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Abstract. Herodotus was the fi rst one to leave us information about the foundation of Memphis in Egypt. We fi nd out from his work that the city was founded as the capital on the side of the Western fl ood-lands of the Nile in the epoch of the legendary king Menes (Narmer in Egyptian, 3050 BC) during the period of the so called zero dynasty. However, to what extent does this information correspond to the reality? Taking the data of the modern studies as the basis, the author concludes that there was no single capital in the epoch of the fi rst dynasties on the West bank. The earliest large settlements on the West bank appeared only in the epoch of the Old Kingdom and corresponded to the so-called pyramid towns. These towns were capitals of the state, each in its turn, and their main function was to perform funeral cult of the deceased kings. Only two centres could pretend to be a united capital in the historical perspective: Djed20 ОРЕХОВ Isut (pyramid town of the king Teti, 2345–2333 BC) and Mennefer (pyramid town of the king Pepi I, 2332–2283 BC). It is most plausible that the Memphis described by Herodotus emerged only at the end of the Middle Kingdom. Its appearance was prompted by the invasion of the Hyksos (1663–1555 BC) into Egypt who founded their own military fortress on the place of the pyramid town of Pepi I (Mennefer). Subsequently on this place a city-citadel Memphis appeared.


Herodotus, Memphis, Egypt Exploration Society, «peripatetic city», Hyksos, the pyramid city of Teti, the pyramid city of Pepi I

Roman A. Orekhov - Center for Egyptological Studies RAS, Russia, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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