memphis version

Memphis, the most ancient capital of a united Egypt and the sacred heart of the country, should actually be called Men-nefer. Memphis is the Greek version of the Egyptian name. The Egyptian name Men-nefer might be related to the pyramid of Pharaoh Pepi I which was built near the city. Pepi lived in the 2,200s BCE, and the city was founded around 3100 BCE, so the odds are good that the city had an even older name. According to Manetho, who was an Egyptian priest and scholar around 250 BCE, one of the ancient names for the city was Inebhedj, or “the white wall.” (The city had a sacred white retaining wall surrounding it.) Another name Manetho mentions is Hut-ka-Ptah, or “mansion of the ka of Ptah.” Since Memphis was sacred to Ptah throughout its history, and was a central site of Ptah’s worship, the name makes some sense. Interestingly, this second name might have been corrupted by Greek-speakers to Aegyptia, leading to our modern name Egypt.