Menes: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Africanus: Mênês
Eusebius: Mênês
Pharaoh of Egypt
Predecessor Narmer?
Successor Hor-Aha?

Menes was the first pharaoh of a united Egyptian kingdom. He is credited with founding the First dynasty, around 3100 BC.[1] Menes was seen as a founding figure for much of the history of Ancient Egypt, similar to Romulus in Ancient Rome.[2]

Ancient Egyptian legend credits a pharaoh by this name with uniting Upper and Lower Egypt into in a single, centralized monarchy.[3] 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.[4] He also appears in other, much later, king's lists, always as the first human pharaoh of Egypt. Two king's lists of the 19th dynasty (13th century BC) call him Meni, the 3rd century BC Egyptian historian Manetho called him Menes, and the 5th century BC Greek historian Herodotus referred to him as Min.[3][5] Menes also appears in demotic novels of the Graeco-Roman Period, demonstrating that he even that late was regarded as important figure.[6]

in hieroglyphs
M17 Y5

Menes is also credited with the foundation of Memphis,[7] which he established as the Egyptian capital. According to Manetho, Menes reigned for 62 years and was killed by a hippopotamus .[8]


Archeological evidence

The discovery of the Narmer Palette in the late 19th century depicting the hitherto unknown pharaoh Narmer, possibly pre-dating Menes, wielding the symbols of both Upper and Lower Egypt, cast doubt on the traditional account. The general scholarly consensus is that Narmer (or his successor Hor-Aha) and Menes are in fact the same person. Others hold that Menes inherited an already-unified kingdom from Narmer; still others believe that Menes completed a process of unification started either unsuccessfully or only partially successfully by Narmer. In any case, while there is extensive archeological evidence of there being a pharaoh named Narmer, the only indisputable evidence for Menes is an ostracon which contains his name under the Nebty symbols.[9] There is a general suspicion that Menes either was a name of Narmer, Narmer's predecessor, or of Narmer's successor, Hor-Aha. Some people also believe that this may have been a legend created by the Egyptians to tell what happened. Others think that Narmer may have been the father of Menes.

See also


  1. ^ Beck, Roger B.; Linda Black, Larry S. Krieger, Phillip C. Naylor, Dahia Ibo Shabaka, (1999). World History: Patterns of Interaction. Evanston, IL: McDougal Littell. ISBN 0-395-87274-X. 
  2. ^ Manley, Bill. The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Egypt. p.22-23. 1997 ISBN 0140513310
  3. ^ a b "Menes". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  4. ^ Shaw, Ian and Nicholson, Paul. The Dictionary of Ancient Egypt. p.218. Harry N. Abrams, Inc. 1995. ISBN 0-8109-9096-2
  5. ^ Herodotus, Euterpe, 2.4.1 and 2.99.1ff.
  6. ^ Kim Ryholt: Egyptian Historical Literature from the Greco-Roman Period, In: Martin Fitzenreiter (editor), Das Ereignis, Geschichtsschreibung zwischen Vorfall und Befund, London 2009 p. 231-238 ISBN 978-1-906137-13-7
  7. ^ cf. Herodotus, Euterpe, 2.99.4.
  8. ^ Archibald Henry Sayce, Edward Gibbon, Ancient Empires of the East vol. 1 (Philadelphia: J. D. Morris, 1906), 15.
  9. ^ Gardiner, Alan. Egypt of the Pharaohs. p. 405. Oxford University Press, 1961

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

MENES, the name of the founder of the 1st Dynasty of historical kings of Egypt. He appears at the head of the lists not only in Herodotus and Manetho, but also in the native Turin Papyrus of Kings and the lists of Abydos, while the list of Sakkara begins with the sixth king of the 1st Dynasty, a fact which may throw some doubt on the supposed foundation of Memphis by Menes. Until recently he was looked upon as semi-mythical, but the discovery of the tombs of many kings of the 1st Dynasty including probably that of Menes himself, as well as an abundance of remains of still earlier ages in Egypt has given him a personality. He was probably ruler of Upper Egypt and conquered the separate kingdom of Lower Egypt.

See EGYPT; K. Sethe, "Menes and die Grundung von Memphis," in his Untersuchungen zur Geschichte and Alterthumskunde Aegyptens, iii. 121. (F. LL. G.)

<< Agrippa Menenius Lanatus

Antony Raphael Mengs >>

Simple English

Menes was a pharaoh of the first dynasty of ancient Egypt. He lived ca. 3100-3000 BC. He brought together upper and lower Egypt to make an empire. He even wore both crowns the white crown of lower Egypt and the red crown of upper Egypt. He built the ancient Egyptian city Memphis and made it the capital.

There is extensive archeological evidence that there was a pharaoh named Narmer, but little evidence for Menes.[1] There is a general suspicion that Menes either was a name of Narmer, his predecessor, or of his successor, Hor-Aha.

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

An image of Menes holding an ankh is on the frieze on the south wall of the U.S. Supreme Court building.[2]


  • Kinnaer, Jacques. What is Really Known About the Narmer Palette?, KMT: A Modern Journal of Ancient Egypt, Spring 2004.
  • Toby A. H. Wilkinson, Early Dynastic Egypt, Routledge, London/New York 1999, ISBN 0-415-18633-1, 70-71


  1. Gardiner, Alan. Egypt of the Pharaohs. p. 405. Oxford University Press, 1961
  2. "Courtroom Friezes: North and South Walls: Information Sheet." Supreme Court of the United States. [1]

Other websites

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address