Sobek was the Egyptian god associated with pharaonic power, fertility, and military prowess, but served additionally as a protective deity with apotropaic qualities, invoked particularly for protection against the dangers presented by the Nile.

Symbols: Crocodile
Cult Centre: Crocodilopolis, the Fayum and Kom Ombo
Parents: Set/Khnum and Neith
Consort: Renenutet or Meskhenet

Statue of Sobek found at Amenemhat III’s mortuary temple. Ashmolean Museum. (c) Graeme Churchard

He was normally represented either in the form of a crocodile or as a human with a crocodile head.

Sobek was an aggressive and animalistic deity who lives up to the vicious reputation of his patron animal. However, through association with the healing side of the Osiris myth and Isis, he was considered a protective deity. His fierceness was able to ward off evil while simultaneously defending the innocent. He was thus made a subject of personal piety and a common recipient of votive offerings, particularly in the later periods of Egyptian history.

Relief of Sobek from the Temple of Kom Ombo. (c) Cool Image

Crocodiles were raised on religious grounds as living incarnations of Sobek. Upon their deaths, they were mummified in a grand ritual display as sacred, but earthly, manifestations of their patron god. This practice was executed specifically at the main temple of Crocodilopolis. Crocodile mummies were also presented as offering to Sobek at his temples.

Mummified crocodiles on display at the Crocodile Museum, Kom Ombo. (c) JMCC1

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