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Menes [1]

was the name of the first king of the first Egyptian dynasty. He marks a great chronological epoch, being placed by different chronologers as early as BC. 3643, 3892, or even 5702. Stricter Egyptologists make his accession BC. 2717. This name, which signifies the conductor. has been found on inscriptions, but no contemporary monuments of him are known. Menes is the most usual form of his name, but it is also written Menas, Menis, Meinis, Men, Min, and Mein. It is singularly in accordance with the Indian Menu, the Greek Minos, the Teutonic Mannus, and similar appellations of a primeval king; although the oldest Egyptian language seems to have had nothing akin with the Aryan family, to which the others belong. Herodotus says that he built Memphis on the original bed of the Nile,'which he turned from its former course, and erected therein a beautiful temple to Hephaestus or Pthah II (comp. Diod. 1:50, ed Wess. ad loc.). Diodorus informs us that he introduced into Egypt the worship of the gods, the practice of sacrifices, and many luxuries. For this last innovation he was subsequently held in great dishonor, as Plutarch mentions a pillar at Thebes, in Egypt, on which was inscribed an imprecation against Menes as an introducer of luxury. There is a legend preserved by Diodorus which narrates-in defiance of chronology, unless Mendes is to be substituted for Menas his being saved from death in Lake Mceris by a-crocodile, in gratitude for which he inaugurated the worship of that animal, and built a city in the neighborhood of the lake called the City of Crocodiles, and a pyramid to serve as his own tomb. During his reign there was a revolt of the Libyans. That he made foreign conquests we learn from an extract from Manetho, preserved by Eusebius. By Marsham and others he is considered as identical with the Mizraim of Scripture. According to some accounts he was killed by a hippopotamus. See Lepsius, Konigsbuch, Quellentaf, p. 5; Bockh, Manetho, p. 386; Poole, Hor. Egypt. p. 219; Herodotus, 2:4, 99; Diodorus, 1:43, 45, 89 (ed. Wess. ad loc.); Plutarch, De Isaiah et Osir. p. 8; Perizon, Orig. Egypt. c. 5; Shuckford's Connection, bk. iv; Bunsen, Egyptens Stelle in der Weltgeschichte, 2:38-45. (See Egypt); (See Memphis).