Relief of Sobek

Detail of a bas relief depicting the crocodile headed god Sobek at Temple of Kom Ombo. Sobek was associated with the Nile River and was often depicted as a powerful and fearsome deity with the head of a crocodile and the body of a human. He was believed to have control over the waters and was associated with fertility, protection, and military prowess. Sobek was also considered a guardian of the king and was often worshipped in temples dedicated to him.

During the Ptolemaic Period in ancient Egypt, the worship of Sobek continued, although there were some changes in religious practices and beliefs. The Ptolemaic Dynasty, which ruled Egypt from 305 BC to 30 BC, was of Greek Macedonian origin and brought their own religious traditions and deities to Egypt. However, they also adopted and incorporated many aspects of Egyptian religion, including the worship of Sobek.

Relief of Sobek
Relief of Sobek

Temples dedicated to Sobek continued to be built and maintained, and the cult of Sobek remained popular among the Egyptian population. Sobek was still revered as a powerful and protective deity, associated with fertility, the Nile River, and military strength.

Crocodiles in ancient Egypt

Crocodiles held significant cultural and religious importance in ancient Egypt. They were associated with the Nile River, which was a vital source of life and fertility for the Egyptians. Crocodiles were seen as powerful and dangerous creatures, and their behavior and characteristics were often attributed to various deities.

One of the most prominent deities associated with crocodiles was Sobek, the crocodile-headed god. Sobek was worshipped as a protective deity, particularly in areas where crocodiles were prevalent. Temples dedicated to Sobek were built, and rituals and offerings were made to appease him and seek his favor.

Crocodiles were also believed to possess a connection to the afterlife. They were associated with the god Sobek-Re, a combination of Sobek and the sun god Re. Sobek-Re was believed to guide souls through the underworld, and crocodile-shaped coffins and amulets were used in funerary practices.

In addition to their religious significance, crocodiles were also hunted for their valuable skins and meat. They were considered a symbol of power and were sometimes kept as pets or in sacred pools within temple complexes. Cocodiles played a multifaceted role in ancient Egyptian culture, encompassing religious, symbolic, and practical aspects.