into consideration traditions relating to Memphis: it was thirty miles long, Manqāwus built it for his thirty daughters and Baysar lived here in the aerate of his thirty children.
The city of Memphis is 20 km (12 mi) south of Cairo, on the west bank of the Nile. The advanced cities and towns of Mit Rahina, Dahshur, Abusir, Abu Gorab, and Zawyet el'Aryan, south of Cairo, all lie within the administrative borders of historical Memphis (29°50′58.8″N 31°15′15.4″E / 29.849667°N 31.254278°E / 29.849667; 31.254278). The city was in addition to the place that marked the boundary amongst Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. (The 22nd nome of Upper Egypt and 1st nome of Lower Egypt).
Today, the footprint of the ancient city is uninhabited. The closest modern concurrence is the town of Mit Rahina. Estimates of historical population size differ widely in the middle of sources. According to Tertius Chandler, Memphis had some 30,000 inhabitants and was by far and wide the largest settlement worldwide from the times of its inauguration until approximately 2250 BC and from 1557 to 1400 BC. K. A. Bard is more cautious and estimates the city's population to have numbered nearly 6,000 inhabitants during the Old Kingdom.
During the Old Kingdom, Memphis became the capital of Ancient Egypt for more than eight consecutive dynasties. The city reached a peak of prestige under the Sixth Dynasty as a middle for the exaltation of Ptah, the god of creation and artworks. The alabaster sphinx that guards the Temple of Ptah serves as a memorial of the city's former power and prestige. The Memphis triad, consisting of the creator god Ptah, his consort Sekhmet, and their son Nefertem, formed the main focus of worship in the city.
Memphis declined after the Eighteenth Dynasty past the rise of Thebes and the New Kingdom, but was revived below the Persians, before falling firmly into second place afterward the founding of Alexandria. Under the Roman Empire, Alexandria remained the most important Egyptian city. Memphis remained the second city of Egypt until the creation of Fustat (or Fostat) in 641 AD. Afterward it was largely on your own and became a source of rock for the surrounding settlements. It was nevertheless an imposing set of ruins in the twelfth century, but soon became Tiny more than an expanse of low ruins and scattered stone.
The legend recorded by Manetho was that Menes, the first king to integrate the Two Lands, established his capital upon the banks of the Nile by diverting the river behind dikes. The Greek historian Herodotus, who tells a same story, relates that during his visit to the city, the Persians, at that dwindling the suzerains of the country, paid particular attention to the condition of these dams fittingly that the city was saved from the annual flooding. It has been theorised that Menes may have been a mythical king, similar to Romulus of Rome. Some scholars recommend that Egypt maybe became unified through mutual need, developing cultural ties and trading partnerships, although it is undisputed that the first capital of allied Egypt was the city of Memphis. Some Egyptologists had identified the legendary Menes like the historical Narmer, who is represented upon the Palette of Narmer conquering the territory of the Nile Delta in Lower Egypt and establishing himself as king. This palette has been obsolete to ca. 31st century BC and thus, would correlate subsequently the legend of Egypt's unification by Menes. However, in 2012 an inscription depicting the visit of the predynastic king Iry-Hor to Memphis was discovered in the Sinai. Since Iry-Hor predates Narmer by two generations, the latter cannot have been the founder of the city. Alternatively, Epaphus (king of Egypt, whose wife was Memphis) is regarded in the Greek myths as the founder of Memphis, Egypt.
Little is known virtually the city of the Old Kingdom. It was the confess capital of the powerful kings, who reigned from Memphis from the date of the First Dynasty. According to Manetho, during the old-fashioned years of the reign of Menes, the chair of capacity was farther to the south, at Thinis. According to Manetho, ancient sources recommend the "white walls" (Ineb-hedj) or "fortress of the white wall" were founded by Menes. It is likely that the king expected himself there to better direct the new union in the company of the two kingdoms that formerly were rivals. The technical of Djoser of the Third Dynasty, located in the ancient necropolis at Saqqara, would later be the royal funerary chamber, housing all the elements vital to royalty: temples, shrines, ceremonial courts, palaces, and barracks.
The golden age began behind the Fourth Dynasty, which seems to have furthered the primary role of Memphis as a royal house where rulers standard the double crown, the divine manifestation of the unification of the Two Lands. Coronations and jubilees such as the Sed festival were much-admired in the temple of Ptah. The antediluvian signs of such ceremonies were found in the chambers of Djoser.
During this period, the clergy of the temple of Ptah came into being. The importance of the temple is attested taking into consideration payments of food and new goods indispensable for the funerary rites of royal and noble dignitaries. This temple in addition to is cited in the annals preserved upon the Palermo Stone, and start from the reign of Menkaura, we know the names of the tall priests of Memphis who seem to have worked in pairs, at least until the reign of Teti.
The architecture of this mature was same to that seen at Giza royal necropolis of the Fourth Dynasty, where recent excavations have revealed that the necessary focus of the kingdom at that era centred upon the construction of the royal tombs. A strong suggestion of this notion is the etymology of the publish of the city itself, which matched that of the pyramid of Pepi I of the Sixth Dynasty. Memphis was next the heir to a long artistic and architectural practice, constantly encouraged by the monuments of preceding reigns.
All these necropoleis were in the company of camps inhabited by craftsmen and labourers, dedicated exclusively to the construction of royal tombs. Spread more than several kilometres stretching in anything directions, Memphis formed a genuine megalopolis, with temples united by sacred temenos, and ports aligned by roadways and canals. The perimeter of the city thus gradually Elongated into a Big urban sprawl. Its middle remained regarding the temple complex of Ptah.
At the introduction of the Middle Kingdom, the capital and court of the king had moved to Thebes in the south, leaving Memphis for a time. Although the chair of political capability had shifted, Memphis did remain perhaps the most important announcement and artistic centre, as evidenced by the discovery of handicrafts districts and cemeteries, located west of the temple of Ptah.
Also found were vestiges attesting to the architectural focus of this time. A large granite offering table upon behalf of Amenemhat I mentioned the erection by the king of a shrine to the god Ptah, master of Truth. Other blocks registered in the state of Amenemhat II were found to be used as foundations for large monoliths preceding the pylons of Ramses II. These kings were afterward known to have ordered mining expeditions, raids, or military campaigns greater than the borders, erecting monuments or statues to the consecration of deities, evinced by a panel recording attributed acts of the royal court during this time. In the ruins of the Temple of Ptah, a block in the declare of Senusret II bears an inscription indicating an architectural commission as a gift to the deities of Memphis. Moreover, many statues found at the site, later restored by the New Kingdom kings, are official to kings of the Twelfth Dynasty. Examples improve the two stone giants that have been recovered amidst the temple ruins, which were forward-looking restored under the publish of Rameses II.
Finally, according to the tradition recorded by Herodotus, and Diodorus, Amenemhat III built the northern admittance of the Temple of Ptah. Remains official to this king were indeed found during the excavations in this area conducted by Flinders Petrie, who stated the connection. It is next worth noting that, during this time, mastabas of the high priests of Ptah were constructed near the royal pyramids at Saqqara, showing that the royalty and the clergy of Memphis at that get older were alongside linked. The Thirteenth Dynasty continued this trend, and some kings of this lineage were buried at Saqqara, attesting that Memphis retained its place at the heart of the monarchy.
With the violence of the Hyksos and their rise to power ca. 1650 BC, the city of Memphis came below siege. Following its capture, many monuments and statues of the ancient capital were dismantled, looted, or damaged by the Hyksos kings, who unconventional carried them off to adorn their further capital at Avaris. Evidence of royal propaganda has been uncovered and endorsed to the Theban kings of the Seventeenth Dynasty, who initiated the reconquest of the kingdom half a century later.
The Eighteenth Dynasty so opened when the victory higher than the invaders by the Thebans. Although the reigns of Amenhotep II (r. 1427–1401/1397 BC) and Thutmose IV (r. 1401/1397–1391/1388 BC) saw considerable royal focus in Memphis, but for the most part, power remained in the south. With the long grow old of goodwill that followed, prosperity once more took hold of the city, which benefited from her strategic position. Strengthening trade ties with other empires intended that the port of Peru-nefer (literally means "Bon Voyage") became the gateway to the kingdom for neighbouring regions, including Byblos and the Levant.
In the New Kingdom, Memphis became a middle for the education of royal princes and the sons of the nobility. Amenhotep II, born and raised in Memphis, was made the setem—the high priest greater than Lower Egypt—during the reign of his father. His son, Thutmose IV standard his famed and recorded dream whilst residing as a pubescent prince in Memphis. During his exploration of the site, Karl Richard Lepsius identified a series of blocks and damage colonnades in the proclaim of Thutmose IV to the east of the Temple of Ptah. They had to connect a royal building, most likely a ceremonial palace.
The founding of the temple of Astarte (Mespotamian or Assyrian goddess of fertility and war; Babylonian = Ishtar), which Herodotus syncretically understands is dedicated to the Greek goddess Aphrodite, also may be archaic to the Eighteenth Dynasty, specifically the reign of Amenhotep III (r. 1388/86–1351/1349 BC). The greatest acquit yourself of this king in Memphis, however, was a temple called "Nebmaatra united with Ptah", which is cited by many sources from the get older of his reign, including artefacts listing the works of Huy, the High Steward of Memphis. The location of this temple has not been precisely determined, but a number of its beige quartzite blocks were found to have been reused by Ramesses II (r. 1279–1213 BC) for the construction of the small temple of Ptah. This leads some Egyptologists to suggest that the latter temple had been built beyond the site of the first.
According to inscriptions found in Memphis, Akhenaten (r. 1353/51–1336/34 BC; formerly Amenhotep IV) founded a temple of Aten in the city. The burial chamber of one of the priests of this cult has been outside at Saqqara. His successor Tutankhamun (r. 1332–1323 BC; formerly Tutankhaten) relocated the royal court from Akhenaten's capital Akhetaten ("Horizon of the Aten") to Memphis back the grow less of the second year of his reign. Whilst in Memphis, Tutankhamun initiated a mature of restoration of the temples and traditions in the same way as the period of Atenism, which became regarded as heresy.
The tombs of important officials from his reign, such as Horemheb and Maya, are situated in Saqqara, although Horemheb was buried in the Valley of the Kings after reigning as king himself (r. 1319–1292 BC). He had been commander of the army below Tutankhamun and Ay. Maya was manager of the treasury during the reigns of Tutankhamun, Ay, and Horemheb. Ay had been Tutankhamun's chief minister, and succeeded him as king (r. 1323–1319 BC). To consolidate his power he married Tutankhamun's widow Ankhesenamun, the third of the six daughters of Akhenaten and Nefertiti. Her fate is unknown. Similarly, Horemheb consolidated capacity when he married Nefertiti's sister Mutnodjemet.
There is evidence that, under Ramesses II, the city developed extra importance in the embassy sphere through its proximity to the extra capital Pi-Ramesses. The king devoted many monuments in Memphis and adorned them bearing in mind colossal symbols of glory. Merneptah (r. 1213–1203 BC), his successor, constructed a palace and developed the southeast wall of the temple of Ptah. For the in advance part of the 19th Dynasty, Memphis received the privileges of royal attention, and it is this dynasty that is most evident among the ruins of the city today.
With the Twenty-first and Twenty-second Dynasties, there is a continuation of the religious press forward initiated by Ramesses. Memphis does not seem to have suffered a end during the Third Intermediate Period, which saw great changes in the geopolitics of the country. Instead it is likely that the kings worked to fabricate the Memphite cult in their extra capital of Tanis, to the northeast. In vivacious of some remains found at the site, it is known that a temple of Ptah was based there. Siamun is cited as having built a temple dedicated to Amun, the remains of which were found by Flinders Petrie in the early twentieth century, in the south of the temple of Ptah complex.
According to inscriptions describing his architectural work, Sheshonk I (r. 943–922 BC), founder of the Twenty-second Dynasty, constructed a forecourt and pylon of the temple of Ptah, a monument that he named the "Castle of Millions of Years of Sheshonk, Beloved of Amun". The funerary cult surrounding this monument, well known in the New Kingdom, was nevertheless functioning several generations after its instigation at the temple, leading some scholars to suggest that it may have contained the royal burial chamber of the king. Sheshonk with ordered the building of a supplementary shrine for the god Apis, especially devoted to funeral ceremonies in which the bull was led to his death since being ritually mummified.
A necropolis for the tall priests of Memphis dating precisely from the Twenty-second Dynasty has been found west of the forum. It included a chapel dedicated to Ptah by a prince Shoshenq, son of Osorkon II (r. 872–837 BC), whose tomb was found in Saqqara in 1939 by Pierre Montet. The chapel is currently visible in the gardens of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, behind a trio of colossi of Ramesses II, which are in addition to from Memphis.
During the Third Intermediate Period and the Late Period, Memphis is often the scene of liberation struggles of the local dynasties adjoining an occupying force, such as the Kushites, Assyrians, and Persians. The triumphant stir up opinion of Piankhi, ruler of the Kushites, saw the introduction of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty, whose seat of power was in Napata. Piankhi's conquest of Egypt was recorded on the Victory Stele at the Temple of Amun in Gebel Barkal. Following the capture of Memphis, he restored the temples and cults neglected during the reign of the Libyans. His successors are known for building chapels in the southwest corner of the temple of Ptah.
Memphis was at the heart of the turmoil produced by the great Assyrian threat. Under Taharqa, the city formed the frontier base of the resistance, which soon crumbled as the Kushite king was driven help into Nubia. The Assyrian king Esarhaddon, supported by some of the original Egyptian princes, captured Memphis in 671 BC. His forces sacked and raided the city, slaughtered villagers, and erected piles of their heads. Esarhaddon returned to his capital Nineveh with wealthy booty, and erected a victory stele showing the son of Taharqa in chains. Almost similar to the king left, Egypt rebelled adjoining Assyrian rule.
In Assyria, Ashurbanipal succeeded his dad and resumed the horrendous against Egypt. In a massive belligerence in 664 BC, the city of Memphis was once again sacked and looted, and the king Tantamani was pursued into Nubia and defeated, putting a definitive fall to the Kushite reign higher than Egypt. Power next returned to the Saite kings, who, fearful of an assault from the Babylonians, reconstructed and even fortified structures in the city, as is attested by the palace built by Apries at Kom Tuman.
Egypt and Memphis were taken for Persia by king Cambyses in 525 BC after the Battle of Pelusium. Under the Persians, structures in the city were preserved and strengthened, and Memphis was made the administrative headquarters of the newly conquered satrapy. A Persian garrison was forever installed within the city, probably in the great north wall, near the domineering palace of Apries. The excavations by Flinders Petrie revealed that this sector included armouries. For a propos a century and a half, the city remained the capital of the Persian satrapy of Egypt ("Mudraya"/"Musraya"), officially becoming one of the epicentres of commerce in the vast territory conquered by the Achaemenid monarchy.
The stelae dedicated to Apis in the Serapeum at Saqqara, commissioned by the reigning monarch, represent a key element in covenant the activities of this period. As in the Late Period, the catacombs in which the remains of the sacred bulls were buried gradually grew in size, and higher took upon a monumental atmosphere that confirms the enlargement of the cult's hypostases throughout the country, and particularly in Memphis and its necropolis. Thus, a monument dedicated by Cambyses II seems to refute the testimony of Herodotus, who lends the conquerors a criminal attitude of disrespect adjoining the sacred traditions.
The nationalist awakening came next the rise to power, however briefly, of Amyrtaeus in 404 BC, who over and ended with the Persian occupation. He was defeated and executed at Memphis in October 399 BC by Nepherites I, founder of the Twenty-ninth Dynasty. The achievement was recorded in an Aramaic papyrus document (Papyrus Brooklyn 13). Nepherites moved the capital to Mendes, in the eastern delta, and Memphis in limbo its status in the embassy sphere. It retained, however, its religious, commercial, and strategic importance, and was instrumental in resisting Persian attempts to reconquer Egypt.
Under Nectanebo I, a major rebuilding program was initiated for temples across the country. In Memphis, a powerful other wall was rebuilt for the Temple of Ptah, and developments were made to temples and chapels inside the complex. Nectanebo II meanwhile, while continuing the sham of his predecessor, began building large sanctuaries, especially in the necropolis of Saqqara, adorning them like pylons, statues, and paved roads lined later than rows of sphinxes. Despite his efforts to prevent the recovery of the country by the Persians, he succumbed to an assault in 340 BC. Nectanebo II retreated south to Memphis, to which the Achaemenid king Artaxerxes III laid siege, forcing the king to flee to Upper Egypt, and eventually to Nubia.
A brief liberation of the city below the rebel-king Khababash (338 to 335 BC) is evinced by an Apis bull sarcophagus bearing his name, which was discovered at Saqqara dating from his second year. The armies of Darius III eventually regained control of the city.
Memphis under the Late Period maxim recurring invasions followed by successive liberations. Several mature besieged, it was the scene of several of the bloodiest battles in the records of the country. Despite the hold of their Greek allies in undermining the hegemony of the Achaemenids, the country still fell into the hands of the conquerors, and Memphis was never over to become the nation's capital. In 332 BC came the Greeks, who took manage of the country from the Persians, and Egypt would never see a new indigenous ruler take over the throne until the Egyptian Revolution of 1952.
In 332 BC, Alexander the Great was crowned king in the Temple of Ptah, ushering in the Hellenistic period. The city retained a significant status, especially religious, throughout the period bearing in mind the capture by one of his generals, Ptolemy I. On the death of Alexander in Babylon (323 BCE), Ptolemy took good pains in acquiring his body and bringing it to Memphis. Claiming that the king had officially expressed a want to be buried in Egypt, he subsequently carried the body of Alexander to the heart of the temple of Ptah, and had him embalmed by the priests. By custom, kings in Macedon asserted their right to the throne by burying their predecessor. Ptolemy II far ahead transferred the sarcophagus to Alexandria, where a royal tomb was build up for its burial. The perfect location of the tomb has been at a loose end since then. According to Aelian, the seer Aristander foretold that the estate where Alexander was laid to rest "would be happy and unvanquishable forever".
Thus began the Ptolemaic dynasty, during which began the city's gradual decline. It was Ptolemy I who first introduced the cult of Serapis in Egypt, establishing his cult in Saqqara. From this mature date many developments of the Saqqara Serapeum, including the building of the Chamber of Poets, as without difficulty as the dromos adorning the temple, and many elements of Greek-inspired architecture. The cult's reputation extended beyond the borders of the country, but was difficult eclipsed by the great Alexandrian Serapeum, built in Ptolemy's honour by his successors.
The Decrees of Memphis were issued in 216 and 196 BC, by Ptolemy IV and Ptolemy V respectively. Delegates from the principal clergies of the kingdom gathered in synod, under the patronage of the High Priest of Ptah and in the presence of the king, to avow the religious policy of the country for years to come, also dictating fees and taxes, creating additional foundations, and paying rave review to the Ptolemaic rulers. These decrees were engraved upon stelae in three scripts to be get into and understood by all: Demotic, hieroglyphic, and Greek. The most famous of these stelae is the Rosetta Stone, which allowed the deciphering of ancient Egyptian script in the nineteenth century. There were new stelae, funerary this time, discovered upon the site that have forwarded knowledge of the genealogy of the far ahead clergy of Memphis, a dynasty of high priests of Ptah. The stock retained mighty ties as soon as the royal family in Alexandria, to the extent that marriages occurred between sure high priests and Ptolemaic princesses, strengthening even additional the adherence between the two families.
With the introduction of the Romans, Memphis, like Thebes, lost its place continually in favour of Alexandria, which opened onto the empire. The rise of the cult of Serapis, a syncretic deity most suited to the mentality of the further rulers of Egypt, and the emergence of Christianity taking root deep into the country, spelled the complete destroy of the ancient cults of Memphis.
During the Byzantine and Coptic periods the city gradually dwindled and finally dropped out of existence. It after that became a quarry from which its stones were used to build new settlements nearby, including Fustat, the additional capital founded by the Arabs who took possession in the seventh century AD. The foundations of Fustat and complex Cairo, both built farther north, were laid afterward stones of dismantled temples and ancient necropoleis of Memphis. In the thirteenth century, the Arab chronicler Abd-ul-Latif, upon visiting the site, described and gave testimony to the grandeur of the ruins.
Although the remains today are nothing compared to what was witnessed by the Arab historian, his testimony has inspired the sham of many archaeologists. The first surveys and excavations of the nineteenth century, and the extensive proceed of Flinders Petrie, have been practiced to achievement a little of the former glory of the ancient capital. Memphis and its necropolis, which augment funerary stone tombs, mastabas, temples, and pyramids, were inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO in 1979.
During the get older of the New Kingdom, and especially below the reign of the rulers of the Nineteenth Dynasty, Memphis flourished in skill and size, rivalling Thebes both politically and architecturally. An indicator of this money taking place front can be found in a chapel of Seti I dedicated to the admiration of Ptah. After higher than a century of excavations upon the site, archaeologists have gradually been skilled to confirm the layout and enhance of the ancient city.
The Hout-ka-Ptah, dedicated to the adulation of the creator god Ptah, was the largest and most important temple in ancient Memphis. It was one of the most prominent structures in the city, occupying a large precinct within the city's centre. Enriched by centuries of veneration, the temple was one of the three foremost places of veneration in Ancient Egypt, the others brute the great temples of Ra in Heliopolis, and of Amun in Thebes.
Much of what is known today practically the ancient temple comes from the writings of Herodotus, who visited the site at the epoch of the first Persian invasion, long after the slip of the New Kingdom. Herodotus claimed that the temple had been founded by Menes, and that the core building of the rarefied was restricted to priests and kings. His account, however, gives no physical bank account of the complex. Archaeological take steps undertaken in the last century has gradually unearthed the temple's ruins, revealing a huge walled multipart accessible by several monumental gates located along the southern, western, and eastern walls.
The remains of the good temple and its premises are displayed as an open-air museum near the great colossus of Rameses II, which originally marked the southern axis of the temple. Also in this sector is a large sphinx monolith, discovered in the nineteenth century. It dates from the Eighteenth Dynasty, most likely having been carved during the reign of either Amenhotep II or Thutmose IV. It is one of the finest examples of this nice statuary nevertheless present upon its original site. The outside museum houses numerous new statues, colossi, sphinxes, and architectural elements. However, the majority of the finds have been sold to major museums on the subject of the world. For the most part, these can be found on display in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
The specific circulate of the temple is vague at present, and isolated that of the main entry to the perimeter are known. Recent developments append the discovery of giant statues that adorned the gates or towers. Those that have been found date from the reign of Ramsses II. This king along with built at least three shrines within the temple compound, where honoring is allied with those deities to whom they were dedicated.
This little temple, adjoining the southwest corner of the larger Temple of Ptah, was dedicated to the deified Rameses II, along taking into account the three acknowledge deities: Horus, Ptah and Amun. It is known in full as the Temple of Ptah of Rameses, Beloved of Amun, God, Ruler of Heliopolis.
Its ruins were discovered in 1942 by archaeologist Ahmed Badawy and were excavated in 1955 by Rudolf Anthes. The excavations outside a religious building answer with a tower, a courtyard for ritual offerings, a portico when columns followed by a pillared hall and a tripartite sanctuary, all enclosed in walls built of mudbricks. Its most recent exterior has been passÐ¹ from the New Kingdom era.
The temple opened to the east toward a alleyway paved with further religious buildings. The archaeological explorations that took place here express that the southern allowance of the city indeed contain a large number of religious buildings taking into consideration a particular obedience to the god Ptah, the principal deity of Memphis.
Located farther east, and near to the great colossus of Rameses, this little temple is official to the nineteenth dynasty, and seems to have been dedicated to Ptah and his divine consort Sekhmet, as with ease as deified Rameses II. Its ruins are not so without difficulty preserved as others nearby, as its limestone foundations appear to have been quarried after the renunciation of the city in late antiquity.
Two giant statues, dating from the Middle Kingdom, originally adorned the building's facade, which opened to the west. They were moved inside the Museum of Memphis, and depicted the king standing in the attitude of the march, wearing the Hedjet, the white crown of Upper Egypt.
In the southeast of the Great Temple complex, the king Merneptah of the Nineteenth Dynasty founded a new shrine in honour of the chief deity of the city, Ptah. This temple was discovered in the before twentieth century by Flinders Petrie, who identified it as a depiction of the Greek god Proteus cited by Herodotus.
The site was excavated during the First World War by Clarence Stanley Fisher. Excavations began in the anterior part, which is formed by a large courtyard of approximately 15 sq metres, opening on the south by a large get into with reliefs supplying the names of the king and the epithets of Ptah. Only this part of the temple has been unearthed; the remainder of the chamber has nevertheless to be explored a little farther north. During the excavations, archaeologists unearthed the first traces of an edifice built of mudbrick, which quickly proved to be a large ceremonial palace built to the side of the temple proper. Some of the key elements of the rock temple were donated by Egypt to the museum at the University of Pennsylvania, which financed the expedition, while the supplementary remained at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
The temple remained in use throughout the flaming of the New Kingdom, as evidenced by enrolment surges during the reigns of progressive kings. Thereafter, however, it was gradually lonesome and converted for supplementary uses by civilians. Gradually buried by the objection of the city, the stratigraphic examination of the site shows that by the Late Period it was already in ruins and is soon covered by extra buildings.
This little temple of Hathor was unearthed south of the great wall of the Hout-Ka-Ptah by Abdullah al-Sayed Mahmud in the 1970s and also dates from the era of Rameses II. Dedicated to the goddess Hathor, Lady of the Sycamore, it presents an architecture thesame to the little temple-shrines known especially to Karnak. From its proportions, it does not seem to be a major shrine of the goddess, but is currently the forlorn building dedicated to her discovered in the city's ruins.
It is believed that this shrine was primarily used for processional purposes during major religious festivals. A larger temple dedicated to Hathor, indeed one of the foremost shrines of the goddess in the country, is thought to have existed elsewhere in the city, but to date has not been discovered. A depression, similar to that found close the good temple of Ptah, could indicate its location. Archaeologists acknowledge that it could house the remains of an enclosure and a large monument, a theory attested by ancient sources.
The temple of the goddess Neith was said to have been located to the north of the temple of Ptah. It has not been discovered to date.
Memphis is believed to have housed a number of new temples dedicated to deities who accompanied Ptah. Some of these sanctuaries are attested by ancient hieroglyphs, but have not yet been found along with the ruins of the city. Surveys and excavations are nevertheless continuing at understandable Mit Rahina, and will likely ensue to the knowledge of the planning of the ancient religious city.
A temple dedicated to Mithras, dated from the Roman period, has been outdoor in the grounds north of Memphis. The temple of Astarte, described by Herodotus, was located in the area reserved to the Phoenicians during the time once the Greek author visited the city, but has not been discovered to date.
A temple dedicated to the goddess Sekhmet, consort of Ptah, has not still been found, but is currently official by Egyptian sources. Archaeologists are still searching for remains. It may be located within the precinct of the Hout-ka-Ptah, as would seem to recommend several discoveries made in the midst of the ruins of the profound in the late nineteenth century, including a block of stone evoking the "great door" with the epithet of the goddess, and a column bearing an inscription on behalf of Rameses II declaring him "beloved of Sekhmet". It has plus been demonstrated through the Great Harris Papyrus, which states that a statue of the goddess was made alongside those of Ptah and their son, the god Nefertem, during the reign of Rameses III, and that it was commissioned for the deities of Memphis at the heart of the good temple.
The Temple of Apis in Memphis was the main temple dedicated to the idolization of the bull Apis, considered to be a successful manifestation of Ptah. It is detailed stirring of classical historians such as Herodotus, Diodorus, and Strabo, but its location has still to be discovered amidst the ruins of the ancient capital. According to Herodotus, who described the temple's courtyard as a peristyle of columns later than giant statues, it was built during the reign of Psamtik I. The Greek historian Strabo visited the site afterward the conquering Roman troops, following the victory adjacent to Cleopatra in the Battle of Actium. He details that the temple consisted of two chambers, one for the bull and the other for his mother, and everything was built close the temple of Ptah. At the temple, Apis was used as an oracle, his movements subconscious interpreted as prophecies. His breath was believed to cure disease, and his presence to bless those regarding with virility. He was solution a window in the temple through which he could be seen, and on certain holidays was led through the streets of the city, bedecked later jewellery and flowers.
In 1941, the archaeologist Ahmed Badawy discovered the first remains in Memphis that depicted the god Apis. The site, located within the grounds of the great temple of Ptah, was revealed to be a mortuary chamber intended exclusively for the embalming of the sacred bull. A stele found at Saqqara shows that Nectanebo II had ordered the restoration of this building, and elements archaic from the Thirtieth Dynasty have been unearthed in the northern ration of the chamber, confirming the period of reconstruction in this part of the temple. It is likely that the mortuary was ration of the larger temple of Apis cited by ancient sources. This sacred share of the temple would be the only share that has survived, and would state the words of Strabo and Diodorus, both of whom declared that the temple was located near the temple of Ptah.
The majority of known Apis statues come from the burial chambers known as Serapeum, located to the northwest at Saqqara. The most ancient burials found at this site date support to the reign of Amenhotep III.
During the Twenty-first Dynasty, a shrine of the great god Amun was built by Siamun to the south of the temple of Ptah. This temple (or temples) was maybe dedicated to the Theban Triad, consisting of Amun, his consort Mut, and their son Khonsu. It was the Upper Egyptian counterpart of the Memphis Triad (Ptah, Sekhmet, and Nefertem).
A temple dedicated to Aten in Memphis is attested by hieroglyphs found within the tombs of Memphite dignitaries of the fade away of the Eighteenth Dynasty, uncovered at Saqqara. Among them, that of Tutankhamun, who began his career below the reign of his father, Akhenaten, as a "steward of the temple of Aten in Memphis".
Since the to the front excavations at Memphis in the late nineteenth and before twentieth centuries, artefacts have been external in stand-in parts of the city that indicate the presence of a building dedicated to the reverence of the sun disc, The Aten. The location of such a building is lost, and various hypotheses have been made on this subject based on the place of discovery of the remains of the Amarna Period features.
The ruins of ancient Memphis have yielded a large number of sculptures representing Rameses II.
Within the museum in Memphis is a giant statue of him carved of monumental limestone, about 10 metres in length. It was discovered in 1820 close the southern admittance of the temple of Ptah by Italian archaeologist Giovanni Caviglia. Because the base and feet of the sculpture are broken off from the ablaze of the body, it is currently displayed lying upon its back. Some of the colours are yet partially preserved, but the beauty of this statue lies in its flawless detail of the highbrow and subtle forms of human anatomy. The king wears the white crown of Upper Egypt, Hedjet.
Caviglia offered to send the statue to Grand Duke of Tuscany, Leopold II, through the negotiation of Ippolito Rosellini. Rosellini advised the sovereign of the terrible expenses operating with transportation, and considered as valuable the sharp of the colossus into pieces. The Wāli and self-declared Khedive of Egypt and Sudan, Muhammad Ali Pasha, offered to donate it to the British Museum, but the museum declined the provide because of the difficult task of shipping the big statue to London. It appropriately remained in the archaeological area of Memphis in the museum built to guard it.
The colossus was one of a pair that historically adorned the eastern entry to the temple of Ptah. The other, found in the thesame year next by Caviglia, was restored in the 1950s to its full standing summit of 11 metres. It was first displayed in the Bab Al-Hadid square in Cairo, which was past renamed Ramses Square. Deemed an improper location, it was moved in 2006 to a interim location in Giza, where it underwent restoration since being installed at the gain entry to of the Grand Egyptian Museum in January 2018. A replica of the statues stands in a suburb of Cairo, Heliopolis.
Because of its antiquity and its large population, Memphis had several necropoleis evolve along the valley, including the most famous, Saqqara. In addition, the urban Place consisted of cemeteries that were constructed to the west of the good temple. The sanctity of these places inevitably attracted the devout and the faithful, who sought either to make an offering to Osiris, or to bury another.
The share of the city called Ankh-tawy was already included in the Middle Kingdom necropolis. Expansions of the western sector of the temple of Ptah were ordered by the kings of the Twenty-second Dynasty, seeking to revive the as soon as glory of the Ramesside age. Within this allowance of the site was founded a necropolis of the high priests.
According to sources, the site with included a chapel or an oratory to the goddess Bastet, which seems consistent in imitation of the presence of monuments of rulers of the dynasty later than the cult of Bubastis. Also in this Place were the mortuary temples devoted by various New Kingdom kings, whose put-on is paralleled by Egyptologists to that played by the Temples of a Million years of the Theban kings.
Memphis was the chair of faculty for the kings of more than eight dynasties. According to Manetho, the first royal palace was founded by Hor-Aha, the successor of Narmer, the founder of the 1st Dynasty. He built a fortress in Memphis of white walls. Egyptian sources tell of the palaces of the Old Kingdom rulers, some of which were built underneath major royal pyramids. They were gigantic in size, and were embellished with parks and lakes. In complement to the palaces described below, other sources indicate the existence of a palace founded in the city by Thutmose I, which was yet operating under the reign of Tuthmosis IV.
According to credited texts of his reign, Merneptah ordered the building of a large walled enclosure housing a additional temple and an next to palace. Later Apries, had a palatial complex build up at Kom Tuman on a promontory overlooking the city. It was share of a series of structures built within the temple precinct in the Late Period, and contained a royal palace, a fortress, barracks, and armouries. Flinders Petrie excavated the area and found considerable signs of military activity.
The centrally located palaces and temples were surrounded by vary districts of the city, in which were many craftsmen's workshops, arsenals, and dockyards. Also were residential neighbourhoods, some of which were inhabited primarily by foreigners—first Hittites and Phoenicians, later Persians, and finally Greeks. The city was indeed located at the crossroads of trade routes and fittingly attracted goods imported from diverse regions of the Mediterranean.
Ancient texts uphold that citywide onslaught took place regularly. Furthermore, there is evidence that the Nile has shifted higher than the centuries to the east, leaving further lands to fill in the eastern portion of the outdated capital. This area of the city was dominated by the large eastern admission of the temple of Ptah.
The site of Memphis has been famous since ancient era and is cited in many ancient sources, including both Egyptian and foreign. Diplomatic records found on different sites have detailed the correspondence with the city and the various contemporary empires in the Mediterranean, Ancient Near East, and Africa. These adjoin for example the Amarna letters, which detail trade conducted by Memphis following the sovereigns of Babylon and the various city-states of Lebanon. The proclamations of the superior Assyrian kings cite Memphis in the midst of its list of conquests.
Beginning past the second half of the first millennium BC, the city was detailed more and more extremely in the words of ancient historians, especially like the expansion of trade ties as soon as Greece. The descriptions of the city by travellers who followed the traders in the discovery of Egypt have proved instrumental in reconstructing an image of the glorious in the way of being of of the ancient capital. Among the main classical authors are:
Subsequently, the city is often cited by additional Latin or Greek authors, in rare cases providing an overall report of the city or detailing its cults, as complete Suetonius and Ammianus Marcellinus, who pay particular attention to the city's devotion of Apis.
The city was plunged into oblivion during the Christian grow old that followed. Few sources are simple to attest to the city's undertakings during its unmodified stages.
It was not until the conquest of the country by the Arabs that a relation of the city reappears, by which era it was in ruins. Among the major sources from this time:
In 1652 during his trip to Egypt, Jean de Thévenot identified the location of the site and its ruins, confirming the accounts of the out of date Arab authors for Europeans. His explanation is brief, but represents the first step toward the exploration that will emerge after the move on of archaeology. The starting lessening of archaeological exploration in Memphis was Napoléon Bonaparte's good foray into Egypt in 1798. Research and surveys of the site confirmed the identification of Thévenot, and the first studies of its remains were carried out by scientists accompanying French soldiers. The results of the first scientific studies were published in the monumental Description de l'Égypte, a map of the region, the first to manage to pay for the location of Memphis subsequent to precision.
The at the forefront French expeditions paved the showing off for explorations of a deeper scope that would follow from the nineteenth century until today, conducted by leading explorers, Egyptologists, and major archaeological institutions. Here is a partial list:
During the British mature in Egypt, the enhancement of agricultural technology along when the systematic crop growing of the Nile floodplains led to a considerable amount of accidental archaeological discoveries. Much of what was found would fall into the hands of major European collectors travelling the country upon behalf of the good museums of London, Paris, Berlin, and Turin. It was during one of these house cultivations that peasants accidentally discovered elements of a Roman temple of Mithras during 1847 close the village of Mit Rahina. It was probably at this location where eleven statues were found. A review of Les Statues Ptolémaïques du Sarapieion de Memphis noted they were probably built in the third century subsequent to limestone and stucco, some standing others sitting. In 1956, Rowe and Rees suggested that this theme was same to Plato's Academy mosaic. The statues were endorsed to, Pindar (seated, identified per a graffiti), an inscription at the incite of his chair that reads Dionysi, Demetrius of Phalerum, Orphic, aux oiseaux, Hesiode, Homer seated in the center (head was recovered), Protagoras, Thales, Heraclite, Platon (per inscription), and Aristote.
From 1852 to 1854, Joseph Hekekyan, then functional for the Egyptian government, conducted geological surveys on the site, and upon these occasions made a number of discoveries, such as those at Kom el-Khanzir (northeast of the great temple of Ptah). These stones decked with reliefs from the Amarna period, originally from the ancient temple of Aten in Memphis, had almost certainly been reused in the foundations of marginal ruined monument. He afterward discovered the good colossus of Rameses II in pink granite.
This spate of archaeological discoveries gave birth to the constant risk of seeing anything these cultural riches leaving behind Egyptian soil. Auguste-Édouard Mariette, who visited Saqqara in 1850, became au fait of the dependence to Make an institution in Egypt held responsible for the exploration and conservation of the country's archaeological treasures. He standard the Egyptian Antiquities Organisation (EAO) in 1859, and organised excavations at Memphis that revealed the first evidence of the good temple of Ptah, and outdoor the royal statues of the Old Kingdom.
The old-fashioned published papyri Greek Magical Papyri, may have originated from the region.
The major excavations of the British Egyptologist Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, conducted from 1907 to 1912, uncovered the majority of the ruins as seen today. Major discoveries upon the site during these excavations included the pillared hall of the temple of Ptah, the pylon of Rameses II, the good alabaster sphinx, and the great wall north of the palace of Apries. He plus discovered the remains of the Temple of Amun of Siamon, and the Temple of Ptah of Merneptah. His be in was interrupted during the First World War, and would unconventional be taken occurring by extra archaeologists, gradually uncovering some of the forgotten monuments of the ancient capital.
A timeline listing the main findings: