Elegant Art Jokes: MEMPHIS.
The very situation of this famous ancient city of Egypt had long been a subject of learned dispute, till it was accurately ascertained by the French expedition to Egypt. Numerous heaps of rubbish, of blocks of granite covered with hieroglyphics and sculptures, of colossal fragments, scattered over a space three or four leagues in circumference, marks its site, a few miles south of Metarea or Heliopolis, at a village called Moniet-Rahinet. According to Herodotus, the foundation of Memphis was ascribed to Menes, the first king of Egypt. It was a large, rich, and splendid city, and the second capital of Egypt. Among its buildings were several magnificent temples, as those of Phtha, Osiris, Serapis, etc.; its palaces were also remarkable. In Strabo’s time, it was next to Alexandria in size
and population. Edrisi, who visited Memphis in the 12th century, thus describes its remains then existing: “Notwithstanding the vast extent of this city, the remote period at which it was built, the attempts made by various nations to destroy it and to obliterate every trace of it, by removing the materials of which it was constructed, combined with the decay of 4,000 years, there are yet in it works so wonderful as to confound the reflecting, and such as the most eloquent could not adequately describe.” Among the works specified by him, are a monolithic temple of granite, thirteen and a half feet high, twelve long, and seven broad, entirely covered, within and without, with inscriptions; and colossal statues of great beauty, one of which was forty-five feet high, carved out of a single block of red granite. These ruins then extended about nine miles in every direction.