Memphis or Men-nefer (Arabic: مَنْف Manf ; 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. This modern name is probably derived from the late Ancient Egyptian name for Memphis mit-rhnt meaning “Road of the Ram-Headed Sphinxes”.
Along with the pyramid fields, people listed them as the world heritage site Memphis and its Necropolis. The site is open to the public as an open-air museum.
History of Memphis
During the Old Kingdom, Memphis became the capital of Ancient Egypt for more than eight consecutive dynasties. The city reached a peak of prestige under the sixth dynasty as a centre for the worship of ptah . The alabaster sphinx that guards the Temple of Ptah serves as a memorial of the city’s former power and prestige. The Memphis triad, consisting of the creator god Ptah, his consort Sekhmet , and their son Nefertem, formed the main focus of worship in the city.
Memphis declined after the Eighteenth dynasty with the rise of Thebes and the New Kingdom. Persians revived it, before falling firmly into second place following 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 people largely abandoned it and became a source of stone for the surrounding settlements.
According to legends related in the early third century BC by Manetho, a priest and historian who lived in the Ptolemaic kingdom during the hellenistic period of ancient Egypt, king Menes founded the city . 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 position at the mouth of the Nile delta, and was home to bustling activity. Its principal port, Peru-nefer (not to be confused with Peru-nefer at Avaris), featured a high density of workshops, factories, and warehouses that distributed food and merchandise throughout the ancient kingdom. During its golden age, Memphis thrived as a regional centre for commerce, trade, and religion.
The city of Memphis is 20 km (12 mi) south of Cairo, on the west bank of the Nile. The modern 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. The city was also the place that marked the boundary between Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. (The 22nd nome of Upper Egypt and 1st nome of Lower Egypt).
Population of Memphis
Today, the footprint of the ancient city is uninhabited. The closest modern settlement is the town of Mit Rahina. Estimates of historical population size differ widely among sources. According to Tertius Chandler, Memphis had some 30,000 inhabitants and was by far the largest settlement worldwide from the time of its foundation until approximately 2250 BC and from 1557 to 1400 BC. K. A. Bard is more cautious and estimates the city’s population to have numbered approximately 6,000 inhabitants during the Old Kingdom.