ISBN: 978-2-87457-095-7
9,50 €


Fields, Mounds-Islands and Caves for the Nile Crocodiles. From Ethology to Religion in Roman Egypt

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by Pierre P. KOEMOTH, in Res Antiquae 14, 2017.

In the Nile Valley, the crocodiles behaviour was strongly conditioned by environment factors like the room temperature and the water level of the river fluctuating between raising and subsiding flood. Hidden during the summer in holes of the riverbanks, or grottoes and galleries hollowed in the cliffs, at least in the south of the country, these saurians came back at every New Year as “prophets of the flood”. Dispersed then in irrigated fields, pools and lakes, their cults were deeply rooted, especially around islands or mounds but also in rocktemples. The touching with the earth’s bowels and Nun provided another symbolic image to these crocodiles as “prophets of the renewal”, clearly stronger than the icon of great predator. During the Roman Period, this animal became emblematic of an Egypt forever prosperous through his floods, expression of a cosmic order established by the gods.

Keywords: Crocodile, Cave, Cults, Island, Mound, Nilometer, Sobek
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