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Origin of the name BENIPE.
Etymology of the name BENIPE.
Meaning of the baby name BENIPE.


BENIPE.  Egyptian name, derived from Coptic benipe, meaning "stone of heaven," i.e. "iron."

... bronze tools were within reach of the Egyptians of the age of Cheops.  For the existing inscriptions on the site of the extremely ancient mines in the Sinaitic peninsula, from which mines that peninsula took its name of the "Copper-land" which it always bears in the hieroglyphical records, prove incontestably that these mines were worked most extensively, as already observed, not only in the reign of Cheops himself, but as early as that of Snefru, who belongs to the third dynasty in Manetho's enumeration.  Still granting all this, it must, I think, be conceded on the other hand, that supposing iron to have been known to the Egyptians at this early period, its employment in the construction of those Titanic erections, the Pyramids and the Sphinx is far more probable than the hypothesis that none but bronze tools were used.  And this I venture to think can be satisfactorily demonstrated.
    The proof is based on the extremely significant Coptic word for iron, as illustrated and explained by the mode in which it is written in the hieroglyphical inscriptions, and on the occurrence of that word as a component element in the name of an Egyptian Pharaoh belonging to the first dynasty.  The modern Egyptian word for iron is, in the Sahidic dialect, which is considered to be the purest, Benipi, or with a slight change in the final vowel, Benipe.  In the hieroglyphical form of the language it is the same, as, through the kindness of Dr. Birch, Keeper of the Oriental antiquities in the British Museum, and facile princeps amongst the hieroglyphical scholars in the world, I was already aware, more than three years ago, when that gentleman was good enough to indulge me with an extract from his then unpublished Hieroglyphical Dictionary bearing upon the point.  What is more, Dr. Birch on that occasion was further so obliging as to point out that in this as in countless other instances the hieroglyphical orthography reveals clearly and without a shadow of a doubt the etymology of the word.  Its first element is BA or BE (in the Coptic BO), meaning "hard-wood" or "stone," and the two letters which spell the word are often accompanied in the hieroglyphical inscriptions by a picture of the squared stone, such as those of which the pyramids were built.  At other times, as if to remind us that the word originally meant "hard-wood," and that it was only in process of time that it came to denote "hardware" in general, including such stone hardware as was going in very early times, the picture illustrating the spelt word was a branch or sprig.  The middle syllable in the word Benipe consists of the letter N with a very short vowel.  It is a preposition answering to the English "of."  The last element in the composite word is the syllable PE which is the Coptic word for heaven, or the sky.  And that this is really its signification here is proved incontrovertibly by the picture with which this syllable is wont to be accompanied in the hieroglyphical orthography of the word Benipe; for it is the picture invariably used to denote the heaven or the sky, and is employed for no other purpose.  Properly it represents the ceiling of a temple, which was regarded as itself a representation of the sky, the true ceiling of the true and original temple, and the picture is accordingly wont to be emblazoned with stars.  Hence the signification of the entire word Benipe, as Dr. Birch with great earnestness impressed upon me at the interview to which I have alluded, although he owned he could not conceive why the Egyptians should have called iron by so singular a name, is "stone of heaven," "stone of the sky," "sky stone."  I was naturally as much puzzled at the time as my great master in Egyptology, although it could not be questioned for a moment that he had given the correct analysis of the word.
    Some time afterwards, however, it occurred to me that this was the very name which would naturally be given to the only iron with which men were likely to meet in a natural state.  There is but one exception to the rule that iron is never found native, like gold and some others of the metals.  That exception is in the instance of meteoric iron, which might surely be called with propriety "the stone of heaven, or of the sky."  Moreover—and I have to thank my friend Mr. Pengelly for reminding me of the fact, and so materially helping me to shape out my crude speculation—meteoric iron needs no preparatory process, as does that procured from ores, to render it workable.  It is already malleable.  Hence those who had already been schooled in the laborious and ingenious manipulation of flint, bone, obsidian, would find no difficulty in turning to their various purposes this new gift from heaven.  In short, we may be sure, especially with the light thrown on the matter by this invaluable Egyptian word, bright with the radiance of that heaven which enters into its composition, that with this wondrous matter from another sphere than our own the art of working iron began.  Meteoric iron, which is occasionally found in very large masses—one found in Peru is computed to have weighed fifteen tons, and there is one in the British Museum a foot and half in length, and about a foot in diameter—must have been the first iron, if not the first metal of any kind, which was employed by man in the various arts of life.  It would not be till ages afterwards that the bowels of the Arabian mountains were ransacked for larger stores of what still retained its original name of "The Stone of Heaven." (Report and Transactions of the Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science, Literature and Art, v.2, 1867).


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