People > Crocodile (Shendjw)

Crocodile (Shendjw)

Egypt History - Egyptian Chapter Decoration


Crocodile or Shendjw, also known as Shendjw or Crocodile, was an ancient Egyptian official during the 4th Dynasty, which is part of the Old Kingdom period (circa 2613-2494 BCE). While the name "Crocodile" may refer to a nickname or a translation of his Egyptian name, it is Shendjw who is primarily noted for his tomb and his role in the administration of the time. Here is an overview of Shendjw and his significance:


  1. 4th Dynasty:

    • The 4th Dynasty is renowned for its monumental achievements, particularly the construction of the Great Pyramids at Giza by pharaohs such as Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure.
    • This period was characterized by centralized power, strong administration, and significant advancements in art and architecture.
  2. Family and Lineage:

    • Shendjw was an official rather than a royal family member. His position within the administration reflects the importance of bureaucratic roles in supporting the pharaoh and the state’s functioning.
    • Specific details about his family and lineage are less documented compared to his administrative roles and tomb inscriptions.

Role and Achievements

  1. Official Titles:

    • Shendjw held several important titles and roles within the royal administration. These titles likely included roles such as "Overseer of the Royal Treasury" or "Overseer of the Royal Granaries," reflecting his involvement in managing the resources and wealth of the state.
    • His titles indicate that he was a high-ranking official responsible for significant administrative duties, contributing to the efficient governance of the kingdom.
  2. Administrative Contributions:

    • As an overseer of critical state functions, Shendjw would have been responsible for managing the storage and distribution of grain, which was essential for feeding the population and supporting large state projects, such as pyramid construction.
    • His role in the treasury involved overseeing the collection and safeguarding of resources, ensuring that the state’s wealth was efficiently utilized and protected.

Tomb and Archaeological Evidence

  1. Tomb at Saqqara:

    • Shendjw's tomb is located in the Saqqara necropolis, a significant burial site during the Old Kingdom known for its mastabas and pyramids.
    • His tomb is notable for its inscriptions and decorations, which provide valuable insights into his life, titles, and the society of the time.
  2. Inscriptions and Reliefs:

    • The tomb of Shendjw contains detailed inscriptions and reliefs that depict scenes of daily life, religious rituals, and his roles and titles. These inscriptions are crucial for understanding the administrative structure and social hierarchy of the 4th Dynasty.
    • The artwork and hieroglyphs in his tomb reflect the high level of craftsmanship and artistic skill during the Old Kingdom, showcasing the cultural achievements of the period.

Significance and Legacy

  1. Historical Importance:

    • Shendjw's role as a high-ranking official illustrates the complexity and sophistication of the Old Kingdom’s administration. His contributions to managing the state's resources were essential for maintaining stability and supporting monumental projects.
    • His tomb provides valuable historical evidence about the roles and responsibilities of officials during this period, contributing to the broader understanding of ancient Egyptian governance.
  2. Cultural Impact:

    • The detailed inscriptions and artistic elements in Shendjw's tomb highlight the cultural and religious practices of the time. These depictions offer insights into the beliefs, rituals, and daily activities of ancient Egyptians.
    • His tomb serves as an example of the importance placed on the afterlife and the care taken to ensure that individuals were remembered and honored through elaborate burial practices.
  3. Archaeological Contributions:

    • Archaeological findings from Shendjw's tomb contribute significantly to the knowledge of the 4th Dynasty's administrative and social structure. The preservation of his tomb and its inscriptions allows modern historians and archaeologists to piece together aspects of Old Kingdom life.
    • The tomb’s artifacts and inscriptions help shed light on the interconnectedness of administration, religion, and daily life in ancient Egypt.


Shendjw, also referred to as Crocodile, was a high-ranking official during the 4th Dynasty of ancient Egypt, known for his roles in overseeing the royal treasury and granaries. His contributions to the administration of the state were crucial for managing resources and supporting large-scale projects such as pyramid construction. Shendjw’s tomb at Saqqara provides valuable insights into his life, titles, and the society of the Old Kingdom through detailed inscriptions and reliefs. His legacy lies in the understanding of the complex administrative and cultural systems of ancient Egypt, highlighted by the archaeological evidence preserved in his tomb.


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.

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.

Barbara Adams: Ancient Hierakonpolis. Aris and Phillips, Warminster 1974, ISBN 9780856680038, p. 15 - 19, obj. 2.

Toby A.H. Wilkinson: Early Dynastic Egypt. Routledge, London 2002, ISBN 1134664206, p. 256.

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.

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