Circa: 664 BC to 525 BC
Dimensions: 2.875" (7.3cm) high x 3" (7.6cm) wide x 12.625" (32.1cm) depth
Style: 26th Dynasty
Modern scholars believe that the worship of Sobek, the crocodile god, arose from a fear of these ferocious beasts. However, crocodiles were not universally feared in ancient Egypt. In certain regions, they were held sacred. Some were even tamed, kept in shallow pools and temples, embellished with jewelry and hand fed fresh meats, milk, and honey by reverent priests. While this may have been the case, it was certainly the exception; for throughout the greater part of the land, crocodiles remained a constant threat both to sailors cruising along the Nile as well as workers tilling the fertile banks of the mighty river. Sobek, the crocodile god, is either represented in the form of a crocodile, as he is here, or with the body of a human man with the head of the animal. A water deity, Sobek was the most popular deity in the oasis city of Arsinoe (renamed Crocodilopolis by the Greeks), one of the places where tamed crocodile were openly revered. Archaeologists have unearthed numerous examples of mummified crocodiles, and in some cases even their eggs, revealing the Ancient Egyptian’s honor for this powerful deity. The Nile was the life source of Ancient Egpyt, however, this waterway was filled with dangerous, unpredictable beasts. In order to mollify the danger of these wild animals, Sobek was honored with prayers, sacrifices, and libations, thereby ensuring a prosperous harvest and safe sailing.