The Info List - Menes

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MENES (/ˈmiːniːz/ ; Egyptian : _mnj_, probably pronounced */maˈnij/; Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
: Μήνης; Arabic : مينا‎‎) was a pharaoh of the Early Dynastic Period of ancient Egypt credited by classical tradition with having united Upper and Lower Egypt and as the founder of the First Dynasty .

The identity of Menes
is the subject of ongoing debate, although mainstream Egyptological consensus identifies Menes
with the Naqada III ruler Narmer
(most likely) or First Dynasty pharaoh Hor-Aha . Both pharaohs are credited with the unification of Egypt to different degrees by various authorities.


* 1 Name and identity

* 1.1 Narmer
and Menes

* 2 Dates

* 3 History

* 3.1 Capital * 3.2 Cultural influence * 3.3 Crocodile
episode * 3.4 Death

* 4 In popular culture * 5 See also * 6 Notes * 7 References * 8 Bibliography * 9 External links


Menes in hieroglyphs

The Egyptian form, _mnj_, is taken from the Turin and Abydos King Lists , which are dated to the Nineteenth Dynasty , whose pronunciation has been reconstructed as */maˈnij/. By the early New Kingdom , changes in the Egyptian language meant his name was already pronounced */maˈneʔ/. The name _mnj_ means "He who endures", which, I.E.S. Edwards (1971) suggests, may have been coined as "a mere descriptive epithet denoting a semi-legendary hero whose name had been lost". Rather than a particular person, the name may conceal collectively the Naqada III rulers: Ka , Scorpion II and Narmer

The commonly-used name _Menes_ derives from Manetho , an Egyptian historian and priest who lived during the pre-Coptic period of the Ptolemaic Kingdom
Ptolemaic Kingdom
. Manetho noted the name in Greek as Μήνης (transliterated : _Mênês_). An alternative Greek form, Μιν (transliterated: _Min_), was cited by the fifth-century-BC historian Herodotus
, is a variant no longer accepted; it appears to have been the result of contamination from the name of the god Min .


Main article: Narmer
_ The ivory label mentioning Hor-Aha along with the mn_ sign.

The almost complete absence of any mention of Menes
in the archaeological record and the comparative wealth of evidence of Narmer
, a protodynastic figure credited by posterity and in the archaeological record with a firm claim to the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, has given rise to a theory identifying Menes
with Narmer.

The chief archaeological reference to Menes
is an ivory label from Nagada
which shows the royal Horus-name _Aha_ (the pharaoh Hor-Aha ) next to a building, within which is the royal _nebty_-name _mn_, generally taken to be Menes. From this, various theories on the nature of the building (a funerary booth or a shrine), the meaning of the word _mn_ (a name or the verb _endures_) and the relationship between Hor-Aha and Menes
(as one person or as successive pharaohs) have arisen.

The Turin and Abydos king lists, generally accepted to be correct, list the _nesu-bit_-names of the pharaohs, not their Horus-names, and are vital to the potential reconciliation of the various records: the _nesu-bit_-names of the king lists, the Horus-names of the archaeological record and the number of pharaohs in Dynasty I according to Manetho and other historical sources.

Flinders Petrie first attempted this task, associating _Iti_ with Djer as the third pharaoh of Dynasty I, _Teti_ (Turin) (or another _Iti_ (Abydos)) with Hor-Aha as second pharaoh, and Menes
(a _nebty_-name) with Narmer
(a Horus-name) as first pharaoh of Dynasty I. Lloyd (1994) finds this succession "extremely probable", and Cervelló-Autuori (2003) categorically states that " Menes
is Narmer and the First Dynasty begins with him". However, Seidlmayer (2004) states that it is "a fairly safe inference" that Menes
was Hor-Aha.


Egyptologists, archaeologists, and scholars from the 19th century have proposed different dates for the era of Menes, or the date of the first dynasty:

* John Gardner Wilkinson (1835) – 2320 BC * Jean-François Champollion (1840) – 5867 BC * August Böckh (1845) – 5702 BC * Christian Charles Josias Bunsen (1848) – 3623 BC * Reginald Stuart Poole (1851) – 2717 BC * Karl Richard Lepsius (1856) – 3892 BC * Heinrich Karl Brugsch (1859) – 4455 BC * Franz Joseph Lauth (1869) – 4157 BC * Auguste Mariette
Auguste Mariette
(1871) – 5004 BC * James Strong (1878) – 2515 BC * Flinders Petrie (1887) – 4777 BC

Modern consensus dates the era of Menes
or the start of the first dynasty between c. 3200–3030 BC; some academic literature uses c. 3000 BC.


By 500 BC, mythical and exaggerated claims had made Menes
a culture hero , and most of what is known of him comes from a much later time.

Ancient tradition ascribed to Menes
the honor of having united Upper and Lower Egypt
Lower Egypt
into a single kingdom and becoming the first pharaoh of the First Dynasty. However, his name does not appear on extant pieces of the Royal Annals (Cairo Stone and Palermo Stone ), which is a now-fragmentary king's list that was carved onto a stela during the Fifth Dynasty . He typically appears in later sources as the first human ruler of Egypt, directly inheriting the throne from the god Horus
. He also appears in other, much later, king's lists, always as the first human pharaoh of Egypt. Menes
also appears in demotic novels of the Hellenistic period , demonstrating that, even that late, he was regarded as important figure.

was seen as a founding figure for much of the history of ancient Egypt, similar to Romulus in ancient Rome . Manetho records that Menes
"led the army across the frontier and won great glory".


Manetho associates the city of Thinis with the Early Dynastic Period and, in particular, Menes, a "Thinite" or native of Thinis. Herodotus
contradicts Manetho in stating that Menes
founded the city of Memphis as his capital after diverting the course of the Nile through the construction of a levee . Manetho ascribes the building of Memphis to Menes' son, Athothis, and calls no pharaohs earlier than Third Dynasty "Memphite".

and Manetho's stories of the foundation of Memphis are probably later inventions: in 2012 a relief mentioning the visit of Memphis by Iry-Hor —a predynastic ruler of Upper Egypt reigning before Namer—was discovered in the Sinai Peninsula
Sinai Peninsula
, indicating that the city was already in existence in the early 32nd century BC .


Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus
stated that Menes
had introduced the worship of the gods and the practice of sacrifice as well as a more elegant and luxurious style of living. For this latter invention, Menes' memory was dishonoured by the Twenty-fourth Dynasty pharaoh Tefnakht and Plutarch
mentions a pillar at Thebes on which was inscribed an imprecation against Menes
as the introducer of luxury.

In Pliny's account, Menes
was credited with being the inventor of writing in Egypt.


Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus
recorded a story of Menes
related by the priests of the crocodile god Sobek
at Crocodilopolis , in which the pharaoh Menes, attacked by his own dogs while out hunting, fled across Lake Moeris on the back of a crocodile and, in thanks, founded the city of Crocodilopolis.

George Stanley Faber (1816), taking the word _campsa_ to mean either _crocodile_ or _ark_ and preferring the latter, identifies Menes
with Noah
and the entire story as a flood myth .

Edwards (1974) states that "the legend, which is obviously filled with anachronisms, is patently devoid of historical value", but Gaston Maspero (1910), while acknowledging the possibility that traditions relating to other kings may have become mixed up with this story, dismisses the suggestions of some commentators that the story should be transferred to the Twelfth Dynasty pharaoh Amenemhat III
Amenemhat III
and sees no reason to doubt that Diodorus did not correctly record a tradition of Menes.


According to Manetho, Menes
reigned for 62 years and was killed by a hippopotamus .


Alexander Dow (1735/6–79), a Scottish orientalist and playwright , wrote the tragedy _Sethona_, set in ancient Egypt. The lead part of Menes
is described in the _dramatis personæ _ as "next male-heir to the crown" now worn by Seraphis , and was played by Samuel Reddish in a 1774 production by David Garrick
David Garrick
at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane


* Mannus , ancestral figure in Germanic mythology * Minos , king of Crete, son of Zeus and Europa * Manu (Hinduism) , Progenitor of humanity * Nu\'u , Hawaiian mythological character who built an ark and escaped a Great Flood * Nüwa , goddess in Chinese mythology best known for creating mankind * Noah
* Min (god) * Narmer
* Hor-Aha * Thinis


* ^ Originally, the full royal title of a pharaoh was _Horus_ name _x_ _nebty_ name _y_ _Golden-Horus_ name _z_ _nesu-bit_ name _a_ _Son-of-Ra_ name _b_. For brevity's sake, only one element might be used, but the choice varied between circumstances and period. Starting with Dynasty V, the _nesu-bit_ name was the one regularly used in all official documents. In Dynasty I, the Horus-name was used for a living pharaoh, the _nebty_-name for the dead. * ^ Other dates typical of the era are found cited in Capart, Jean , _Primitive Art in Egypt_, pp. 17–18 .


* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ Edwards 1971 , p. 13. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ _H_ _I_ Lloyd 1994 , p. 7. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Cervelló-Autuori 2003 , p. 174. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ Edwards 1971 , p. 11. * ^ Loprieno, Antonio (1995). _Ancient Egyptian: A linguistic introduction_. Cambridge University press. ISBN 0-521-44384-9 . * ^ Beck et al. 1999 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Seidlmayer 2010 . * ^ Loprieno 1995 , p. 38. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Manetho, Fr. 6, 7a, 7b. Text and translation in _Manetho_, translated by W.G. Waddell (Cambridge: Harvard University, 1940), pp.26-35 * ^ Herodotus: 2.4.1, 2.99.1ff. * ^ Lloyd 1994 , p. 6. * ^ Gardiner 1961 , p. 405. * ^ Budge, EA Wallis (1885), _The Dwellers on the Nile: Chapters on the Life, Literature, History and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians_, p. 54, Many dates have been fixed by scholars for the reign of this king: Champollion-Figeac thought about BC 5867, Bunsen 3623, Lepsius 3892, Brugsch 4455, and Wilkinson 2320. * ^ Kitchen, KA (1991). "The Chronology of Ancient Egypt". _World Archaeology_. 23 (2): 201–8. doi :10.1080/00438243.1991.9980172 . * ^ Frank Northen Magill; Alison Aves (1998). _Dictionary of World Biography_. Taylor & Francis. pp. 726–. ISBN 978-1-57958-040-7 . * ^ Maspero 1903 , p. 331. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ Verbrugghe & Wickersham 2001 , p. 131. * ^ Shaw & Nicholson 1995 , p. 218. * ^ Ryholt 2009 . * ^ Manley 1997 , p. 22. * ^ Herodotus: 2.99.4. * ^ Herodotus: 2.109 * ^ Verbrugghe Black, Linda; Krieger, Larry S; Naylor, Phillip C; Shabaka, Dahia Ibo (1999), _World history: Patterns of interaction_, Evanston , IL : McDougal Littell, ISBN 0-395-87274-X * Cervelló-Autuori, Josep (2003), "Narmer, Menes
and the seals from Abydos", _Egyptology at the dawn of the twenty-first century: proceedings of the Eighth International Congress of Egyptologists_, 2, Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, ISBN 978-977-424-714-9 . * Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus
, _ Bibliotheca historica _, 1 * Dow, Alexander (1774), _Sethona: a tragedy, as it is performed at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane_, London: T. Becket * Edwards, IES (1971), "The early dynastic period in Egypt", _The Cambridge Ancient History_, 1, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press . * Elder, Edward (1849), "Menes", in Smith, William, _Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology _, 2, Boston
: Charles C. Little & James Brown . * Faber, George Stanley (1816), "The origin of pagan idolatry: ascertained from historical testimony and circumstantial evidence", _3_, London: F&C Rivingtons , 2 . * Gardiner, Alan (1961), _Egypt of the Pharaohs_, Oxford: Oxford University Press . * of Halicarnassus, Herodotus
, _The Histories _ . * Lloyd, Alan B. (1994) , _Herodotus: Book II_, Leiden
: EJ Brill , ISBN 90-04-04179-6 . * Maspero, Gaston (1903), Sayce, Archibald Henry, ed., _History of Egypt, Chaldea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria_, 9, Kessinger Publishing . * ——— (1910) , Sayce, Archibald Henry, ed., _The dawn of civilization: Egypt and Chaldæa_, translated by McClure, M L, London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge , ISBN 978-0-7661-7774-1 . * Manley, Bill (1997), _The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Egypt_, London: Penguin, ISBN 0-14-051331-0 . * Rachewiltz, Boris de (1969), "Pagan and magic elements in Ezra Pound's works", in Hesse, Eva, _New approaches to Ezra Pound_, Berkeley , CA : University of California
Press . * Ryholt, Kim (2009), "Egyptian historical literature from the Greco-Roman period", in Fitzenreiter, Martin, _Das Ereignis, Geschichtsschreibung zwischen Vorfall und Befund_, London: Golden House . * Schulz, Regine; Seidel, Matthias (2004), _Egypt: The World of the Pharaohs_, HF Ullmann, ISBN 978-3-8331-6000-4 . * Shaw, Ian; Nicholson, Paul (1995), _The Dictionary of Ancient Egypt_, Harry N Abrams, ISBN 0-8109-9096-2 . * Seidlmayer, Stephan (2010) , "The Rise of the State to the Second Dynasty", _Egypt: The World of the Pharaohs_, ISBN 978-3-8331-6000-4 . * Verbrugghe, Gerald Paul; Wickersham, John Moore (2001) , _Berossos and Manetho, introduced and translated: Native Traditions in Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt_, Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor
: The University of Michigan Press , ISBN 978-0-472-08687-0 . * Waddell, Laurence A (1930), _Egyptian civilization: Its Sumerian origin_, London, ISBN 978-0-7661-4273-2 .


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