Menes was an Egyptian pharaoh of the Ist. Dynasty, to some authors the founder of this, to others the second. He lived ca. 3100-3000 BC, to some lists ca. 3050 BC. He is generally credited with uniting Upper and Lower Egypt into one kingdom. However, the discovery of the Narmer palette in the late 19th century showing the pharoah Narmer, possibly pre-dating Menes, wielding the unified symbols of both Upper and Lower Egypt has caused some controversy. Some Egyptologists hold that Narmer and Menes are in fact the same person; others hold that Menes inherited an already-unified kingdom from Narmer; still others hold that Menes completed a process of unification started either unsuccessfully or only partially successfully by Narmer.

In either case, Menes is credited with the foundation of Memphis, which he established as the Egyptian capital.

Other spellings for Menes are Hor Aka, Hor-Aka and Hor Aha; Hor-Aka can be translated as "Horus of the Reeds", possibly in allusion to the legend in which Isis hid Horus in the Nile Delta among papyri and reeds. It is interesting this name, because when speaking about this king it is difficult to forget the legendary battle between Horus (a patron deity of Lower Egypt) and Set (patron deity of Upper Egypt), in which Set was defeated and the kingdom got unified under the rule of Horus, the first king of all Egypt. It is simple to be sceptical about the conversion of this war into a myth, but it is a matter of fact that the war existed and then the unification of Egypt.

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