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 make known is derived from the late Ancient Egyptian proclaim for Memphis mjt-rhnt meaning "Road of the Ram-Headed Sphinxes".
Along following the pyramid fields that stretch on a desert plateau for greater than thirty kilometers upon its west including the famous Pyramids of Giza, they have been listed as the World Heritage Site Memphis and its Necropolis. The site is entrance to the public as an open-air museum.
According to legends linked in the into the future third century BC by Manetho, a priest and historian who lived in the Ptolemaic Kingdom during the Hellenistic times 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 direction at the mouth of the Nile Delta, and was house to active activity. Its principal port, Peru-nefer (not to be mortified 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 centre for commerce, trade, and religion.
Memphis was believed to be under the sponsorship 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 stock of the objector English name Egypt.
The archives of Memphis is next to linked to that of the country itself. Its eventual downfall is believed to have been due to the loss of its economic significance in late antiquity, following the rise of coastal Alexandria. Its religious significance was diminished after the renunciation of the ancient religion taking into consideration 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 not far and wide off from four millennia. Its Ancient Egyptian state was Inebu-hedj (𓊅𓌉, translated as "the white walls").
Because of its size, the city also came to be known by various supplementary names that were the names of neighbourhoods or districts that enjoyed considerable beat at one get older or another. For example, according to a text of the First Intermediate Period, it was known as Djed-Sut ("everlasting places"), which is the publish of the pyramid of Teti.
At one point the city was referred to as Ankh-Tawy (meaning "Life of the Two Lands"), stressing the strategic tilt of the city amid Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. This reveal appears to date from the Middle Kingdom (c. 2055–1640 BCE), and is frequently found in ancient Egyptian texts. Some scholars preserve that this read out was that of an area that contained a sacred tree, the western district of the city that lay between the good 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 broadcast that they had resolved to the pyramid of Pepi I, located west of the city.
The innovative town Mit Rahina probably customary its make known from the ancient Egyptian future 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 glamor ancient Egyptian archives and religious elements into that of their own traditions, the Greek poet Hesiod in his Theogony explained the broadcast of the city by maxim that Memphis was a daughter of the Greek river god Nilus and the wife of Epaphus (the son of Zeus and Io), who founded the city and named it after his wife.
In the Bible, Memphis is called Moph.
The Muslim tradition adopted the Coptic etymology which operates gone 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 later his thirty children.
The city of Memphis is 20 km (12 mi) south of Cairo, on the west bank of the Nile. The enlightened 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 in the company of Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. (The 22nd nome of Upper Egypt and 1st nome of Lower Egypt).
Today, the footprint of the ancient city is uninhabited. The closest modern concurrence is the town of Mit Rahina. Estimates of historical population size differ widely accompanied by sources. According to Tertius Chandler, Memphis had some 30,000 inhabitants and was by far afield the largest agreement worldwide from the become old of its establishment until nearly 2250 BC and from 1557 to 1400 BC. K. A. Bard is more cautious 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 higher than eight consecutive dynasties. The city reached a height of prestige below the Sixth Dynasty as a centre for the veneration of Ptah, the god of commencement 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 idolization in the city.
Memphis declined after the Eighteenth Dynasty following the rise of Thebes and the New Kingdom, but was revived below 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 establishment of Fustat (or Fostat) in 641 AD. Afterward it was largely abandoned and became a source of stone for the surrounding settlements. It was yet 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 join together the Two Lands, established his capital on the banks of the Nile by diverting the river past dikes. The Greek historian Herodotus, who tells a thesame 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 fittingly that the city was saved from the annual flooding. It has been theorised that Menes may have been a mythical king, similar to Romulus of Rome. Some scholars recommend that Egypt maybe became unified through mutual need, developing cultural ties and trading partnerships, although it is undisputed that the first capital of joined Egypt was the city of Memphis. Some Egyptologists had identified the legendary Menes like the historical Narmer, who is represented upon the Palette of Narmer conquering the territory of the Nile Delta in Lower Egypt and establishing himself as king. This palette has been dated to ca. 31st century BC and thus, would correlate in the broadcast of 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 roughly the city of the Old Kingdom. It was the state capital of the powerful kings, who reigned from Memphis from the date of the First Dynasty. According to Manetho, during the prehistoric years of the reign of Menes, the chair of capability was farther to the south, at Thinis. According to Manetho, ancient sources suggest the "white walls" (Ineb-hedj) or "fortress of the white wall" were founded by Menes. It is likely that the king acknowledged himself there to better run the other union amongst the two kingdoms that formerly were rivals. The highbrow of Djoser of the Third Dynasty, located in the ancient necropolis at Saqqara, would subsequently be the royal funerary chamber, housing all the elements indispensable to royalty: temples, shrines, ceremonial courts, palaces, and barracks.
The golden age began in the same way as the Fourth Dynasty, which seems to have furthered the primary role of Memphis as a royal house where rulers standard the double crown, the divine manifestation of the unification of the Two Lands. Coronations and jubilees such as the Sed festival were much-admired in the temple of Ptah. The antediluvian signs of such ceremonies were found in the chambers of Djoser.
During this period, the clergy of the temple of Ptah came into being. The importance of the temple is attested subsequently payments of food and further goods indispensable for the funerary rites of royal and noble dignitaries. This temple as a consequence is cited in the annals preserved upon the Palermo Stone, and beginning 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 indispensable focus of the kingdom at that mature centred on the construction of the royal tombs. A mighty suggestion of this notion is the etymology of the publish of the city itself, which matched that of the pyramid of Pepi I of the Sixth Dynasty. Memphis was next the beneficiary to a long artistic and architectural practice, constantly encouraged by the monuments of preceding reigns.
All these necropoleis were surrounded by 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 valid megalopolis, with temples aligned by sacred temenos, and ports associated by roadways and canals. The perimeter of the city hence gradually outstretched into a Big urban sprawl. Its middle remained almost the temple technical of Ptah.
At the dawn of the Middle Kingdom, the capital and court of the king had moved to Thebes in the south, leaving Memphis for a time. Although the seat of political capacity had shifted, Memphis did remain perhaps the most important flyer 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 pronounce 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 beyond the borders, erecting monuments or statues to the consecration of deities, evinced by a panel recording recognized acts of the royal court during this time. In the ruins of the Temple of Ptah, a block in the state of Senusret II bears an inscription indicating an architectural commission as a gift to the deities of Memphis. Moreover, many statues found at the site, later restored by the New Kingdom kings, are certified to kings of the Twelfth Dynasty. Examples count the two rock giants that have been recovered amidst the temple ruins, which were forward-thinking restored below the publicize of Rameses II.
Finally, according to the tradition recorded by Herodotus, and Diodorus, Amenemhat III built the northern entry of the Temple of Ptah. Remains ascribed to this king were indeed found during the excavations in this area conducted by Flinders Petrie, who confirmed the connection. It is furthermore worth noting that, during this time, mastabas of the tall priests of Ptah were constructed near the royal pyramids at Saqqara, showing that the royalty and the clergy of Memphis at that mature were to the side of linked. The Thirteenth Dynasty continued this trend, and some kings of this extraction were buried at Saqqara, attesting that Memphis retained its place at the heart of the monarchy.
With the antagonism of the Hyksos and their rise to capability 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 forward-thinking carried them off to adorn their further capital at Avaris. Evidence of royal propaganda has been outside and official to the Theban kings of the Seventeenth Dynasty, who initiated the reconquest of the kingdom half a century later.
The Eighteenth Dynasty therefore opened as soon as the victory higher than the invaders by the Thebans. Although the reigns of Amenhotep II (r. 1427–1401/1397 BC) and Thutmose IV (r. 1401/1397–1391/1388 BC) saw considerable royal focus in Memphis, but for the most part, power remained in the south. With the long become old of good relations that followed, prosperity again took retain of the city, which benefited from her strategic position. Strengthening trade ties with supplementary empires designed that the harbor 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 higher than Lower Egypt—during the reign of his father. His son, Thutmose IV standard his famed and recorded aspiration whilst residing as a youthful prince in Memphis. During his exploration of the site, Karl Richard Lepsius identified a series of blocks and broken colonnades in the read out 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 obsolete to the Eighteenth Dynasty, specifically the reign of Amenhotep III (r. 1388/86–1351/1349 BC). The greatest put-on of this king in Memphis, however, was a temple called "Nebmaatra joined 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 little temple of Ptah. This leads some Egyptologists to suggest that the latter temple had been built on summit of 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 external 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 since the fall of the second year of his reign. Whilst in Memphis, Tutankhamun initiated a era of restoration of the temples and traditions bearing in mind the epoch 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 executive 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 capacity he married Tutankhamun's widow Ankhesenamun, the third of the six daughters of Akhenaten and Nefertiti. Her fate is unknown. Similarly, Horemheb consolidated knack when he married Nefertiti's sister Mutnodjemet.
There is evidence that, under Ramesses II, the city developed supplementary importance in the political sphere through its proximity to the extra capital Pi-Ramesses. The king devoted many monuments in Memphis and adorned them bearing in mind colossal symbols of glory. Merneptah (r. 1213–1203 BC), his successor, constructed a palace and developed the southeast wall of the temple of Ptah. For the early part of the 19th Dynasty, Memphis conventional the privileges of royal attention, and it is this dynasty that is most evident accompanied by the ruins of the city today.
With the Twenty-first and Twenty-second Dynasties, there is a continuation of the religious move forward initiated by Ramesses. Memphis does not seem to have suffered a end during the Third Intermediate Period, which saw good changes in the geopolitics of the country. Instead it is likely that the kings worked to fabricate the Memphite cult in their further capital of Tanis, to the northeast. In well-ventilated 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 forward 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 launch at the temple, leading some scholars to recommend that it may have contained the royal burial chamber of the king. Sheshonk as a consequence ordered the building of a supplementary shrine for the god Apis, especially devoted to funeral ceremonies in which the bull was led to his death previously 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 next from Memphis.
During the Third Intermediate Period and the Late Period, Memphis is often the scene of liberation struggles of the local dynasties adjacent to an occupying force, such as the Kushites, Assyrians, and Persians. The triumphant raise a fuss of Piankhi, ruler of the Kushites, saw the establishment of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty, whose seat of capability was in Napata. Piankhi's conquest of Egypt was recorded upon the Victory Stele at the Temple of Amun in Gebel Barkal. Following the appropriate of Memphis, he restored the temples and cults neglected during the reign of the Libyans. His successors are known for building chapels in the southwest corner of the temple of Ptah.
Memphis was at the heart of the turmoil produced by the good Assyrian threat. Under Taharqa, the city formed the frontier base of the resistance, which soon crumbled as the Kushite king was driven assist 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 bearing in mind the king left, Egypt rebelled against Assyrian rule.
In Assyria, Ashurbanipal succeeded his daddy and resumed the detestable against Egypt. In a massive antagonism in 664 BC, the city of Memphis was again sacked and looted, and the king Tantamani was pursued into Nubia and defeated, putting a definitive decline to the Kushite reign higher than Egypt. Power after that returned to the Saite kings, who, fearful of an invasion 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 for ever and a day 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 roughly speaking 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 enormous 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 concord 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 forward-thinking took upon a monumental melody that confirms the lump 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 neighboring the sacred traditions.
The nationalist awakening came gone 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 feat was recorded in an Aramaic papyrus document (Papyrus Brooklyn 13). Nepherites moved the capital to Mendes, in the eastern delta, and Memphis in limbo its status in the diplomatic 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 further 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 decree of his predecessor, began building large sanctuaries, especially in the necropolis of Saqqara, adorning them past pylons, statues, and paved roads lined following 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 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 rule of the city.
Memphis below the Late Period axiom recurring invasions followed by successive liberations. Several period besieged, it was the scene of several of the bloodiest battles in the archives of the country. Despite the Keep 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 once again to become the nation's capital. In 332 BC came the Greeks, who took control of the country from the Persians, and Egypt would never look a new indigenous ruler agree 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 appropriation by one of his generals, Ptolemy I. On the death of Alexander in Babylon (323 BCE), Ptolemy took great pains in acquiring his body and bringing it to Memphis. Claiming that the king had officially expressed a want to be buried in Egypt, he after that carried the body of Alexander to the heart of the temple of Ptah, and had him embalmed by the priests. By custom, kings in Macedon asserted their right to the throne by burying their predecessor. Ptolemy II complex transferred the sarcophagus to Alexandria, where a royal tomb was constructed for its burial. The truthful location of the tomb has been floating since then. According to Aelian, the seer Aristander foretold that the land 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 epoch date many developments of the Saqqara Serapeum, including the building of the Chamber of Poets, as with ease as the dromos adorning the temple, and many elements of Greek-inspired architecture. The cult's reputation extended beyond the borders of the country, but was far along eclipsed by the great Alexandrian Serapeum, built in Ptolemy's honour by his successors.
The Decrees of Memphis were issued in 216 and 196 BC, by Ptolemy IV and Ptolemy V respectively. Delegates from the principal clergies of the kingdom gathered in synod, under the patronage of the High Priest of Ptah and in the presence of the king, to insist the religious policy of the country for years to come, also dictating fees and taxes, creating other foundations, and paying praise to the Ptolemaic rulers. These decrees were engraved upon stelae in three scripts to be get into and understood by all: Demotic, hieroglyphic, and Greek. The most well-known of these stelae is the Rosetta Stone, which allowed the deciphering of ancient Egyptian script in the nineteenth century. There were additional stelae, funerary this time, discovered upon the site that have forwarded knowledge of the genealogy of the higher clergy of Memphis, a dynasty of tall priests of Ptah. The origin retained strong ties subsequently the royal intimates in Alexandria, to the extent that marriages occurred between distinct high priests and Ptolemaic princesses, strengthening even other the faithfulness between the two families.
With the start of the Romans, Memphis, like Thebes, lost its place for eternity 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 additional 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 next became a quarry from which its stones were used to construct new settlements nearby, including Fustat, the further capital founded by the Arabs who took possession in the seventh century AD. The foundations of Fustat and difficult Cairo, both built farther north, were laid when 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 ham it up of many archaeologists. The first surveys and excavations of the nineteenth century, and the extensive feat of Flinders Petrie, have been clever to deed a little of the former glory of the ancient capital. Memphis and its necropolis, which increase 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 capability and size, rivalling Thebes both politically and architecturally. An indicator of this encroachment can be found in a chapel of Seti I dedicated to the exaltation of Ptah. After over a century of excavations upon the site, archaeologists have gradually been adept to establish the layout and fee of the ancient city.
The Hout-ka-Ptah, dedicated to the love 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 respect in Ancient Egypt, the others creature the good temples of Ra in Heliopolis, and of Amun in Thebes.
Much of what is known today very nearly the ancient temple comes from the writings of Herodotus, who visited the site at the become old 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 profound was restricted to priests and kings. His account, however, gives no physical financial credit of the complex. Archaeological produce a result undertaken in the last century has gradually unearthed the temple's ruins, revealing a big walled compound 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 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 nice statuary yet present on its original site. The outside museum houses numerous further statues, colossi, sphinxes, and architectural elements. However, the majority of the finds have been sold to major museums re the world. For the most part, these can be found upon display in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
The specific make public of the temple is wooly at present, and by yourself that of the main entrance to the perimeter are known. Recent developments count 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 then built at least three shrines within the temple compound, where worship is joined with those deities to whom they were dedicated.
This little temple, adjoining the southwest corner of the larger Temple of Ptah, was dedicated to the deified Rameses II, along later than the three permit 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 definite with a tower, a courtyard for ritual offerings, a portico later than columns followed by a pillared hall and a tripartite sanctuary, all enclosed in walls built of mudbricks. Its most recent exterior has been outmoded from the New Kingdom era.
The temple opened to the east toward a lane paved with new religious buildings. The archaeological explorations that took place here manner that the southern ration of the city indeed contain a large number of religious buildings past a particular faithfulness to the god Ptah, the principal deity of Memphis.
Located farther east, and near to the great colossus of Rameses, this little temple is credited 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 capably preserved as others nearby, as its limestone foundations appear to have been quarried after the resignation of the city in late antiquity.
Two giant statues, dating from the Middle Kingdom, originally adorned the building's facade, which opened to the west. They were moved inside the Museum of Memphis, and depicted the king standing in the attitude of the march, wearing the Hedjet, the white crown of Upper Egypt.
In the southeast of the Great Temple complex, the king Merneptah of the Nineteenth Dynasty founded a new shrine in honour of the chief deity of the city, Ptah. This temple was discovered in the before twentieth century by Flinders Petrie, who identified it as a depiction of the Greek god Proteus cited by Herodotus.
The site was excavated during the First World War by Clarence Stanley Fisher. Excavations began in the anterior part, which is formed by a large courtyard of approximately 15 sq metres, opening upon the south by a large contact with reliefs supplying the names of the king and the epithets of Ptah. Only this share of the temple has been unearthed; the remainder of the chamber has yet to be explored a Tiny farther north. During the excavations, archaeologists unearthed the first traces of an edifice built of mudbrick, which quickly proved to be a large ceremonial palace built closely the temple proper. Some of the key elements of the stone temple were donated by Egypt to the museum at the University of Pennsylvania, which financed the expedition, while the additional remained at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
The temple remained in use throughout the on fire of the New Kingdom, as evidenced by enrolment surges during the reigns of forward-thinking kings. Thereafter, however, it was gradually isolated and converted for other uses by civilians. Gradually buried by the objection of the city, the stratigraphic scrutiny 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 great wall of the Hout-Ka-Ptah by Abdullah al-Sayed Mahmud in the 1970s and furthermore dates from the epoch of Rameses II. Dedicated to the goddess Hathor, Lady of the Sycamore, it presents an architecture same to the small temple-shrines known especially to Karnak. From its proportions, it does not seem to be a major shrine of the goddess, but is currently the without help building dedicated to her discovered in the city's ruins.
It is believed that this shrine was primarily used for processional purposes during major religious festivals. A larger temple dedicated to Hathor, indeed one of the foremost shrines of the goddess in the country, is thought to have existed elsewhere in the city, but to date has not been discovered. A depression, similar to that found near the great temple of Ptah, could indicate its location. Archaeologists undertake 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 nevertheless continuing at clear Mit Rahina, and will likely mount up to the knowledge of the planning of the ancient religious city.
A temple dedicated to Mithras, dated from the Roman period, has been outdoor in the grounds north of Memphis. The temple of Astarte, described by Herodotus, was located in the Place reserved to the Phoenicians during the time similar to 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 yet been found, but is currently attributed by Egyptian sources. Archaeologists are yet searching for remains. It may be located within the precinct of the Hout-ka-Ptah, as would seem to recommend several discoveries made among the ruins of the perplexing 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 upon behalf of Rameses II declaring him "beloved of Sekhmet". It has furthermore been demonstrated through the Great Harris Papyrus, which states that a statue of the goddess was made contiguously those of Ptah and their son, the god Nefertem, during the reign of Rameses III, and that it was commissioned for the deities of Memphis at the heart of the good temple.
The Temple of Apis in Memphis was the main temple dedicated to the idolization of the bull Apis, considered to be a living 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 as soon as giant statues, it was built during the reign of Psamtik I. The Greek historian Strabo visited the site once the conquering Roman troops, following the victory neighboring Cleopatra in the Battle of Actium. He details that the temple consisted of two chambers, one for the bull and the supplementary for his mother, and everything was built close the temple of Ptah. At the temple, Apis was used as an oracle, his movements mammal interpreted as prophecies. His breath was believed to cure disease, and his presence to bless those approaching with virility. He was resolved a window in the temple through which he could be seen, and on positive holidays was led through the streets of the city, bedecked taking into account 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 designed 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 obsolescent from the Thirtieth Dynasty have been unearthed in the northern portion of the chamber, confirming the mature of reconstruction in this part of the temple. It is likely that the mortuary was allocation of the larger temple of Apis cited by ancient sources. This sacred allowance of the temple would be the only share that has survived, and would assert the words of Strabo and Diodorus, both of whom avowed that the temple was located near the temple of Ptah.
The majority of known Apis statues come from the burial chambers known as Serapeum, located to the northwest at Saqqara. The most ancient burials found at this site date urge on to the reign of Amenhotep III.
During the Twenty-first Dynasty, a shrine of the good god Amun was built by Siamun to the south of the temple of Ptah. This temple (or temples) was most likely 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 beforehand excavations at Memphis in the late nineteenth and upfront twentieth centuries, artefacts have been outside in vary parts of the city that indicate the presence of a building dedicated to the exaltation of the sun disc, The Aten. The location of such a building is lost, and various hypotheses have been made on this subject based on the place of discovery of the remains of the Amarna Period features.
The ruins of ancient Memphis have yielded a large number of sculptures representing Rameses II.
Within the museum in Memphis is a giant statue of him carved of monumental limestone, about 10 metres in length. It was discovered in 1820 close the southern door of the temple of Ptah by Italian archaeologist Giovanni Caviglia. Because the base and feet of the sculpture are broken off from the rest of the body, it is currently displayed lying on its back. Some of the colours are still partially preserved, but the beauty of this statue lies in its flawless detail of the technical and subtle forms of human anatomy. The king wears the white crown of Upper Egypt, Hedjet.
Caviglia offered to send the statue to Grand Duke of Tuscany, Leopold II, through the negotiation of Ippolito Rosellini. Rosellini advised the sovereign of the terrible expenses vigorous with transportation, and considered as essential 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 give because of the hard task of shipping the big statue to London. It correspondingly 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 door to the temple of Ptah. The other, found in the thesame year with by Caviglia, was restored in the 1950s to its full standing peak 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 stand-in location in Giza, where it underwent restoration before being installed at the approach 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 further 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 part 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 later than glory of the Ramesside age. Within this allowance of the site was founded a necropolis of the tall priests.
According to sources, the site next included a chapel or an oratory to the goddess Bastet, which seems consistent bearing in mind the presence of monuments of rulers of the dynasty bearing in mind the cult of Bubastis. Also in this Place were the mortuary temples devoted by various New Kingdom kings, whose produce a result is paralleled by Egyptologists to that played by the Temples of a Million years of the Theban kings.
Memphis was the seat of capacity for the kings of higher than eight dynasties. According to Manetho, the first royal palace was founded by Hor-Aha, the successor of Narmer, the founder of the 1st Dynasty. He built a fortress in Memphis of white walls. Egyptian sources say of the palaces of the Old Kingdom rulers, some of which were built underneath major royal pyramids. They were Big in size, and were embellished following 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 still operating under the reign of Tuthmosis IV.
According to attributed texts of his reign, Merneptah ordered the building of a large walled enclosure housing a further temple and an adjoining palace. Later Apries, had a palatial complex constructed at Kom Tuman upon a promontory overlooking the city. It was portion 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 exchange districts of the city, in which were many craftsmen's workshops, arsenals, and dockyards. Also were residential neighbourhoods, some of which were inhabited primarily by foreigners—first Hittites and Phoenicians, later Persians, and finally Greeks. The city was indeed located at the crossroads of trade routes and so attracted goods imported from diverse regions of the Mediterranean.
Ancient texts state that citywide proceed took place regularly. Furthermore, there is evidence that the Nile has shifted exceeding the centuries to the east, leaving further lands to occupy in the eastern portion of the obsolescent capital. This Place of the city was dominated by the large eastern admittance of the temple of Ptah.
The site of Memphis has been famous since ancient period and is cited in many ancient sources, including both Egyptian and foreign. Diplomatic chronicles found on different sites have detailed the correspondence with the city and the various contemporary empires in the Mediterranean, Ancient Near East, and Africa. These put in for example the Amarna letters, which detail trade conducted by Memphis when the sovereigns of Babylon and the various city-states of Lebanon. The proclamations of the sophisticated Assyrian kings cite Memphis accompanied by its list of conquests.
Beginning with the second half of the first millennium BC, the city was detailed more and more severely in the words of ancient historians, especially like the progress of trade ties in the manner of 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 considering of the ancient capital. Among the main classical authors are:
Subsequently, the city is often cited by further Latin or Greek authors, in rare cases providing an overall version of the city or detailing its cults, as realize Suetonius and Ammianus Marcellinus, who pay particular attention to the city's adulation of Apis.
The city was plunged into oblivion during the Christian become old that followed. Few sources are understandable to attest to the city's activities during its unmodified stages.
It was not until the conquest of the country by the Arabs that a checking account of the city reappears, by which become old it was in ruins. Among the major sources from this time:
In 1652 during his vacation to Egypt, Jean de Thévenot identified the location of the site and its ruins, confirming the accounts of the obsolete Arab authors for Europeans. His financial credit is brief, but represents the first step toward the exploration that will emerge after the proceed of archaeology. The starting tapering off of archaeological exploration in Memphis was Napoléon Bonaparte's great foray into Egypt in 1798. Research and surveys of the site stated the identification of Thévenot, and the first studies of its remains were carried out by scientists accompanying French soldiers. The results of the first scientific studies were published in the monumental Description de l'Égypte, a map of the region, the first to meet the expense of the location of Memphis similar to precision.
The early French expeditions paved the quirk 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 times in Egypt, the increase of agricultural technology along later than the systematic gardening of the Nile floodplains led to a considerable amount of accidental archaeological discoveries. Much of what was found would fall into the hands of major European collectors travelling the country upon behalf of the good museums of London, Paris, Berlin, and Turin. It was during one of these land 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 later than limestone and stucco, some standing others sitting. In 1956, Rowe and Rees suggested that this theme was same to Plato's Academy mosaic. The statues were endorsed to, Pindar (seated, identified per a graffiti), an inscription at the 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 involved for the Egyptian government, conducted geological surveys upon 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 decorated with reliefs from the Amarna period, originally from the ancient temple of Aten in Memphis, had as regards certainly been reused in the foundations of substitute ruined monument. He as well as discovered the great colossus of Rameses II in pink granite.
This spate of archaeological discoveries gave birth to the constant risk of seeing anything these cultural riches leaving behind Egyptian soil. Auguste-Édouard Mariette, who visited Saqqara in 1850, became aware of the craving to Make an institution in Egypt blamed for the exploration and conservation of the country's archaeological treasures. He customary the Egyptian Antiquities Organisation (EAO) in 1859, and organised excavations at Memphis that revealed the first evidence of the great temple of Ptah, and external the royal statues of the Old Kingdom.
The outdated 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 good wall north of the palace of Apries. He next discovered the remains of the Temple of Amun of Siamon, and the Temple of Ptah of Merneptah. His play a part was interrupted during the First World War, and would future be taken taking place by further archaeologists, gradually uncovering some of the forgotten monuments of the ancient capital.
A timeline listing the main findings: