Myths about creation from Memphis

Written by Felgr Pavel on .

Ptah was self-born creator, who was called "Father of gods, whom all the life germinated of". Ptah created the universe via all its aspects projection to his heart and then expressed his ideas aloud. At first he created other gods and then the cities with sanctuaries, where they began to live. He provided wooden, earthen and rocky statues as bodies for the spirit or divine power (ka) of these gods and arranged sacrifices for them forever. All the things and people developed when Ptah just pronounced their names.

Myth's background

Memphis (ancient Mennefer) is situated approximately 24 km to the south from present Cairo at the place of present village Mit Rahina. Memphis was established on the beginning of I. dynasty (approximately 3100 BC) as an administrative centre of Egypt, but only little part of ancient city was preserved. It was because of the stones from city's ruins were used for churches and mosques building in Cairo in the Middle Ages. Memphis' myth about the creation is written on a rectangular plaque from black granite with the measures 92x137cm. A 25. dynasty's monarch Sabaka let inscribe the sign. He also ordered to place the plaque in Ptah's temple in Memphis (Mennefer). Today the plaque is places in British museum in London.

In the myth's introduction is explained that Sabaka let inscribe the story in the stone, because the original was written on stuff, which was gnawed by worms (it was probably papyrus or leather). The sign's language was typical for Old Kingdom, therefore it was supposed the original came from this time. Nowadays we know the original came from the end of Ramesses dynasty, even though Ptah as the creator was already known in Old Kingdom period.

In memphis' myth about creation is the god connected with his name uttering, which evoked living power (ka). Then it needs a vessel to dwell in. The most suitable is a sculpture, because it can be used as a cult idol. The Egyptians believed, that human beings had their own ka, which was artistically depicted as a stand-in of this person. It was neccessary to preserved the body after death for ka survival (often translated as "spirit"). The ceremony was similar for god's and king's sculptures in cases and temples and mummified bodies before the funeral.

The last ceremony before laying into the tomb was called "Mouth opening". Various ceremonial tools were put to sculpture's or dead person's mouth or nose, which should wake up the senses and help to inhale the life into the statuette with ka. This ritual origin is attributed to memphis' creator Ptah. Current name "Egypt" is derived from Greek name of this country Aigyptos. There are suppositions, that this name was created from Ptah's temple in Memphis (Mennefer) called Hwt-ka-Ptah (it means "Ptah's residence").

Message from the Nile

  • History of Czech institution of egyptology

    The Czech egyptology founder is Frantisek Lexa, the author of up to now evaluated work about ancient Egypt magic and Demotic grammar. Seminar for egyptology started thanks to him in Faculty of Philosophy and Arts of Charles University in Prague in 1925. Two years later Lexa became the first regular professor of egyptology in then Czechoslovakia.

  • Abusir - outstation of Czech egyptology expedition

    Abusir is an archaeological locality in Egypt named after nearby recent village Abusir. It is situated on western Nile bank on the edge of Libyan tableland approximately 20 kilometers to the south-west of Cairo. The name of this locality is derived from ancient Egypt god Osiris, from Per Usir (Busiris), "(cult) place of Osiris" (Busiris in Greek).

  • Researches in Western desert

    Czech egyptology is successful in researching not only on pyramidal fields in Abusir recently, but also in supporting and organizing smaller expeditions into egyptian Western desert. Czech expedition has been working even in slowly evanescent oasis El-Hajez since 2003, which is situated about 400 km to the south-west from Cairo.

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