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 pronounce is derived from the late Ancient Egyptian post for Memphis mjt-rhnt meaning "Road of the Ram-Headed Sphinxes".
Along subsequent to the pyramid fields that stretch on a desert plateau for over 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 retrieve to the public as an open-air museum.
According to legends associated in the into the future 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 incline at the mouth of the Nile Delta, and was house to active activity. Its principal port, Peru-nefer (not to be confused 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 under the guidance of the god Ptah, the patron of craftsmen. Its good temple, Hut-ka-Ptah (meaning "Enclosure of the ka of Ptah"), was one of the most prominent structures in the city. The publish of this temple, rendered in Greek as Aἴγυπτoς (Ai-gy-ptos) by Manetho, is believed to be the etymological extraction of the protester English name Egypt.
The chronicles of Memphis is next door 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 once the Edict of Thessalonica (380 AD), which made Nicene Christianity the sole religion of the Roman empire.
Today, the ruins of the former capital present fragmented evidence of its past.
Memphis has had several names during its chronicles of more or less four millennia. Its Ancient Egyptian name was Inebu-hedj (𓊅𓌉, translated as "the white walls").
Because of its size, the city then came to be known by various extra 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 post of the pyramid of Teti.
At one reduction the city was referred to as Ankh-Tawy (meaning "Life of the Two Lands"), stressing the strategic incline of the city amid Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. This make known appears to date from the Middle Kingdom (c. 2055–1640 BCE), and is frequently found in ancient Egyptian texts. Some scholars maintain that this post 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 arrival 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 adjustment of the say that they had firm to the pyramid of Pepi I, located west of the city.
The objector town Mit Rahina probably customary its herald from the ancient Egyptian unconventional name for Memphis mjt-rhnt meaning "Road of the Ram-Headed Sphinxes" being a suggestion 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 glamor ancient Egyptian archives and religious elements into that of their own traditions, the Greek poet Hesiod in his Theogony explained the publish of the city by axiom 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 once an etymon Māfah, derived from Coptic: ⲙⲁⲁⲃ, lit. 'thirty'. It made the number significant in the with traditions relating to Memphis: it was thirty miles long, Manqāwus built it for his thirty daughters and Baysar lived here behind 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 furthermore the place that marked the boundary between 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 unity 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 pact worldwide from the period of its instigation until nearly 2250 BC and from 1557 to 1400 BC. K. A. Bard is more careful and estimates the city's population to have numbered approximately 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 top of prestige under the Sixth Dynasty as a centre for the worship of Ptah, the god of introduction and artworks. The alabaster sphinx that guards the Temple of Ptah serves as a memorial of the city's former knack and prestige. The Memphis triad, consisting of the creator god Ptah, his consort Sekhmet, and their son Nefertem, formed the main focus of high regard in the city.
Memphis declined after the Eighteenth Dynasty next the rise of Thebes and the New Kingdom, but was revived under the Persians, before falling firmly into second place behind 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 solitary and became a source of stone for the surrounding settlements. It was nevertheless 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 mingle the Two Lands, established his capital upon the banks of the Nile by diverting the river following 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 suitably 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 suggest that Egypt maybe became unified through mutual need, developing cultural ties and trading partnerships, although it is undisputed that the first capital of associated Egypt was the city of Memphis. Some Egyptologists had identified the legendary Menes considering 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 dated to ca. 31st century BC and thus, would correlate behind 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 welcome capital of the powerful kings, who reigned from Memphis from the date of the First Dynasty. According to Manetho, during the obsolete years of the reign of Menes, the chair of power 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 time-honored himself there to better run 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 next be the royal funerary chamber, housing everything 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 quarters 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 celebrated in the temple of Ptah. The antique 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 further goods valuable for the funerary rites of royal and noble dignitaries. This temple then is cited in the annals preserved on the Palermo Stone, and introduction from the reign of Menkaura, we know the names of the high priests of Memphis who seem to have worked in pairs, at least until the reign of Teti.
The architecture of this times was thesame 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 mature centred on the construction of the royal tombs. A strong suggestion of this notion is the etymology of the state 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 amid camps inhabited by craftsmen and labourers, dedicated exclusively to the construction of royal tombs. Spread over several kilometres stretching in everything directions, Memphis formed a legal megalopolis, with temples associated by sacred temenos, and ports united by roadways and canals. The perimeter of the city therefore gradually outstretched into a huge urban sprawl. Its middle remained concerning the temple puzzling of Ptah.
At the start 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 gift 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 read out of Amenemhat II were found to be used as foundations for large monoliths preceding the pylons of Ramses II. These kings were in addition to known to have ordered mining expeditions, raids, or military campaigns beyond the borders, erecting monuments or statues to the consecration of deities, evinced by a panel recording qualified acts of the royal court during this time. In the ruins of the Temple of Ptah, a block in the make known 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 qualified to kings of the Twelfth Dynasty. Examples increase the two stone giants that have been recovered amidst the temple ruins, which were sophisticated restored below the broadcast of Rameses II.
Finally, according to the tradition recorded by Herodotus, and Diodorus, Amenemhat III built the northern contact of the Temple of Ptah. Remains recognized to this king were indeed found during the excavations in this area conducted by Flinders Petrie, who declared the connection. It is as well as worth noting that, during this time, mastabas of the tall priests of Ptah were build up near the royal pyramids at Saqqara, showing that the royalty and the clergy of Memphis at that grow old were alongside linked. The Thirteenth Dynasty continued this trend, and some kings of this origin were buried at Saqqara, attesting that Memphis retained its place at the heart of the monarchy.
With the invasion of the Hyksos and their rise to capacity ca. 1650 BC, the city of Memphis came under siege. Following its capture, many monuments and statues of the ancient capital were dismantled, looted, or damaged by the Hyksos kings, who well ahead carried them off to adorn their new capital at Avaris. Evidence of royal propaganda has been outside and attributed to the Theban kings of the Seventeenth Dynasty, who initiated the reconquest of the kingdom half a century later.
The Eighteenth Dynasty so opened like the victory exceeding 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 time of goodwill that followed, prosperity anew took maintain of the city, which benefited from her strategic position. Strengthening trade ties with new 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 time-honored his famed and recorded goal whilst residing as a pubescent prince in Memphis. During his exploration of the site, Karl Richard Lepsius identified a series of blocks and broken colonnades in the post of Thutmose IV to the east of the Temple of Ptah. They had to member 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 play-act of this king in Memphis, however, was a temple called "Nebmaatra joined with Ptah", which is cited by many sources from the grow old 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 little temple of Ptah. This leads some Egyptologists to recommend that the latter temple had been built higher than 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 subside of the second year of his reign. Whilst in Memphis, Tutankhamun initiated a time of restoration of the temples and traditions like the times 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 supervisor 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 gift he married Tutankhamun's widow Ankhesenamun, the third of the six daughters of Akhenaten and Nefertiti. Her fate is unknown. Similarly, Horemheb consolidated gift 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 other capital Pi-Ramesses. The king devoted many monuments in Memphis and adorned them in imitation 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 in advance part of the 19th Dynasty, Memphis standard the privileges of royal attention, and it is this dynasty that is most evident along with 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 stop 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 additional capital of Tanis, to the northeast. In roomy 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 in advance 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 still 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 moreover ordered the building of a extra 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 moreover from Memphis.
During the Third Intermediate Period and the Late Period, Memphis is often the scene of liberation struggles of the local dynasties next to an occupying force, such as the Kushites, Assyrians, and Persians. The triumphant disturb of Piankhi, ruler of the Kushites, saw the establishment of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty, whose seat of gift was in Napata. Piankhi's conquest of Egypt was recorded on the Victory Stele at the Temple of Amun in Gebel Barkal. Following the take control of 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 back up into Nubia. The Assyrian king Esarhaddon, supported by some of the indigenous 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 gone the king left, Egypt rebelled neighboring Assyrian rule.
In Assyria, Ashurbanipal succeeded his daddy and resumed the vile against Egypt. In a massive attack in 664 BC, the city of Memphis was over sacked and looted, and the king Tantamani was pursued into Nubia and defeated, putting a definitive end to the Kushite reign higher than Egypt. Power after that returned to the Saite kings, who, fearful of an attack 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 continually 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 around 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 concurrence the deeds 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 complex took on a monumental tell 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 against the sacred traditions.
The nationalist awakening came as soon as the rise to power, however briefly, of Amyrtaeus in 404 BC, who done the Persian occupation. He was defeated and executed at Memphis in October 399 BC by Nepherites I, founder of the Twenty-ninth Dynasty. The triumph was recorded in an Aramaic papyrus document (Papyrus Brooklyn 13). Nepherites moved the capital to Mendes, in the eastern delta, and Memphis lost 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 extra 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 do its stuff of his predecessor, began building large sanctuaries, especially in the necropolis of Saqqara, adorning them taking into account pylons, statues, and paved roads lined gone rows of sphinxes. Despite his efforts to prevent the recovery of the country by the Persians, he succumbed to an violent behavior in 340 BC. Nectanebo II retreated south to Memphis, to which the Achaemenid king Artaxerxes III laid siege, forcing the king to run off to Upper Egypt, and eventually to Nubia.
A brief liberation of the city under 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 direct of the city.
Memphis below the Late Period motto recurring invasions followed by successive liberations. Several times besieged, it was the scene of several of the bloodiest battles in the chronicles 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 again 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 look a new native ruler come to 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 later the seizure 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 desire 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 well ahead transferred the sarcophagus to Alexandria, where a royal tomb was build up for its burial. The correct location of the tomb has been lost since then. According to Aelian, the seer Aristander foretold that the house 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 become old 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 outstretched beyond the borders of the country, but was sophisticated eclipsed by the good 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 acknowledge the religious policy of the country for years to come, also dictating fees and taxes, creating extra foundations, and paying honor to the Ptolemaic rulers. These decrees were engraved on stelae in three scripts to be gate 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 on the site that have forwarded knowledge of the genealogy of the unconventional clergy of Memphis, a dynasty of tall priests of Ptah. The descent retained mighty ties bearing in mind the royal family in Alexandria, to the extent that marriages occurred between positive high priests and Ptolemaic princesses, strengthening even additional the adherence between the two families.
With the beginning 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 new 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 later became a quarry from which its stones were used to construct new settlements nearby, including Fustat, the extra capital founded by the Arabs who took possession in the seventh century AD. The foundations of Fustat and higher 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 play a role of many archaeologists. The first surveys and excavations of the nineteenth century, and the extensive function of Flinders Petrie, have been clever to bill a little of the former glory of the ancient capital. Memphis and its necropolis, which append funerary stone tombs, mastabas, temples, and pyramids, were inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO in 1979.
During the era of the New Kingdom, and especially below the reign of the rulers of the Nineteenth Dynasty, Memphis flourished in power and size, rivalling Thebes both politically and architecturally. An indicator of this enhancement can be found in a chapel of Seti I dedicated to the veneration of Ptah. After exceeding a century of excavations on the site, archaeologists have gradually been skillful to encourage the layout and build up of the ancient city.
The Hout-ka-Ptah, dedicated to the exaltation 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 devotion in Ancient Egypt, the others physical the good temples of Ra in Heliopolis, and of Amun in Thebes.
Much of what is known today roughly the ancient temple comes from the writings of Herodotus, who visited the site at the get older of the first Persian invasion, long after the fall of the New Kingdom. Herodotus claimed that the temple had been founded by Menes, and that the core building of the mysterious was restricted to priests and kings. His account, however, gives no physical balance of the complex. Archaeological piece of legislation undertaken in the last century has gradually unearthed the temple's ruins, revealing a huge walled combined 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 close 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 on its original site. The outdoor museum houses numerous other statues, colossi, sphinxes, and architectural elements. However, the majority of the finds have been sold to major museums more or less the world. For the most part, these can be found on display in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
The specific express of the temple is confusing at present, and unaided that of the main access to the perimeter are known. Recent developments enhance 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 afterward built at least three shrines within the temple compound, where respect is united 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 afterward the three disclose 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 uncovered a religious building truth with a tower, a courtyard for ritual offerings, a portico with columns followed by a pillared hall and a tripartite sanctuary, all enclosed in walls built of mudbricks. Its most recent exterior has been dated from the New Kingdom era.
The temple opened to the east toward a passage paved with extra 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 once a particular loyalty to the god Ptah, the principal deity of Memphis.
Located farther east, and near to the good colossus of Rameses, this small temple is recognized 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 competently 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 into the future 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 get into with reliefs supplying the names of the king and the epithets of Ptah. Only this portion of the temple has been unearthed; the remainder of the chamber has nevertheless 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 closely 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 extra remained at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
The temple remained in use throughout the settle of the New Kingdom, as evidenced by enrolment surges during the reigns of cutting edge kings. Thereafter, however, it was gradually by yourself and converted for additional uses by civilians. Gradually buried by the excitement of the city, the stratigraphic investigation of the site shows that by the Late Period it was already in ruins and is soon covered by extra buildings.
This small temple of Hathor was unearthed south of the good wall of the Hout-Ka-Ptah by Abdullah al-Sayed Mahmud in the 1970s and in addition to dates from the epoch of Rameses II. Dedicated to the goddess Hathor, Lady of the Sycamore, it presents an architecture similar 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 on your own 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 agree to 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 additional temples dedicated to deities who accompanied Ptah. Some of these sanctuaries are attested by ancient hieroglyphs, but have not nevertheless been found accompanied by the ruins of the city. Surveys and excavations are still continuing at to hand Mit Rahina, and will likely go to 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 Place reserved to the Phoenicians during the time in the impression of 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 approved 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 among the ruins of the complex 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 along with been demonstrated through the Great Harris Papyrus, which states that a statue of the goddess was made nearby 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 exaltation of the bull Apis, considered to be a vibrant manifestation of Ptah. It is detailed taking place 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 bearing in mind giant statues, it was built during the reign of Psamtik I. The Greek historian Strabo visited the site later than 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 additional for his mother, and everything was built close the temple of Ptah. At the temple, Apis was used as an oracle, his movements physical interpreted as prophecies. His breath was believed to cure disease, and his presence to bless those almost with virility. He was unqualified a window in the temple through which he could be seen, and on determined holidays was led through the streets of the city, bedecked subsequent to 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 old from the Thirtieth Dynasty have been unearthed in the northern ration of the chamber, confirming the become old of reconstruction in this share of the temple. It is likely that the mortuary was part 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 pronounce the words of Strabo and Diodorus, both of whom acknowledged 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 help 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 grow less 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 in advance excavations at Memphis in the late nineteenth and to the front twentieth centuries, artefacts have been outdoor in interchange 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 close the southern get into of the temple of Ptah by Italian archaeologist Giovanni Caviglia. Because the base and feet of the sculpture are broken off from the land of the body, it is currently displayed lying on its back. Some of the colours are nevertheless partially preserved, but the beauty of this statue lies in its flawless detail of the mysterious 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 settlement of Ippolito Rosellini. Rosellini advised the sovereign of the unpleasant expenses in action with transportation, and considered as indispensable the cutting 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 allow because of the hard task of shipping the big statue to London. It hence 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 contact to the temple of Ptah. The other, found in the similar year then by Caviglia, was restored in the 1950s to its full standing height of 11 metres. It was first displayed in the Bab Al-Hadid square in Cairo, which was with renamed Ramses Square. Deemed an improper location, it was moved in 2006 to a the stage location in Giza, where it underwent restoration since being installed at the edit 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 improvement along the valley, including the most famous, Saqqara. In addition, the urban Place consisted of cemeteries that were build up 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 portion 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 next glory of the Ramesside age. Within this portion 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 later than the presence of monuments of rulers of the dynasty next the cult of Bubastis. Also in this area were the mortuary temples devoted by various New Kingdom kings, whose behave 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 exceeding 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 huge in size, and were embellished once 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 nevertheless 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 other temple and an against palace. Later Apries, had a palatial complex constructed at Kom Tuman upon a promontory overlooking the city. It was allocation 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 swing 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 innovation took place regularly. Furthermore, there is evidence that the Nile has shifted over the centuries to the east, leaving further lands to fill in the eastern portion of the obsolescent capital. This area of the city was dominated by the large eastern open of the temple of Ptah.
The site of Memphis has been well-known since ancient epoch and is cited in many ancient sources, including both Egyptian and foreign. Diplomatic history found on different sites have detailed the correspondence in the company of the city and the various contemporary empires in the Mediterranean, Ancient Near East, and Africa. These total for example the Amarna letters, which detail trade conducted by Memphis past the sovereigns of Babylon and the various city-states of Lebanon. The proclamations of the well along Assyrian kings cite Memphis in the midst of its list of conquests.
Beginning taking into consideration the second half of the first millennium BC, the city was detailed more and more deeply in the words of ancient historians, especially with the go ahead of trade ties once 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 later than of the ancient capital. Among the main classical authors are:
Subsequently, the city is often cited by extra Latin or Greek authors, in rare cases providing an overall relation of the city or detailing its cults, as attain Suetonius and Ammianus Marcellinus, who pay particular attention to the city's glorification of Apis.
The city was plunged into oblivion during the Christian mature that followed. Few sources are friendly to attest to the city's undertakings during its definite stages.
It was not until the conquest of the country by the Arabs that a tally 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 passÐ¹ Arab authors for Europeans. His tally is brief, but represents the first step toward the exploration that will emerge after the innovation of archaeology. The starting point 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 considering precision.
The further on 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 time in Egypt, the progress 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 slip into the hands of major European collectors travelling the country upon behalf of the great museums of London, Paris, Berlin, and Turin. It was during one of these land 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 in the same way as limestone and stucco, some standing others sitting. In 1956, Rowe and Rees suggested that this theme was similar to Plato's Academy mosaic. The statues were endorsed to, Pindar (seated, identified per a graffiti), an inscription at the assist 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 dynamic 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 out with reliefs from the Amarna period, originally from the ancient temple of Aten in Memphis, had more or less certainly been reused in the foundations of choice ruined monument. He after that discovered the great colossus of Rameses II in pink granite.
This spate of archaeological discoveries gave birth to the constant risk of seeing whatever these cultural riches neglect Egyptian soil. Auguste-Édouard Mariette, who visited Saqqara in 1850, became au fait of the need to Make an institution in Egypt liable 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 external the royal statues of the Old Kingdom.
The early 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 great alabaster sphinx, and the great wall north of the palace of Apries. He also discovered the remains of the Temple of Amun of Siamon, and the Temple of Ptah of Merneptah. His conduct yourself was interrupted during the First World War, and would cutting edge be taken stirring by supplementary archaeologists, gradually uncovering some of the forgotten monuments of the ancient capital.
A timeline listing the main findings: