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 read out is derived from the late Ancient Egyptian broadcast for Memphis mjt-rhnt meaning "Road of the Ram-Headed Sphinxes".
Along subsequent to the pyramid fields that stretch upon a desert plateau for higher than 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 right of entry to the public as an open-air museum.
According to legends partnered in the to the fore third century BC by Manetho, a priest and historian who lived in the Ptolemaic Kingdom during the Hellenistic era 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 slant at the mouth of the Nile Delta, and was home to full of beans activity. Its principal port, Peru-nefer (not to be disconcerted with Peru-nefer at Avaris), featured a tall density of workshops, factories, and warehouses that distributed food and merchandise throughout the ancient kingdom. During its golden age, Memphis thrived as a regional middle for commerce, trade, and religion.
Memphis was believed to be below the protection 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 name of this temple, rendered in Greek as Aἴγυπτoς (Ai-gy-ptos) by Manetho, is believed to be the etymological origin of the avant-garde English name Egypt.
The history of Memphis is contiguously 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 resignation of the ancient religion in imitation of 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 records of in story to four millennia. Its Ancient Egyptian post was Inebu-hedj (𓊅𓌉, translated as "the white walls").
Because of its size, the city afterward came to be known by various new names that were the names of neighbourhoods or districts that enjoyed considerable prominence at one mature or another. For example, according to a text of the First Intermediate Period, it was known as Djed-Sut ("everlasting places"), which is the pronounce of the pyramid of Teti.
At one dwindling the city was referred to as Ankh-Tawy (meaning "Life of the Two Lands"), stressing the strategic incline of the city in the middle of Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. This post appears to date from the Middle Kingdom (c. 2055–1640 BCE), and is frequently found in ancient Egyptian texts. Some scholars preserve that this name was that of an area that contained a sacred tree, the western district of the city that lay amongst the great Temple of Ptah and the necropolis at Saqqara.
At the start 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 getting used to of the say that they had definite to the pyramid of Pepi I, located west of the city.
The open-minded town Mit Rahina probably time-honored its state from the ancient Egyptian well ahead name for Memphis mjt-rhnt meaning "Road of the Ram-Headed Sphinxes" being a reference 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 pull ancient Egyptian records and religious elements into that of their own traditions, the Greek poet Hesiod in his Theogony explained the reveal of the city by proverb that Memphis was a daughter of the Greek river god Nilus and the wife of Epaphus (the son of Zeus and Io), who founded the city and named it after his wife.
In the Bible, Memphis is called Moph.
The Muslim tradition adopted the Coptic etymology which operates once an etymon Māfah, derived from Coptic: ⲙⲁⲁⲃ, lit. 'thirty'. It made the number significant in the similar to traditions relating to Memphis: it was thirty miles long, Manqāwus built it for his thirty daughters and Baysar lived here in the broadcast of his thirty children.
The city of Memphis is 20 km (12 mi) south of Cairo, on the west bank of the Nile. The broadminded 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 as well as the place that marked the boundary along with Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. (The 22nd nome of Upper Egypt and 1st nome of Lower Egypt).
Today, the footprint of the ancient city is uninhabited. The closest modern concurrence is the town of Mit Rahina. Estimates of historical population size differ widely in the middle of sources. According to Tertius Chandler, Memphis had some 30,000 inhabitants and was by far afield the largest unity worldwide from the times of its instigation until approximately 2250 BC and from 1557 to 1400 BC. K. A. Bard is more careful 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 greater than eight consecutive dynasties. The city reached a height of prestige under the Sixth Dynasty as a centre for the exaltation 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 capacity and prestige. The Memphis triad, consisting of the creator god Ptah, his consort Sekhmet, and their son Nefertem, formed the main focus of adulation in the city.
Memphis declined after the Eighteenth Dynasty later than the rise of Thebes and the New Kingdom, but was revived below the Persians, before falling firmly into second place like the founding of Alexandria. Under the Roman Empire, Alexandria remained the most important Egyptian city. Memphis remained the second city of Egypt until the instigation of Fustat (or Fostat) in 641 AD. Afterward it was largely and no-one else 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 Tiny more than an expanse of low ruins and scattered stone.
The legend recorded by Manetho was that Menes, the first king to integrate the Two Lands, established his capital upon the banks of the Nile by diverting the river next dikes. The Greek historian Herodotus, who tells a thesame story, relates that during his visit to the city, the Persians, at that narrowing the suzerains of the country, paid particular attention to the condition of these dams consequently 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 next the historical Narmer, who is represented upon the Palette of Narmer conquering the territory of the Nile Delta in Lower Egypt and establishing himself as king. This palette has been obsolete to ca. 31st century BC and thus, would correlate like 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 nearly the city of the Old Kingdom. It was the permit 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 knack 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 traditional himself there to better run the supplementary union together with the two kingdoms that formerly were rivals. The complex of Djoser of the Third Dynasty, located in the ancient necropolis at Saqqara, would after that be the royal funerary chamber, housing anything the elements critical to royalty: temples, shrines, ceremonial courts, palaces, and barracks.
The golden age began gone the Fourth Dynasty, which seems to have furthered the primary role of Memphis as a royal quarters where rulers received the double crown, the divine manifestation of the unification of the Two Lands. Coronations and jubilees such as the Sed festival were highly praised in the temple of Ptah. The outdated 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 following payments of food and extra goods critical for the funerary rites of royal and noble dignitaries. This temple also is cited in the annals preserved upon the Palermo Stone, and coming on 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 become old was thesame to that seen at Giza royal necropolis of the Fourth Dynasty, where recent excavations have revealed that the valuable focus of the kingdom at that get older centred on the construction of the royal tombs. A mighty suggestion of this notion is the etymology of the pronounce of the city itself, which matched that of the pyramid of Pepi I of the Sixth Dynasty. Memphis was next the receiver to a long artistic and architectural practice, constantly encouraged by the monuments of preceding reigns.
All these necropoleis were amongst camps inhabited by craftsmen and labourers, dedicated exclusively to the construction of royal tombs. Spread over several kilometres stretching in anything directions, Memphis formed a true megalopolis, with temples aligned by sacred temenos, and ports combined by roadways and canals. The perimeter of the city for that reason gradually Elongated into a enormous urban sprawl. Its middle remained re the temple technical of Ptah.
At the introduction of the Middle Kingdom, the capital and court of the king had moved to Thebes in the south, leaving Memphis for a time. Although the seat of political capability had shifted, Memphis did remain perhaps the most important want ad and artistic centre, as evidenced by the discovery of handicrafts districts and cemeteries, located west of the temple of Ptah.
Also found were vestiges attesting to the architectural focus of this time. A large granite offering table upon behalf of Amenemhat I mentioned the erection by the king of a shrine to the god Ptah, master of Truth. Other blocks registered in the make known 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 exceeding the borders, erecting monuments or statues to the consecration of deities, evinced by a panel recording attributed acts of the royal court during this time. In the ruins of the Temple of Ptah, a block in the herald 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 credited to kings of the Twelfth Dynasty. Examples append the two rock giants that have been recovered amidst the temple ruins, which were future restored under the name of Rameses II.
Finally, according to the tradition recorded by Herodotus, and Diodorus, Amenemhat III built the northern right to use of the Temple of Ptah. Remains endorsed to this king were indeed found during the excavations in this Place conducted by Flinders Petrie, who confirmed the connection. It is next 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 time 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 raid of the Hyksos and their rise to knack 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 sophisticated carried them off to adorn their additional capital at Avaris. Evidence of royal propaganda has been external and approved to the Theban kings of the Seventeenth Dynasty, who initiated the reconquest of the kingdom half a century later.
The Eighteenth Dynasty suitably opened afterward the victory more 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 good relations that followed, prosperity once again took preserve of the city, which benefited from her strategic position. Strengthening trade ties with new empires meant 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 centre for the education of royal princes and the sons of the nobility. Amenhotep II, born and raised in Memphis, was made the setem—the tall priest exceeding Lower Egypt—during the reign of his father. His son, Thutmose IV customary his famed and recorded hope whilst residing as a youngster prince in Memphis. During his exploration of the site, Karl Richard Lepsius identified a series of blocks and damage colonnades in the make known 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 obsolescent to the Eighteenth Dynasty, specifically the reign of Amenhotep III (r. 1388/86–1351/1349 BC). The greatest accomplishment of this king in Memphis, however, was a temple called "Nebmaatra allied with Ptah", which is cited by many sources from the times 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 exceeding 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 before the fade away of the second year of his reign. Whilst in Memphis, Tutankhamun initiated a grow old of restoration of the temples and traditions gone the time 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 proprietor 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 capability when he married Nefertiti's sister Mutnodjemet.
There is evidence that, under Ramesses II, the city developed new importance in the embassy sphere through its proximity to the additional capital Pi-Ramesses. The king devoted many monuments in Memphis and adorned them with 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 early part of the 19th Dynasty, Memphis received 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 press on 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 manufacture the Memphite cult in their other capital of Tanis, to the northeast. In lively 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 creation at the temple, leading some scholars to recommend that it may have contained the royal burial chamber of the king. Sheshonk then ordered the building of a other shrine for the god Apis, especially devoted to funeral ceremonies in which the bull was led to his death in the past being ritually mummified.
A necropolis for the high 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 as well as 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 protest of Piankhi, ruler of the Kushites, saw the foundation of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty, whose seat of faculty was in Napata. Piankhi's conquest of Egypt was recorded upon 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 good Assyrian threat. Under Taharqa, the city formed the frontier base of the resistance, which soon crumbled as the Kushite king was driven encourage into Nubia. The Assyrian king Esarhaddon, supported by some of the native 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 in the same way as the king left, Egypt rebelled adjoining Assyrian rule.
In Assyria, Ashurbanipal succeeded his father and resumed the repulsive against Egypt. In a massive raid in 664 BC, the city of Memphis was once more sacked and looted, and the king Tantamani was pursued into Nubia and defeated, putting a definitive end to the Kushite reign greater than Egypt. Power next returned to the Saite kings, who, fearful of an belligerence 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 permanently 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 not far away off from 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 immense 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 accord the actions 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 sophisticated took upon a monumental manner that confirms the mass 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 taking into consideration the rise to power, however briefly, of Amyrtaeus in 404 BC, who curtains the Persian occupation. He was defeated and executed at Memphis in October 399 BC by Nepherites I, founder of the Twenty-ninth Dynasty. The execution was recorded in an Aramaic papyrus document (Papyrus Brooklyn 13). Nepherites moved the capital to Mendes, in the eastern delta, and Memphis at a loose end its status in the embassy sphere. It retained, however, its religious, commercial, and strategic importance, and was instrumental in resisting Persian attempts to reconquer Egypt.
Under Nectanebo I, a major rebuilding program was initiated for temples across the country. In Memphis, a powerful other wall was rebuilt for the Temple of Ptah, and developments were made to temples and chapels inside the complex. Nectanebo II meanwhile, while continuing the accomplishment of his predecessor, began building large sanctuaries, especially in the necropolis of Saqqara, adorning them next pylons, statues, and paved roads lined as soon as rows of sphinxes. Despite his efforts to prevent the recovery of the country by the Persians, he succumbed to an antagonism in 340 BC. Nectanebo II retreated south to Memphis, to which the Achaemenid king Artaxerxes III laid siege, forcing the king to escape 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 run of the city.
Memphis under the Late Period saying recurring invasions followed by successive liberations. Several grow old besieged, it was the scene of several of the bloodiest battles in the records of the country. Despite the hold of their Greek allies in undermining the hegemony of the Achaemenids, the country 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 direct of the country from the Persians, and Egypt would never look a new native ruler succeed 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 subsequent to the invasion 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 then 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 vanguard transferred the sarcophagus to Alexandria, where a royal tomb was constructed for its burial. The perfect location of the tomb has been drifting since then. According to Aelian, the seer Aristander foretold that the land where Alexander was laid to rest "would be glad 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 time date many developments of the Saqqara Serapeum, including the building of the Chamber of Poets, as competently as the dromos adorning the temple, and many elements of Greek-inspired architecture. The cult's reputation Elongated beyond the borders of the country, but was far along 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 announce the religious policy of the country for years to come, also dictating fees and taxes, creating additional foundations, and paying tribute to the Ptolemaic rulers. These decrees were engraved upon stelae in three scripts to be entry 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 other stelae, funerary this time, discovered upon the site that have forwarded knowledge of the genealogy of the unconventional clergy of Memphis, a dynasty of high priests of Ptah. The line retained strong ties taking into consideration the royal family in Alexandria, to the extent that marriages occurred between positive high priests and Ptolemaic princesses, strengthening even additional the faithfulness between the two families.
With the start of the Romans, Memphis, like Thebes, lost its place each time 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 later became a quarry from which its stones were used to build new settlements nearby, including Fustat, the new capital founded by the Arabs who took possession in the seventh century AD. The foundations of Fustat and innovative Cairo, both built farther north, were laid considering 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 action of many archaeologists. The first surveys and excavations of the nineteenth century, and the extensive achievement of Flinders Petrie, have been skillful to work a Tiny of the former glory of the ancient capital. Memphis and its necropolis, which complement funerary stone tombs, mastabas, temples, and pyramids, were inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO in 1979.
During the time of the New Kingdom, and especially under the reign of the rulers of the Nineteenth Dynasty, Memphis flourished in knack and size, rivalling Thebes both politically and architecturally. An indicator of this spread can be found in a chapel of Seti I dedicated to the esteem of Ptah. After exceeding a century of excavations upon the site, archaeologists have gradually been skilled to state the layout and development of the ancient city.
The Hout-ka-Ptah, dedicated to the idolization 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 esteem in Ancient Egypt, the others subconscious the good temples of Ra in Heliopolis, and of Amun in Thebes.
Much of what is known today more or less 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 slip of the New Kingdom. Herodotus claimed that the temple had been founded by Menes, and that the core building of the complex was restricted to priests and kings. His account, however, gives no physical financial credit of the complex. Archaeological put-on undertaken in the last century has gradually unearthed the temple's ruins, revealing a big walled merged 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 close the great colossus of Rameses II, which originally marked the southern axis of the temple. Also in this sector is a large sphinx monolith, discovered in the nineteenth century. It dates from the Eighteenth Dynasty, most likely having been carved during the reign of either Amenhotep II or Thutmose IV. It is one of the finest examples of this kind statuary nevertheless present on its indigenous site. The uncovered 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 upon display in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
The specific appearance of the temple is hazy at present, and abandoned that of the main access to the perimeter are known. Recent developments adjoin 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 high regard 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 subsequent to the three give access 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 external a religious building total with a tower, a courtyard for ritual offerings, a portico in the look of columns followed by a pillared hall and a tripartite sanctuary, all enclosed in walls built of mudbricks. Its most recent exterior has been archaic from the New Kingdom era.
The temple opened to the east toward a pathway paved with additional religious buildings. The archaeological explorations that took place here expose that the southern ration of the city indeed contain a large number of religious buildings when a particular loyalty to the god Ptah, the principal deity of Memphis.
Located farther east, and close to the good colossus of Rameses, this small temple is endorsed to the nineteenth dynasty, and seems to have been dedicated to Ptah and his divine consort Sekhmet, as without difficulty as deified Rameses II. Its ruins are not so without difficulty preserved as others nearby, as its limestone foundations appear to have been quarried after the renunciation of the city in late antiquity.
Two giant statues, dating from the Middle Kingdom, originally adorned the building's facade, which opened to the west. They were moved inside the Museum of Memphis, and depicted the king standing in the attitude of the march, wearing the Hedjet, the white crown of Upper Egypt.
In the southeast of the Great Temple complex, the king Merneptah of the Nineteenth Dynasty founded a other shrine in honour of the chief deity of the city, Ptah. This temple was discovered in the prematurely 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 edit with reliefs supplying the names of the king and the epithets of Ptah. Only this part of the temple has been unearthed; the remainder of the chamber has nevertheless to be explored a 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 contiguously 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 other remained at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
The temple remained in use throughout the flaming of the New Kingdom, as evidenced by enrolment surges during the reigns of superior kings. Thereafter, however, it was gradually on your own and converted for new uses by civilians. Gradually buried by the objection 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 new buildings.
This little temple of Hathor was unearthed south of the great wall of the Hout-Ka-Ptah by Abdullah al-Sayed Mahmud in the 1970s and then dates from the grow old 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 lonely building dedicated to her discovered in the city's ruins.
It is believed that this shrine was primarily used for processional purposes during major religious festivals. A larger temple dedicated to Hathor, indeed one of the foremost shrines of the goddess in the country, is thought to have existed elsewhere in the city, but to date has not been discovered. A depression, similar to that found close the great temple of Ptah, could indicate its location. Archaeologists bow 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 supplementary temples dedicated to deities who accompanied Ptah. Some of these sanctuaries are attested by ancient hieroglyphs, but have not yet been found along with the ruins of the city. Surveys and excavations are nevertheless continuing at nearby Mit Rahina, and will likely be credited with 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 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 approved by Egyptian sources. Archaeologists are nevertheless 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 middle 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 also been demonstrated through the Great Harris Papyrus, which states that a statue of the goddess was made next to 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 esteem of the bull Apis, considered to be a lively manifestation of Ptah. It is detailed in the works of classical historians such as Herodotus, Diodorus, and Strabo, but its location has yet to be discovered amidst the ruins of the ancient capital. According to Herodotus, who described the temple's courtyard as a peristyle of columns as soon as giant statues, it was built during the reign of Psamtik I. The Greek historian Strabo visited the site past the conquering Roman troops, following the victory next to Cleopatra in the Battle of Actium. He details that the temple consisted of two chambers, one for the bull and the new for his mother, and anything was built near the temple of Ptah. At the temple, Apis was used as an oracle, his movements innate interpreted as prophecies. His breath was believed to cure disease, and his presence to bless those on the subject of with virility. He was answer a window in the temple through which he could be seen, and on distinct holidays was led through the streets of the city, bedecked when 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 meant 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 passÐ¹ from the Thirtieth Dynasty have been unearthed in the northern allocation of the chamber, confirming the times of reconstruction in this allocation of the temple. It is likely that the mortuary was ration of the larger temple of Apis cited by ancient sources. This sacred part of the temple would be the only allowance that has survived, and would confirm 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 back 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 fall 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 beforehand excavations at Memphis in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, artefacts have been uncovered in every second parts of the city that indicate the presence of a building dedicated to the esteem 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 contact of the temple of Ptah by Italian archaeologist Giovanni Caviglia. Because the base and feet of the sculpture are broken off from the flaming 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 complex 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 vigorous with transportation, and considered as necessary the pointed 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 have the funds for because of the difficult task of shipping the big statue to London. It in view of that remained in the archaeological area of Memphis in the museum built to protect it.
The colossus was one of a pair that historically adorned the eastern edit to the temple of Ptah. The other, found in the thesame year as a consequence 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 when renamed Ramses Square. Deemed an unsuitable location, it was moved in 2006 to a performing arts location in Giza, where it underwent restoration since being installed at the gate 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 go ahead along the valley, including the most famous, Saqqara. In addition, the urban area consisted of cemeteries that were build up to the west of the great 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 allocation 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 in the same way as glory of the Ramesside age. Within this share of the site was founded a necropolis of the high priests.
According to sources, the site in addition to included a chapel or an oratory to the goddess Bastet, which seems consistent with the presence of monuments of rulers of the dynasty following the cult of Bubastis. Also in this Place were the mortuary temples devoted by various New Kingdom kings, whose accomplish is paralleled by Egyptologists to that played by the Temples of a Million years of the Theban kings.
Memphis was the seat of aptitude for the kings of over 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 say of the palaces of the Old Kingdom rulers, some of which were built underneath major royal pyramids. They were gigantic in size, and were embellished taking into account parks and lakes. In complement to the palaces described below, other sources indicate the existence of a palace founded in the city by Thutmose I, which was nevertheless 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 next to palace. Later Apries, had a palatial complex constructed at Kom Tuman upon a promontory overlooking the city. It was ration 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 Place and found considerable signs of military activity.
The centrally located palaces and temples were surrounded by substitute 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 verify that citywide proceed took place regularly. Furthermore, there is evidence that the Nile has shifted on top of the centuries to the east, leaving supplementary lands to fill in the eastern allowance of the obsolescent capital. This area of the city was dominated by the large eastern right of entry of the temple of Ptah.
The site of Memphis has been well-known since ancient time and is cited in many ancient sources, including both Egyptian and foreign. Diplomatic chronicles found upon 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 enlarge for example the Amarna letters, which detail trade conducted by Memphis bearing in mind the sovereigns of Babylon and the various city-states of Lebanon. The proclamations of the sophisticated Assyrian kings cite Memphis in the midst of its list of conquests.
Beginning later the second half of the first millennium BC, the city was detailed more and more very in the words of ancient historians, especially subsequent to the proceed of trade ties subsequent to 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 taking into consideration 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 description of the city or detailing its cults, as do Suetonius and Ammianus Marcellinus, who pay particular attention to the city's reverence of Apis.
The city was plunged into oblivion during the Christian get older that followed. Few sources are handy to attest to the city's events during its fixed stages.
It was not until the conquest of the country by the Arabs that a savings account of the city reappears, by which period 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 outmoded Arab authors for Europeans. His bank account is brief, but represents the first step toward the exploration that will emerge after the increase of archaeology. The starting dwindling of archaeological exploration in Memphis was Napoléon Bonaparte's good foray into Egypt in 1798. Research and surveys of the site acknowledged 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 allow the location of Memphis in imitation of precision.
The upfront French expeditions paved the pretentiousness 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 period in Egypt, the increase of agricultural technology along as soon as the systematic gardening 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 good museums of London, Paris, Berlin, and Turin. It was during one of these home cultivations that peasants accidentally discovered elements of a Roman temple of Mithras during 1847 close the village of Mit Rahina. It was probably at this location where eleven statues were found. A review of Les Statues Ptolémaïques du Sarapieion de Memphis noted they were probably built in the third century next 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 attributed to, Pindar (seated, identified per a graffiti), an inscription at the help 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 in action for the Egyptian government, conducted geological surveys on the site, and on these occasions made a number of discoveries, such as those at Kom el-Khanzir (northeast of the great temple of Ptah). These stones decorated with reliefs from the Amarna period, originally from the ancient temple of Aten in Memphis, had something like certainly been reused in the foundations of option ruined monument. He next discovered the great colossus of Rameses II in pink granite.
This spate of archaeological discoveries gave birth to the constant risk of seeing everything these cultural riches desertion Egyptian soil. Auguste-Édouard Mariette, who visited Saqqara in 1850, became up to date of the craving to Make an institution in Egypt held responsible 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 great temple of Ptah, and uncovered 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 with discovered the remains of the Temple of Amun of Siamon, and the Temple of Ptah of Merneptah. His pretend was interrupted during the First World War, and would later be taken in the works by other archaeologists, gradually uncovering some of the forgotten monuments of the ancient capital.
A timeline listing the main findings: