[lit-ideas] Manethoniana

  • From: "" <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> (Redacted sender "Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx" for DMARC)
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 16 Feb 2015 07:42:12 -0500

We are discussing utterances in Memphis, and their implicatures.

In  a message dated 2/15/2015 7:12:24 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
jejunejesuit.geary2@xxxxxxxxx writes:
""Memphis" means "The City of Good  Abode". Apparently the Egyptians of old 
were very parsimonious with their  words." 
Apparently not so according to John Overton, James Winchester,  and Andrew 
Jackson in their "Memoirs of Memphis", the three egyptologists. 
"The reader will speculate why we decided to call this city 'Memphis',  
after the old Egyptian 'Memphis'. Let us be reminded that Old Memphis had  
several names during its history of almost four millennia."
"Its Ancient Egyptian name was "Inbu-Hedj", which we might translated as  
"the white walls".
"Mr. Jackson's original idea was to name the place Inbu-Hej but Winchester  
objected on two grounds: "We would need to build the alleged walls, and 
have  them painted white".
"Because of its size, Old Memphis also came to be known by  various other 
names that were actually the names of neighbourhoods or districts  that 
enjoyed considerable prominence at one time or another."

"This was confusing to the neighbours THEN, and we decided that it  should 
not be confusing NOW."
"According to a text of the First Intermediate Period, old Memphis was  
known Djed-Sut, which roughly translates as "everlasting places". But this, as, 
 again, Winchester found out is merely the name of the pyramid of Teti 
("Which  would mean, he added in private conversation, "that we should build 
 so-called pyramid to make sense to "Djed-Sut" should we decide to call the 
place  thus.""
"Old Memphis was also at one point referred to as "Ankh-Tawy". This roughly 
 translates as "Life of the Two Lands".
The expression stressed the strategic position of Old Memphis  (but hardly 
New Memphis that we are founding) between Upper and Lower  Egypt."
"The name "Ankh-Tawy", pronounced to rhyme with 'ooy', appears to date  
from the Middle Kingdom (c. 2055–1640 B.C.), and is frequently found in ancient 
 Egyptian texts, as it should.
"But one big doubt arose in us: some egyptologist friends of ours let  us 
know in private correspondence that the name was actually that of  the 
WESTERN district of the city that lay between the great Temple of Ptah  and the 
necropolis at Saqqara, an area that contained a sacred tree."
Since there are no necropolis in New Memphis (as per now), not to mention a 
 sacred tree, we decided against the name."
"Finally, at the beginning of the New Kingdom (c. 1550 B.  C.), old Memphis 
became known as "Men-nefer", which Overton,  in one poetic outburst, 
translated as "enduring and beautiful"".
"As Overton goes on to note, "Men-nefer" became "Menfe" in Coptic, which  
slightly 'obscures the meaning', as he puts it."
"The famous Egyptian historian Manetho referred to Memphis as  
"Hut-ka-Ptah", which Winchester translates as "enclosure of the ka of  Ptah".
"Manetho approximated this in Greek as Aί-γυ-πτoς (Ai-gy-ptos), from  
which derives the Latin AEGYPTVS and the modern English name of Egypt."
"The term Copt is also believed to be etymologically derived from this  
"But we were looking for a name of _city_, not a _country_."
"Now, of course, "Memphis" is merely the Greek adaptation of "Menfe".  If 
the Italians cannot stand a word ending in 's', apparently the Greeks were  
the opposite: they added a sibilant to "Menfe", which thus becomes "Memphis" 
--  There is are no 'f'- words in Grecian."
"Interestingly, it is the inverse in Hebrew: in the Bible, Old Memphis is  
called merely "Moph", or sometimes "Noph".
"This 'enduring and beautiful', originally referred to a pyramid located  
west of the city: the pyramid of Pepi I (Ppj-mn-nfr = Pepi-men-nefer 
(roughly:  "Pepi is perfection", or "Pepi is beauty")."
"Our wives objected that if "Memphis" means 'enduring and beautiful' as  
applied to a a pyramid, "We expect that you'll build the aforementione pyramid 
 at some point. That point has yet not come."
Reference, Manetho, "History of Egypt". 
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