MENES (/ˈmiːniːz/ ; Egyptian : _mnj_, probably pronounced
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
Narmer (most likely) or First Dynasty pharaoh
Both pharaohs are credited with the unification of Egypt to different
degrees by various authorities.
* 1 Name and identity
* 2 Dates
* 3 History
* 3.1 Capital
* 3.2 Cultural influence
* 3.4 Death
* 4 In popular culture
* 5 See also
* 6 Notes
* 7 References
* 8 Bibliography
* 9 External links
NAME AND IDENTITY
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
Naqada III rulers: Ka ,
Scorpion II and
The commonly-used name _Menes_ derives from
Manetho , an Egyptian
historian and priest who lived during the pre-Coptic period of the
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 .
NARMER AND MENES
Narmer _ The ivory label mentioning
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
The chief archaeological reference to
Menes is an ivory label from
Nagada which shows the royal Horus-name _Aha_ (the pharaoh
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
Menes (as one person or as successive pharaohs)
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
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
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
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 (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.
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
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
Hellenistic period , demonstrating that, even that late, he was
regarded as important figure.
Menes was seen as a founding figure for much of the history of
ancient Egypt, similar to Romulus in ancient Rome .
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.
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".
Herodotus and Manetho's stories of the foundation of Memphis are
probably later inventions: in 2012 a relief mentioning the visit of
Iry-Hor —a predynastic ruler of
Upper Egypt reigning
before Namer—was discovered in the
Sinai Peninsula , indicating that
the city was already in existence in the early
32nd century BC .
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
Plutarch mentions a pillar at Thebes on which was inscribed an
Menes as the introducer of luxury.
In Pliny's account,
Menes was credited with being the inventor of
writing in Egypt.
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
George Stanley Faber (1816), taking the word _campsa_ to mean either
_crocodile_ or _ark_ and preferring the latter, identifies
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 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
IN POPULAR CULTURE
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 at the
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane .
Mannus , ancestral figure in
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
* ^ 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,
* ^ 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
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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:
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_3_, London: F&C Rivingtons , 2 .
* Gardiner, Alan (1961), _Egypt of the Pharaohs_, Oxford: Oxford
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* 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
* ——— (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,
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* Schulz, Regine; Seidel, Matthias (2004), _Egypt: The World of the
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* Seidlmayer, Stephan (2010) , "The Rise of the State to the Second
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* Waddell, Laurence A (1930), _Egyptian civilization: Its Sumerian
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