PTAH, Or HA - PTAII- KA, Or HA-KA-PTAH, the abode of Ptah,' or ' of the being of Ptah' (Brugsch, i•, pp. 235, 236, Nos. 1102, 1103, 1104, 1105, tay. xlii.) Memphis was well chosen as the capital city of all Egypt. It stands just above the ancient point of the Delta, where the Pelusiac, Sebennytic, and Canopic branches separated. It was within the valley of Upper Egypt, yet it was close to the plain of Lower Egypt. If further north it could not have been in a position naturally strong: if any where but at the division of the two regions of Egypt it could not have been the seat of a sove reign who wished to unite and command the two. Where the valley of Upper Egypt is about to open into the plain it is about five miles broad. On the east, this valley is bounded almost to the river's brink by the light yellow limestone mountains which slope abruptly to the narrow slip of fertile land. On the west, a broad surface of cultivation extends to the low edge of the Great Desert, upon which rise, like landmarks, the long series of Memphite pyramids. The valley is perfectly flat, except where a village stands on the mound of some ancient town, and unvaried but by the long groves of date-palms which extend along the river, and the smaller groups of the villages. The Nile occupies the midst with its great volume of water, and to the west, not far beneath the Libyan range, is the great canal called the Bahr Yoosuf, or ' River of Joseph.' The scene is beautiful from the contrast of its colours, the delicate tints of the hare desert-mountains or hills bright with the light of an Egyptian sun, and the tender green of the fields, for a great part of the year, except when the Nile spreads its inundating waters from desert to desert, or when the harvest is yellow with such plenteous ears as Pharaoh saw in his dream. And the beauty is enhanced by the recollection that here stood that capital of Egypt which was in times very remote a guardian of ancient civilization • that here, as those pyramids—which triflers in all ages have mocked at—were raised to attest, the doctrine of a future state was firmly believed and handed down till revelation gave it its true significance ; and that here many of the great events of sacred history may have taken place, certainly many of its chief personages may have wondered at remains which in the days of Abraham were the work of an older and stronger generation.
But for the pyramids it would be difficult to trace the site of Memphis, and the pyramids, extending for twenty miles, do not materially help us. No lofty mounds, as at Bubastis and Sals, mark the place of the great city ; no splendid temples, as at Thebes, enable us almost to recall its magnificence. The valley between the Libyan Desert and the Nile is flat and unmarked by stand ing columns, or even, as at neighbouring Helio polis, by a solitary obelisk. Happily a fallen colossal statue and some trifling remains near by, half-buried in the mud, and annually drowned by the inundation, show us where stood the chief temple of Memphis, and doubtless the most ancient part of the city, near the modern village of Meet Raheeneh. This central position is in the valley
very near the present west bank of the river, and three miles from the edge of the Great Desert. The distance above Cairo is about nine miles, and that above the ancient head of the Delta about sixteen. The ancient city was no doubt of great extent, but it is impossible, now that its remains have been de stroyed and their traces swallowed up by the alluvial deposit of the Nile, to determine its limits, or to de cide whether the different quarters mentioned in the hieroglyphic inscriptions were portions of one con nected city; or again, whether the Memphis known to classical writers was smaller than the old capi tal, a central part of it from which the later addi tions had, in a time of decay, been gradually separated. In the inscriptions we find three quarters distinguished :—The White Wall,' men tioned by the classical writers, Nevichp reixos, has the same name in hieroglyphics, in which we find SEBT-HET, White Wall,' in the name of the Memphite Nome, HESP SEBT-HET, 'Nome of the White Wall,' and also separately NU-SEBT-HET, White-wall-city' (Brugsch, G. L, i., pp. 120, 234, 235 ; 1 tax. xv., Nos. 1091-1094 ; tay. xlii.) That Memphis is meant in the name of the nome appears, not only from the circumstance that Memphis was the capital of the Memphite Nome, but also from the occurrence of HA-PTAH-KA or HA-KA-PTAH, as the equivalent of SEBT-HET in the name of the nome (Brugsch, G. I, i., tay. xv., i. 1, ii. t, etc., and tl omen aus neuen Reiche, r). The White Wall is put in the nome-name for Memphis itself, pro bably as the oldest part of the city. Herodotus mentions the White Wall as the citadel of Mem phis, for he relates that it held a garrison of 120,000 Persians (iii. 91), and he also speaks of it by the name of the Citadel simply (TS reixor, 14). Thucydides speaks of the White Wall as the third, and, as we may infer, the strongest part of Mem phis, but does not give the names of the other two parts (i. 104). The Scholiast remarks that Memphis had three walls, and that whereas the others were of brick, the third, or White Wall, was of stone (0aut "yey tin pia rein ole lie X170Olvrcov, rpas. 7-5 rptrov 71 tar? ..vi-vve-ro. Netocav Se ihczXriro, 6s. TCZP kcep din irAivOcov exelvou O Mew, ad loc.) No doubt the commentator had in his mind Greek towns surrounded by more than a single wall, and did not know that Egyptian towns were rarely if ever walled. But his idea of the origin of the name white as applied to the citadel of Memphis is very probably correct. The Egypt ian forts known to us are of crude brick, therefore a stone fort, very possible in a city like Memphis, famous for its great works in masonry, would receive a name denoting its peculiarity. It is noticeable that the monuments mention two other quarters, The two regions of life' (Brugsch, G. i., pp. 236, 237, Nos. to7, seq., tay. xlii. xliii.), and AMHEE or PER-AMHEE (Id., p. 237, No.