I recently went on a trip to Egypt, and I felt ashamed that I visited Egypt lately. If a historian were to conduct an archaeological survey, Egypt should be the first place to visit before Greece and Rome.
Not only the Pyramids and Abu Simbel Temples, but also Memphis, which was the first capital of the unified kingdom of Upper and Lower Egypts, were places that I was very curious about. When you go to the British Museum, there are numerous collections of clay tablets on various ancient Assyrian kings’ wars. Among these, the most complete and excellent one is the Library of Ashurbanipal II. One of the clay tablets shows a scene in which Ashurbanipal II's army attacks Memphis.
The Assyrian army ruthlessly attacked the mighty fortress with double ramparts and densely lined towers. At that time, the soldiers guarding the fortress were not Egyptians but the people of Nubia, now in South Sudan. When Assyria invaded, Nubia, a vassal of Egypt for a long time, conquered Egypt and became the Pharaoh. Nubia was defeated, and as a result, their rule of Egypt ended. The castle of Memphis was captured, and the men were killed while the women and children were forcibly relocated.
I wondered If I could find traces of this castle in Memphis. I hoped that there would be at least some traces, even if it’s not in a good state. But my expectations turned into a shocking disappointment. There was a small outdoor museum in Memphis where the artifacts excavated from Memphis were displayed, and there were still impressive statues such as the giant Ramses statue and Sphinx. Still, the overall number of artifacts was surprisingly small.
There even wasn’t traces of the ruins of the castle. Only sheep and goats were jumping around on the hill. It is one thing to discover all the countless artifacts buried in Egypt, but it’s another to maintain them well. It seems that Memphis is not yet thoroughly excavated or postponed due to maintenance issues.
No one likes the memory of defeat. Most countries cover or distort it. But the only way to avoid repeating tragedy is to face the defeat and analyze it cool-headedly. To be sure, this seems to be the hardest thing to do for every country in the world. But if Memphis was a place of glory, not defeat, would it be discovered first?