Crocodile (pharaoh)

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Crocodile (also read as Shendjw [1] ) is the provisional name of a predynastic ruler, who might have ruled during the late Naqada III epoch. The few alleged ink inscriptions showing his name are drawn very sloppily, and the reading and thus whole existence of king "Crocodile" are highly disputed. His tomb is unknown.

Naqada culture archaeological culture of pre-dynastic Egypt

The Naqada culture is an archaeological culture of Chalcolithic Predynastic Egypt, named for the town of Naqada, Qena Governorate. A 2013 Oxford University radio carbon dating study of the Predynastic period, however, suggests a much later date beginning sometime between 3,800-3,700 BC.

Ink liquid or paste that contains pigments or dyes

Ink is a liquid or paste that contains pigments or dyes and is used to color a surface to produce an image, text, or design. Ink is used for drawing or writing with a pen, brush, or quill. Thicker inks, in paste form, are used extensively in letterpress and lithographic printing.


Name sources

The proposed existence of Crocodile is based on Günter Dreyer's and Edwin van den Brink's essays. They are convinced that Crocodile was a local king who ruled at the region of Tarkhan. According to Dreyer, Crocodile's name appears in black ink inscriptions on burnt earthen jars and on several seal impressions found in tomb TT 1549 at Tarkhan and tomb B-414 at Abydos. He sees a crawling crocodile and a rope curl beneath it and reads Shendjw ("the subduer"). [1] Van den Brink thinks alike and reads Shendjw, too, but sees only a large rope curl sign inside the serekh. [2]

Günter Dreyer was an Egyptologist at the German Archaeological Institute. In southern Egypt, Dreyer discovered records of linen and oil deliveries which have been carbon-dated to between 3300 BCE and 3200 BCE, predating the Dynastic Period.

Tarkhan (Egypt) Ancient Egyptian necropolis

Tarkhan is an Ancient Egyptian necropolis, located around 50 km south of Cairo on the west bank of the Nile.

Abydos, Egypt City in ancient Egypt

Abydos is one of the oldest cities of ancient Egypt, and also of the eighth nome in Upper Egypt. It is located about 11 kilometres west of the Nile at latitude 26° 10' N, near the modern Egyptian towns of el-'Araba el Madfuna and al-Balyana. In the ancient Egyptian language, the city was called Abdju. The English name Abydos comes from the Greek Ἄβυδος, a name borrowed by Greek geographers from the unrelated city of Abydos on the Hellespont.

Reign and datation

Almost nothing is known about Crocodile's reign. If he existed, he might have had his capital at Tarkhan, where his proposed tomb was excavated. Dreyer places him in a time shortly before the kings Iry-Hor, Ka and Narmer. He points to guiding inscriptions on the jars mentioning a Hen-mehw ("brought from Lower Egypt"). This specific diction of designations of origin is archaeologically proven for the time before three mentioned kings, from King Ka onward, it was Inj-mehw (with the same meaning). [1]

Iry-Hor Egyptian pharaoh

Iry-Hor or Ro was a predynastic pharaoh of Upper Egypt during the 32nd century BC. Iry-Hor's existence was debated, with the Egyptologist Toby Wilkinson contesting the reading and signification of his name. However, continuing excavations at Abydos in the 1980s and 1990s and the discovery in 2012 of an inscription of Iry-Hor in the Sinai confirmed his existence. Iry-Hor is the earliest ruler of Egypt known by name and possibly the earliest-living historical person known by name.

Ka (pharaoh) Predynastic pharaoh of Upper Egypt

Ka, also (alternatively) Sekhen, was a Predynastic pharaoh of Upper Egypt belonging to Dynasty 0. He probably reigned during the first half of the 32nd century BCE. The length of his reign is unknown.

Narmer Ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the Early Dynastic Period

Narmer was an ancient Egyptian king of the Early Dynastic Period, circa 3100-3050 BC. He probably was the successor to the Protodynastic king Ka, or possibly Scorpion. Some consider him the unifier of Egypt and founder of the First Dynasty, and in turn the first king of a unified Egypt.

One interesting artifact that possibly depicts King Crocodile, was found at Hierakonpolis in the so-called Main deposit. The artifact is a piece of a broken mace head which shows traces of a once completed relief scene. The conserved part of the relief shows the head and upper torso of a seated king figure inside a hebsed-pavillon. It wears the Red Crown of Upper Egypt, a hebsed cloak and a flail. Right before the face of the king traces of a golden rosette (the predynastic crest of the kings) and a certain hieroglyph are visible. Unfortunately, all but the hieroglyph are damaged, leaving room for interpretations. Mainstream Egyptologists consider the sign to be either the name of Crocodile or King Scorpion II. [3]

Sed festival

The Sed festival was an ancient Egyptian ceremony that celebrated the continued rule of a pharaoh. The name is taken from the name of an Egyptian wolf god, one of whose names was Wepwawet or Sed.

Scorpion II second of two kings of that name during the Protodynastic Period of Upper Egypt

Scorpion II, also known as King Scorpion, refers to the second of two kings or chieftains of that name during the Protodynastic Period of Upper Egypt.

A clay seal impression from Minshat Abu Omar is also of special interest to Egyptologists: in the centre of the impression it shows a serekh-like frame with a bucranium above and a crocodile crawling through grass inside. Right of this crest a divine standard is depicted, a recumbent crocodile with two projectings (either lotus buds [1] or ostrich feathers [4] ) sprouting out of its back is sitting on that standard. The whole arrangement is surrounded by rows of crocodiles with rope curls beneath, which seems to point to the proposed reading of Crocodile's royal serekh. But Egyptologists Van den Brink and Ludwig David Morenz argue against the idea that the seal impression talks about the ruler. In their opinion, the inscription celebrates the foundation of a shrine for the god Sobek at a city named Shedyt (alternatively Shedet). [2] The city and the shrine are known from Old Kingdom inscriptions, the main cult centre was located at Medinet el-Fayum. For this reason, Sobek was worshipped during early dynasties as "Sobek of Shedyt". [5]

Minshat Abu Omar Cemetery in Egypt

Minshat Abu Omar is an important archaeological site in Northern Egypt. It lies around 93.21 miles north-east of Cairo in the Nile delta. Minshat Abu Omar contains several cemeteries from protodynastic dynasties, as well as many burial sites that date back to the late Roman Era.


A serekh was a specific important type of heraldic crest used in ancient Egypt. Like the later cartouche, it contained a royal name.

Bucranium ornament

Bucranium was a form of carved decoration commonly used in Classical architecture. The name is generally considered to originate with the practice of displaying garlanded, sacrificial oxen, whose heads were displayed on the walls of temples, a practice dating back to the sophisticated Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük in eastern Anatolia, where cattle skulls were overlaid with white plaster. In ancient Rome, bucrania were frequently used as metopes between the triglyphs on the friezes of temples designed with the Doric order of architecture. They were also used in bas-relief or painted decor to adorn marble altars, often draped or decorated with garlands of fruit or flowers, many of which have survived.

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  1. 1 2 3 4 Günter Dreyer: Horus Krokodil, ein Gegenkönig der Dynastie 0. In: Renee Friedman and Barbara Adams (Hrsg.): The Followers of Horus, Studies dedicated to Michael Allen Hoffman, 1949–1990 (Egyptian Studies Association Publication, vol. 2). Oxbow Publications, Bloomington (IN) 1992, ISBN   0946897441, p. 259-263.
  2. 1 2 Edwin van den Brink: The Nile Delta in Transition - from 4th - 3rd Millennium BC. Institute of Archaeology and Arabic Studies, Tel Aviv 1992, p. 28 - 35.
  3. Barbara Adams: Ancient Hierakonpolis. Aris and Phillips, Warminster 1974, ISBN   9780856680038, p. 15 - 19, obj. 2.
  4. Toby A.H. Wilkinson: Early Dynastic Egypt. Routledge, London 2002, ISBN   1134664206, p. 256.
  5. Marco Zecchi: Sobek of Shedet, The Crocodile God in the Fayyum in the Dynastic Period. Todi, Perugia 2010, ISBN   978-88-6244-115-5, p. 5-6.