only in Ho 9:6, Hebrew Moph. In Isa 19:13; Jer 2:16; 46:14,19; Eze 30:13,16, it is mentioned under the name Noph. It was the capital of Lower, i.e., of Northern Egypt. From certain remains found half buried in the sand, the site of this ancient city has been discovered near the modern village of Minyet Rahinch, or Mitraheny, about 16 miles above the ancient head of the Delta, and 9 miles south of Cairo, on the west bank of the Nile. It is said to have been founded by Menes, the first king of Egypt, and to have been in circumference about 19 miles. "There are few remains above ground," says Manning (The Land of the Pharaohs), "of the splendour of ancient Memphis. The city has utterly disappeared. If any traces yet exist, they are buried beneath the vast mounds of crumbling bricks and broken pottery which meet the eye in every direction. Near the village of Mitraheny is a colossal statue of Rameses the Great (Illustration: Prostrate Statue of Rameses the Great). It is apparently one of the two described by Herodotus and Diodorus as standing in front of the temple of Ptah. They were originally 50 feet in height. The one which remains, though mutilated, measures 48 feet. It is finely carved in limestone, which takes a high polish, and is evidently a portrait. It lies in a pit, which, during the inundation, is filled with water. As we gaze on this fallen and battered statue of the mighty conqueror who was probably contemporaneous with Moses, it is impossible not to remember the words of the prophet Isaiah, Isa 19:13; 44:16-19, and Jeremiah, Jer 46:19."
Capital of Lower Egypt, on the W. or left bank of the Nile. Hebrew "Nowph" (Isa 19:13). "Mowph," or Memphis (Ho 9:6). Second only to Thebes in all Egypt; the residence of the kings until the Ptolemies moved to Alexandria. Plutarch makes it mean "the port of good things," the sepulchre of Osiris, the necropolis of Egypt, "the haven of the blessed," for the right of burial was given only to the good. Diodorus Siculus (i. 4) observes, the inhabitants value little this brief life, but most highly the name of a virtuous life after death; they call the houses of the living inns, because they remain in them only a little while, but the sepulchers of the dead everlasting habitations; they are not therefore very careful about their houses, but in beautifying the sepulchers leave nothing undone. "The good" may refer to Osiris, whose sacred animal Apis was here worshipped, and had its burial place the Serapeum, from whence the village Busiris is named, namely, "the abode of Osiris," now Aboo Seer.
Memphis shall bury them is a characteristic description, its burying ground extending 20 miles along the Libyan desert's border. Mem means a foundation or wall, and nofre "good"; or mam-Phta "the dwelling of Phta" the god answering to the Greek Hephaestus, Latin Vulcan; or from Menes its founder. Near the pyramids of Gizeh, and ten miles to the S. of modern Cairo; the court of the idol bull Apis. In hieroglyphics called "the city of pyramids." The monuments of Memphis are more ancient than those of Thebes. Menes (compare Minos in Crete, Ge 10:6; Bochart makes him Mizraim, and thinks Memphis was called Mezri from him, as the Arabs now call it) its founder dates 2690 B.C. (Sir G. Wilkinson), 2717 B.C. (Poole), 2200 or 2300 according to Eratosthenes compare with Dicaearchus. Many of Manetho's dynasties were contemporaneous, not successive.
Menes in hieroglyphics is written as the founder of Memphis on the roof of the Rameseum near Gournon in western Thebes, at the head of the ancestors of Rameses the Great; the earliest mention of the name is on a ruined tomb at Gizeh, "the royal governor Menes," a descendant probably of the first Menes, and living under the fifth dynasty. Caviglia discovered the colossal statue of Rameses II beautifully sculptured. Before Menes the Nile, emerging from the upper valley, bent W. to the Libyan hills, and was wasted in the sands and stagnant pools. Menes, according to Herodotus, by banking up the river at the bend 100 furlongs S. of Memphis, laid the old channel dry, and dug a new course between the hills, and excavated a lake outside Memphis to the N. and W., communicating with the river. Thus Memphis was built in the narrow part of Egypt, on a marsh reclaimed by Menes' dyke and drained by his artificial lake. The dyke began 12 miles S. of Memphis, and deflected the river two miles eastward.
At the rise of the Nile a canal still led some of its waters westward through the former bed, irrigating the western plain. The artificial lake at Abousir guarded against inundation on that side. Memphis commanded the Delta on one hand and Upper Egypt on the other; on the W. the Libyan mountains and desert defended it; on the E. the river and its artificial embankments. The climate is equable, judging from Cairo. Menes built the temple of Phta (his deified ancestor Phut, fourth son of Ham, who settled in Libya, Ge 10:6), the creative power, represented ordinarily holding the Nilometer or emblem of stability combined with the symbol of life, and a scepter, Moeris, Sesostris, Rhampsiuitis, Asychis, Psammeticus, and Amosis successively beautified this temple with gateways and colossal statues (including those of summer and winter by Rhampsinitis).
In the grand avenue to it fights between bulls (not with men, for the bull was sacred) such as are depicted on the tombs were exhibited. The temple of Apis also was here with a magnificent colonnade supported by colossal Osiride statue pillars; through it on state occasions was led a black bull with peculiarly shaped white spots upon his forehead and right side, the hairs on the tail double, and the scarabaeus or sacred beetle marked on his tongue. A gallery, 2,000 ft. long by 20 high and 20 wide, was the burial place of the embalmed sacred bulls. Apis was thought the incarnation of Osiris, who with Isis was the universal object of worship in Egypt. Aaron's calf, and Jeroboam's two calves, were in part suggested by the Egyptian sacred bull, in part by the cherubim ox. Jeremiah (Jer 46:20) alludes to Apis, "Egypt is like a very fair heifer."
Isis had a temple at Memphis, and was buried there. The sacred cubit used in measuring the Nile was in the temple of Serapis. Proteus (a Memphite king), Venus, Ra or Phre ("the sun"), and the Cabeiri too had temples in Memphis. The region of the pyramids (from peram "the lofty"; Ewald translated Job 3:14 built pyramids for themselves"), 67 (Lepsius) in number, or probably fewer as many of the 67 are doubtful, lies wholly W. of the Nile, from a little N.W. of Cairo to 40 miles S. and thence S.W. 25 miles. The Memphite necropolis ranges about 15 miles to Gizeh, including many pyramids of Egyptian sovereigns; the pyramids at Gizeh are the largest and oldest. See Piazzi Smyth, "Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid," on the scientific bearings of this extraordinary and, in his view, divinely planned monument, which has no idolatrous emblem on it, unlike other Egyptian monuments.
The Hyksos or shepherd kings (Ge 49:24), Shofo and Noushofo, 2500 B.C., he thinks, built the great pyramid under God's guidance, and the cities Salem, of which Melchizedek was shepherd priestking, and Damascus. Isaiah (Isa 19:13) foretold, "the princes of Noph are deceived," i.e. the military caste with all the famed "wisdom of Egypt" err in fancying themselves secure, namely, from Sargon, Nebuchadnezzar, and Cambyses, who successively conquered Egypt. Jeremiah (Jer 46:19), "Noph shall be waste and desolate, without inhabitant "(compare Jer 43:10). Ezekiel, 575 B.C. (Eze 30:13,16), "I will destroy the idols and cause their images to cease out of Noph." Half a century afterward (525 B.C.) Cambyses fulfilled it, killing Apis, scourging his priests, opening the sepulchers, examining the bodies, making sport of Phta's image, and burning the images of the Cabeiri (Herodotus, iii. 37). Memphis never recovered. Alexandria succeeded to its importance. So utter was its fall that the very site for a time was unknown. Mariette and Linant brought to light its antiquities, some of which are in the British Museum. Its dykes and canals still are the basis of the irrigation of Lower Egypt. The village Meet Raheeneh now stands where once was its center.
The famous ancient capital of Egypt, a few miles south of Cairo, the present capital. According to tradition, Memphis was built by Menes, who first united the two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt. Kings and dynasties might make their principal residences in the cities from which they sprang, but until Alexandria was founded as the capital of the Greek dynasty, no Egyptian city, except Thebes, under the New Kingdom equalled Memphis in size and importance. The palaces of most of the early kings (Dyns. 3
The Hebrew of this is Moph, Ho 9:6, and is judged to be the capital of lower or northern Egypt. It is called NOPH in Jeremiah and Ezekiel. It was denounced in the prophets and given over to destruction. Isa 19:13; Jer 2:16; 44:1; 46:14,19; Eze 30:13,16.
Memphis was one of the earliest cities of Egypt, and was in the district where some of the largest works were raised. In hieroglyphics it was styled Men-nofre, interpreted 'abode of the good,' etc. Some of the early dynasties were Memphian, during which the city rose to eminence. Its downfall was predicted by Ezekiel, "Thus saith the Lord God: I will also destroy the idols, and I will cause their images to cease out of Noph; and there shall be no more a prince of the land of Egypt." Eze 30:13. This was uttered about B.C. 570, and it was about B.C. 526 that Cambyses conquered Egypt. Enraged by the opposition he had encountered at Memphis, according to Herodotus, he committed great ravages in the city, scourged the priests, made sport of their gods, and burnt them. Memphis did not recover this attack, and its site was for a long while unknown. It is now held to have been on the west of the Nile, about 29 53' N, where a few relies have been discovered.
(haven, of the good), a city of ancient Egypt, situated on that western bank of the Nile, about nine miles south of Cairo and five from the great pyramids and the sphinx. It is mentioned by
under the name of Noph. Though some regard Thebes as the more ancient city, the monuments of Memphis are of higher antiquity than those of Thebus. The city is said to have had a circumference of about 10 miles. The temple of Apis was one of the most noted structures of Memphis. It 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 Habou at Thebes. Herod. ii, 153. Through this colonnade the Apis was led with great pomp upon state occasions. At Memphis was the reputed burial-place of Isis; it has also a temple to that "myriad-named" divinity. Memphis had also its Serapeium, which probably stood in the western quarter of the city. The sacred cubit until other symbols used in measuring the rise of the Nile were deposited in the temple of Serapis. The Necropolis, adjacent to Memphis, was on a scale of grandeur corresponding with the city itself. The "city of the pyramids" is a title of Memphis in the hieroglyphics upon the monuments. Memphis long held its place as a capital; and for centuries a Memphite dynasty ruled over all Egypt. 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 years. The city's overthrow was distinctly predicted by the Hebrew prophets.
The latest of these predictions was uttered nearly 600 years before Christ, and a half a century before the invasion of Egypt by Cambyses (cir, B.C. 525). Herodotus informs us that Cambyses, engaged at the opposition he encountered at Memphis, committed many outrages upon the city. The city never recovered from the blow inflicted by Cambyses. The rise of Alexandria hastened its decline. The caliph conquerors founded Fostat (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.
MEMPHIS. See NOPH.