Memphis, Egypt

ancient capital of Inebu-hedj, Egypt

Memphis was the ancient capital of the first nome of Lower Egypt, and of the Old Kingdom of Egypt from its foundation until around 2200 BC and later for shorter periods during the New Kingdom.[1] It was an administrative centre throughout ancient history.[2][3]

Its ancient Egyptian name was Ineb Hedj ("The White Walls"). The name "Memphis" (Μέμφις) is the Greek deformation of the Egyptian name of the pyramid of Pepi I (6th dynasty), which was Men-nefer,[4] and became Menfe in Coptic. The modern cities and towns of Mit Rahina, Dahshur, Saqqara, 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).

Memphis was also known in Ancient Egypt as Ankh Tawy ("That which binds the Two Lands") because of the strategic position of the city between Upper and Lower Egypt.

The ruins of Memphis are 20 km (12 miles) south of Cairo, on the west bank of the Nile.

Hieroglyphs in Memphis with a statue of Ramses II in the background

In the Bible, Memphis is called Moph or Noph.


  1. Katheryn A. Bard, Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt, Routledge 1999, p.694
  2. Lynn Meskell, Private Life in New Kingdom Egypt, Princeton University Press 2002, p.34
  3. Ian Shaw, The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, Oxford University Press 2003, p.279
  4. Bridget McDermott, Decoding Egyptian Hieroglyphs: How to Read the Secret Language of the Pharaohs, Chronicle Books 2001, p.130


  • Baines & Malek Cultural Atlas of Ancient Egypt, 2000. ISBN 0-8160-4036-2

Other websites

Preceded by
Capital of Egypt
3100 BC - 2180 BC
Succeeded by

29°50′40.8″N 31°15′3.3″E / 29.844667°N 31.250917°E / 29.844667; 31.250917