Study Guide

Ptah

  • Profile

    The Master Builder, Ptah, has been around longer than all the builders, construction workers, architects, and carpenters you can think of. In fact, according to ancient Egyptian myth, Ptah is the original Do-It-Yourself Guy. Get this: he built the universe using nothing but his heart and his tongue. Now that's impressive.

    Basic Information

    Name

    Ptah

    Nickname

    Great Architect, Master Builder, Creator, The Hammer

    Sex

    Male

    Current city

    Memphis

    Work & Education

    Occupation

    I build stuff.

    Education

    I learned on the job. I like hands-on classes.

    Beliefs

    Political views

    Monarchist

    Family & Friends (& Enemies)

    Parents

    Parents? I built myself.

    Siblings

    None, though I think of my fellow creators Ra and Amun as brothers.

    Children

    To be honest, everything that exists is my child. But I have a very clever son named Nefertem and a stepson named Imhotep who used to be a mortal.

    Friends

    I'm kind of busy for friends. Creation never ends.

    Enemies

    Apep (the demon of Uncreation)

    Relationships

    Relationship status

    Married to Sekhmet

    Interested in

    Women

    Favorites

    TV Shows

    Anything on HGTV
    Bob the Builder (Can we fix it? Yes we can.) 
    This Old House (I like to watch this on my days off.) 

    Quotations

    "The creative mind plays with the objects it loves."
    – Carl Jung

    "I do the very best I know how, and I mean to keep doing so until the end."
    – Abraham Lincoln

    "What is the use of a house, if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?"
    – Henry David Thoreau

    "A man builds a fine house; and now he has a master, and a task for life; he is to furnish, watch, show it, and keep it in repair, the rest of his days."
    – Ralph Waldo Emerson

    "Everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance."
    – Kurt Vonnegut

    Books

    Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters by J. D. Salinger 
    (So glad my family isn't quite this crazy, though.)
    Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein 
    (There's always more to be created, once you reach the end….)
    The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer 
    (In case you thought only modern construction guys got accused of being flirty.)
    The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams 
    (Even the most ordinary tool is beautiful.)
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley 
    (I'm fairly certain MY world turned out better.)
    Building in Egypt: Pharaonic Stone Masonry by Dieter Arnold 
    (Pyramids, temples, and giant stone buildings! I love them all.)
    Basic Physics: A Self-Teaching Guide by Karl F. Kuhn 
    (If you want to create a world, there are laws you have to obey. We call them physics.)
    The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright: A Complete Catalog by William Allin Storer 
    (I really like his style. These homes and other structures get along with nature.)
    NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe by Terence Dickinson 
    (I love the night. The darker it is, the less distractions to my creative work.)
    Freemasonry for Dummies by Christopher Hodapp 
    (Ancient Egyptians called my chief priest "The Master Builder." The Masons use the same title for God and use some of my ancient symbols, even today.)

    Music

    Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2 by Pink Floyd 
    (I probably made that brick.)
    (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding 
    (Is there anything better than listening to this song on a summer night?)
    Standing Still by Jewel 
    (I've been standing still since creation started. Need all my energy.)
    If I Had a Hammer by Peter, Paul, and Mary 
    (I have a hammer and all the rest of the tools. And I know how to use them!)
    No Hurry by Zac Brown Band 
    (Never hurry. Things get done in their time.)
    The Land of the Pharaohs by Phil Thornton and Hossam Ramzy 
    (Traditional music is very creative, and this video makes me homesick. Check me out in the dark corner of the Abu Simbel shrine [far left] at 5:40!)
    Genesis by VNV Nation 
    (Let there be light.)
    Part of Me by Katy Perry 
    (Everything in creation is a part of me, even stupid boyfriends.)

    Movies

    Field of Dreams 
    (Since I built it, they came.)
    TRON: Legacy 
    (Creation traps its creator. Is this a dream or a nightmare?)
    The Towering Inferno 
    (Part of why I don't let my wife Sekhmet near my creations is I'm afraid they'll end up like this.)
    The Fifth Element 
    (What does it take to make a world? Fire, air, earth, water, and love.)
    A.I. 
    (What is reality? Sometimes it's hard to tell.)
    March of the Penguins 
    (Some of my best creations ever, don't you think?)
    Independence Day 
    (Stop wrecking my planet!)
    Rango 
    (Can lizards be cool? Of course they can.)

    Activities & Interests

    Likes

    Home improvement
    Simulation games (especially SimEarth and SimCity)
    Darkness
    Power tools
    Earthmoving equipment

    Interests

    Genetics
    Construction
    Technology and artificial intelligence
    Geology

    Groups

    The Home Depot  
    The Creators Project  
    Bald is Beautiful  
    LEGO 

    • Spotter's Guide

      Ptah's a little busy. You know, creating the world. But if you spot him, he'll be wrapped like a mummy, so we hope you're really good at recognizing hands.

      Sex: Male
      Age: Adult
      Build: Hard to tell under those mummy wrappings
      Complexion: Green, most of the time. Sometimes brown or black.
      Hair Color: Unknown (hidden under a blue skullcap, if any hair at all. Usually bald)
      Facial Hair: A long (fake) pharaoh's beard tied to his chin
      Scars/marks/tattoos: None
      Jewelry and accessories: Usually carries 1-3 scepters of office in his hands; sometimes wears bracelets or a necklace
      Clothing: Wrapped in white mummy wrappings from neck to toes, with only his hands free.
      Armor: None except his mummy wrappings
      Type of Weapon: None

      Typical Companions

      • Imhotep
      • Nefertem
      • Osiris
      • Sekhmet
      • Sokar
      • Horus the Younger, who is also known as the Heart of Ptah
      • Thoth, who is also known as the Tongue of Ptah

      Known Hangouts

      • Inside his temple (Ptah doesn't go anywhere. Creation requires total concentration.)
      • The Duat (the afterlife/land of the hidden sun)
      • Shop class
      • Nighttime and shadows
    • Sightings

      Ta-Tenen, the Primeval Mound

      Before anything existed, Ptah existed. When he decided to create the world—let's face it, a universe full of nothing has got to be boring—he rose out of the waters of creation on a rock or island of new dirt. This spot was called Ta-Tenen, or "the first earth." Ptah never had a mom to yell at him to clean his room… but his room was empty to start with.

      Jan 1, 1970

      Ptah, South of His Wall

      Pharaoh Narmer built a great city and palaces at Mennefer or "beautiful walls" in an area a few miles south of modern Cairo, Egypt. Narmer's name means "the fighting catfish," and his favorite god was Ptah. Mennefer was ancient Egypt's capital for thousands of years. The temple of Ptah (called Hikuptah, the word that becomes "Egypt" in English), was located south of the walls that gave the city its other name, Ineb-hedj or "white walls." The goddess Neith, whose temple was on the other side, is sometimes called "North of Her Wall."

      Jan 1, 1970 - Jan 1, 1970

      Apis Bulls

      Pharaoh Raneb of the Second Dynasty founded a temple to a sacred bull. This bull, called Hapi (Apis in Greek) was a mascot for Ptah while it was alive and Osiris after it was dead. Thousands of Apis bulls were mummified and buried in a special mausoleum near Memphis called the Serapeum, and the Apis temples stayed open for more than 2500 years, even after Egypt became a Roman colony. (No bull!)

      Dec 20, 2019

      Tutankhamun's Burial

      When pharaoh Tutankhamun ("King Tut" to his friends) died, an extraordinary golden statue of Ptah was buried with him, sealed inside its own wooden shrine.

      Dec 20, 2019

      Ptah Who Hears Prayers

      In the Late New Kingdom of Egypt, when people had a problem, they went to temples to pray about it. There were several temples with "hearing ear shrines," for people to talk directly to the gods. One of the most famous is at the Djeme temple (called Medinet Habu today, on the West Bank of Luxor in southern Egypt), where people could approach a special wall where an image of Ptah was carved, along with lots of pictures of ears. The ears were like magic cell phones—speak to one, and you're talking right to Ptah!

      Dec 20, 2019

      The Shabaka Stone

      The scribes of Shabaka, one of the pharaohs of Dynasty 25, found a very old papyrus in the temple of Ptah at Memphis. It was so old, in fact, that worms were eating it. Shabaka didn't have bug spray, but he had the next best thing: stone carvers who could make a permanent copy of the papyrus on stone. Thankfully, this stone, called the "Shabaka Stone" or the "Memphite Theology," survived, even though thousands of years after it was forgotten in the ruins of Memphis, it was cut up to be used in a mill. Once someone realized there were hieroglyphs on it and they were translated, the Shabaka Stone was taken from Memphis. Today, you can see it on display at the British Museum.

      Dec 20, 0090

      Ptah in the Bible

      The very first verse of the Gospel of John in the New Testament of the Bible begins with talking about how the Word of God existed at the beginning of creation. This is just like the story in the Shabaka Stone, when Ptah and his heart (or his wishes) and his tongue (or his words) created the world.

      Mit Rahina

      The modern village of Mit Rahina, Egypt is built on top of an ancient treasure—the ruins of the entire city of Ptah, Mennefer or Memphis. If you go there today, you can visit these ruins and a museum of stone statues and other finds. It's just a short drive outside of Cairo. Tell them your mummy (Ptah in his mummified form, whose statues are all over inside the museum grounds) sent you.