Icons of the Bible: The City of Memphis (Noph in Hebrew)
What is Memphis?
(in Hebrew Noph), a city of ancient Egypt, Hos 9:6, situated on the western bank of the Nile. It is mentioned by Isaiah, Isa 19:13. Jeremiah, Jer 2:16; Jer 46:14, Acts 1:19, and Ezekiel. Eze 30:13-16, as Noph. The monuments of Memphis are believed to be of higher antiquity than those of Thebes. Memphis has three distinct names on the monuments: (1) Seht-h'et, "the city of white walls;" (2) Men-nept, "the good abode ;" (3) Tepaneh, "the world of life." The sacred name was Ha-ptah, or Pa-ptah, " the house of Ptah." Its site is about 10 miles south of Cairo and 5 miles from the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx. From the ancient maps of Ptolemy, it appears that the sea extended about 40 miles farther south than at present. The deposits of mud carried down annually by the Nile, forming the Delta, have caused the sea to be filled in, so that in the times of the ancient Pharaohs the sea may have extended nearly to Memphis, making that city a seaport, instead of, as now, an inland site. Some infer that its name, Men-Nofer, implies that it was a coast-town, 3000 or 4000 years before Christ. History. -- Herodotus dates its foundation from Menes, the first king of Egypt. The city is said to have had a circumference of about 19 miles. The temple of Apis was one of its most noted structures. This temple stood opposite the southern portico of the temple of Ptah, and Psammetichus, who built that gateway, also erected in front of the sanctuary of Apis a magnificent colonnade supported by colossal statues or Osiride pillars such as may still be seen at the temple of Medeenet Haboo at Thebes. Through this colonnade the Apis was led with great pomp upon state occasions. At Memphis were the reputed burial-place of Isis and a temple. Memphis had also its Serapeum, which probably stood in the western quarter of the city. The Necropolis, near Memphis, was on a scale of grandeur corresponding with the city itself. At this place as capital for several centuries a Meraphite dynasty ruled over all Egypt, and Lepsius, Bunsen, and Brugsch agree in regarding the third, fourth, sixth, seventh, and eighth dynasties of the old empire as Memphite, reaching through a period of about 1000 Sarcophagus in the Serapenm at Memphis containing a Mummy of the Sacred Bull. years. The city's overthrow was predicted Isa 19:13; Jer 46:19. The latest of these predictions was uttered nearly 600 years before Christ, and half a century before the invasion of Egypt by Cambyses, b.c. 625. The city never recovered from the blow inflicted by Cambyses. The rise of Alexandria hastened its decline. The caliph conquerors founded Old Cairo upon the opposite bank of the Nile, a few miles north of Memphis, and brought materials from the old city to build their new capital, a.d. 638. At length so complete was the ruin of Memphis that for a long time its very site was lost. Recent explorations have brought to light many of its antiquities, and specimens of its relics are now in museums in Europe and America. A little village stands upon a portion of the site of ancient Memphis." from the article: What is Memphis?
Memphis and its Necropolis – the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur
"The capital of the Old Kingdom of Egypt has some extraordinary funerary monuments, including rock tombs, ornate mastabas, temples and pyramids. In ancient times, the site was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Memphis is located in the center of the floodplain of the western side of the Nile. Its fame comes from its being the first Capital of Ancient Egypt. The unrivaled geographic location of Memphis, both commanding the entrance to the Delta while being at the confluence of important trade routes, means that there was no possible alternative capital for any ruler with serious ambition to govern both Upper and Lower Egypt. Traditionally believed to have been founded in 3000 BC as the capital of a politically unified Egypt, Memphis served as the effective administrative capital of the country during the Old Kingdom, then during at least part of the Middle and New Kingdoms (besides Itjtawy and Thebes), the Late Period and again in the Ptolemaic Period (along with the city of Alexandria), until it was eclipsed by the foundation of the Islamic garrison city of Fustat on the Nile and its later development, Al Qahira. As well as the home of kings, and the centre of state administration, Memphis was considered to be a site sacred to the gods.
The site contains many archaeological remains, reflecting what life was like in the ancient Egyptian city, which include temples, of which the most important is the Temple of Ptah in Mit Rahina. Ptah was the local god of Memphis, the god of creation and the patron of craftsmanship. Other major religious buildings included the sun temples in Abu Ghurab and Abusir, the temple of the god Apis in Memphis, the Serapeum and the Heb-Sed temple in Saqqara. Being the seat of royal power for over eight dynasties, the city also contained palaces and ruins survive of the palace of Apries overlooking the city. The palaces and temples were surrounded by craftsmen’s workshops, dockyards and arsenals, as well as residential neighbourhoods, traces of which survive..." from the article: