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In Egyptian mythology, Sobek (also spelt Sebek, , Sochet, Sobk, Sobki, Soknopais, and in Greek, Suchos) was the deification of crocodiles, and was originally a demon, as crocodiles were deeply feared in the nation so dependant on the Nile River. His worship began as an attempt to placify crocodiles so as to reduce the danger they posed.

Gradually, Sobek, as a major one of its residents, also came to symbolise the produce of the Nile, thus the fertility to the land that it brought, and so his status quickly became more ambiguous.

Sometimes, the ferocity of a crocodile was seen in a positive light, Sobek in these circumstances being considered the army's patron, as representative of their strength and power. When Neith took on the characteristics of a goddess of primal waters, Sobek became, as a watery creature, of both good and evil, to be considered her son.

Sobek's cult originally flourished around El Faiyûm, where some temples still remain; the area was so associated with Sobek that one town, Arsinoe, was known to the Greeks as Crocodilopolis. In Arsinoe, they kept a tamed crocodile, ornamented with jewelery, and hand fed with meat, which the greeks referred to as Petsuchos, meaning he of Suchos [i.e. Sobek]. The Petsuchos was seen as the current incarnation of Sobek. Sobek-worship flourished in and after the Twelfth Dynasty, with other major centres developing in Kom Ombo and Thebes. However, in other areas of Egypt, crocodiles were dealt with simply by hunting and killing them.

Sobek's ambiguous nature lead some to say he was a repairer of evil that had been done, rather than a force for good in itself, for example, going to Duat to restore damage done to the dead as a result of their form of death. He was also said to call on suitable gods and goddesses required for protecting people in situation, effectively having a more distant role, nudging things along, rather than taking an active part. In this way, he was seen as a more primal god, eventually becoming regarded as an avatar of the primal god Amun, who at that time was considered the chief god. When his identity finally merged, Amun had become merged himself with Ra to become Amun-Ra, so Sobek, as an avatar of Amun-Ra, was known as Sobek-Ra.

In art, Sobek was depicted as an ordinary crocodile, or as a man with the head of a crocodile. When considered a patron of the pharaoh's army, he was shown with the symbol of royal authority - the uraeus. He was also shown with an ankh, representing his ability to undo evil and so cure ills. Once he had become Sebek-Ra, he was also shown with a sun-disc over his head, as Ra was a sun god.

In myths that appear extremely late in Egyptian history, Sobek is credited with catching the four sons of Horus in a net, as they emerged from the waters of the Nile in a lotus blossom. This motif derives from the birth of Ra in the Ogdoad cosmogony, and the fact that as a crocodile, Sobek is the best suited to collecting items upon the Nile.


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This article is copied from an article on - the free encyclopedia created and edited by online user community. Although the vast majority of the wikipedia encyclopedia articles provide accurate and timely information please do not assume the accuracy of any particular article. This article is distributed under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License.


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