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 proclaim is derived from the late Ancient Egyptian make known for Memphis mjt-rhnt meaning "Road of the Ram-Headed Sphinxes".
Along in imitation of the pyramid fields that stretch upon a desert plateau for higher than thirty kilometers on its west including the well-known Pyramids of Giza, they have been listed as the World Heritage Site Memphis and its Necropolis. The site is way in to the public as an open-air museum.
According to legends united in the before third century BC by Manetho, a priest and historian who lived in the Ptolemaic Kingdom during the Hellenistic get older 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 aim at the mouth of the Nile Delta, and was home to booming activity. Its principal port, Peru-nefer (not to be dismayed with Peru-nefer at Avaris), featured a high density of workshops, factories, and warehouses that distributed food and merchandise throughout the ancient kingdom. During its golden age, Memphis thrived as a regional centre for commerce, trade, and religion.
Memphis was believed to be below the support 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 proclaim of this temple, rendered in Greek as Aἴγυπτoς (Ai-gy-ptos) by Manetho, is believed to be the etymological extraction of the radical English name Egypt.
The history of Memphis is closely 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 following the Edict of Thessalonica (380 AD), which made Nicene Christianity the sole religion of the Roman empire.
Today, the ruins of the former capital offer fragmented evidence of its past.
Memphis has had several names during its archives of on the order of four millennia. Its Ancient Egyptian declare was Inebu-hedj (𓊅𓌉, translated as "the white walls").
Because of its size, the city moreover came to be known by various extra names that were the names of neighbourhoods or districts that enjoyed considerable stress at one era or another. For example, according to a text of the First Intermediate Period, it was known as Djed-Sut ("everlasting places"), which is the make known of the pyramid of Teti.
At one point the city was referred to as Ankh-Tawy (meaning "Life of the Two Lands"), stressing the strategic slope of the city in the middle of Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. This broadcast appears to date from the Middle Kingdom (c. 2055–1640 BCE), and is frequently found in ancient Egyptian texts. Some scholars maintain that this make known was that of an area that contained a sacred tree, the western district of the city that lay amid the great 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 familiarization of the make known that they had unqualified to the pyramid of Pepi I, located west of the city.
The open-minded town Mit Rahina probably conventional its publicize from the ancient Egyptian highly developed name for Memphis mjt-rhnt meaning "Road of the Ram-Headed Sphinxes" being a hint 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 fascination 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 maxim 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 like an etymon Māfah, derived from Coptic: ⲙⲁⲁⲃ, lit. 'thirty'. It made the number significant in the taking into account traditions relating to Memphis: it was thirty miles long, Manqāwus built it for his thirty daughters and Baysar lived here like his thirty children.
The city of Memphis is 20 km (12 mi) south of Cairo, on the west bank of the Nile. The militant 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 also the place that marked the boundary in the company of 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 along with sources. According to Tertius Chandler, Memphis had some 30,000 inhabitants and was by far-off the largest treaty worldwide from the grow old of its foundation 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 over eight consecutive dynasties. The city reached a top of prestige under the Sixth Dynasty as a middle for the idolization of Ptah, the god of inauguration 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 esteem in the city.
Memphis declined after the Eighteenth Dynasty subsequent to the rise of Thebes and the New Kingdom, but was revived under the Persians, before falling firmly into second place gone the founding of Alexandria. Under the Roman Empire, Alexandria remained the most important Egyptian city. Memphis remained the second city of Egypt until the opening 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 still an imposing set of ruins in the twelfth century, but soon became little more than an expanse of low ruins and scattered stone.
The legend recorded by Manetho was that Menes, the first king to join together the Two Lands, established his capital on the banks of the Nile by diverting the river subsequent to dikes. The Greek historian Herodotus, who tells a same story, relates that during his visit to the city, the Persians, at that lessening the suzerains of the country, paid particular attention to the condition of these dams correspondingly 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 most likely 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 when 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 out of date 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 not quite the city of the Old Kingdom. It was the declare capital of the powerful kings, who reigned from Memphis from the date of the First Dynasty. According to Manetho, during the antediluvian years of the reign of Menes, the seat of gift 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 normal himself there to better control the supplementary union amid the two kingdoms that formerly were rivals. The highbrow of Djoser of the Third Dynasty, located in the ancient necropolis at Saqqara, would later be the royal funerary chamber, housing anything the elements valuable to royalty: temples, shrines, ceremonial courts, palaces, and barracks.
The golden age began with the Fourth Dynasty, which seems to have furthered the primary role of Memphis as a royal dwelling where rulers normal the double crown, the divine manifestation of the unification of the Two Lands. Coronations and jubilees such as the Sed festival were applauded in the temple of Ptah. The olden 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 next payments of food and new goods valuable for the funerary rites of royal and noble dignitaries. This temple as well as is cited in the annals preserved on the Palermo Stone, and coming on 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 times was similar to that seen at Giza royal necropolis of the Fourth Dynasty, where recent excavations have revealed that the essential focus of the kingdom at that become old centred on the construction of the royal tombs. A mighty suggestion of this notion is the etymology of the herald of the city itself, which matched that of the pyramid of Pepi I of the Sixth Dynasty. Memphis was then the beneficiary to a long artistic and architectural practice, constantly encouraged by the monuments of preceding reigns.
All these necropoleis were with camps inhabited by craftsmen and labourers, dedicated exclusively to the construction of royal tombs. Spread greater than several kilometres stretching in everything directions, Memphis formed a true megalopolis, with temples partnered by sacred temenos, and ports united by roadways and canals. The perimeter of the city therefore gradually extended into a immense urban sprawl. Its middle remained vis-Ð°-vis the temple puzzling of Ptah.
At the initiation 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 seat of political capacity had shifted, Memphis did remain perhaps the most important advertisement 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 on 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 reveal of Amenemhat II were found to be used as foundations for large monoliths preceding the pylons of Ramses II. These kings were plus known to have ordered mining expeditions, raids, or military campaigns over the borders, erecting monuments or statues to the consecration of deities, evinced by a panel recording approved acts of the royal court during this time. In the ruins of the Temple of Ptah, a block in the state of Senusret II bears an inscription indicating an architectural commission as a present to the deities of Memphis. Moreover, many statues found at the site, later restored by the New Kingdom kings, are qualified to kings of the Twelfth Dynasty. Examples append the two stone giants that have been recovered amidst the temple ruins, which were vanguard restored under the name of Rameses II.
Finally, according to the tradition recorded by Herodotus, and Diodorus, Amenemhat III built the northern door of the Temple of Ptah. Remains ascribed to this king were indeed found during the excavations in this Place conducted by Flinders Petrie, who declared the connection. It is also worth noting that, during this time, mastabas of the high priests of Ptah were build up near the royal pyramids at Saqqara, showing that the royalty and the clergy of Memphis at that mature were closely linked. The Thirteenth Dynasty continued this trend, and some kings of this descent were buried at Saqqara, attesting that Memphis retained its place at the heart of the monarchy.
With the onslaught of the Hyksos and their rise to aptitude 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 cutting edge carried them off to adorn their further capital at Avaris. Evidence of royal propaganda has been outdoor and qualified to the Theban kings of the Seventeenth Dynasty, who initiated the reconquest of the kingdom half a century later.
The Eighteenth Dynasty correspondingly opened taking into consideration 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 era of peace that followed, prosperity again took Keep of the city, which benefited from her strategic position. Strengthening trade ties with supplementary empires designed 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 beyond Lower Egypt—during the reign of his father. His son, Thutmose IV usual his famed and recorded goal whilst residing as a youth prince in Memphis. During his exploration of the site, Karl Richard Lepsius identified a series of blocks and broken colonnades in the say of Thutmose IV to the east of the Temple of Ptah. They had to associate 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 obsolete to the Eighteenth Dynasty, specifically the reign of Amenhotep III (r. 1388/86–1351/1349 BC). The greatest put on an act of this king in Memphis, however, was a temple called "Nebmaatra united with Ptah", which is cited by many sources from the era 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 brown 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 over 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 outdoor 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 decline of the second year of his reign. Whilst in Memphis, Tutankhamun initiated a get older of restoration of the temples and traditions later than the grow old 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 under Tutankhamun and Ay. Maya was overseer 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 skill he married Tutankhamun's widow Ankhesenamun, the third of the six daughters of Akhenaten and Nefertiti. Her fate is unknown. Similarly, Horemheb consolidated talent when he married Nefertiti's sister Mutnodjemet.
There is evidence that, under Ramesses II, the city developed other importance in the political sphere through its proximity to the further capital Pi-Ramesses. The king devoted many monuments in Memphis and adorned them in the tune of 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 ahead of time part of the 19th Dynasty, Memphis traditional the privileges of royal attention, and it is this dynasty that is most evident in the midst of the ruins of the city today.
With the Twenty-first and Twenty-second Dynasties, there is a continuation of the religious enhance initiated by Ramesses. Memphis does not seem to have suffered a fall during the Third Intermediate Period, which saw great changes in the geopolitics of the country. Instead it is likely that the kings worked to build the Memphite cult in their supplementary capital of Tanis, to the northeast. In spacious 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 ahead of time 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 foundation at the temple, leading some scholars to suggest that it may have contained the royal burial chamber of the king. Sheshonk also ordered the building of a new shrine for the god Apis, especially devoted to funeral ceremonies in which the bull was led to his death past 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 neighboring an occupying force, such as the Kushites, Assyrians, and Persians. The triumphant whisk of Piankhi, ruler of the Kushites, saw the commencement of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty, whose seat of skill was in Napata. Piankhi's conquest of Egypt was recorded on the Victory Stele at the Temple of Amun in Gebel Barkal. Following the appropriate 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 put up to 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 subsequently the king left, Egypt rebelled adjacent to Assyrian rule.
In Assyria, Ashurbanipal succeeded his daddy and resumed the repulsive against Egypt. In a massive injury in 664 BC, the city of Memphis was again sacked and looted, and the king Tantamani was pursued into Nubia and defeated, putting a definitive decline to the Kushite reign exceeding Egypt. Power subsequently returned to the Saite kings, who, fearful of an raid 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 each time installed within the city, probably in the good north wall, near the domineering palace of Apries. The excavations by Flinders Petrie revealed that this sector included armouries. For on 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 treaty the events 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 future took on a monumental way of being that confirms the growth 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 subsequently the rise to power, however briefly, of Amyrtaeus in 404 BC, who ended the Persian occupation. He was defeated and executed at Memphis in October 399 BC by Nepherites I, founder of the Twenty-ninth Dynasty. The exploit was recorded in an Aramaic papyrus document (Papyrus Brooklyn 13). Nepherites moved the capital to Mendes, in the eastern delta, and Memphis floating 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 supplementary 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 bill of his predecessor, began building large sanctuaries, especially in the necropolis of Saqqara, adorning them with pylons, statues, and paved roads lined behind rows of sphinxes. Despite his efforts to prevent the recovery of the country by the Persians, he succumbed to an attack in 340 BC. Nectanebo II retreated south to Memphis, to which the Achaemenid king Artaxerxes III laid siege, forcing the king to leave suddenly 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 rule of the city.
Memphis below the Late Period proverb recurring invasions followed by successive liberations. Several mature besieged, it was the scene of several of the bloodiest battles in the archives of the country. Despite the support of their Greek allies in undermining the hegemony of the Achaemenids, the country yet fell into the hands of the conquerors, and Memphis was never anew to become the nation's capital. In 332 BC came the Greeks, who took rule of the country from the Persians, and Egypt would never see a new original ruler inherit 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 in the same way as the occupation by one of his generals, Ptolemy I. On the death of Alexander in Babylon (323 BCE), Ptolemy took great 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 after that 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 true location of the tomb has been free 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 later 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 verify the religious policy of the country for years to come, also dictating fees and taxes, creating further foundations, and paying praise to the Ptolemaic rulers. These decrees were engraved on stelae in three scripts to be gain access to and understood by all: Demotic, hieroglyphic, and Greek. The most well-known of these stelae is the Rosetta Stone, which allowed the deciphering of ancient Egyptian script in the nineteenth century. There were supplementary stelae, funerary this time, discovered upon the site that have forwarded knowledge of the genealogy of the innovative clergy of Memphis, a dynasty of tall priests of Ptah. The pedigree retained strong ties with the royal associates in Alexandria, to the extent that marriages occurred between certain high priests and Ptolemaic princesses, strengthening even extra the faithfulness between the two families.
With the dawn of the Romans, Memphis, like Thebes, lost its place forever 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 other rulers of Egypt, and the emergence of Christianity taking root deep into the country, spelled the complete ruin of the ancient cults of Memphis.
During the Byzantine and Coptic periods the city gradually dwindled and finally dropped out of existence. It then became a quarry from which its stones were used to construct new settlements nearby, including Fustat, the further capital founded by the Arabs who took possession in the seventh century AD. The foundations of Fustat and forward-thinking Cairo, both built farther north, were laid bearing in mind 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 work of many archaeologists. The first surveys and excavations of the nineteenth century, and the extensive undertaking of Flinders Petrie, have been practiced to doing a Tiny of the former glory of the ancient capital. Memphis and its necropolis, which increase funerary stone tombs, mastabas, temples, and pyramids, were inscribed upon the World Heritage List of UNESCO in 1979.
During the get older of the New Kingdom, and especially under the reign of the rulers of the Nineteenth Dynasty, Memphis flourished in capability and size, rivalling Thebes both politically and architecturally. An indicator of this enhance can be found in a chapel of Seti I dedicated to the reverence of Ptah. After greater than a century of excavations on the site, archaeologists have gradually been dexterous to state the layout and go forward of the ancient city.
The Hout-ka-Ptah, dedicated to the esteem 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 glorification in Ancient Egypt, the others creature the great temples of Ra in Heliopolis, and of Amun in Thebes.
Much of what is known today approximately the ancient temple comes from the writings of Herodotus, who visited the site at the time 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 relation of the complex. Archaeological proceed undertaken in the last century has gradually unearthed the temple's ruins, revealing a big walled fused accessible by several monumental gates located along the southern, western, and eastern walls.
The remains of the great temple and its premises are displayed as an open-air museum near the good 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 kind statuary yet present upon its original site. The outside museum houses numerous further statues, colossi, sphinxes, and architectural elements. However, the majority of the finds have been sold to major museums with suggestion to the world. For the most part, these can be found on display in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
The specific publicize of the temple is uncertain at present, and solitary that of the main access to the perimeter are known. Recent developments complement 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 as a consequence built at least three shrines within the temple compound, where admiration is joined with those deities to whom they were dedicated.
This small temple, adjoining the southwest corner of the larger Temple of Ptah, was dedicated to the deified Rameses II, along behind the three let pass 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 final with a tower, a courtyard for ritual offerings, a portico taking into account columns followed by a pillared hall and a tripartite sanctuary, all enclosed in walls built of mudbricks. Its most recent exterior has been obsolete from the New Kingdom era.
The temple opened to the east toward a lane paved with supplementary religious buildings. The archaeological explorations that took place here sky that the southern part of the city indeed contain a large number of religious buildings subsequently a particular observance to the god Ptah, the principal deity of Memphis.
Located farther east, and near to the good colossus of Rameses, this small temple is ascribed to the nineteenth dynasty, and seems to have been dedicated to Ptah and his divine consort Sekhmet, as skillfully as deified Rameses II. Its ruins are not so skillfully preserved as others nearby, as its limestone foundations appear to have been quarried after the abandonment 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 other shrine in honour of the chief deity of the city, Ptah. This temple was discovered in the yet to be 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 nearly 15 sq metres, opening on the south by a large log on with reliefs supplying the names of the king and the epithets of Ptah. Only this ration of the temple has been unearthed; the remainder of the chamber has yet to be explored a Tiny 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 alongside 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 new remained at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
The temple remained in use throughout the in flames of the New Kingdom, as evidenced by enrolment surges during the reigns of highly developed kings. Thereafter, however, it was gradually isolated and converted for supplementary uses by civilians. Gradually buried by the protest of the city, the stratigraphic breakdown of the site shows that by the Late Period it was already in ruins and is soon covered by other buildings.
This small temple of Hathor was unearthed south of the great wall of the Hout-Ka-Ptah by Abdullah al-Sayed Mahmud in the 1970s and along with dates from the time of Rameses II. Dedicated to the goddess Hathor, Lady of the Sycamore, it presents an architecture similar to the small 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 without help 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 near the great temple of Ptah, could indicate its location. Archaeologists tolerate 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 further temples dedicated to deities who accompanied Ptah. Some of these sanctuaries are attested by ancient hieroglyphs, but have not yet been found among the ruins of the city. Surveys and excavations are nevertheless continuing at user-friendly Mit Rahina, and will likely increase to the knowledge of the planning of the ancient religious city.
A temple dedicated to Mithras, dated from the Roman period, has been external 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 later 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 credited by Egyptian sources. Archaeologists are yet searching for remains. It may be located within the precinct of the Hout-ka-Ptah, as would seem to suggest several discoveries made in the midst of the ruins of the mysterious in the late nineteenth century, including a block of rock 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 with been demonstrated through the Great Harris Papyrus, which states that a statue of the goddess was made to the side of 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 great temple.
The Temple of Apis in Memphis was the main temple dedicated to the worship of the bull Apis, considered to be a bustling manifestation of Ptah. It is detailed happening 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 like giant statues, it was built during the reign of Psamtik I. The Greek historian Strabo visited the site in the same way as the conquering Roman troops, following the victory against 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 whatever was built close the temple of Ptah. At the temple, Apis was used as an oracle, his movements inborn interpreted as prophecies. His breath was believed to cure disease, and his presence to bless those nearly with virility. He was unadulterated a window in the temple through which he could be seen, and on sure holidays was led through the streets of the city, bedecked behind 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 good temple of Ptah, was revealed to be a mortuary chamber expected 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 old-fashioned from the Thirtieth Dynasty have been unearthed in the northern part of the chamber, confirming the become old of reconstruction in this allowance of the temple. It is likely that the mortuary was ration of the larger temple of Apis cited by ancient sources. This sacred ration of the temple would be the only share that has survived, and would acknowledge the words of Strabo and Diodorus, both of whom confirmed that the temple was located close 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 assist 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 decline 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 fore excavations at Memphis in the late nineteenth and to the fore twentieth centuries, artefacts have been outside in swing 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 upon this subject based upon 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 near the southern edit of the temple of Ptah by Italian archaeologist Giovanni Caviglia. Because the base and feet of the sculpture are broken off from the rest of the body, it is currently displayed lying upon its back. Some of the colours are still partially preserved, but the beauty of this statue lies in its flawless detail of the technical 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 mediation of Ippolito Rosellini. Rosellini advised the sovereign of the unpleasant expenses functional with transportation, and considered as essential the acid 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 present because of the difficult task of shipping the big statue to London. It consequently remained in the archaeological Place of Memphis in the museum built to guard it.
The colossus was one of a pair that historically adorned the eastern open to the temple of Ptah. The other, found in the thesame year with by Caviglia, was restored in the 1950s to its full standing culmination of 11 metres. It was first displayed in the Bab Al-Hadid square in Cairo, which was similar to renamed Ramses Square. Deemed an improper location, it was moved in 2006 to a the theater location in Giza, where it underwent restoration in the past being installed at the read 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 fee 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 ration 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 when glory of the Ramesside age. Within this ration of the site was founded a necropolis of the tall priests.
According to sources, the site in addition to included a chapel or an oratory to the goddess Bastet, which seems consistent subsequently the presence of monuments of rulers of the dynasty once the cult of Bubastis. Also in this area were the mortuary temples devoted by various New Kingdom kings, whose measure is paralleled by Egyptologists to that played by the Temples of a Million years of the Theban kings.
Memphis was the chair of capability for the kings of higher 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 vast in size, and were embellished when parks and lakes. In accessory to the palaces described below, other sources indicate the existence of a palace founded in the city by Thutmose I, which was yet operating below the reign of Tuthmosis IV.
According to credited texts of his reign, Merneptah ordered the building of a large walled enclosure housing a new temple and an adjoining 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 exchange 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 as a result attracted goods imported from diverse regions of the Mediterranean.
Ancient texts encourage that citywide development took place regularly. Furthermore, there is evidence that the Nile has shifted on zenith of the centuries to the east, leaving other lands to fill in the eastern part of the old-fashioned capital. This area of the city was dominated by the large eastern read of the temple of Ptah.
The site of Memphis has been famous since ancient mature and is cited in many ancient sources, including both Egyptian and foreign. Diplomatic chronicles found on different sites have detailed the correspondence amid the city and the various contemporary empires in the Mediterranean, Ancient Near East, and Africa. These attach for example the Amarna letters, which detail trade conducted by Memphis with the sovereigns of Babylon and the various city-states of Lebanon. The proclamations of the forward-thinking Assyrian kings cite Memphis in the course of its list of conquests.
Beginning with the second half of the first millennium BC, the city was detailed more and more terribly in the words of ancient historians, especially bearing in mind the improve of trade ties subsequently 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 behind of the ancient capital. Among the main classical authors are:
Subsequently, the city is often cited by other Latin or Greek authors, in rare cases providing an overall balance of the city or detailing its cults, as pull off Suetonius and Ammianus Marcellinus, who pay particular attention to the city's esteem of Apis.
The city was plunged into oblivion during the Christian time that followed. Few sources are straightforward to attest to the city's actions during its resolved stages.
It was not until the conquest of the country by the Arabs that a bill of the city reappears, by which era it was in ruins. Among the major sources from this time:
In 1652 during his vacation to Egypt, Jean de Thévenot identified the location of the site and its ruins, confirming the accounts of the dated Arab authors for Europeans. His story is brief, but represents the first step toward the exploration that will emerge after the loan of archaeology. The starting narrowing of archaeological exploration in Memphis was Napoléon Bonaparte's great foray into Egypt in 1798. Research and surveys of the site stated 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 provide the location of Memphis next precision.
The ahead of time French expeditions paved the exaggeration 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 era in Egypt, the take forward of agricultural technology along afterward 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 on behalf of the great museums of London, Paris, Berlin, and Turin. It was during one of these estate cultivations that peasants accidentally discovered elements of a Roman temple of Mithras during 1847 near 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 gone limestone and stucco, some standing others sitting. In 1956, Rowe and Rees suggested that this theme was thesame to Plato's Academy mosaic. The statues were credited to, Pindar (seated, identified per a graffiti), an inscription at the urge on of his seat 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 committed for the Egyptian government, conducted geological surveys upon the site, and on these occasions made a number of discoveries, such as those at Kom el-Khanzir (northeast of the good temple of Ptah). These stones garlanded with reliefs from the Amarna period, originally from the ancient temple of Aten in Memphis, had approaching certainly been reused in the foundations of unconventional ruined monument. He as a consequence discovered the great colossus of Rameses II in pink granite.
This spate of archaeological discoveries gave birth to the constant risk of seeing all these cultural riches leaving behind Egyptian soil. Auguste-Édouard Mariette, who visited Saqqara in 1850, became up to date of the dependence to create an institution in Egypt blamed for the exploration and conservation of the country's archaeological treasures. He usual the Egyptian Antiquities Organisation (EAO) in 1859, and organised excavations at Memphis that revealed the first evidence of the good temple of Ptah, and outside the royal statues of the Old Kingdom.
The dated 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 next discovered the remains of the Temple of Amun of Siamon, and the Temple of Ptah of Merneptah. His sham was interrupted during the First World War, and would forward-thinking be taken happening by additional archaeologists, gradually uncovering some of the forgotten monuments of the ancient capital.
A timeline listing the main findings: