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Ancient Egypt /
1. Introduction
2. Gods
3. Concepts
4. Cult
5. Cult centres
6. Necropolises
7. Structures

Detailed articleAncient Egypt

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Other spellings: Sebek, Sobk, Suchos

Sobek, represented at Kom Ombo, Egypt, his cult centre.
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Sobek, represented at Kom Ombo, Egypt, his cult centre.

In Ancient Egyptian Religion, crocodile god. In some cults he was a primordial god and involved in creation. The name "Sobek" was Ancient Egyptian for crocodile.
His qualities were mainly linked with water, the areas of riverbanks and marshes, which were the natural habitat of crocodiles. Hence he was not confined to the role of a crocodile, he was even the surrounding area.
He was represented either as a full crocodile or as a man with a crocodile head. He was often wearing a headdress made of a sun disc resting on two horns, with upright feathers above (as on the illustration).
His cult centres were at Kom Ombo where he shared a temple with a variant ofHorus known as Haroeris and in Fayoum Oasis. At both Fayoum and Kom Ombo, cemeteries of mummified crocodiles have been found. There were in addition a number of shrines and temples around Egypt, like at Silsila Mountain and Gebelein.
A common element to Sobek's temples were a pool containing sacred living crocodiles, or the inner sanctuaries contained dwellings for crocodiles.
Sobek's cult emerged as one of Egypt's most popular in the Middle Kingdom, reflected in the king names. Sobekhotep became a popular king's name in the 13th Dynasty and there was a ruling queen named Sobekneferu late in the 12th Dynasty.
As part of his increasing popularity in the Middle Kingdom he became associated with state gods, Amon and Re, into which the joint deity of Sobek-Re was formed. In Ptolemaic times, Sobek-Re became associated with the Greek god Helios.
Prior to the Middle Kingdom, Sobek may have been a fertility god linked to death and burial.
Egypt had another crocodile deity, the goddess Ammut. She is rarely found represented, and is noted for having the body of a lion.

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By Tore Kjeilen